Talk:Controversies regarding Jehovah's Witnesses/Archive 2

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Archive 1 | Archive 2 | Archive 3

Loaded statements

RE: this edit. I thought we agreed to say, these say this, and these others say that. "Alleged" is loaded language. - CobaltBlueTony 13:01, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Broken references

I just commented out some internal links in the "1975" section that appear to have been intended as citations referencing other citations in the footnotes section of Jehovah's Witnesses. Since the citation section of that article has changed a lot over time, I have no idea what those citations were actually intending to point at. Would someone familiar with the source material please take a look and see if there's anything salvageable there? Bryan 04:35, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

I've removed most of the content, opting for a main article approach pointing to Eschatology of Jehovah's Witnesses. I believe that article to be better cited and of better quality. By the way, a huge thank you for your general cleanup of the article. I didn't look over what you did in great detail, but it looked good from my initial review. joshbuddytalk 05:32, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Blood

The statement: "A mother’s milk however contains more than 10 times the amount found in a full blood transfusion" is an invalid comparison. An unstated amount of mother's milk cannot be said to contain a specific amount more of leukocytes than a "full blood transfusion", which implies a specific amount, though is still vague, further detracting from any meaning in the statement. Re-word, or it will be removed.--Jeffro77 13:26, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Dispute tag

I am including this to get some attention. This whole article needs to reference the sources of criticism. I find little or none. If one person criticises a practice it also is not notable. Those who feel this should be an article need to do the research. Maybe an Rfc would be in order. George 13:43, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

1975

I am placing the link here so anyone who wants can listen to the audio file where Franz does the opposite of what is claimed in the paragraph this reference was in. [1]

Critical Links

What's the deal with all the links at the bottom? We should set a limit for pos/neg links. Duffer 04:53, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

If we follow the guidline for the main article just three or so is enough.George 00:24, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Sources again

The opening sentence says JW's are criticised by governments, scientists and mainstream christians, but all the references are xjw. We need to fix this.George 01:08, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

Analogy

Just a quick note about the analogy. I am not sure if my understanding of it is the same as some other editors. The analogy is not talking about whole blood but, in this instance it is specifically speaking about plasma. Plasma as a whole product is prohibited by Jehovah's Witnesses - this is the sandwhich in the analogy. Plasma is made up of 93% water. The principle components of the remaining 7% are albumin, globulins, fibrinogen and coagulation factors. All of these are allowable according to the society - these are the bread, ham and cheese of the analogy. As such the analogy does make sense. I will not remove the edit until we have had a chance to discuss it further. Lucy 00:47, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

An analogy must parallel. So if the Sandwich is Plasma (a component) what is the parallel for whole blood?
The parallel should be: Witnesses do not accept a Sandwich (whole blood (whole Sandwhich)) and the major components of it. Plasma is a major component of blood; thus ham (cheese) (bread) are major components of a Ham and chessse sandwich. Johanneum 04:34, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
This analogy is taken from Chapter Nine of the book by Franz. The paragraph does state that it is an analogy as stated by a critic. Since it is published by a credible source it is worthy of inclusion. The analogy as printed in the book is sandwich=plasma, ham, cheese etc=components of plasma. Whole blood is not considered within this analogy. Analogies in general can be specific and do not have to cover every conceivable factor that may relate to the situation. Just as a quick example if you were to say that a part of the machine is like a person’s fingers you do not then have to state which part of the machine relates to the feet, head, body etcetera. It is irrelevant because it is not the focus of the analogy.
I can see that you feel that the analogy is misleading due to the fact that it looks specifically at plasma and not at blood as a whole but we cannot really just change the analogy as printed within the book. All we can really do is state that "such and such" says "such and such". After presenting the relevant facts it is up to the reader to determine the validity of the analogy and the source that it came from. Only if we can find printed, verifiable objections to this analogy can we qualify it within the paragraph. Lucy 01:43, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Thank you Lucille. While it is true I do feel it is misleading it is a sourced contribution and clearly from a critic. Johanneum 03:44, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Various issues

I think there are a few points that need to be addressed here:

1. (In lead) "The majority of the heated opposition to Witnesses from traditional Christians stems from their rejection of the trinity doctrine in favour of a belief in one God and Jesus as his son." This does not clarify the distinction. Trinitarians also believe that there is one God, and Jesus is his son. It would be more appropriate to say something like "...their rejection of Trinitarian doctrine in favour of Unitarian theology." The relevant pages explain the distinction more clearly.

2. The whole last sentence of the lead seems rather out-of-place for an article entitled "Controversies regarding JWs". See, for example, the sub-headings of "controversy" in articles falling under the category "Religious scandals". The text tries to make the reader aware of the controversy, and they do not include positive statements as a general rule (hence: "controversy"). It is not a place to be delivering praise.

3. The last sentence of "Animal Blood" appears to be incomplete. I assume the complete sentence is supposed to include the words "...may be used" or something to that effect.

4. The first paragraph of "Congregational discipline" is vague; it does not appear to actually say anything of relevance.

5. The second paragraph of "Congregational discipline", and the sections "Treatment of members who dissociate", "Internet", and "Eschatology" are all merely descriptive and do not discuss any controvesy.

6. In the final section, "Further criticism has stemmed from their rendering of the biblical greek word proskuneo" does not state what the rendering is - clearly most people do not understand Greek. A better version would be "... their rendering of the biblical greek word proskuneo as _____, which in most other translations is rendered _____. This would make it clearer why the rendering of the word is controversial, the subsequent explanation notwithstanding.

7. The very last sentence definitely needs some citation, or removal.


You make some interesting points. Just a few comments about some of the areas (using your numbering).
1) I am not sure that linking to the Unitarian page would be any less confusing. Unitarianism includes many different schools of thought and it could be misunderstood that Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus was simply a good man or that Jesus was God in the flesh but not a part of a trinity. Instead if we could find a way to link to the page Jehovah's Witnesses and Jesus it is specifically about how Jehovah's Witnesses see Jesus as opposed to God himself.
5) I believe that these sections did originally contain sentences about the controversy but over time the controversial parts have been dulled down and removed until you are left with not much at all. I guess this is the downside of having information in an area where anyone can come in and edit to their hearts content. I will look into a few of these areas and see if i can find some credible sources that discuss how and why they are controversial.
Lucy 05:31, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
The link could go directly to Biblical Unitarianism, this would clarify to which school of thought they belong.
I think there also needs to be a section on their rejection of the Trinity doctine. It is mentioned in the lead as the "main source of their opposition", then not in the article. BenC7 10:44, 11 July 2006 (UTC)
I must say that I have noticed the same peculiar situation myself. It seems almost dangerous to start a section about this issue because it would be very difficult to ensure that it does not become a debating ground for whether or not the trinity is a scriptural doctrine. If we were to include a section on the trinity it would have to concentrate solely on why this is controversial to mainstream Christians and not who is right. If you want to tackle this area you are more than welcome! Lucy 00:14, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Inspired?

I have re-added the information in the first section. Johanneum, your edit summary asked that we just present the facts. It is a fact that Jehovah's Witnesses have predicted specific events on specific dates that have not come to pass and the scripture in Deuteronomy is also a fact. That is at the heart of the controversy. Some do feel that Jehovah's Witnesses have predicted events in God's name that have not come to pass thereby making them false prophets. My understanding is this is one of the main reasons why the Eschatology and history of Jehovah’s Witnesses is so controversial.

Duffer has already added some very good sources as rebuttal. A quick question regarding the book Jehovah's Witnesses Defended II by Stafford - I have not heard of this reference. Is it written by one of Jehovah's Witnesses or an independent researcher? The only reason that I ask is that in the last line you added that "Witnesses maintain...” and then used this book as a reference. If the book is written by an independent scholar than it would strengthen the rebuttal to include this as it is then not just a case of Witnesses defending Witnesses. Just a thought. Lucy 23:12, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I think your additions could be merged into the "Eschatology" section. I think the tone could possibly be a little more "encylopaedic" - it sounds somewhat preachy at the moment. BenC7 02:20, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually, originally I did put this section in under Eschatology in response to the idea that there was no controversy discussed here but somewhere along the line it was put into it's own section. Not sure why. Lucy 02:57, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
Stafford is a Witness that acts of his own accord. I can't repeat rumor, but he has not been an active Witness for the past few years, due to criticisms he printed in his book Three Dissertations. He released a statement on his website http://elihubooks.com/ saying that he will be returning to the congregation on a "limited bases", though he will still have Three Dissertations available for purchase. As for Defended as the title suggests, it is a book written by a Witness for the purpose of defending and debunking common criticisms and exaggerations.
The problem with this "controversy" is that it's not truly a "controversy", it is a misleading criticism. Incorrect biblical interpretation certainly doesn't make someone a false prophet. That's all Witnesses have ever done, and ever claimed to do: interpret the bible. Biblical prophets sometimes recieved direct revelations from God, no Witness has EVER claimed have experienced such a thing, however, Witnesses do "act" like the biblical prophets in that they go forth as messangers of God's word. And yes, whenever we use the term "Prophet" in regards to ourselves it is highly nuanced in the contexts deliberately done so, so that there may be no confusion regarding what is meant. In the 1972 article you cited, every instance of "prophet" when applied to the WTS is deliberately put in quation marks. Do you have the CD? The article is unequivocally clear that we only act as prophets in the sense of being messangers of God's word. Nowhere is it ever claimed, implied, insinuated, or even suggested that we believe we are prophets in the sense of direct communication and revelation with/from God. Now, being wrong in prophetic interpretation is not tantamount to saying: "I had a direct revelation from God, he told me such and such would happen on X date." As opposed to what Witnesses said: "Through countless hours of biblical study and heartfelt, honest, prayer, we believe the bible says that X will happen on X date." Duffer 08:30, 14 July 2006 (UTC)

Order of points

I think the sections should be arranged in order of relative importance. For example, I'm not sure why "Sales tax on literature" is above (and three times as long as) the section on translating the Bible. I propose the following order:

  1. Doctrinal differences
  2. Translating the Bible (flows on from 1)
  3. Attitude towards other religions
  4. Blood
  5. Unfulfilled prophecies
  6. Eschatology
  7. Treatment of members who disassociate
  8. Reporting of sexual abuse (Suggested rephrase of "Sexual abuse of children")
  9. Internet use
  10. UN association
  11. Sales tax on literature

Any objections? BenC7 05:10, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

This looks good. Bible Translation is certainly a more important section than some of the others. My only suggestion would be to perhaps switch the Section on "Blood" to before "Attitude towards other religions". I say this because the information in the Attitude section is mostly about older publications and is therefore not as topical or relevant. The Blood section on the other hand is still considered to be highly controversial among most members of society, even those who know relatively little about Jehovah's Witnesses. Lucy 06:01, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Just another quick note, it might be a good idea to fix up the Bible Translation section and flesh it out a little before moving it up to the top. I would do it myself but I am afraid I know very little about bible translations... Lucy 06:07, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
Yep. I might be able to look into the translation thing a bit. BenC7 12:47, 18 July 2006 (UTC)

Recent/planned changes

I have added a table containing a more comprehensive and concise list of controversial doctrines. Sorry for anyone who had reference material in the deleted section, please feel free to retrieve it from previous edits and insert it somewhere if you think it is appropriate. I just left them out because I didn't think they were really needed. I also realize that the references used in the table are not terribly neat in the reference list, but the important information is there for anyone who would want to look for it. I'll make them look a bit nicer when I get the chance (or someone else could do it... :) ). I also haven't referenced the statements for "Mainstream Christian beliefs", however on the Christianity page the same ideas are not referenced either. I don't think anyone would dispute them.

I plan on expanding the section on Bible translation, and looking a bit more at the eschatology section, which seems to beat around the bush somewhat. I think the section on sales tax also needs abbreviation. (Hence the addition of the template.) I removed the totally disputed template while the page is undergoing changes. If people wish to dispute the factual accuracy or neutrality after the edit, fine. If someone wishes to do so while the page is still being edited, it would be better to put a disputed template at the start of the relevant section. Along with an explanation, of course. BenC7 12:19, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Good job Ben George 13:27, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

A note about the table: please don't change statements and leave the references the same! It is misleading. BenC7 00:48, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

With regard to references, all the statements in the mainstream christianity side of the box need to be referenced adn should be checked against the article(s) on wikipedia. I noticed some small differences. George 01:31, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, it would be a bit of a pain to reference so many statements, since many sources would be needed for each. If you notice any factual errors, they can be changed of course. If there is something that is generally believed, but not by one particular group, this can also be noted. BenC7 03:51, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Who's information is this?

Upon examining this article a little more closely, I cannot find where these opinions exist. There is no book, website, organization, or other verifiable source for any of these claims. It is presented in a very "original research" sort of way. While I do not doubt that at least some of these topics have been brought up, I still don't know by whom. I don't think some guy's blog counts, so where is the same level of adherence to Wikipedia's policies? I am not satisfied on an intellectual level regarding this page. - CobaltBlueTony 02:02, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

You do seem to have a point. I added info on 1) the Name and 2)supporting War. One person felt that some how these were not beliefs or doctrines taught by churches. Who says what should stay and go? I already deleted one issue that Catholics and Lutherns do not accept and thus make up over 50 % of Christians an not the mainstream. So who says what will stay or not? The NAME and War are both doctrinal issues and very controvisal too. Johanneum 03:30, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

CBT, you may need to clarify what you mean by "these opinions" and "these topics". The JW beliefs are referenced, if that's what you are asking.

The table is not original research; it is essentially a summary of information from another source. It may have the "feel" of original research, although I doubt the statements of difference between Christian and JW doctrine could be thought to be "original". No-one seemed to think that the section was original research when it was in paragraph form, even though it contained essentially the same information.

Johanneum, I removed the two rows that you added, as mainstream Christians are not taught that "Jehovah is just one of the names of God and not necessary to know". It is not in any statements of faith that you will find. Standings on war are also not mentioned in statements of faith. As far as I know, most/all of the statements presented in the left hand column are written doctrines included in statements of faith. Exceptions may include interpretations about the 144,000 being taken from natural Israel vs. spiritual Israel, and I am happy to let this one go if anyone wants to dispute it.

I agree with you that issues of war and the Name of God are important and controversial issues, but as they do not have corresponding beliefs in mainstream Christianity that are cut-and-dry, they cannot really be called 'doctrinal differences'. I think that it is important to include them, but perhaps under the table in a section labeled "Other controversial doctrines" or similar.

I also mentioned that your additions did not include references, so if you want to include this section please be sure to include references. I did include one entry in the table without a reference (Jesus being impaled on a torture stake), but noted that it needed one - which someone for some reason removed. I doubted that anyone would dispute its accuracy, which is why it was included. BenC7 03:47, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

New Layout

I think we need to be careful with the new layout for this section. It seems to encourage a huge list of all the minor differences between Witness beliefs and those of mainstream Christians. This is not necessarily beneficial to the article itself as this article is not designed to merely state what the differences are. What we really need is a few brief paragraphs outlining the controversial differences and why they are controversial.

For example, take the trinity doctrine. We can have a brief description of the differences in the doctrines but the paragraph should concentrate on why it is controversial. ie. My understanding is that mainstream christians claim that believing Jesus to be a separate entity is denying Christ's divinity and as such makes it impossible to have the faith that is required for salvation. As it stands there is no provision to include why the trinity doctrine is controversial.

The tabular layout that has been suggested has both pros and cons. On the con side it encourages too much irrelevant information and does not allow room to discuss the controversial elements of the more relevant information. What say you? Lucy 04:41, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

You make a good point, although I wouldn't say that many of the points are "irrelevant" or "minor". They are there because they are controversial. But I agree with what you are saying about needing to explain the reason for the controversy. I thought a table might be better than paragraphs, because listing all the controversies in paragraph form would mean ending up with a lot of little paragraphs, with a reiteration of "Christians believe this... Jehovah's Witnesses believe this..." in every paragraph. I only used a table to be clear and concise, although I have no objection to paragraphs if it can be done well. At least now all the information is there.
I think there is some danger of an edit war when explaining the reasons for the controversy. For example, you might say "Christians believe that Jesus is the head of the church, not the Watchtower Society", and cite a verse. It is then a matter of Biblical interpretation, and JWs have their own interpretation of most everything and will no doubt come back with something else, or another verse. I think just a blanket statement like the following would be sufficient:
"The beliefs listed are considered by most Christians to be blasphemous or heretical in nature, and as can be seen, are often in sharp contention or direct contradiction with mainstream Christian beliefs. For this reason, many Christian denominations consider these beliefs to place Jehovah's Witnesses outside the category of Christian, or in danger of their salvation."
I think you might have said something similar in a previous edit. BenC7 05:20, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I was actually in the middle of an edit but got a conflict. Never had that happen before. I was thinking that what has been started here is the only concise, graphical representation of the differences between Witnesses and other Christians. It would be a shame to lose it altogether. Perhaps we could limit the number of entries to the most relevant and include them under headings. This could help clear up the confusion and keep the size under control. We could also have a section underneath that explains why these differences are so controversial. I have included a suggestion for the doctrine box. I have not worked on the references because, well if you don't like it, then it would be a waste of time. Lucy 05:38, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
Traditional Christian teaching Corresponding Jehovah’s Witnesses teaching
TRINITY
God has revealed himself as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. They are one God. (see Trinitarianism) Only the Father (Jehovah) is God. [1] (see Unitarianism)
Jesus (the Son) is God in the flesh. He is both fully God and fully human. He is both eternal and equal in power to God Jesus is God's Son the first born of all creation. He has been granted power by God. [2]
The Holy Spirit is a person of the Trinity. Holy spirit is God’s impersonal, "active force".[3]
JESUS
Jesus was crucified on a cross. Jesus was impaled on a torture stake.[4]
Jesus’ body was resurrected. Jesus’ body was not resurrected, he was resurrected as a spirit. [5]
The return of Christ to the earth will be physical, and has not yet occurred. The return of Christ occurred invisibly in 1914. [6]
Michael, most notably mentioned in Revelation 12:7 and Daniel 10:13, 21 and 12:1 is thought to be an archangel of God. Roman Catholics refer to him as Saint Michael. Michael is considered to be Jesus in his heavenly, prehuman existence. He later took human form as Jesus and led a life without sin. After his death on the torture stake, Jesus was resurrected in his previous spiritual form.
SALVATION & DEATH
The human soul is eternal and does not cease to exist at any time. The soul ceases to exist when a person dies requiring a resurrection to live again.[7]
Immediately following death, there is afterlife for all mankind in the spirit in either heaven, hell or purgatory. Hell is a literal place of eternal torment. (differs between denominations) Only 144,000 are to rule in heaven with Christ over a paradise earth. These are the only ones of mankind that are said to go to heaven. There is no hell, no eternal torment and no purgatory. [8] [9]
The earth is to be destroyed. The earth will not be destroyed. All in Hades and Sheol (common grave of mankind) will be resurrected to live on a paradise earth.
At the resurrection, people will be judged by what they did during their lives on earth. Those who are resurrected to life on earth will be judged by future deeds which they will perform during the millennial reign. [10]
To be saved, a person must believe in Jesus Christ. Most christian denominations also believe that baptism is necessary for salvation. Many Christians (particularly Roman Catholics) believe that good works are important, even necessary. Unrighteous sinners will be tormented in hell for eternity. To be considered righteous, a person must believe in Jesus Christ, [11] dedicate himself to Jehovah, [12] and conduct his life in accordance with the teachings of the Bible as interpreted by Jehovah's Witnesses. [13] The resurrection will include both the righteous and the unrighteous. Only those who have committed an unforgivable sin (such as Judas) go to Gehenna at death (eternal destruction)
I must admit that I hadn't read your statement completely before posting the last section. After getting that edit conflict I thought I might have lost the work I had done in modifying the table. I agree completely with the idea of adding a single paragraph on why these issues are controversial. The reasons are pretty much the same for each doctrine and it would prevent us from having to repeat ourselves many times over.
With the table, I hope you don't mind me having a play with it. I just tryed to merge some of the similar sections together to prevent repetition and organise it into some categories. I was tossing up whether to add a section that covers "once saved, always saved" and "born again" but was unsure. Aren't these areas controversial among mainstream Christians as well. If there is no solid basis for a single entry in the mainstream Christian column maybe we should leave it alone. What do you think? Lucy 05:52, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
The idea of sorting it into categories is excellent. As a minor point, I would like to see the Jesus section above the Salvation & Death section; I think it kind of flows from the Trinity section. There have also been some additions to the nature of Jesus on the JW side of the table in the article (ie., being Michael, Apollyon - highly controversial) that would need to be incorporated.
I'm not sure about the statement about baptism, whether that is true for all mainstream Christians. Think of John 3:16ff, and the thief on the cross next to Jesus. I also think that it is important to make it clear that m.Christians believe that all who are born again will spend eternity with God, but the JWs believe that only 144,000 will have this privilege. BenC7 08:13, 21 July 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't sure about the point on baptism either but I had a look at the baptism article. Text from the article: "Most Christian groups assert baptism is a requirement for salvation and sacrament for Christians, calling this "baptismal regeneration". This is the general view shared by the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, by churches formed early during the Protestant Reformation such as Lutheran, Anglican and Methodist, and Restorationist churches such as the Church of Christ.")
Perhaps we should specify that it is the belief of "most christians". I just looked at the list mentioned below and it seemed like pretty much all traditional christian groups believed in the saving effect of baptism.
Regarding the point on only 144,000 going to heaven, there is a section (second in the salvation box) which I had thought covered this point but I guess it may have to be a little more specific about the idea that ONLY 144,000 go to heaven and the rest live on earth. Lucy 23:14, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I have made the changes. If everyone likes the table in principle, I will add this table to the main article, further adjstments and fine tuning can then be made from there. One area that will need work is references. If I do not get any objections I will add to article shortly. Lucy 23:29, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
    • ^ Aid to Bible Understanding, p.894
    • ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 282-283; Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 919
    • ^ Reasoning From the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 361; Make Sure of All Things, p. 487
    • ^ http://www.watchtower.org/library/rq/article_11.htm
    • ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 334
    • ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 95
    • ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, pp. 136-137, 382
    • ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 103; Make Sure of All Things, p. 231
    • ^ Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 30; Make Sure of All Things, p. 143
    • ^ Aid to Bible Understanding, p. 982; The Watchtower, 3/1/1987, p. 29
    • ^ Watchtower 12/1/85, p. 9
    • ^ The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, p. 182
    • ^ The Watchtower, 12/1/1985, p. 18