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How to stop Jehova's Witnesses?
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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #21
24-11-2007 09:05 PM

That Adrian Chiles programme, with the women with the central European accent had quite a informed article on JWs - apparently it is OK in the bible to tell then not to call again. So now you know.

There is a Catherine Tait reference above, but its probably too subtle for you my dear readers.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #22
24-11-2007 11:33 PM

OK, at a the risk of getting the post taken off, with my very PC hat on some of you seem to be poking fun at people's beliefs. Now if you were doing similar with someones ethnicity you'd find yourself kicked into a virtual court at the drop of the hat. Personally I have no religious beliefs, but if I started going on about people's faiths and giving strong personal views I'd have even less friends than I have now. Fine to have an informed debate when you are face to face - doesn't always come across the same on line. And I am not innocent myself after once upsetting someone, who for some reason was a bit sensive, with an off the cuff comment about narrow minded communities that you get once you get into deepest Kent - and I didn't even mention the words trailor or trash.

Anyway you will sense that I am quite happy to provoke a debate.

If you bump into a crusty old git in the Blythe, trying to persuade the residents of the MPT to reopen it as a pub, or stripping the paint of the stonework of the FHT, I'll tell you about my interesting debates with JW's where I failed to persuade them that my ideals were correct. May even tell you about how I was scared as a child by neighbours over the road who tried to convert me with tails of the world ending, I assume that is not the norm for JW's but pretty sad to pick on a nine year old (and their nine year old got better presents than me).

The film is worth checking out, particularly with recent debate.

Probably didn't answer your question.

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #23
25-11-2007 12:06 AM

Central European accent meaning Northern Irish? First time its been called that....

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #24
25-11-2007 01:15 PM

Good points Baggydave, however I did get the impression that the original genuine intention of this discussion was largely about how to prevent faith groups doing a spot of direct selling. However there is a fine line to be drawn between not welcoming direct approaches by religious groups and religious bigotry itself and comments on a thread such as this can easily be misread , misunderstood, or simply hijacked for particular anti this and that speeches. The focus on JWs and the title of this thread was also a little unfortunate given the particular 20th century history of persecution of this group.

Perhaps this thread needs to be renamed and refocussed if people want to take further an enlightened discussion on religion, or even the right to make comments on religion. Or as you say, given the propensity for anything on line to come across differently than perhaps was meant, best to avoid the subject completely.

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Sherwood


Posts: 1,355
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #25
25-11-2007 01:42 PM

A former Archbishop of Canterbury on television this morning said we should tolerate religious criticism. He explained that his theory came fron the Scriptures.

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #26
25-11-2007 03:36 PM

roz Wrote:
However there is a fine line to be drawn between not welcoming direct approaches by religious groups and religious bigotry...


Let's not forget that the JWs are coming 'round to our houses and telling us that if we don't agree completely with their ideas then their god is going to murder us. They go beyond bigotry into indirect threats on our lives.

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michael


Posts: 3,210
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #27
25-11-2007 04:01 PM

I don't think Jehova's Witnesses are unique in a belief that their God will punish non-believers. I dislike people knocking on my door to discuss religion and generally dislike evangelising. What I find worse is that every state school in the country (with a few exceptions for specifically Jewish schools) has to have acts of Christian worship because that is the majority religion in the country. I would prefer people knocking on my door and leaving, to my children being indoctrinated daily in school. If I want my children indoctrinated I shall arrange it for myself.

The singling out of any religion and describing them as 'dangerous idiots' is offensive to me (not to mention the title of this thread). We should tolerate religious criticism, but we must also tolerate other peoples' religions, too often people feel they have the right to do the former without the duty of the latter.

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #28
25-11-2007 08:13 PM

michael Wrote:
I don't think Jehova's Witnesses are unique in a belief that their God will punish non-believers.

Very true - most religions are based on the bigoted belief that its god is right, and anyone not believing it will be punished by its god.

michael Wrote:
I dislike people knocking on my door to discuss religion and generally dislike evangelising. What I find worse is that every state school in the country (with a few exceptions for specifically Jewish schools) has to have acts of Christian worship because that is the majority religion in the country. I would prefer people knocking on my door and leaving, to my children being indoctrinated daily in school. If I want my children indoctrinated I shall arrange it for myself.

It's worse than that really. Christianity isn't just the majority religion, it's the official religion of the state. So the state forces all children to be indoctrinated with its own religion, complete with the self-serving doctrine of the divine right of kings.

michael Wrote:
The singling out of any religion and describing them as 'dangerous idiots' is offensive to me

Why are you offended when a specific religion is singled out for its beliefs? Is your point that Ooperlooper should have pointed out that all religions take advantage of vulnerable people? Or are you saying that any criticism of any religion is inherently offensive to you?

JWs, and other evangelising types, are bound to get more attention than other people of faith as they're the ones shoving it down our throats! Perhaps if they'd like to be treated better they should consider treating others like they'd like to be treated themselves...

michael Wrote:
(not to mention the title of this thread).

The title can only be offensive if taken alone, out of context. Ooperlooper made it very clear in his post that he was asking for ways to stop them repeatedly calling at his door. Maybe he could have appended 'calling' to his title to make things more clear, but to anyone who took the time to read the post it should be clear what was being asked and that no offense was intended.

michael Wrote:
We should tolerate religious criticism, but we must also tolerate other peoples' religions, too often people feel they have the right to do the former without the duty of the latter.

Why should we tolerate bigotry and any other unacceptable behaviour just because it's labeled a religion? If I turn up at your house at teatime and say that unless you agree with me in all areas someone I know is going to come 'round and kill you and your family, it wouldn't (and clearly shouldn't) be tolerated. Yet if you stick a religious label on it we all have to respect and tolerate it!

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michael


Posts: 3,210
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #29
26-11-2007 05:23 PM

RussB Wrote:

michael Wrote:
The singling out of any religion and describing them as 'dangerous idiots' is offensive to me

Why are you offended when a specific religion is singled out for its beliefs? Is your point that Ooperlooper should have pointed out that all religions take advantage of vulnerable people? Or are you saying that any criticism of any religion is inherently offensive to you?


I have little problem with people criticising religious practices in a reasoned debate, but to describe a group of people as 'dangerous idiots' for their religious views, racial group, sexuality, gender seems offensive to me.

There are more offensive things, but I am always aware that if you allow religious groups to be singled out in this way there is the potential for finding ourselves in 1930s Germany. However much I dislike certain religious beliefs or practices I stop short of labeling the followers as a generic group 'dangerous people', sometimes the leaders or foot soldiers but not all the people.

I am willing to admit that I might be a bit over-sensitive on this issue, but there you go, nobody is perfect.

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #30
26-11-2007 08:24 PM

Michael Wrote:
I have little problem with people criticising religious practices in a reasoned debate, but to describe a group of people as 'dangerous idiots' for their religious views, racial group, sexuality, gender seems offensive to me.


I think it's very different when someone is labeled because of something they are (gender, race, sexuality) to being labeled for something they choose to believe. If someone chooses to believe something dangerous and idiotic, then they've only got themselves to blame, and I think it's fair to call them out on it.

Michael Wrote:
There are more offensive things, but I am always aware that if you allow religious groups to be singled out in this way there is the potential for finding ourselves in 1930s Germany. However much I dislike certain religious beliefs or practices I stop short of labeling the followers as a generic group 'dangerous people', sometimes the leaders or foot soldiers but not all the people.


I take your point about labeling an entire group as dangerous. I've found myself labeling all Christians as anti-science nut-jobs in the past, which isn't the case and is unfair.

However I think it's important to be able to call out individual groups on their beliefs, especially when those beliefs are affecting the rest of us. If we're not allowed to call attention to groups who are trying to teach biblical verse as science in our schools, for fear of offending someone, before long we'll have biology exams to which the answer to all answers is "the constant will and intervention of Yahweh causes it".

Michael Wrote:
I am willing to admit that I might be a bit over-sensitive on this issue, but there you go, nobody is perfect.

Except for all these gods... Smile

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #31
26-11-2007 08:40 PM

Baggy, there is a world of difference between criticising someone for their beliefs or actions (i.e. things that they choose of their own free will), and criticising them for what they were born with and are not at liberty to change. (e.g. their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc).

Along with everyone else, I utterly condemn the latter, but equally I utterly condemn anyone trying to suppress the former.

To suggest that we should ban the criticism of certain beliefs or acts just because they happen to be associated with a religion is to walk a very slippery slope indeed.

Michael, I support your views on religion in schools. I was forced to sing hymns, prey and listen to biblical fairy tails every day at primary school and I'm still suffering from it.

I wonder how the religious herd would feel if there were atheist 'faith' schools that only let in atheists?

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #32
26-11-2007 08:55 PM

Ooperlooper Wrote:
I wonder how the religious herd would feel if there were atheist 'faith' schools that only let in atheists?


Or rather "only let in children with atheist parents". Unless we really think that kids who still believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are capable of properly choosing which, if any, religion they believe in.

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #33
26-11-2007 09:27 PM

Ahem, yes that's what I meant. Thanks, RussB.

There's also a profound difference between getting into a debate with someone who is genuinely prepared to listen and, critically, if by learning something new through the process of the conversation, to change their mind, and those who want only to lecture and persuade the other person without actually considering the possibility of changing their own minds.

The latter approach is also known as 'faith'.

Or as I think Oscar Wilde said, "a priest is a man who says the same things at eighty as he said at eighteen".

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calvin


Posts: 62
Joined: Feb 2006
Post: #34
26-11-2007 09:49 PM

RussB, you've made me laugh. In my high school, 'biology exams to which the answer to all answers is "the constant will and intervention of Yahweh causes it" ' were status quo. We memorised the Baltimore catechism: 'Who made us? God made us. Why did God make us? To know love and serve Him in this life & be happy with Him in the next.' I can't personally decide whether that's right or wrong but it works for some people.

As someone raised in that way, though, I've never objected to religious people calling at my door and trying to convert me, because I believe they are genuinely trying to save my soul (and I'm up early with my kids anyway). I kind of take it as a compliment.

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michael


Posts: 3,210
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #35
26-11-2007 10:50 PM

Ooperlooper Wrote:
I wonder how the religious herd would feel if there were atheist 'faith' schools that only let in atheists?


I think there have been a number of cases where people have claimed that their faith was not respected by their school. Wearing hijab, crucifixes, or rings to demonstrate virginity are not allowed in certain schools. Not quite the same as being banned from a school, but I think Stalin did have a good try.

Ooperlooper Wrote:
There's also a profound difference between getting into a debate with someone who is genuinely prepared to listen and, critically, if by learning something new through the process of the conversation, to change their mind, and those who want only to lecture and persuade the other person without actually considering the possibility of changing their own minds.

The latter approach is also known as 'faith'.


I know a number of atheists who have 'faith' according to your definition: those who want only to lecture and persuade the other person without actually considering the possibility of changing their own minds, but I think the word you are looking for is not faith but dogma.

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baggydave


Posts: 384
Joined: May 2004
Post: #36
26-11-2007 11:57 PM

Interesting point - should they make the difference in equal opportunities legislation eg no one will be discriminated on gender, size etc but if you chose to follow a barmy religion then we wont employ you, or wear a head scarf (the female hairdresser who was not recruited).

Discuss!

Ooperlooper Wrote:
Baggy, there is a world of difference between criticising someone for their beliefs or actions (i.e. things that they choose of their own free will), and criticising them for what they were born with and are not at liberty to change. (e.g. their race, sex, sexual orientation, etc).

Along with everyone else, I utterly condemn the latter, but equally I utterly condemn anyone trying to suppress the former.

To suggest that we should ban the criticism of certain beliefs or acts just because they happen to be associated with a religion is to walk a very slippery slope indeed.

Michael, I support your views on religion in schools. I was forced to sing hymns, prey and listen to biblical fairy tails every day at primary school and I'm still suffering from it.

I wonder how the religious herd would feel if there were atheist 'faith' schools that only let in atheists?

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Ooperlooper


Posts: 104
Joined: Jun 2006
Post: #37
27-11-2007 12:03 AM

"Have dogma, my son, have dogma."

...seems different somehow, when you put it that way.

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RussB


Posts: 15
Joined: Oct 2007
Post: #38
27-11-2007 12:18 AM

I'm sure neither words means someone who won't change his mind. According to an online dictionary faith is the belief in something without evidence, and dogma is a prescribed doctrine. So a Catholic has faith in the Vatican's dogma.

Not all people with faith refuse to listen to argument and to change their minds. It's possible that confronted with evidence that proves a belief wrong that someone who'd previously believed without evidence will change his mind. Even the Catholic church managed to give up its concept of a geocentric solar system when presented with enough evidence. Eventually.

However someone who believes things based on evidence is not going to be convinced by such arguments as "the Pope says it's true, so it must be", or "this old mistranslated book says it's true, so it must be".

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thenutfield


Posts: 235
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #39
27-11-2007 12:29 AM

going right back to ooperloopers question at the start of the thread, you could try answering the door in your underwear and with a can of lager in hand - that might put them off.

in my experience, Saturday morning is the time when JWs usually do their missionary work - so unless I am expctin someone, I dont answer the door!

(with apologies to all the recent posts - it was all getting to intellectual for me!)

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roz


Posts: 1,793
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #40
27-11-2007 09:07 AM

French state schools do not permit displays of religious icons or dress. There have been a number of cases where pupils have been suspended for going against this. What do you think- is this the way forward- is a secular approach discriminatory or is it best in a multicultural society as a means to avoiding conflict?

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