by Barry Ryder
The slippery witnesses
I’d like to offer a few insights into the doorstep tactics of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
I’m sure that we’ve all had a visit from these people at some time. I certainly have and I’ve come to see just how dishonest they are. I suspect that many readers here will have noted the same.
These callers are clearly ‘coached’ in their ‘schtick’. They have a set script which is designed to guide the conversation toward specific areas in which they have been rehearsed and hence, feel most comfortable. They will often appear to be interested in your viewpoint and will ask questions. These questions are formulated to lead the unwitting into spurious and arcane issues which will ultimately lead to the JW’s providing ‘the answer’.
So, the first tactic to employ is:
Don’t answer any questions.
I have found that it is far better to simply say that you have not come to the door in order to be interrogated. They have called on you in order to ‘sell their product’. You will ask the questions about their product and they must answer them – if they can. Put the onus on them.
I have a copy of the JW’s latest Bible – The New World Translation, 2013. I have stuffed the thing with notes and bookmarks where I have a question on something contentious. When they see it, they know that they’re in for a rough ride. However, it’s not necessary to have a copy because the NWT is available to read on-line. A couple of scribbled notes or print-outs will suffice to show your visitors that you mean business.
Get off on the right foot.
Tell them that you have questions about their religion. Readers here will have their own showstoppers, no doubt. False history, bad science, contradictions, absurdities and moral turpitude are all good arenas for the skirmish but, be careful which topic you choose to raise. Make sure that the ever-changing NWT and the JW website haven’t moved the goal-posts on your preferred argument. They often do because by maintaining a moving target, they are more likely to avoid too many direct hits.
The Opening Gambit
Ideally, your questions should not rely on the vagaries of translation, interpretation, context, doctrine or any other ‘soft’ areas that allow wriggle-room. There are quite a few websites that challenge the NWT translation. They point out glaring omissions and inexplicable additions to the received text but, in the main, these sites are run by rival Christian denominations and the criticisms deal with doctrinal matters; The Trinity, the nature of Jesus etc. For the atheist, these issues are irrelevant and no time should be wasted arguing them.)
I find it better to home-in on something more concrete that even the most committed JW cannot deal with.
Example number one.
This is the classic ‘sun standing still’ in Joshua 10: 12-14.
12 “…..Joshua said to Jehovah before Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibʹe·on, And moon, over the Valley* of Aiʹja·lon!”
13 So the sun stood still and the moon did not move until the nation could take vengeance on its enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jaʹshar? The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to set for about a whole day. 14 There has never been a day like that one, either before it or after it, ..”
I won’t insult anyone’s intelligence here by enumerating the many reasons why this could not have happened. You can all have fun explaining to the ‘faithful and discreet slaves’ the applicable science involved .
What is especially useful about this example is the opening sentence of verse 14.“There has never been a day like that one, either before it or after it,..”.
This is demonstrably false as there is no culture, race, nation or people who have recorded such an event in their many histories. It simply didn’t happen. [Ed, Or we would all be dead, or, would not be alive in the first place.]
Given the refutations above, it’s clear that the Bible contains at least two falsehoods. [Ed, Only two? More like two thousand!]
One steeeerike and yerrrout! Game over.
Example number two.
…and a particular favourite of mine – is
Matthew 24: 29
“…and the stars will fall from heaven,..”
This is a prophecy made by Jesus! The son of God clearly didn’t know much about cosmology. His Dad neglected to tell him what stars actually are. Once again I won’t insult the intelligence of those reading this; whoever wrote Matthew 24: 29 already has.
Obviously there are scores of other absurdities in the Bible that can be used to stymie these part-time zealots and I know that members of this group will all have their own, preferred tactics for these encounters. I’d love to hear of fellow members’ personal experiences of JW doorstep meltdowns. Do post any and all anecdotes that you have. The laugh will do us all a bit of good.