Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Mid Morning Debate

So, I decided to have a relaxing late breakfast and movie. I browsed though my Netfix queue and settled on The Seventh Sign, a movie from the 80's about the coming apocalypse, starring Demi Moore. I had just snuggled up with my coffee and french toast when there was a knock at the door. Thinking it was probably the UPS man I didn't bother pausing the movie. Nope, not the UPS man...to Jehovah's Witnesses looking to inform me about Armageddon....

I politely informed the women that I was a born again christian and I already knew what I needed to know and no, I would not like your pamphlet. No, really I don't want to take your pamphlet; I will just throw it away and someone spent money on that. But they still didn't leave!

Now normally, I would again politely tell them no thank you and slowly close the door. But today I guess I was feeling a bit feisty or maybe I was inspired by my no longer steaming french toast and sounds of Demi Moore trying desperately trying to save her unborn child destined to herald the apocalypse upon his birth. So when one lady asked me if I knew what Armageddon was I replied yes, it's the rise of the beast and Satan is given dominion over the Earth before being defeated by Jesus.

Before I go on I want to be clear on a few things...

  • Yes, I am a Bible believing born again christian but it has been years since I've been to church
  • I also believe in science and see no conflicts with that
  • I have nothing against Jehovah's Witnesses or any other religious group, except Scientology but that's a discussion for another day
  •  I believe everyone is entitled to their own belief system and none of us knows for sure what the Truth is; we can only have faith that what we believe is true
  • I know I will still offend people

Anyway, back to the story....

After I explained what Armageddon was, at least what I remembered from church, the Bible and many viewings of the Omen (the original is still the best), the women looked at each other with a knowing look. Then woman 1 stepped very close to me and began reading from her Bible. I let her read for a minute but when I try interrupt she holds her hand up to me and keeps reading. This happens three times before woman 2 reaches over and stops her. 

She's lucky I deal with rude people all the time and have learned to ignore it up to a certain point. I tell the women that we can't take today's Bible as the True Word, we need to use science, history and the logic God gave each of us to determine the Truth. Woman 1 reads me verse about how God said "and the only truth is the truth of the Word" (I'm sure I butchered the actual text, sorry. I think the verse was in John). 

I smiled, I had my opening,"ahhh...isn't that the puzzle; determining what the Word is." She responded with "It's the Bible, the Word of God.".

The following is a condensed version of our conversation...I only wrote the main speaking points for each side. The conversation lasted about 30 minutes, on my front stoop. Unless specifically called out JW represents both women. 

Point 1
ME: The Bible was written by men; much of it is observation or experience, some is from dreams or visions, other parts are stories to teach lessons (Jesus' parables which again were written down by someone else). I do not doubt these guys saw and heard the voice of God and I'm sure they did their best to capture the message and understand the visions, but to err is human.

JW: The Bible was written using the hand of God through these men; it is like when a boss dictates a letter to his secretary. She wrote it but it's his words...it was inspired by him.

ME: So, you believe that God spoke each and every word while these men wrote? None of it was written after the vision or after the battle?

JW: No, the words were inspired by God; like the boss asking his secretary to write a letter but doesn't write himself first. It's still his words, inspired by him.

ME: You do understand there is a difference between dictation and using your own words to convey an idea or story  given to you by another. [this blog is a perfect example...I'm retelling what happened from memory, not a recording]
Point 2 
ME: The Bible we read today is a translation from a translation from a translation and so on.....there's no way to know if the word cow was accidentally switched with goat at some point along the road. With so many translations you have to be careful about taking every word literally. Plus, there is a good chance giant chunks are still missing.

JW: No, this Bible here [holds up the Bible in her hands] is the best translation because it uses the name of God, Jehovah, instead of Lord or God or other words that are not his Name. Yes, we know about the Dead Sea Scrolls...but they are written in a language so old that they cannot be translated.

ME: Using one English word to replace another English word does not speak to the integrity of the translation. If the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in a language so foreign and archaic they can't be translated; what makes you think the people that translated the Bible you are holding did a better job?
Point 3
ME: The Bible was written using a lot of symbolism and uses references from the time that are no longer applicable today. So someone must interpret things like who the seven kings of today are. What makes your interruption any more valid than any other.

JW: Do you know who the kings are [reads to me about the beast with seven heads that are described as the seven kings] See, it says right here the seven kings with seven kingdoms. The Beast will unite the seven kings...it's already happening!

ME: So, you believe there is an actual beast with seven heads roaming around the earth?

JW: The heads of the Beast are the kings! It's a symbol to let us know what is coming and it's here! [Still pointing to the open page in her Bible]

ME: So, when the Bible talks about the Beast rising from the lake of fire you do not take that literally? You interpret it as a symbolic visualization and assign specific meaning to it? What makes you the authority? Why is your interpretation the only correct one?

JW: Because it says it right here. [woman 1 holds up her Bible, woman 2 takes her arm and says "we should go" woman 1 yanks her arm away and continues] The kings have risen and you don't know who they are.

ME: [now I'm having fun...I've never seen a Jehovah's Witness get heated like this] Who are these kings? Do I need to worry about Prince William one day getting the throne? No, wait you said they have already risen....I think the Netherlands still has a king?

JW: No! The kings are political leaders! [woman 2 has backed off the front steps]

ME: Oh, you're not taking kings literally either? Okay let's see...are the kings Obama, Putin, Kim Jong Il...I can't think of any other names off the top of my head?

JW: No, it's not Obama, it's the UN. [woman 2 once again tries to get woman 1 to leave]

ME: Well, there are many more than seven members of the UN and the individual representatives, kings as you would call them, don't really have any power...even as a united organization they still need the backing of the leaders of the countries.

JW: The Bible says the UN will rise up and rule the Earth!

ME: The Bible mentions the UN...I must have missed that chapter. I think we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, but don't worry my soul is safe in the hands of Jesus. Have a great day. [I back into my house...this is fun but I'm hungry]

Woman 2 is tugging woman 1 down the sidewalk and says over her shoulder "Thank you for your time."

I smile, close the door, throw out the ice cold french toast and coffee and set to work making another breakfast.

Now, time to see if Demi Moore can stop the apocalypse....

Princess WeeWee


  1. lol Great story. I always tell them its my birthday and do they want to come in and celebrate with me.

    Jason Noble