Tuesday, August 9, 2016

A weird encounter with Jehovah's Witnesses

On a recent Saturday, some Jehovah's Witnesses came by my house and the discussion I had seemed rather odd. For starters, it looked like at least four people came, but two people just sat in the vehicle they came in the entire time. I didn't ask about that, so perhaps they were just rotating? I've gone door-to-door for political canvasing; it's not something I find enjoyable, so I could see taking a break if I were with a larger group.

As for the two people I did talk with, Cliff and Joanne (I believe were their names), Cliff did most of the talking. And I wouldn't call what he did much more than talk. He never really made a case for anything he was saying. Rather, his talking-points were the types of points that may cause people to cave into their ignorance. Basically, he was asking questions about how something may have came to be, with the idea being that, because I don't have an answer, I should then assume a god is responsible. I'm wiser than that, so his talking points did not move me at all.

For some examples, the very first "point" he tried to make related to this idea that the Bible is still a best-seller, despite all the attacks that have been made against it. He asked if I thought something might be behind this. The idea here is that there is supposedly no way the Bible could have survived through history if it was not, at the very least, divinely inspired. (Some may go further and claim that a god has been protecting the Bible.) Next he went to verses in Revelation about Armageddon. He was suggesting that the verse was talking about our present day and asked how the author could have known this was going to happen. For kicks, here are the two verses, Revelation 16:13-14: "Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty." Your guess is probably as good as mine as to how that is supposed to relate to the present day.

Other talking-points he raised related to biology and cosmology. I can't even remember the stupid questions he asked, but what he was going for was trying to get me to think that there is no way the world could have come about naturally and, therefore, I should believe a supernatural being is responsible. I, of course, understand how bogus such thinking is and did not cave in.

This may have made the conversation weird. I wonder if I threw him off by not accepting his sales pitches, which left him struggling to decide which pitch to go to next. That said, I doubt he actually had any sort of argument and that's what I'm really interested in. This is where I failed in the conversation. If he wasn't going to present an argument by himself, I should have found a way to request that he present one. Also, there was one point where he asked if I believe everything I was taught in school. He, to little surprise, was out to get me to doubt the teachings of evolution. This was an opportunity for me to ask him how he goes about determining what is true and what is not. What is his methodology? Why should anyone believe that his methodology is actually reliable? I wonder if he actually had any methodology. If there is a next time, I'll have to do a better job on this.

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