Today started quickly. Both of the Witnesses arrived before I did and were already seated. I walked into the restaurant and before I could even sit down, my Jehovah’s Witness friend pointed to a book sitting on the table in front of my spot. The book is titled, “The Bible- God’s Word or Man’s?”
KW: What’s this?
JW1: A present.
KW: A present, oh and it’s not even my birthday. Thank you.
JW1: Remember last week we mentioned a couple of Biblical prophecies. This book goes into way more detail. This is interesting reading.
KW: Yeah, it looks like it.
JW1: Here is another book for you. Life- How Did It Get Here? By evolution or by creation?
My friend then began reading from one of the books which talked about how the Bible would encourage the Israelites to bury their excrement, but the Egyptians would use it mixed with milk for certain medical procedures.
KW: That’s a crappy idea.
JW1: (Reading)… “It directed that human excrement mixed with fresh milk…” Why would it be fresh milk?
KW: Well, because you can’t have bad milk to go with your crap. Come on, what are you thinking?
JW2 started laughing pretty hard. JW1 had a huge grin on his face as we all thought about the idea of Egyptians making sure they didn’t have spoiled milk mixed with their poop. JW1 went back to reading about Egyptian medical techniques.
JW1: “And a remedy for drawing out splinters reads: ‘Worms blood, cook and crush in oil, mole, kill, cook, and drain in oil; ass’s dung, mix in fresh milk. Apply to the opening.’ Such treatment, it is now known, can result in serious infections.’”
KW: Ass’s dung? Is there another kind?
JW1 either didn’t catch the joke because he isn’t originally from this country or he ignored it altogether. JW2 was giggling as silently as he could without disturbing the conversation. JW1 then started reading what the Bible says about our… poop.
JW1: (Reading Deuteronomy 23:13 in the NWT) “A peg should be part of your equipment. When you squat outside, you should dig a hole with it and then cover your excrement.”
KW: When you squat outside? It really says that?
KW: (Laughing) That is hilarious.
JW1 was all business at this point. He was trying to be serious in showing how the nations of the day didn’t know anything about germs and disease, but the Israelites were protected by God because he gave tem instructions about how to dispose of human waste. I kept cracking jokes and JW2 kept trying not to laugh at them. The whole scenario was quite humorous. My Witness friend then transition to today’s medical standards and said that in some hospitals doctors are not allowed to wear ties.
KW: Let me guess. Is it because of pagan military origins?
KW: I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.
JW1 was visibly perturbed at this point so I backed off. My guess is that he has studied up on what I told him about the origin of neck-ties being part of French military uniforms. He knows that I believe that the origin of something doesn’t have to dictate what we do with celebrating holidays and such today. I like to jokingly remind him of that so that he will be wary of bringing up that argument when it comes to other topics. He sees the logic, but isn’t ready to commit to it yet.
His point was that when a doctor leans over to look at a patient, his tie could drape over onto something and pick up germs. Then the same thing happens to the next patient. The doctor could be spreading germs because of his tie.
From there the conversation went in a completely different direction. JW1 turned to page 122 of the “Life” book. It has a picture of a man working on a pocket watch. Without reading anything, I knew exactly what he was getting at.
KW: Oh, yes. The Watchmaker’s argument. The idea that if you have a creation, then there must be a creator.
I explained the teleological argument in a little bit of depth. I am wondering if I should have done that or not because he looked like I took the wind out from his sails. I think he was disappointed that he didn’t get to explain the argument to me, but I also think it is important that he knows that these arguments did not originate with Jehovah’s Witnesses. I told him that I have some atheist friends and they often use the wrong type of argument to prove their point.
KW: I have atheist friends and we talk about this kind of stuff. They tell me that I can’t prove God through science. I respond, “You can’t prove math with purple.”
JW1: With what?
JW1: Why purple?
JW2 understood what I was getting at and started laughing.
KW: Purple. It is the wrong tool. Religion is a philosophy, not a science. Science has to be observable and repeatable. You can’t do that with history.
JW1: Philosophy and history?
KW: Right. If you are going to examine a historical event, then you have to apply different tests to it. You can’t use a scientific method to prove history, you have to use historical proofs. You have to dig into history and ask yourself, “What did these people say then, what did they believe. What did their scriptures mean to them then, not what does it mean to us today.”
Speaking of which, evolution is not a science because it is not observable or repeatable. At best, it is an unproven philosophy in the guise of science. Too many atheists today believe in evolution by faith because they can’t observe or repeat it. It isn’t science.
I wanted to lay the foundation for a future conversation about history and show that historical events, like the bodily resurrection of Christ- the basis for Christianity, needs to be evaluated by historical measures. Even so, the historical claims of the Watchtower need to be evaluated through historical means. That is easily accomplished by looking into older Watchtower literature. What did the Watchtower teach in the past, what did Jehovah’s Witnesses believe then, what did their publications mean to them in their day? The Watchtower has a dirty history and someday I hope to expose it to him.
Once we got back into the “Teach” book, we read through a few paragraphs about Biblical prophecies and had no disagreement amongst ourselves. I was wondering if we were going to get into anything juicy, but then remembered that it is good to be able to agree on as much as possible. This shows that I am not there to argue and am a reasonable person. Plus, there will be plenty to disagree upon once we get deeper into the book.
One interesting thing of note though was reading through Isaiah 14:22 which reads in the NWT, “’I will rise up against them,’ declares Jehovah of armies. ‘And I will wipe out from Babylon name and remnant and descendants and posterity,’ declares Jehovah.” I asked;
KW: What do you think it means when it says, “I will wipe out from Babylon name and remnant?”
They answered the question correctly. It refers to a reputation. I then told them about a scene in the movie “Troy” where Brad Pitt’s character Achilles is summoned by a young boy to go fight a man from an opposing army. The boy says that the man is the largest man he has ever seen and he wouldn’t want to fight him. Achilles then states something like, “That is why no one will remember your name.” I didn’t belabor the point, but it was obvious to them that I was referring to “Jehovah’s name” being more of a reputation than a specific pronunciation. We have talked about that at length in the past. If you are interested in those conversations, search for the “Name of God” tag on the right.
There wasn’t any noteworthy conversation that happened today, but there were something that happened on a personal level. JW1 really got off topic and told us about some experiences he has had in America because of his Nationality. There were some real heart-wrenching experiences he has endured. Most of it is people joking around about something that isn’t funny, but it bothered me that people would even tease and say some of the things they have to my friend. We finished up our conversation and as I was getting up form my seat, I got a cramp in my right leg. I had to sit back down and straighten out my leg of it would cramp up worse.
JW2 had to leave so JW1 and I sat there together. He had already stood up to leave, but when he saw me in pain, he felt like he needed to stay with me. We got to talking again and decided to have lunch together. Witnesses will not pray with people not of their faith so after his food arrived, he silently bowed his head a prayed. I said, “
KW: So you pray for your food too, huh? How do you pray?
JW1: Yes, I always use God’s name. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or long.
KW: I agree.
My Witness friend then began telling me about Nehemiah 2:1-5 which tells the story of Nehemiah saying a quick prayer on the spot before he answers the question of King Artaxerxes. I told him I was familiar with the story and called those kids of prayers, “arrow prayers.” When you don’t have a whole lot of time, you shoot an arrow up to heaven quickly.
I took this as an opportunity to tell him about our daughter who was in a talent show last night. When she was back stage before the show, the performers talked with each other about how they prepare and calm their nerves before performing. Our daughter told the others that she prays beforehand. One of the other girls said that she didn’t know how to pray. Our daughter said it was just talking to God like He is your best friend. My Witness friend agreed.
It is important for him to see that there are people outside the Watchtower who teach their children to pray and have a relationship with God. I spoke about how it is important for Becky and I to see our children being faithful to God and not to a religion. I don’t think my Witness friend understands that point yet, but I keep planting seeds. The more he sees how my family life does not met the expectations he has been fed by the Watchtower, the easier it will be for him to see other options for belief if he ever leaves the organization.
Please pray for my Jehovah’s Witness friends.