"Ho hum, another basher of Witnesses" Not at all. In fact I wonder that people categorise Kingdom Hall and Watchtower as manifestations of a cult. I would say quite firmly that the Jehovah's Witness movement is a sect but not a cult.
To my mind a cult departs steeply from the original tenets of the faith it purports to be a part of.
The second holy book and latter day prophets of 'the Mormons' is an example of this. Or the less than savoury example of Moses David, who - despite spending no more thought than necessary on a nom de plume
- managed to make 'Christianity' about him and his selfseeking agenda to a selection of the seriously deluded.
Differences in degree but a far cry again from an organisation that attempts a serious (some would say too serious) examination and application of the Lord's Word as layed down in the scripture. All other considerations aside, this would seem to be the primary aim of being Christian
: not to do good works, to love thy neighbour, to forego the 'sins of the flesh', but to understand and follow the dictates of the Divine Creator, whatever that might mean. Only a cult could spring from visions, dreams or other forms of message supposedly delivered from on high to some specially favoured individual(s)because, for Christian purposes, the True message is in the Holy Bible and the role of priests no more than to spread the word and do good deeds.
I don't see that anything the Witnesses attempt departs from this goal. That they may be mistaken on certain points does not divert from the earnestness and methodical nature of their enquiry. So I think it is a little lazy and insulting to write them off by latching onto their most 'bizarre' practices. "Oh they're weirdos, they don't take blood transfusions, they don't vote..." It is not - or should not be - the intention of religious enquiry to pick on some vulnerable feature and dismiss the belief system on those grounds, Piers Akerman
style. A better measure by far would be to assess just to what extent they are consistent within their ideology and that of the broader context they locate themselves in.
If you want to turn your hose on religious callers
then that is a matter of personal choice.
I thought it might have been fun to have a spirited satire on the convention where the assembled sixty thousand suddenly have giant sprinklers turned on them, or the guard dogs at Olympic Park stadium are unleashed half way through proceedings.
Posted by berko_wills
at 11:05 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 13 December 2003 11:44 PM EADT