(121): Unexpected Porch Bible Study, or Caught Out By the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Looks like God’s angry again… Image by Nimish Gogri via Flickr. License.

I got caught by a pair of Jehovah’s Witnesses today right after I returned from my doctor’s appointment. Today they were in fine form, standing on my cold, windy porch, calling up Bible verses on a rather impressive iPhone, asking me questions like “Where is the Kingdom of God?” Instead of telling them it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I picked one of the three options: the “in your heart” option.

I had pou-pou’d the one about it being an actual government, but apparently that was the right answer. Then one of the ladies called up a verse from Daniel (2:44) :

44 “During the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up another kingdom that will never be destroyed or given to another group of people. This kingdom will crush all the other kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will continue forever.

I suppose I shouldn’t have said what I was thinking out loud, but I did anyway: “Crush? That doesn’t sound very nice!”

The two women looked meaningfully at one another, as if I were an erring child. Then they showed me a rather simple-minded video from the JW.org website, likening the old kingdom to a badly-run corporation whose CEO embezzles and causes it to go under and all the people to lose their jobs. And then of course, Jehovah comes in and saves the day by sending his son (one of his perfect spirit sons — how many does he have?) to be the good and philanthropic new CEO, who bails out the losses incurred by the old dissolute CEO and gives everyone their jobs back.

But what about this whole crushing thing? The old kingdom will be crushed by the forever-and-ever lasting Kingdom of God that will never end. But of course, first, all those armies of God have to crush the opposing armies. Sounds like more war. Sounds like a lot of suffering; sounds like more of the same conflict that is raging even now across the world.

Why is it that religions, especially the Abrahamic ones, have to frame everything in terms of conflict and winning through force? And what happens if more than one distinct religion says exactly what is said here in Daniel? It’s a recipe for conflict without end and isn’t the answer to anything. These women were spieling, not really thinking about the presentation they were giving. Their Bible verses were bookmarked, and they had a script (I could tell). Did they really understand the import of what they were saying and what it could mean for life in the world? Do they really want to be the unwitting mouthpiece for war without end?

No, I imagine they would simply revert to the pre-recorded mind track “but our God is so powerful he’ll crush them all!” History teaches us that people who are crushed don’t stay crushed. They strike back. Righteous or not, they don’t lie down and let the conqueror roll over them, not for long. Unless there is another meaning to “crush.” Guess I’m not so hot at Bible study, especially impromptu “catch you out on your porch” Bible study. ‘Night y’all!

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