Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jehovah, Jehovah's Witnesses, Faith and Works, and Money

*******

When speaking generically, I almost always use the feminine rather than the masculine. This is because women have traditionally been ignored, neglected, or abused by traditional religions, and this is my tiny symbolic act of "protest." It is also a tribute to women. Thus, when referring in the previous email to "teachers," I used feminine rather than masculine generic words. We are so accustomed to always saying "he," "him" or "his" that this was actually confusing!

This life has been one of immense and intense spiritual growth. This spirituality is an interest, a compelling fascination, which accompanied personal birth. Very earliest memories concern such "profound" questions as the existence and nature of the world, and a thirsty grasping to discover the nature of God. (In order really to learn anything, the childish idea of God as a "big daddy in the sky" had to be outgrown. And it needed to be learned that God was Love. That was the beginning of
wisdom.)

After over a half-century of exploration, no career that is more important or fulfilling could be found than spiritual teacher. Spiritual material is shared with you, a stranger, because your happiness is important to our world. And this contentment arises from only a more lucid understanding of God.

It is "obvious," as you say, that Judaism and Christianity are different faiths. Yet many fundies, including Jehovah's Witnesses, do act and behave, and believe, as if the revolution of Christianity never occurred. They continuously mistake the Hebrew Bible for the "word of God," and almost always mistake the Jehovah of the Hebrew Scriptures for the God of pure and utter Love.

But the two god-images are oil and water; they will never mix. So, it is very far from "obvious" that Judaism and Christianity are really different religions, as fundies are always trying like mad to merge, meld, fuse, and force together their various doctrines, especially their astonishingly contrasting God-images.

(Btw, technically, the Bible is not the "word of God. For, in the Scriptures themselves, the Greek word logos does never refer to any written text, but to the Spirit, the living Presence of God. Hebrews 4:12, often oddly cited by cults, says plainly that "the Word of God is alive and exerts power." No book is "alive," so this is the same logos of John 1:1, which was God. The phrase "word of God" is never used,
anywhere in the Scriptures, to refer to the Scriptures!

The concept of "Jehovah" evolved during the centuries. It was by no means static. At first, Jehovah was simply another wargod, along the lines of Chemosh and Molech. Later, he was given some better human qualities, and ceased to be only a severely hard soldier. (In ancient times, each tribe or nation tried to make its god as ferocious and intimidating to the enemy as possible; thus, the notorious brutality and heartlessness of Jehovah.)

Fundies are accustomed to seeing Jehovah as immutable and unchanging; this was the source of your confusion. For Jehovah was merely an idea, and was interpreted differently by soldiers, merchants, prophets, and others. There is no completely homogeneous presentation of Jehovah in the Scriptures.

Your question about "faith without works" is a great and thoughtful one.

Jehovah's Witnesses emphasize this because they espouse a "works" doctrine, in complete contradiction to the Christian view of grace. Here is how that operates: Faith comes first, and faith creates the works. Works do not create the faith, or salvation, as the Jehovah's Witnesses teach. As is true of many truths, if you mix up the sequences, you miss the truth.

To say, "I love everybody," is ridiculously easy. It requires no action at all beyond the mere saying. But a person who truly has faith in the interior and invisible Power must manifest that faith by how she lives.

Jesus and the early Christians were fine examples. Although famous for their Love, for even Romans and Jews, they did not sell books. The early Christian church was not a sales-organization; early Christians sold nothing. By stark contrast, the Jehovah's Witnesses rake in hundreds of millions of dollars per year. No one knows where all this money is going, as they carefully hide it. But the point is that early
Christianity was never a "sales-org."

So, the "works" of Love do, and must, exist as an intrinsic, interwoven aspect of the real Christian life. They are, in fact, produced by the "indwelling Spirit" in the heart of the Christian or other good person.

They are a fruit, not of human will, but of the "Spirit," as in Galatians 5:22, 23.

We do not deny, as Christians, the beauty and necessity of good works; we embrace and celebrate them. Without them, our faith would indeed be as unliving as the proverbial doornail.:) What we deny is specifically that works result in, create, salvation. For salvation comes from grace-- from the fact that God loves us. To try to add to this grace is unnecessary, like adding a fifth wheel to a car.

Jehovah is "simple-minded." He is also petty, and has all the emotional maturity of an undisciplined five-year-old.

You ask about the word "psychospiritual." I have a degree in psych, but feel that psychology is greatly, enormously enriched when it includes, or is combined with, spirituality. Specifically, what is needed is agapology, the psychology of Love. I do free advising (counseling) and educational work in an attempt to help people maximize their happiness and productivity. We should not put all our "eggs" in the "basket" of
tomorrow, but need to learn how to live wisely and fruitfully today, right now. For God as Love needs to be recognized as being in the world right now. Only Love has the power to transform individuals, and only better individuals can create an improved society. So, every good person, including yourself, is directly involved in world-transformation.

This can occur only under the guidance of God (Love).
*******

1 comment:

Danny Haszard said...

Good read I applaud your blog.

A heads up on the Jehovah Witnesses

The core dogma of the Watchtower organization is that Jesus had his second coming 'invisibly' in the year 1914.Their entire doctrinal superstructure is built on this falsehood.

There is good and valid reasons why there is such an outrage against the Watchtower for misleading millions of followers.Many have invested everything in the 'imminent' apocalyptic promises of the Jehovah's Witnesses and have died broken and beaten.