I’ve been thinking about the concept of being “Right” or “Correct”. What I’m describing is Certainty.
I talked to a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses once a week for about 4 months. Every Wednesday night from 7 to 9, we read Bible passages and discussed the boundaries of our different philosophies. Robert was the instigator. He always led whatever group came to the door. He tried bringing a chemical engineer, a high school student, little kids. He brought his wife, son and his wife one night. He tried every angle he could think of to convert me. I told him on the first night that he would never get me, but he was determined enough to try. Now you do know someone who’s talked to a Jehovah’s Witness 🙂
I looked forward to those weekly meetings with mixed emotions. The conversations were always spirited and intelligent. How many people do you meet every day that spend long hours thinking about faith? My views were very soft in the beginning. Think about what you truly believe. Now defend those beliefs to a man who has studied these issues faithfully for over 30 years. Not to mention the eager teenager, the serious engineer, and the faithful wives.
Occasionally, the exchanges were heated. I disagree with the idea of evangelism. Faith isn’t something you can just dump in someone’s lap. If someone models some small part of their beliefs on what I do, that’s enough. I think it’s spiritually greedy to evangelize. It’s arrogant to think that your truth is the only truth. He told me one night that I should “Narrow my horizons”. That way, I would find it easier to believe. I questioned him on it. Couldn’t believe I’d heard right. He stuck to it. He wasn’t quite telling me to think inside the box, but he did want me to put less stock in “logic” and more in “faith”.
We looked through my books and movies. I wanted them to judge me for these things one night. It seemed very important to me at the time. That’s when I understood what he meant by narrowing my horizons. Jehovah’s Witnesses practice an intellectual version of the Shaker’s celibacy. The Bible truly does encompass the boundaries of their philosophy.
We eventually reached a point were everyone born before the bible was written and all those through the ages that never got a chance to read it… were going to Hell. They stopped coming after that.