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Hmm... Witnesses of Jehova
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HamSandwich
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May 6, 2014, 02:19 AM
 
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Shaddim
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May 6, 2014, 04:05 AM
 
The Jehovah's Witnesses. They're the guys (and girls) who ride around handing out little booklets called "The Watchtower", either on bikes or in cars. Not to be confused with Mormons (aka. Latter Day Saints). The JWs aren't Christian, some of their core beliefs are antithetical to Christian doctrine, though on the surface they seem to be similar. They do seem to be nice folks, however. At one time they came by 1-2x /month to try and convert us, but I've not seen them since we put up the gate/guard house and started raising Leonbergers... something that hasn't kept the Mormons away, interestingly (they're more brave, maybe?).
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May 6, 2014, 12:51 PM
 
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turtle777
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May 6, 2014, 01:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
Ah, hi,
it's been a while... However, I've been sort of busy. A friend of mine told me recently he knows someone who had been at the witnesses of Jehova. What is this? I know it is sort of a Christian group, but, I checked with WikiPedia and I'm not sure if I really get the point.

Pete
"Zeugen Jehovahs", in English "Jehova's Witnesses"

When I lived in Germany, they would always pass out their booklets "Der Wachturm" at the train stations.

-t
     
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andi*pandi
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May 6, 2014, 03:56 PM
 
Per Shaddim, not really Christians in the regular sense... but I don't know specifics.

They don't seem dangerous, mainly annoying. A ways back, a couple rang my doorbell at 9 am after I got done working an 11-7 night shift. They left on foot pretty quickly when I opened the door. Not sure if I gave them just a dirty look or the riot act. Sleep deprivation.

I lived in the middle of nowheresville, knew everyone in town, and they were strangers. They must have been walking for ages.
     
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May 6, 2014, 04:19 PM
 
JW is a form of Arianism

From Catholic Answers

History of the Jehovah's Witnesses | Catholic Answers
Unusual Doctrines

Russell taught his followers the non-existence of hell and the annihilation of unsaved people (a doctrine he picked up from the Adventists), the non-existence of the Trinity (he said only the Father, Jehovah, is God), the identification of Jesus with Michael the Archangel, the reduction of the Holy Spirit from a person to a force, the mortality (not immortality) of the soul, and the return of Jesus in 1914.
in detail
Distinctive Beliefs of the Jehovah's Witnesses | Catholic Answers
     
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May 6, 2014, 04:49 PM
 
When they knock on the door, just tell them that they're lucky because they've shown up right in the middle of your birthday party. Tell them that if they come in and sing and help you blow out the candles, they can tell you all about their religion over a piece of delicious cake.

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BLAZE_MkIV
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May 6, 2014, 08:45 PM
 
I just point them to the no soliciting sign at the gate to the complex and ask them politely to leave before the police get involved.
     
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May 6, 2014, 09:14 PM
 
You could offer your visitors a transfusion of youthful blood (plasma).
     
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May 7, 2014, 05:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
So they are not dangerous or anything? And aren't they simply pretty conservative Christians?
They're only dangerous to the members of their own faith. And they can be pretty annoying if they ring your doorbell at 7 a.m.
     
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May 7, 2014, 08:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
aren't they simply pretty conservative Christians?
Only if you believe that hyena are fundamentally the same as dogs. If Christians = dogs, then Mormons = foxes, Jews = cats, Muslims = jackals, Buddhists = pandas, atheists = vacuum cleaners... it's a fun exercise.
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May 9, 2014, 06:25 AM
 
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turtle777
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May 9, 2014, 11:47 AM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
Christians are usually pretty open, or many of them, you can believe whatever you wish,
That might be true of 95% of the Germany churches, but definitely NOT in America.

-t
     
Shaddim
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May 9, 2014, 12:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
That might be true of 95% of the Germany churches, but definitely NOT in America.

-t
I think you've become ensnared with what the Evangelicals do, most churches are pretty open. You can read the Apostle's (or Nicene) Creed and know what they're about.
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Shaddim
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May 9, 2014, 12:54 PM
 
JWs are most certainly NOT a sect of Christianity, no more than Islam would be.
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May 9, 2014, 09:34 PM
 
Don't be silly. They read a very similar if not identical bible to other Christians. They follow their interpretation of the teachings of Christ. That by definition makes them Christian.

I think perhaps you are trying to claim (for lack of a better word) the overarching term for your own particular version of it, or whatever the prevailing local flavour of it is. I'm guessing you are talking about Protestants or Anglicans or something similar. That is what we would consider an every day Christian in the UK and much of northern Europe.

The JWs have some less common practices and rules as Christian sects go, but they are definitely still Christians. The ones I have known didn't celebrate birthdays. The thing about blood has something to do with blood representing life and only god being allowed to give life. Hence no transfusions but any medical professional will tell you that 90% or more of them will take a transfusion if they are told they will die without one, as long as an elder relative or minister isn't there to hear about it.
They exhibit lots of typical cultish behaviour. They don't socialise outside their church except when trying to convert people, they also marry within the group and often these pairings are almost arranged and can involve age differences that border on icky.
I dated a JW girl briefly at school. She wasn't allowed to watch any TV, she wasn't allowed to go to University despite being incredibly clever (her brother was allowed), her parents were basically trying to sell her to a bald guy in his late thirties when she was 15. They knew that too much external influence from media or free thinkers and there was a good chance she would see through all the BS and be gone for good. It used to feel like they were periodically topping up her brainwashing whenever it started to wane.

I met a fair few of their members. They used to come round once a week to try to convert me on a saturday morning. All very nice people, but every last one of them was either born into it or rescued as a drug addict or alcoholic or homeless, depressed etc. Basically they were all dragged in in a vulnerable state, much like other cults do to recruit. Or mainstream religions for that matter.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
Shaddim
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May 9, 2014, 11:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
Don't be silly. They read a very similar if not identical bible to other Christians. They follow their interpretation of the teachings of Christ. That by definition makes them Christian.
No, by definition that makes them Jehovah's Witnesses. What would make them Christian is if they accept the precepts of the faith outlined in the Nicene (or Apostle's) Creed, adopted by the 1st ecumentical council back in 325CE. There are several parts of this they do not ascribe to, and one small part I have a problem with, which technically means I'm not Christian, either. Oh well.

We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, light from light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and became truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father,
who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
That details the Christian faith, and if you believe and teach that, then you're Christian. Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, Anglicans, Lutherans, a host of various Orthodox churches, they're all Christian. It's pretty basic, really.
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May 10, 2014, 07:09 PM
 
The Nicene or Apostle's Creed were written by men. The definition of "Christian" is a tricky one, because most of the modern definitions are based on human interpretations of the word.

Yes. We believe in Jesus, who said: “"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."” (John 14:6) We have faith that Jesus came to earth from heaven and gave his perfect human life as a ransom sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28) His death and resurrection make it possible for those exercising faith in him to gain everlasting life. (John 3:16) We also believe that Jesus is now ruling as King of God’s heavenly Kingdom, which will soon bring peace to the entire earth. (Revelation 11:15) However, we take Jesus at his word when he said: “"The Father is greater than I am."” (John 14:28) So we do not worship Jesus, as we do not believe that he is Almighty God.
Do Jehovah’s Witnesses Believe in Jesus? | FAQ

JWs consider themselves Christians. They also tend to consider themselves The One True Church, but so do other Christian denominations and sects, including mainstream ones. If the definition of Christ is as basic as "one who follows the teachings of Christ", then yes, JWs are Christians.

There are a variety of reasons why mainstream Christians consider JWs a cult, but most of those reasons are biased based on what mainstream Christians view as the "correct" interpretation of the teachings of Christ (but moreso Paul, who wrote the majority of the books of the New Testament).
     
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May 10, 2014, 10:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
So they are not dangerous or anything?
What kind of TV do Germans watch? I worked with a German guy last month who was afraid to visit the US because he was afraid of "the Mormans and Baptists."
     
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May 10, 2014, 10:49 PM
 
I didn't say the JWs are a "cult". They in fact are, as is; Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Taoism, etc., it simply means a system of religious belief, in modern times we've twisted the word to mean something nefarious but that's not always been the case. The Creed was established as a testament of faith, an establishment of the base precepts of what identifies a person as Christian. It was bound on Earth, through the apostles in the early Church by ecumenical consensus, and so is bound in Heaven through the Word of God*. A person or group can call themselves anything they like, but that doesn't mean it's automatically true. I know a guy who looks native American, and he tells people he is, but doesn't have a drop of their blood in him (he's 1/2 Syrian and 1/2 Italian). However, I don't believe they're somehow damned for their doctrine**, "One Way with many paths" as the old saying goes. Be decent people, love your neighbors, do good things, nothing else in life means more than those.





* Matthew 18:18
** Ephesians 2:8
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May 10, 2014, 11:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Be decent people, love your neighbors, do good things, nothing else in life means more than those.
Loving the neighbors is sometimes a challenge. The other two items are ok though.
     
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May 11, 2014, 06:17 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
What kind of TV do Germans watch? I worked with a German guy last month who was afraid to visit the US because he was afraid of "the Mormans and Baptists."
We have dumb people here, too.
     
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May 11, 2014, 09:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
I still don't understand every and each kind of humor.

I thought we could treat this like any other software topic.
? AFAICT, folks are taking this thread seriously, and giving you good info/discussion.
     
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shifuimam
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May 11, 2014, 10:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The Creed was established as a testament of faith, an establishment of the base precepts of what identifies a person as Christian. It was bound on Earth, through the apostles in the early Church by ecumenical consensus, and so is bound in Heaven through the Word of God*.
Wikipedia (my emphasis):

The Nicene Creed has been normative for the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Anglican Communion, and Protestant denominations. It forms the mainstream definition of Christianity itself in Nicene Christianity.

The Apostles' Creed, which in its present form is later, is also broadly accepted in the West, but is not used in the Eastern liturgy.
This reinforces my earlier point - mainstream Christianity's definition of the term is biased toward what mainstream Christianity professes to be the One and Only Truth. There is no rule and no word directly from the mouth of God himself saying "if you don't follow this creed created by a group of fallible humans, you may not consider yourself a Christian".

The mainstream definition of Christianity has evolved a LOT, and it's particularly important to keep in mind that what we consider "Christianity" today is itself a bastardized version of the faith professed by Christ's own disciples, due to the fact that the Christianity of today is based on the Catholic Church, which was Christianity mixed with Roman paganism in order to make the religion more palatable to the Romans.

Christianity (from the Ancient Greek word Χριστός, Christos, a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, Māšîăḥ, meaning "the anointed one", together with the Latin suffixes -ian and -itas) is a monotheistic religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus as presented in the New Testament.
The very basic definition of Christianity - a religion based on the life and oral teachings of Jesus - means that JWs have every right to call themselves Christians. They quite honestly believe they are following the teachings of Jesus.

Mainstream Christians believe that JWs are following a "twisted" version of what they (mainstream Christians) believe, but what mainstream Christians believe has already been quite changed due to the influence of the Roman Empire on early Christian beliefs, so the same argument of twisting God's words could just as easily be applied to mainstream Christianity.

Matthew 18:18 (with context, my emphasis)

15 “If your brother or sister[b] sins,[c] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[d] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.

18 “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be[e] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[f] loosed in heaven.

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
JWs gather in the name of Jesus. Using your own Biblical reference, Jesus is with the JWs as much as anyone else, according to his own words.

Don't get me wrong, there are still issues with JW beliefs, but no more than the issues present with Christian beliefs. They are really, really obsessed with Armageddon, after all. You might be able to argue that JWs are more cultlike due to the fact that they now encourage limited or no communication with non-believing family members, and that is a characteristic of how cults try to control their followers, but at the same time, cults generally have a leader or leading body who appears to the outside world to be an egomaniac who is mostly just interested in gathering blind followers.

To the OP: JWs aren't all that different from other Abrahamic religions. The biggest problem with them at this point is that they do expect adherents to avoid socializing with non-JWs for purposes other than witnessing. Followers are also expected to spend a LOT of their time witnessing, but that's made pretty clear upfront, so if you choose the join the church, you choose to take on that responsibility.
     
Shaddim
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May 11, 2014, 12:30 PM
 
Actually, God did say "this is Christianity", when he looked at Peter and said "upon this rock I will build my Church". That is the seed, apostolic "genesis", if you will. There are too many fundamental differences in declared doctrine to classify JWs (or even Mormons) as Christian, though it is easy to identify them as Christ-followers. This isn't about elitism or who is more "holy", it's about the taxonomy of the more narrow group. Ducks and geese are very similar but when they breed (they do try) they don't produce gucks (or deese), and that's how I liken Christians and JWs.

Mormons, they're more complicated, they're essentially Christian Freemasons, their philosophies don't differentiate them as much as their practices, though again, there are several sticking points in their core doctrine. That would be more like horses and donkeys, the product of their relations being a mule, a very cool and noble beast, but completely unable to carry on its genetic code*. While many would think it's just peachy to throw all classifications for beliefs out the window, you also destroy a good chunk of history and ethnic tradition when you do that. Would it be worth that to potentially stop the strife that religion can cause? Maybe. But I don't believe it would, because there's always going to be some wanker out there who believes that their way to "righteousness" is the only one that's "True", and they'll be willing to forcefully segregate and murder to prove it (ie. conservative Islam).




* "But there have been several documented reports of mules reproducing!" There have also been reports of frozen sardines raining from the sky in Florida during tropical storms (I've seen it myself), but that doesn't mean it's a typical weather phenomenon. I'm fairly sure that clouds aren't breeding and producing fish.
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Shaddim
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May 11, 2014, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
Loving the neighbors is sometimes a challenge.
Damned right it is. I take that very seriously and try to treat them all like extended family, but they don't make it easy a lot of times. I can tell that some are still convinced that I'm after something or trying to take advantage of them, even after all these years, but I'm simply trying to do right by what I believe. Whatever that means,

Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
? AFAICT, folks are taking this thread seriously, and giving you good info/discussion.
It's all smiles and conversation here, I'm just tryin' to help.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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May 11, 2014, 09:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Actually, God did say "this is Christianity", when he looked at Peter and said "upon this rock I will build my Church".
Again........what mainstream Christians believe has already been quite changed due to the influence of the Roman Empire on early Christian beliefs, so the same argument of twisting God's words could just as easily be applied to mainstream Christianity.

If you believe that modern, mainstream Christianity is the same church that the Apostle Peter developed, you're painfully mistaken.

If anything, JW's beliefs are MORE in line with early Christianity, since they don't believe it's right to turn pagan holidays into religious ones (Easter, Christmas, etc.).

I don't think there's any One True Church. I'm also not naive enough to believe that what we consider Christianity today is a carbon copy of the church founded by Christ's own disciples.
     
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Shaddim
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May 12, 2014, 12:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
Again........what mainstream Christians believe has already been quite changed due to the influence of the Roman Empire on early Christian beliefs, so the same argument of twisting God's words could just as easily be applied to mainstream Christianity.

If you believe that modern, mainstream Christianity is the same church that the Apostle Peter developed, you're painfully mistaken.

If anything, JW's beliefs are MORE in line with early Christianity, since they don't believe it's right to turn pagan holidays into religious ones (Easter, Christmas, etc.).

I don't think there's any One True Church. I'm also not naive enough to believe that what we consider Christianity today is a carbon copy of the church founded by Christ's own disciples.
In some ways, it is the same as the ancient Church, because they believe the core doctrine established by the Creed. That's why they're called Christians, because of the connection between the first Council and the original apostles, the carrying forward of those principles. That's why they established that before doing anything else.

"What makes us followers of The Way? How will we know our brothers and sisters? It will be by the devotion in their hearts and this confession upon their lips." - St Nicholas of Myra*

Put another way; I have a couple Asus Zenbooks, they're great little notebooks, they even run Mac OS almost as well as a Mac (aside from their sleep function and card readers being a little flaky sometimes), but they aren't MBPs.



(*yeah, the St Nicholas. Ho ho ho.)
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
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Laminar
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May 12, 2014, 12:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
In some ways, it is the same as the ancient Church, because they believe the core doctrine established by the Creed. That's why they're called Christians, because of the connection between the first Council and the original apostles, the carrying forward of those principles. That's why they established that before doing anything else.
When she talks about the "early church," she means the 60 C.E. people-who-knew-Jesus-personally church, not the established, official, organized Church that came later.
     
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May 12, 2014, 12:35 PM
 
Oh, as for:

since they don't believe it's right to turn pagan holidays into religious ones (Easter, Christmas, etc.).
That was more to establish familiarity, to build upon common ground. At the time they weren't so doggedly anti-pagan and were much more accepting of tribal beliefs. "You believe what your mothers taught you, and that is good, but we also tell you that there is one who came to bring us all hope and peace. Who taught that love and charity is greater than a sword." - St Brigit of Kildare (one of my favorite saints)
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
Shaddim
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May 12, 2014, 12:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
When she talks about the "early church," she means the 60 C.E. people-who-knew-Jesus-personally church, not the established, official, organized Church that came later.
The Church established through Peter and the apostles is quite similar to the "early church". The main reason for those first meetings was to ensure they were building continuity with those whom Jesus had taught firsthand. They had access to letters and personal writings that we, unfortunately, don't have today. Of course customs and practices will change with the region and times, but the Creed was established to ensure that degree of continuity.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
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May 12, 2014, 04:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
At the time they...were much more accepting of tribal beliefs. "You believe what your mothers taught you, and that is good, but we also tell you that there is one who came to bring us all hope and peace. Who taught that love and charity is greater than a sword." - St Brigit of Kildare (one of my favorite saints)
So what you're saying is that "Christian" back then meant something quite different than "Christian" today?

Kind of my point to begin with.

Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
The Church established through Peter and the apostles is quite similar to the "early church".
The church created by the Apostle Peter WAS the early church:

Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
When she talks about the "early church," she means the 60 C.E. people-who-knew-Jesus-personally church, not the established, official, organized Church that came later.
The main reason for those first meetings was to ensure they were building continuity with those whom Jesus had taught firsthand. They had access to letters and personal writings that we, unfortunately, don't have today. Of course customs and practices will change with the region and times, but the Creed was established to ensure that degree of continuity.
That's just it, though. The Nicene creed was created several centuries after Christ and his disciples were alive and preaching. Prior to the first ecumenical council, there were already significant changes and evolutions in the teachings of various churches across the Roman empire - and again, Christianity was heavily influenced and changed by that same Roman culture.

More importantly, that creed was created because of arguments between various Christian leaders of the time regarding the deity of Christ and the accuracy of the concept of the trinity.

That the Nicene creed became a standard definition of what most (not all) Christians use as the definition of Christianity does not at all objectively mean that other, non-mainstream sects are not Christian or may not be permitted to claim a status of or basis in Christianity.

Christianity is the belief in and obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It's not the belief in and obedience to the teachings of Paul of Damascus, the Pope, or an ecumenical council. Anyone who picks up a Bible, reads it, and decides it's for them can call themselves a Christian. You have no right to tell them otherwise. The basis of JW doctrine is still the Bible. They don't just use their own translation, either. They study a number of different translations, and Witnesses preaching in the home of a non-JW Christian generally will use that person's own preferred translation when referencing various Bible verses and teachings.

Mainstream Christianity has become so insistent in its beliefs and subjective interpretation of the Bible (while ignoring all the other texts written by those same apostles and other early Christians, claiming them to be heresy and lies simply because Christians don't like what's in those texts - which is an entirely different discussion not relevant to the original post) that anyone who disagrees with that subjective interpretation is told they are a heretic and/or a member of a cult.

The disagreement over the existence of the trinity does not mean that JW's aren't Christian. At all. Witnesses interpret Christ's words in John 14 differently than mainstream Christians - that is, Christ's statement about the Father being greater than him and the Father being a separate entity indicate that Christ was not the physical manifestation of the same being that is the God of the Jews. Biblical interpretation is very subjective and very personal. If you take the text of those verses to mean what the words say, then the JW interpretation is just as valid as the mainstream Christian one.
( Last edited by shifuimam; May 12, 2014 at 04:39 PM. )
     
Shaddim
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May 12, 2014, 04:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
So what you're saying is that "Christian" back then meant something quite different than "Christian" today?

Kind of my point to begin with.
No, that's not what I said at all.

The church created by the Apostle Peter WAS the early church:
Still is, as identified by the doctrinal similarities.

That's just it, though. The Nicene creed was created several centuries after Christ and his disciples were alive and preaching. More importantly, it was created because of arguments between various Christian leaders of the time regarding the deity of Christ and the accuracy of the concept of the trinity.

That the Nicene creed became a standard definition of what most (not all) Christians use as the definition of Christianity does not at all objectively mean that other, non-mainstream sects are not Christian or may not be permitted to claim a status of or basis in Christianity.
Yes, all Christians, they created it, and evidence of it is the establishment of the Creed. They formed Christianity right then. That IS what Christianity is. Before then, worshipping Jesus was called many things, one of the most popular being "The Way", because in the Gospels Jesus pronounced that He is the way, truth, and life.

Also, yes, accepting the Trinity is one of the hallmarks of Christianity, if they don't, then they aren't. That doesn't mean there's no salvation for them, or anything like that, however.
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May 13, 2014, 02:34 PM
 
The Nicene Creed was promulgated to combat Arianism, which the JW's are a form of.

This is the translation now in use.

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.

I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
     
shifuimam
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May 13, 2014, 02:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
Still is, as identified by the doctrinal similarities.
I don't know why, but you are very willfully ignoring the most critical point of what I've been posting. Let me state it again for you, and please read it this time.

The church as it stood three hundred years after the original followers of Jesus Christ walked the earth was heavily influenced and changed by the Roman Empire and said empire's pagan belief system prior to the adoption of Christianity.

Yes, all Christians, they created it, and evidence of it is the establishment of the Creed. They formed Christianity right then.
You have this bizarre idea that Christianity didn't exist before the creation of the Nicene Creed under the rule of Constantine in Rome. There are three centuries between Christ's ascension and the creation of the Nicene Creed. What were those followers? A Christian is a follower of Christ's teachings. That's it. Not "follower of Christ's teachings who must, by objective requirement, subscribe to the Nicene Creed, including salvation through baptism and the existence of the trinity". Just "one who obeys the teachings of Christ".

I get that the Catholic Church has done a superb job of beating into the heads of human beings everywhere for centuries that the Nicene Creed is The One Truth and only definition of Christian.

It's not.

I also find it incredibly amusing that you're totes cool with using the term Christian with Mormons. Their own doctrine is so different from mainstream Christianity that the mainstream definition of Christianity cannot be applied to them any more than it can be applied to JWs.

That IS what Christianity is. Before then, worshiping Jesus was called many things, one of the most popular being "The Way", because in the Gospels Jesus pronounced that He is the way, truth, and life.
No, that's what the definition of the Romanization of Christianity was in order to resolve disagreements among Christians about the existence of the trinity.

Also, yes, accepting the Trinity is one of the hallmarks of Christianity
Yes, by a very subjective definition based on a very subjective and imperfect interpretation of the Bible. That subjective interpretation is not the end-all, be-all of who is allowed to call themselves a Christian. Anyone who follows the teachings of Christ can call themselves a Christian, whether your particular religious upbringing or beliefs allow for it or not. And, as I previously referenced, the literal interpretation of John 14 - that is, the literal interpretation of Christ's own words absolutely indicates that Christ and God the Father are not the same entity or being.

I get it. When you are firmly associated with a particular religion, it's extremely difficult to look at things objectively and recognize that what The Church (Catholic, Protestant, Mormon, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, or otherwise) teaches is not necessarily an objective, logical view of things. Mainstream Christians refuse to call various fringe sects - including Mormons, JWs, and even Seventh-Day Adventists - "Christian" simply because those sects don't conform to a very narrow-minded view of what "Christian" is. There is no rule, no law, no decree from God Himself that says "if you don't believe the Nicene Creed, you can't call yourself a Christian". No, the writing of the Nicene Creed was not done by the Hand of God. It was written three hundred years after the apostles were dead, after the Roman Empire got ahold of the teachings of Jesus and perverted them into what became the Roman Catholic Church, after fallible, imperfect, sinful men had three hundred years to corrupt Christ's teachings.

You're too narrow-minded in your beliefs to understand or recognize that. What you've been taught is what you see as the only possible truth.

I mean, hell, a Catholic priest was interviewed for National Geographic's documentary on the Gospel of Judas and said (I don't remember verbatim, but this is a good paraphrase), "What more do you need than the four Gospels of the Bible? There is no other truth!"

Of course, actually looking into the history of his "truth" and how it was created and promulgated by the Roman Empire paints quite a different picture from what the Catholic Church and Protestant Christianity have decided you're supposed to believe.
     
shifuimam
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May 13, 2014, 03:19 PM
 
Originally Posted by PeterParker View Post
Still, when you go into a church, it's what you make of it. I was so surprised to find a real feeling of community and also spirituality... People of all ages, sizes, professions, more successful ones, strange ones, cool ones...

Somehow, joining a Christian community for me, had originally meant to find a place to be myself a bit more again. When you are lonely, you are not open for strangers, but for trying anew.

Can a Christian church and church life ever be a carbon copy of past's events? It is true a pastor was one of the most renowned personalities in the village, and nowadays... I dunno. I still think you find what you seek. Then more.
OP - I'm sorry for hijacking this thread. I think it's an important topic to discuss, but to get back to your original question and what you're looking for...

Are you interested in joining the JWs or another church? It's certainly a personal decision and a very important one, especially if you choose to join a church or religious community with particularly time-consuming demands on its followers.

As far as your friend goes, the only concern is whether or not his newfound faith will end up being the demise of your friendship with him (if you're a non-JW).
     
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May 13, 2014, 04:53 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
OP - I'm sorry for hijacking this thread. I think it's an important topic to discuss, but to get back to your original question and what you're looking for...
Oh please continue. The absolute schooling you are delivering is most amusing.

OAW

PS: For those that are still having difficulty accepting these little things we call "facts", this little tidbit from the Nicene Creed ought to be your first clue.

"I believe in one, holy, CATHOLIC and apostolic Church."
     
Laminar
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May 13, 2014, 05:03 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
PS: For those that are still having difficulty accepting these little things we call "facts", this little tidbit from the Nicene Creed ought to be your first clue.

"I believe in one, holy, CATHOLIC and apostolic Church."
Notice that "catholic" is not capitalized.

Catholic | Define Catholic at Dictionary.com
     
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May 13, 2014, 05:08 PM
 
I don't recall the presbytarian church my friends went to saying the Nicene Creed during mass, er services.
     
Laminar
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May 13, 2014, 05:32 PM
 
Depending on how "modern" they are Lutherans will sometimes. Many evangelical non-denominational churches won't.
     
OAW
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May 13, 2014, 05:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Notice that "catholic" is not capitalized.

Catholic | Define Catholic at Dictionary.com
I capitalized it for emphasis as I often do. The point being is that the Nicene Creed is the product of the Roman Catholic Church. Notwithstanding the fact that "little C" catholic has a broader meaning:

catholic:
1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal.
2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all.
3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church.
Put another way, even though the word "catholic" is used in the name of the church for "universal" purposes, it is notable that it is still preceded by "Roman". Because that is where the power resided to spread the faith through that part of the ancient world. The fact that there was even a need for the Council of Nicea in the first place speaks to the existence of disagreement among the early followers of Christ over doctrinal and theological issues. But as the old saying goes ... history is written by the victors. And that was certainly the case in this particular situation because the Roman Catholic Church on the orders of Emperor Constantine burned the writings of the losers. And anyone found in possession of them were executed. IJS.

OAW
     
Chongo
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May 13, 2014, 05:54 PM
 
From our friends at Catholic Answers

What "Catholic" Means | Catholic Answers

The Greek roots of the term "Catholic" mean "according to (kata-) the whole (holos)," or more colloquially, "universal." At the beginning of the second century, we find in the letters of Ignatius the first surviving use of the term "Catholic" in reference to the Church. At that time, or shortly thereafter, it was used to refer to a single, visible communion, separate from others.

The term "Catholic" is in the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds, and many Protestants, claiming the term for themselves, give it a meaning that is unsupported historically, ignoring the term’s use at the time the creeds were written.

Early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes: "As regards ‘Catholic,’ its original meaning was 'universal' or 'general.' . . . in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations (cf., e.g., Muratorian Canon). . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church" (Early Christian Doctrines, 190–1).

Thus people who recite the creeds mentally inserting another meaning for "Catholic" are reinterpreting them according to a modern preference, much as a liberal biblical scholar does with Scripture texts offensive to contemporary sensibilities.

Included in the quotes below are extracts from the first creeds to use the term "Catholic"; so that the term can be seen in its historical context, which is supplied by the other quotations. It is from this broader context that the meaning of the term in the creeds is established, not by one’s own notion of what the term once meant or of what it ought to mean.

Ignatius of Antioch

"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).



The Martyrdom of Polycarp

"And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).



The Muratorian Canon

"Besides these [letters of Paul] there is one to Philemon, and one to Titus, and two to Timothy, in affection and love, but nevertheless regarded as holy in the Catholic Church, in the ordering of churchly discipline. There is also one [letter] to the Laodiceans and another to the Alexandrians, forged under the name of Paul, in regard to the heresy of Marcion, and there are several others which cannot be received by the Church, for it is not suitable that gall be mixed with honey. The epistle of Jude, indeed, and the two ascribed to John are received by the Catholic Church (Muratorian fragment [A.D. 177]).
There are nine more on the linked page
     
Laminar
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May 13, 2014, 05:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by OAW View Post
it is notable that it is still preceded by "Roman".
In the creed?
     
Shaddim
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May 13, 2014, 06:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by shifuimam View Post
I don't know why, but you are very willfully ignoring the most critical point of what I've been posting. Let me state it again for you, and please read it this time.

The church as it stood three hundred years after the original followers of Jesus Christ walked the earth was heavily influenced and changed by the Roman Empire and said empire's pagan belief system prior to the adoption of Christianity.
That isn't relevant to the point that "Christianity" started at the council of Nicea, because it wasn't Christianity before then, Not too long before Nicea it was largely seen as a sect of Judaism.

You have this bizarre idea that Christianity didn't exist before the creation of the Nicene Creed under the rule of Constantine in Rome.
Because it didn't.

I get that the Catholic Church has done a superb job of beating into the heads of human beings everywhere for centuries that the Nicene Creed is The One Truth and only definition of Christian.

It's not.
It is, because it was made to be that way.

I also find it incredibly amusing that you're totes cool with using the term Christian with Mormons. Their own doctrine is so different from mainstream Christianity that the mainstream definition of Christianity cannot be applied to them any more than it can be applied to JWs.
Actually I said: "There are too many fundamental differences in declared doctrine to classify JWs (or even Mormons) as Christian." Oops?

No, that's what the definition of the Romanization of Christianity was in order to resolve disagreements among Christians about the existence of the trinity.
If a group isn't Trinitarian, they aren't Christian. That's as plain as I can make it.

Yes, by a very subjective definition based on a very subjective and imperfect interpretation of the Bible. That subjective interpretation is not the end-all, be-all of who is allowed to call themselves a Christian.
Anyone can call themselves "Christian", but that doesn't mean it's so. There's no "allow" to it. Ducks are ducks, a chicken wearing flippers isn't one.

No, the writing of the Nicene Creed was not done by the Hand of God. It was written three hundred years after the apostles were dead, after the Roman Empire got ahold of the teachings of Jesus and perverted them into what became the Roman Catholic Church, after fallible, imperfect, sinful men had three hundred years to corrupt Christ's teachings.
It was done by the hand of the first Christians. Not only the ones from Rome, either, in fact the West was heavily underrepresented in Nicea. The Roman Pope only sent a pair of priests to represent him. Largely it was overseen by the Eastern and Oriental churches.

You're too narrow-minded in your beliefs to understand or recognize that. What you've been taught is what you see as the only possible truth.
I'm a Theologian, I've studied this for going-on 30 years, and although I'm still a novice in the field, exactly when Christianity, as a named religion, started is something that I've researched exhaustively.

I mean, hell, a Catholic priest was interviewed for National Geographic's documentary on the Gospel of Judas and said (I don't remember verbatim, but this is a good paraphrase), "What more do you need than the four Gospels of the Bible? There is no other truth!"
There are dozens of "Gnostic" gospels, some more relevant than others. That's a horribly inaccurate quote, BTW, taken way out of context. The point he was making was, if it strays to an extreme beyond the message of the already accepted canon it needs to be more heavily scrutinized and should naturally draw more skepticism. Embracing something wholesale just because it's old isn't a wise decision, especially when dealing with traditions that have been around for 17 centuries (the "Gospel" of Judas didn't resurface until a few decades ago, and before then was mostly considered to be a myth).

Of course, actually looking into the history of his "truth" and how it was created and promulgated by the Roman Empire paints quite a different picture from what the Catholic Church and Protestant Christianity have decided you're supposed to believe.
Again, Rome wasn't driving the cart back then, they weren't really steering the direction of the Church until a century later, after most of the Oriental churches were anathematized.
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