Glen T. Winstein

Subtitle

GTJ Brooklyn 7

 

  Winstein--7

  The JWs leaders' make a pretense that rationalism decides the case--why it
      doesn't.

  Forced points
  The understandability issue
  Omniscience and the ability to create ex nihilo (exnihilation)

 

  The JWs leaders' make a pretense that rationalism decides the case--why it
doesn't.

  Forced points

  The Bible compels followers to tell the truth and try to be wise about what
it is to tell (Ex.23:1-3,7; Deut.5:20; Prov.3:1-7,13-18,21,22,29; 4:4-9; oth-
ers; John 4:24; 8:32; Rom.2:8; 1 Thes.5:21).  This is good advice on general
principle, too.

  A forced point is neither wise nor true.  I'm not referring to a hope commit-
ment for a possible God, saying, "He is good" just to express your subjective
freedom about what music you like, the things people say joking around, etc.--I
mean as a guarantee about an objective matter.

  For example, if you say that the evidence "_ + _ = 4" proves that "3" and "1"
were intended for the blanks, it's neither wise nor true.  A variety of other
number combinations are possible answers even if we stick to just whole positive
numbers.  Insisting that a rectangle is always a square is another example.
Such a forced point, if made deliberately by someone who knows better, is a form
of lying.  If used to make money for gain on dishonest terms, it's a form of
stealing. 
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-truth

  The JWs leaders raise the bar of responsibility in claiming to be God's sole
channel of information on Earth and requiring regimented devotion unto pain of
death (the JWs leaders' guidance in Germany and Malawi, p.6, and the ban on the
medical use of blood and major blood fractions, pp.12-42).  Their choice of
methods must be weighed against thousands of fatalities and however many more
yet to come.

  To persist in disagreeing with distinctive JWs leaders' stances (that the JWs
leaders are of a literal 144,000 who are the only ones who go to heaven, that
Jesus picked the JWs leaders as his sole religious leaders on Earth in 1919,
that pagan connotations preclude celebrating Mother's Day, that it's too worldly
to work for the government as a Civil Service dentist, etc.--pp.1a,6), and per-
sist in judging the JWs leaders to be untrustworthy about them, is taught by the
JWs leaders to be apostasy, even to hate God, so grounds for disfellowshipping
(p.3).  So, short of fatalities, their methods must be seen in light of divi-
sions that can result between friends and family members.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_and_congregational_discipline
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah%27s_Witnesses_and_salvation

  On pp.8 to 10, you'll find a lot more evidence to use to determine how credi-
ble a case the JWs leaders have for their claim to exclusive divine guidance
about the truth.

  The basic ideas of Jesus as not God and the holy spirit as not God aren't
mainstream but aren't exclusive to Jehovah's Witnesses among those who's profess
conservative Christian Bible belief.  Identifying Jesus as archangel Micheal, a
god who isn't to be worshipped, and requiring adherence to the teaching methods
of JWs leaders' literature, makes it more exclusive (p.1).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nontrinitarianism

  The JWs leaders don't just profess a distinctive belief about the Father, Je-
sus, and the holy spirit.  They claim to show a comparison by providing the
mainstream historical views of them, related early Christian history, and quotes
from various related research books, all meant to prove that the JWs leaders'
views were the ones originally intended by a conservative belief in the Bible
and required for salvation.

  It's another case of the JWs leaders claiming a 144,000 exclusive view and
meaning to create the impression that it's the one best indicated by reason
about the best evidence.  The Catch 22 again is that it isn't going to be done
with an honest presentation but one that shows the bad form of a dishonest
cranky propaganda against better alternatives.

  On my end, I better criticize responsibly and not be cranky and intolerant for
people who sincerely believe something different and harmless.  General ethics
and the Bible take a dim view of people playing prophet falsely and causing
harm, though.  As in the other cases, just showing what the JWs leaders' presen-
tation of non-JWs leaders alternatives are compared to what they actually are
makes a lot of the case obvious without much editorial.

****


  The understandability issue
      Omniscience and the ability to create ex nihilo (exnihilation)

  A commonly used forced point in JWs leaders' literature, brought up when as-
serting that the Bible intends us to think of Jesus as created god archangel Mi-
chael and not eternal God, and God's holy spirit as impersonal, gives the main-
stream historical ideas of Jesus and the holy spirit being God as wrong for re-
quiring God to have an ability that's beyond our thorough comprehension, there-
fore non-scriptural (and pagan or philosophical) in origin.  Some critics of
this JWs leaders' stance have called it rationalism, with rationalism meant in
the sense that things you can see and touch, measure and thoroughly understand,
exist, but nothing beyond that is known to exist.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalism
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism

  Strict rationalism would be surprising for either variety of conservative Bi-
ble belief.  Most believers or non-believers employ rationalism as part of their
vocabulary--in dealing with the math of music, etc.--with the basic God concept
a possibility beyond that you might or might not hope for.  Strict rationalism
would rule out God by definition.  It would be agnosticism or atheism, and dis-
count either idea of Jesus, if that's what it the JWs leaders employed.  But
it's actually an ironic selective use of rationalism.

  Believers in either the JWs leaders or historical mainstream views of Jesus
and the holy spirit hold the Bible views that:

  - God can create something from nothing but his own spirit

  (such as with whatever version of creation involved to cause the cosmos to
exist or miracles to happen; by rationalism, creating something without using
any of the other created stuff to do it is self-contradictory, illogical, and
impossible; but by this belief, God is transcendent of the regular world and ex-
nihilation is one of His exclusive abilities) (Psalm 33:6-9; Rom.4:17; Heb.11:3;
Rev.4:11), and that
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_nihilo

  - God's comprehensive capacity is a great number of times (the JWs leaders'
view) or infinitely greater (the mainstream view) than that of one of us, and
involve mental abilities, such as knowing everyone's inner thoughts and hearts,
that are complex far beyond our own.

  (God can understand and have thoughts in reaction to millions of people's
prayers at the same time, etc.  A rough analogy between the complexity of the
mental ability of God's spirit and the mental ability of a human being is that
one of us has the comprehensive ability of a mono track on a tape recorder and
God has has the comprehensive ability of a great--JWs leaders' view--or infinite
(omniscient)--mainstream view--number of tracks, confounding to rationalism
since we're used to thinking of the ultimate for a personal being as having the
mono ability of a smart human.
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omniscience

  For one of us to try comprehending many different voices at once would result
in an incomprehensible jumble of noises, not a clear understanding of each one.
It wouldn't take God's comprehensive mental ability to either listen to or speak
to one of us.) (Job.42:2; Psalm 44:21; 147:4,5; Isaiah 46:10; Jer.16:17; 17:10;
Acts 1:24; 15:18; Heb.4:12)

  1 Kings 8:39  "then hear from heaven, your dwelling place.  Forgive and act;
deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you
alone know the hearts of all men)."

  By the JWs leaders' Jesus idea, the 1st unique ability is used, by the other,
the 2nd is used.

  The view of Jesus would need to be reconciled with verses that say the only
one you have to call on to be saved is Jesus and Jesus makes all judgment (John
5:22).  Making all judgment requires knowing the standing of billions of people
at any one time, that you know if they're saved by their faith, that you know
their inner thoughts, hearts, and acts (2 Cor.5:10; Heb.4:12).
  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation#Christianity

  A few examples of the mainstream view of Jesus and that ability:

  Acts 10:40-43  Jesus judges the living and dead--all who believe in Jesus have
forgiveness of sins.

  Rev.2:18-23   "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of
God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze,
says this:"  "And I will kill her children with pestilence, and all the churches
will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to
each one of you according to your deeds."

  Rev.5:6  "And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and
the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes,
which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth."

  Seven symbolizes completeness and perfection, eyes symbolize knowledge, and
horns symbolize power.

  Also see "Jesus forgave sins" on p.8.


  If God wanted to use either way to communicate with people with Jesus (it
wouldn't take all His mentality to communicate to someone or He could speak an
angel into being), he could.  Both kinds of Jesus and holy spirit believers are
Bible-based in figuring God has both abilities, and neither group of Jesus be-
lievers can thoroughly understand how God does either one.  The fact that both
abilities are beyond our ability to thoroughly understand is scriptural, too.
(Psalm 139:1-6; 147:5; Job 26:13,14; Isaiah 55:8,9; Rom.11:33-36; 1 Tim.3:14-16)


  Both groups of believers about Jesus and the holy spirit have the things they
say for the various verses (pp.8-10).  Some JWs leaders' literature has com-
plained about hearing the phrase "It's a mystery" from some mainstream Jesus and
holy spirit believers in discussing the aspect of the matter I've described
above.  (The JWs leaders just create propaganda in moreover making a pretense of
showing the mainstream view but leaving out the more reasonable things the main-
stream view uses for evidence and reasons for what most of the verses mean,
though.)  But the phrase is applicable to trying to understand how God has Jesus
and the holy spirit exist either way--and "it's a mystery" how it could decide
the thing.

  By the mainstream historical view, God would use a three-fold way for to or-
ganize his thoughts as a way to get things done, including to reach people with
Jesus and the holy spirit.  Part of that idea, at its most basic, is that if God
wanted to talk to one of us at any time, which wouldn't require his full mental
ability, he could give that voice a presentation and call it Jesus or the holy
spirit to give us something to distinguish it.


  Both views of Jesus see that God appeared, not comprehensively (John 1:18), or
was imagined to appear in a location: Ex.24 and 33 (God appeared to Moses with
some human features--feet, back, a face He covers with his hand--in a location);
Ezek.1:26-28 (vision), Daniel 7:9,10 (dream).

  Both see that God could send an angel as a representative messenger to talk to
someone (theophany) (p.6b).

  The mainstream view sees God as omnipresent (p.8), it doesn't take His full
mentality to talk to and listen to someone, and similar to one of the examples
given above of God appearing in a location for the Son who took a tent of human
flesh to appear on Earth.

  The JWs leaders' view sees God in a location (p.8), and He spoke an angel into
being for the Son who was transformed into a human to appear on Earth.


  Another thing that comes up a lot in the JWs leaders' criticisms of the main-
stream view is in regard to phrasing related to that.  The JWs leaders claim to
know of no scriptural support for the mainstream view way of seeing "God and Je-
sus"-type phrases and related pronoun use.  See the section on how the main-
stream view sees "God and Logos/Jesus" verses like it sees the "God and Wisdom"
idea in the section on Prov.8:22-31 on p.8.

  The process used in the JWs leaders' view of Prov.8:22-31 and creation, that
Jesus was used like an apostle for healing, as a secondary agent of creation God
created through to indicate others that he was sent as a messenger of God, yet
God repeatedly denied the existence of anyone being with Him for creation, be-
longs in the category of hard to understand things, too.  Imagining why there
are verses that Jesus was worshipped and prayed to, and why God would use the
method described on the bottom of p.10, point four, to indicate the JWs leaders'
stance belongs in that category, too.


  A related reason that the JWs leaders give to disagree with the mainstream
historical view of the Father, Son, and holy spirit as God is a reason that's
used by some to disagree with it in rabbinical Judaism--that it's precluded by
Deut.6:4: "Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one."
  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism%27s_view_of_Jesus#Oneness_and_indivis
ibility_of_God

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_simplicity

  But all three views agree that the ability of God utilized for the mainstream
historical Christian view of God, the ability of God to comprehend everyone's
prayers at once, is scriptural.  It's not demonstrated comprehensively for a
given day in the life of God in writing (which would make the Bible entirely too
bulky)--God is typically given as talking to and listening to one.  Therefore,
that the Bible typically gives God as communicating with one isn't meant to de-
fine his comprehensive ability as limited to that.

  The word used for "one" in Deut.6:4, "echad," is also used in Gen.11:6 refer-
ring to those building the tower of Babel: "Indeed the people are one" (echad).
It's also used at Gen.2:24: "For this reason a man shall leave his father and
his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one" (echad)
"flesh."  It can refer to the one thing more than one person are united as.

  The Judaic view relies on giving weight to related writings, beyond and more
recent than the Tanakh/OT scriptures, that interpret Deut.6:4, as does the JWs
leaders' view (JWs leaders' literature), written to define their views of God as
different from the historical mainstream Christian view, which are distinctions
which aren't shown scripturally by the word "one."  All three views believe in
one God, which is enough for "one God" to mean to do no damage to Deut.6:4.

  For the JWs leaders' rule that Jesus is "a god," see p.6b.


  I would try to determine which views of Jesus and the holy spirit are best in-
dicated as being the basic ones originally intended (pp.8-10).  If I wanted to
try to explain it beyond that, I'd go from there with whatever seemed safe to
explain it with and give it as such.  For any of the special abilities of God
referred to above, beyond the basics of imagining that God can do them and try-
ing to imagine how it would be to be God doing them, none of us can (unless
you're God, in which case I wish you'd help me write this thing).

  Much of the JWs leaders' literature, referring to or implying the JWs leaders'
reasons to criticize the mainstream historical view given above, gives the JWs
leaders' views as reasonable and the mainstream views as beyond normal compre-
hension, often shown in that the JWs leaders claim they can't imagine how you
could interpret a verse any other way but their way, etc.  Besides the fact
that it's ironic since both views figure God has both basic abilities and nei-
ther thoroughly understand either, it's not normally used in mainstream histor-
ical Christianity to decide the thing because there's no decisive factor in
there.

  The mainstream Christian defense to such JWs leaders' accusations isn't to
claim to know more than is fair to claim, but to take offense in knowing the JWs
leaders' point is an ironic forced point about rationalism that isn't really
rationalism.  A consistent application of that kind of rationalism wouldn't de-
cide in favor of using the JWs leaders' views of Jesus and the holy spirit over
the mainstream views but would rule out either of them.  Both views use faith--a
hope commitment for the God of the Bible beyond the seeable, touchable, rational
world.

  How noncommittal the JWs leaders are to rationalism when it comes to the
things short of such belief, notably in showing the methods they use to define
their exclusiveness, is understandable enough for me to wrangle with, and a
trend about it should be clear from the evidences I provide.