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  1. Paul was talking about the "Old Testament" Moses, the Prophets, the Writings, etc. These would be the books that the Scribes and Pharisees considered inspired. As far as the "New Testament" is concerned, there may not have even been any writings that were considered inspired -- yet. There may have been no canonical gospels for several more years, and Paul's letters were being collected, but may not have been considered inspired yet, either. 2 Peter is the one place where Paul's letters are then considered to be Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15, 16) . . .just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking about these things as he does in all his letters. However, some things in them are hard to understand, and these things the ignorant and unstable are twisting, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. . . Curiously, 2 Peter was not considered inspired in most of the early collections of "NT" letters. Doubts were expressed about whether 2 Peter should be canonical through the 4th century, but I believe that the information presented here http://www.bible-researcher.com/warfield2peter.pdf gives us excellent reasons to accept that the book dates to the apostolic age. Also Origen who was an amazingly good reseaecher and scholar for his time, looked into the question and gave us trustworthy reasoning as to why it should be canonical. We look at accepted Scripture today, and just accept it matter-of-factly, but there was a time when various books were argued over for decades before being considered acceptable (including Revelation and 2 Peter). There are some Christian-based churches that still accept additional books in their New Testament churches, as they have done for nearly 1,800 years in some cases. But it is sobering to remember that "Christian forgery" was extremely common, just as "Jewish forgery" was common especially after the canon was considered closed. Sometimes the only way you could get your "wisdom" or your "prophecies" to be looked at was to write it as if it had come from a well-known apostle or well-known associate of an apostle.
  2. For anyone else still interested at all in this question, or this subject, I should mention that there are easily about 100 pages of resources and material on the subject that has not been touched upon yet. I doubt that we will get through very much of it, but I thought that the explanation in The Centennial Review appeared quite accurate and speaks of similarities without attempting to prove causation. Naturally, it's long and I can't quote all much of it. These will be excerpts from 21 pages, with some portions highlighted. There are certain problems with his overview of WT and JW teachings, but at least shows a good awareness of most of the historical changes. The things he gets wrong includes the exact relationship he implies between Russell and Second Adventism, and I think this is worthy of more discussion under a separate topic. (I didn't mention it before, but I think that AllenSmith was right in a prior post where he credits B W Schulz with the most accurate history on that topic, although I wouldn't mind hearing where Allen differs from Schulz' view.) THE BLACK MUSLIMS: AN AMERICAN MILLENNIALISTIC RESPONSE TO RACISM AND CULTURAL DERACINATION Author(s): Perry E. Gianakos Source: The Centennial Review, Vol. 23, No. 4 (FALL 1979), pp. 430-451 Black Muslims have ties to two earlier American black nationalist groups and share some of the ideas of each: the Marcus Garvey movement of the late 1920's and the Moorish-American Science Temple movement of Noble Drew Ali (the former Timothy Drew of North Carolina).5 The Islamic elements in the Black Muslim belief system probably derive originally from the Drew movement, but they were reenforced by W. D. Fard, the "Arab peddler" whom some Muslims believe to have been Allah. Appearing mysteriously in Detroit in 1930, Fard assumed leadership of the Moorish movement upon the death of its founder the year before, claiming at the time to be the "reincarnation of Noble Drew Ali." The movement soon split into factions, one of which led by Elijah Muhammad (the former Elijah Poole of Georgia) remained faithful to Prophet Fard (Master Wallace Fard Muhammad). It is this faction — "The Nation of Islam" — to which C. Eric Lincoln gave the name "The Black Muslims." According to E. U. Essien-Udom, how ever, in the early sixties Malcolm X and other Black Muslims denied any connection with the Moorish movement and asserted Fard's uniqueness (pp. 35-36). Fard's origin, though, remains a mystery, as does his disappearance in June, 1933.6 The influence of at least two other American religious movements — both millennial in character — can be detected in the Black Muslim eschatology: the Jehovah's Witnesses and, to a lesser extent, in their economic activities, the Mormons. The millennial element, of course, also links the movement to traditional Christian groups and ultimately to Judaism. Similar ities to the Ras Tafarian movement of Jamaica, now established in northeastern United States, derive solely from common links to the Garvey movement.7 ... Answers to the question of specifically when the millennium will begin have been offered by various groups over the years. Most of these predicted dates have been derived from abstruse and highly individualistic juggling of Biblical numbers — a latter day adaptation of the Hebrew Kabbala. As one would conclude, as long as the beliefs remained vital, these dates were subject to constant revision. In the United States, probably the most famous of these predictions, because so many people acted on it, even going so far as to purchase "ascension robes," was that of William Miller in 1832, who predicted that the Advent would take place in 1843. During the Civil War period, other millennialists believed that the Advent would take place in 1866, and that the war then raging was but the prelude. E. L. Tuveson, for example, has discovered this note of expectancy in Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic," composed during the period.14 More recently, the Jehovah's Witnesses — founded in 1872 in Pittsburgh around a nucleus of former Millerites — have offered a series of date, all of which, of course, have had to be revised. Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the group, made his first prediction in 1878. which he later pushed forward to 1914. His successor in the movement, Judge J. R. Rutherford, first set the date at 1925, and subsequent calculations of the Watchtower Society moved the date up to 1975.15 The Reverend Billy Graham has wisely refrained from announcing a date, but, in citing the chaos of the present era as an unmistakable sign, for the past five or six years he has been preaching an imminent second coming. The Black Muslims, themselves, originally took the Jehovah's Witnesses' date — 1914 — but explained that a "grace" period had been granted to allow American Blacks to heed the message of Muhammad. The "final" date was to be 1970. It is presently expected that the event will take place some time before the year 2000, though whether this, too, is to be modified or abandoned under the new leadership is not clear.16 ... One must preface an examination of millennialism in the Black Muslim "social myth" by looking first at the celebrated break between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, supposedly over Malcolm's remarks on the assassination of President Kennedy. Though unstated at the time, the break resulted from a conflict over different millennialistic assumptions, assumptions which mirror perfectly the disparities that exist between those followers of the Edwardsean, activist or northern, millennialistic version and the southern, or passive, version currently publicized by the Reverend Billy Graham: in short, between post-millennialism and premillennialism. Such a change or shift (from pre- to post-millennialism), which was implicit in Malcolm's evolving position, as we shall see, would have required an abandonment of much of the Black Muslim "social myth," a step which Elijah Muhammad was not disposed to take. The Kennedy remark became a convenient excuse for Muhammad to rid himself of a charismatic personality who threatened to destroy the "social myth" which had been so successful.21 The most obvious indication that the Black Muslim movement is premillennialist is its original belief in separatism and its long-standing injunction against political activity on the part of its members, including voting. Since the government is corrupt, it would be sinful for any righteous Muslim to participate.22 ... man is by nature evil and his civilization doomed to destruction, there is, of course, no reason to integrate with it nor attempt to "reform" what is obviously "unreformable": hence separation with expectancy. Until that "final" day, however, Black Muslims expect the system to treat them justly, and Muslim leaders enjoin their members to obey all just authority. Since they must, they submit, although, as in the celebrated draft refusal case of Muhammad Ali and others, they do not submit in all things. In their attitude toward government the Black Muslims resemble the Jehovah's Witnesses, who regard all government — not just the American or Caucasian ones — as imperfect. All governments, in fact, are "obstacles" standing in the way of the establishment of Jehovah's Kingdom, the only perfect government. (Both Elijah Muhammad and Judge Rutherford, leader of the Jehovah's Witnesses, were sent to jail for obstructing American war efforts. Rutherford in 1914 and Muhammad in 1942).25 ... Because the Fard movement in Detroit in 1930 appears to have modeled itself in many respects on the example set by the Jehovah's Witnesses, one may be easily tempted to conclude that it was responding to a set of conditions similar to those which precipitated the founding of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Black Muslim resemblances to the Jehovah's Witnesses, however, are traceable to a congruence of aims rather than to a similarity of originating conditions. Because in the beginning days of the movement Fard had no copies of the Koran to give to his followers — most of whom were illiterate — he had urged them to listen to the radio sermons of Judge Rutherford of the Jehovah's Witnesses. These sermons were consistently and sufficiently anti-religious establishment to serve Fard's aim, namely to alienate his followers from their traditional "white" Christian beliefs. Fard was shrewd enough, however, to warn his followers not to take the white man's worlds literally. They were, he warned, "symbolic," requiring "translation" by him in the Temple service. But one suspects that there was little in Rutherford's broadcasts requiring "translation," for his diatribes against established Christian religions were so extreme that he was banned from a number of radio stations. Rutherford's performance thus emboldened Fard to do the same: Christianity was the Negro's "graveyard," he declared, "the slave holder's religion."33 Fard recognized that in order for his followers to accept a new identity the old one had to be destroyed: they were to become, in the parlance of the present day, "born-again Muslims." But Detroit in 1930 was not the same as Pittsburgh in 1872, though both situations gave rise to despair, the originating emotion of millennial movements; nor were the Southern rural blacks who made up the bulk of Fard's followers in Detroit the same as those white, laboring-class Second Adventists in Pittsburg some sixty years earlier. Fard's followers faced a different and an even more despairing situation, compounded now as it was by the additional cruel factor of racism. For while many southern rural blacks had migrated to the Detroit area during the period of the first World War, so had many southern whites, most of whom brought their racism with them. The Ku Klux Klan had become very strong in Michigan during the post-war period, and fully half of the state's membership of 70,000 resided in Detroit. During the twenties they almost captured the mayor's office. Several council members, in fact, were known to be Klan members. A particularly ugly racial confrontation had taken place in 1925 over the "Henry Sweet affair," but Clarence Darrow's brilliant courtroom victory in that case served, for the moment at least, to prevent the racial situation from deteriorating further.34 The tense racist environment remained, however, and undoubtedly facilitated the founding of the first Black Muslim community. ... Under the leadership of Wallace D. Muhammad and his successors, the future of the Black Muslims promises to be different in some respects. The "white devil" belief is being abandoned, which means that the "Yakub" myth will be discarded and that whites are now eligible to join the organization.44 The belated recognition that Malcolm X was "ahead of his time" suggests that we shall see the Black Muslims become politically involved. In terms of millennial belief, such a shift means an abandonment of the premillennial pattern and an endorsement of the post-millennial position, since a more activist program was what Malcolm X was urging at the time of his break with [Elijah] Muhammad. --- end of quotation --- That was long, but it indicates a second level of complexity to the question. Much of the supposed influence, as Allen has pointed out, is not even related to doctrinal influence. In this I fully agree that there was something very important that Fard and Elijah Muhammad thought they saw in Rutherford's philosophy and social positioning and practice that they considered useful in their method of "peddling" a new religion. Also there was a more general reason to point to the doctrinal teachings of Rutherford due to their anti-establishment and anti-Catholic emphasis. We can leave to the side for the moment any questions about just how they happened to pick up on the idea that 1914 was the time when the lease of the world's rulers ran out, or the 6,000 years since Adam leading to a 1,000 year millennium to follow, or that they as a chosen people would survive Armageddon into a new world. But that doesn't mean we covered all of the similarities yet. For example, even though Babylon the Great is considered to be America herself, the NOI taught that Babylon had fallen just shortly after 1914, in the sense that she was now doomed, and that her complete fall would be accomplished by the time of the final battle of Armageddon. At the time the Watchtower taught that Armageddon had already begun but the judgment was cut short for more to be chosen to survive. So even some ideas that seem different to us today, were actually a closer match at the time. But admittedly, causation of influence is a complex subject. What make it more complicated is that there has been change in doctrine in both religions, JWs and NOI. Over time, the NOI may, in some ways find itself apparently more similar to JWs on some millennial doctrines, especially as they adopt a less racist and more inclusive philosophy. But it would be a mistake to think that changes they make now are evidence of influence back in the 20's and 30's. So, as I've pointed out before, no one can just look at any of these similarities one by one, outside the historical context of the full doctrine of NOI, and believe they are always seeing causation by influence. Some of the similarities will derive from coincidence, just by virtue of being another millennial religion that pulled a few ideas from the Bible (such as the 144,000, etc.). The Nazi philosophy was a millennial philosophy, too, we must remember, but they were definitely not influenced in any way by the Watch Tower.
  3. Allen, You have made a lot of good points. In fact, there are no points made in any of the evidence you quoted from that I disagree with. I still agree with every one of your sources. I think the problem is that we have come at this issue with a different understanding of what it means to be "influenced." I notice that you keep going back to questions about whether Rutherford had a positive influence on the NOI, and you have spent a lot of time showing that the NOI is very different from the Watch Tower Society and perhaps not even worthy of any influence by the Watchtower. I still agree on those points too. I'm guessing that you have thought about this idea of "influence" and are thinking of the perspective that if there is nothing of any socially redeeming value in the NOI, then there must be no evidence that it was influenced by something good. I understand your perspective. I think you have also wanted to make the point that if I am claiming that there was some level of influence on the NOI from the teachings of Rutherford, that this somehow reflects badly on Rutherford or the Watch Tower Society. I didn't understand this, but I'm thinking that it must be based on the corollary of the idea just stated. It must have sounded like I was saying that if something that is so "totally bad" (like the NOI) was influenced by the Watch Tower Society, then it's like saying that the WTS influenced something to be "bad." I don't believe the WTS produced any kind of bad or negative influence -- AND I don't think that what I am calling influence produced anything positive in the NOI. The only possible, potential advantage I mentioned was that any familiarity with Rutherford's teachings might have made the transition just a little easier if anyone would have later decided to convert from NOI to JW. In fact, my reason for bringing up this idea in the first place was to support something you had said earlier about the variety of beliefs within the supposed "umbrella" of the Bible Students. In fact, I have always agreed with you on this point: that there was no actual "umbrella" that defined all groups of Bible Students. You mentioned the Bangalore Bible Students, and I thought you might also be aware of some of their differences, and that there were dozens of Bible Student groups that would draw crowds and congregations after themselves in many countries around the world. There were several who had associated with Bible students, and then made themselves "prophets" or claimed to be the fulfillment of some prophetic Bible character as a modern-day "antitype." Some used a small part of the original Bible Student message that they had picked up from Russell and then created something quite strange and almost unrecognizable from it. In fact, you can still go back to the topic where this came up and see that I was supporting something you, Allen, had recently presented. http://www.theworldnewsmedia.org/topic/28202-what-does-it-mean-with-the-april-2017-study-edition-of-the-wt-are-all-who-wereare-baptized-still-bound-to-this-vow/ The following is an exact quote from that topic, although below I highlighted the sentence where I had mentioned you. The idea that the NOI had been "influenced" was just mentioned as an extreme example of how some of the Watch Tower Society's teachings have been misused. Apparently you might have agreed with the idea had I worded it a little differently. Perhaps you have a better idea how to word it in a way that supports the point you had made in previous posts.
  4. I noticed you still can't handle the core of the question, about their doctrinal similarities. You've touched on "hell/hellfire" but that's only a start. All your many ad hominem "red herrings" about how I'm 'supposed to be a genius' and supposedly have 'insight' for having worked at Bethel might really be seen as outright dishonesty on your part. I usually ignore these diversions, as they have nothing to do with the question, but I'll respond here: You claim to have two PhD's in Theology. I admit that I expressed my doubts when you first made this claim, and I'm sorry for doing that, but I never claimed that you didn't have them. On the other hand, I have never claimed that any of my experiences at Bethel made me intelligent, or that I was chosen for any of my assignments due to intelligence or insight. I readily admit to being a fool on most subjects, and I readily admit to having been studious on a narrow set of subjects. My regular daily assignments at Bethel revolved around the Art Department, and because of my nerdy personality, I was also allowed to do extra research. (Every artist does some level of research when given an assignment.) I'm sure that the only real reason I was also assigned to work on a series of research assignments for Brother Schroeder, is that he knew my father from KM school, and my father is also fairly well known as an Electrical Engineer, specializing in audio/sound, and he has helped the Society on various projects for decades. So, from literally my first day at Bethel, Brother Schroeder and Charlotte "took me in" as a kind of adopted son in hopes that Judah would have a friend of the same age, and he even asked me if I could get Judah interested in studying NT Greek. I was, and still am, just an amateur at NT Greek. But he knew about it, and he thought that this hobby should be "nourished," so several of his assignments were based on NT Greek. He might have thought at first that he was just giving me a good excuse to spend more time in the libraries, which I loved. But naturally, as a young kid, just turning 20, I also tried to impress him by putting more work into the assignments than he expected, and so I continued to get regular research assignments from him for several more years, even for a few years after I got married and left Bethel. I know for sure that none of my assignments were based on genius, because I know for sure that I am no such thing. Actually, my questions, you might recall, were just reminders that these were points you skipped, and evidently had no answer for. They even tended to show that your line of reasoning could be flawed, because they can imply that you knew I might be right. I notice that you still haven't addressed them. For now, I will assume that the reason you didn't try to answer the question about why they left is because you realize the point is either not important to your claim, was completely irrelevant, or perhaps even counters your claim. I never cared and still don't. Although Malcolm X's reasoning is widely known from his autobiography, I never knew what Muhammad Ali's relation to the NOI was, exactly. If you think you can tie something from their biographies to the point of the question, feel free. As for me, I'll stick to the point. Here is something that is not a diversion, but gets to the actual point of discussion. It's from one of the major works of Elijah Muhammad: "Message to the Blackman in America." I've added some highlights, but these are exact quotes, many of which are very much aligned with the pre-1930 Bible Student doctrines, not necessarily current doctrines. Sometimes it's clear from context that these doctrines have been re-interpreted, but there are some places where the context brings in even more details that match the wording of the Watch Tower publications of the time period. You should also note that Judge Rutherford was referred to "for his interpretation of the Bible," not his legal maneuverings, or methods. Note that the beliefs are never exactly like the Watchtower; we are only talking about "influence." Page 191: They hated Judge Rutherford for his interpretation of the Bible which condemned the church and its father, the Pope of Rome. Page 11: He (devil), the god of evil, was made to rule the nations of earth for 6,000 years, and naturally he would not teach obedience to a God other than himself. So, a knowledge of the true God of Righteousness was not represented by the devils. The true God was not to be made manifest to the people until the god of evil (devil) has finished or lived out his time, which was allowed to deceive the nations (read These. 2:9-10, Rev. 20:3[,]8-10). Page 88: We are now living in the early morning of that seventh thousand years. The world of evil was given 6,000 years to reign over the righteous. Now, since their time expired in 1914, as all religious scientists agree, we are in the seven-thousandth year since the creation of Adam, Page 18: He spoke with authority, not as one who is under authority but as one independent. He said the world's time was out in 1914, but people could get an extension of time, depending upon their treatment of the righteous. Page 20: They will fail and be brought to disgrace as Pharaoh's magicians and he himself were by Allah (God), for you have not known Him, or His religion, as Israel had not known God by His name Jehovah (Exod. 6:3). . . . They felt that they should not believe Moses' representation of God by any other name than God Almighty, regardless of Moses' stress upon Jehovah as being the God of their Fathers. Page 72: This mighty One, is known under many names. He has no equal. There never was one like Him. He is referred to in the Bible as God Almighty, and in some places as Jehovah, the God of Gods, and the Lord of Lords. Page 21: Armageddon has started, and after it there will be no Christian religion or churches. Page 56: When should we expect Allah (God) to make all things NEW? After the destruction of the wicked, their king and world. Just when should the end of the old world be? The exact day is known only to Allah, but many think that they know the year. But we all know that 1914 was the end of the 6,000 years that was given to the old world of the devils to rule. Page 57: Seventh, it is the only religion that has the divine power to unite us and save us from the destruction of the War of Armageddon, which is now. It is also the only religion in which the believer is really divinely protected. It is the only religion that will survive the Great Holy war, or the final war between Allah (God) and the devil. Page 12: Because of the false teaching of our enemies (the devils), God has made Himself known; (for I teach not the coming of God but the presence of God, in person.) This kind of teaching hurts the false teachings of the devils, for they knew that God would come in person after you. They, (the devils) also are aware that God is present among us, but those of you who are asleep they desire to keep asleep. Page 37: . . . another new people must be made to be the ruling voice of tomorrow out of this old world that is now living her last days. Page 109: The rising of opposition against divine truth, revealed in the last days (years), also has been told by the prophets of old, and we have it in writing that this opposition against the truth is not to be feared by you who believe and have understanding. The truth will be attacked by the disbeliever and hypocrite in the last days. Page 54: . . . could easily be frightened and worked up into emotion by the preacher, yelling and spitting out foam all over the pulpit, preaching hellfire after death and the dying of Jesus on the cross. He would paint an imaginary picture in the minds of the listeners -- of meeting some dead relative up in the heavens (sky) after death or mourn them into grief and sorrow. My people are leaving and rejecting such nonsense as they advance more and more educationally. Page 170: It is the Pope of Rome today whom the church accepts as its intercessor between and Christians and God. And all Catholics, such as priests and cardinals profess to have the power to pray the soul out of purgatory. Page 158: condition, they are classified with the devil, to be destroyed in hellfire -- the final end to both. Page 88: The early morning is the first part of the seventh thousand years [note: Millennial Dawn] and the year under the name Millennium (which the Christians say means the 1,000 years Christ will reign on the earth). This is the 1,000 years which it will take to restore peace and honor, after the removal of peace breakers. This time also includes the birth of a new nation from the mentally dead. . . . For in that 1,000 years of Millennium, the disbelievers will cease to be. And to those who live in that time it shall be binding upon them to serve and obey One God: My own suspicion is that Rutherford's new campaign about the "Birth of a Nation" as the final piece of the failed 1925 Millions campaign would have caught the attention of several African-Americans and other blacks all over the world. Rutherford, a master advertiser, had re-used the name of the recent, infamous, racist movie (Birth of a Nation) that promoted the KKK as saviors of the South. (Rutherford claims that he published this article [in the March 1, 1925 Watchtower] even though the majority of the Governing Body "strenuously objected" adding that "by the Lord's grace it was published and that really marked the beginning of the end of the editorial committee, indicating that the Lord himself is running his organization." - See June 15, 1938 Watchtower, page 185.) Of course there are many ideas that we could associate with the Watch Tower's teachings, which are not necessarily from the Watch Tower publications. Many of the individual points above could easily be countered with contradictory material or shown to be taken somewhat out of context. If we decided to take them apart piecemeal, one by one, it would be easy to make some headway against the idea of influence by the Watch Tower's teachings. But they still need to also be taken altogether, as a "composite" item of evidence. I gladly accept the definition you gave. I think this is exactly what we are talking about. We are not talking about acceptance of the Watch Tower's views, or promotion of those views. We are talking about producing effects on another person's opinions, etc.
  5. OK. You apparently believe that what you've said here provides a serious response to the question. You believe that NOI leaders and founders chose to endorse Rutherford because they liked that he was fighting the establishment in their eyes. You apparently believe that because they claim no influence from Christianity, that they must be telling the truth. You believe that "Malcolm X found out later, as did Muhammad Ali." They found out WHAT later? That the NOI had been too much influenced by Christianity? Did he find out that they had been influenced by Rutherford? Or that they had not been influenced enough by Christianity or Rutherford? You probably didn't mean that, but you don't say what they found out. Why do you think "Ali" dropped the Nation of Islam? You don't say. Why not? What you hadn't noticed, first of all, that the choice of Rutherford even at the level of someone they liked for their particular perception of the way he was fighting the establishment is already an admission of influence. The only way it would not be is if they chose him at random, or decided to endorse him because they thought they could influence him. We know that this wasn't the reason. Otherwise "influence" is already admitted in anyone's non-random choice and endorsement of teachers, writers and speakers. The more time one spends listening, reading, and learning from someone, then the greater the potential influence. And any later denials of such influence is not very meaningful if teachings have already been endorsed and adopted. I noticed that you have not yet attempted to answer questions about why Armageddon, 144,000, and 1914 were adopted into the teachings of the NOI. I don't really expect you to, unless you are willing to discuss specifics. So far you have quoted a lot of specifics, some of which support exactly what I have been saying, and none of which have given anyone any reason to question the claim that teachings promoted by Rutherford had an influence on the NOI. This is your typical red herring. But I can't see why anyone would get fooled by it, because it claims no fault with the Watchtower. If you feel that it reflects badly on the Watchtower anytime Rutherford's teachings might have influenced a group whose teachings you generally find distasteful, then you are hanging onto an illogical premise. I wonder if you can even explain why you think this claim reflects as a "fault" with the Watchtower. We could have a similar discussion about a dozen other groups influenced by the Bible Students. I wonder what your criteria would be for deciding whether or not a certain level of influence counts as influence. Based on your comments, so far, I have to suspect that your criteria has more to do with the reputation of the group, or your personal "perceptions" about the one who presented the facts. In spite of these defects in your presentation so far, I will attempt to take you seriously and address a few more of the claims you made so far: So your claim here is that Fard started using any kind of scam to have people listen to his message, and the Watchtower views were considered by him to be, for him, a kind of scam to get people to listen. So you agree he wanted people to listen to the Watchtower views, but that this type of scam, you think, would not have any influence on those listening. Perhaps you can explain that claim. It sounds naive. You do give a reason, but it seems to be your own reason that you present without evidence, and not the reason that you can give any evidence for. You say he chose the Watchtower because he saw a similarity in legal challenges. He very well may have. I wouldn't doubt that this was noticed, although remember that we are talking about a period PRIOR to 1933. The number of court cases and arrests were picking up since the late 1920's but we weren't really winning many of the court cases until late 1933 and beyond. So this might very well be one of the reasons that NOI leaders took notice, but it doesn't at all prove that they were not also influenced. You merely make a claim "Did Fard promote the Watchtower teachings? NO" You say it was only about observing how Bible Students dealt with people in their interactions to gain "social understanding." And you say that he suggested reading Rutherford's books to better understand his philosophy, not his faith. Again, I'm quite sure that this was one of the ideas behind their interest in Rutherford. It's pretty clear they didn't want to BECOME Bible Students. But again this does not mean that they would not be influenced. Even if Fard or Malcolm X told NOI members that they should study the Watchtower's operations, style, social methods, legal arguments, and philosophy, this does not provide any evidence that they were not influenced, nor that the members themselves would be able to avoid influence from such observations. If what you say is true, you would certainly expect to find those very important warnings like: "Study them, but don't be influenced by their teachings." You don't find that however, and it turns out there is a very good reason. The reason is that there is plenty of evidence that what attracted NOI leaders was the teachings themselves. I already gave you an overview of that in Maesan's article, for which you only commented on "hell" instead of the more Watchtower-specific doctrines such as 1914. You are probably aware that William Maesen's article that I quoted from was just a shorter version of papers presented in 1969. "This is a revised and shorter version of papers read at the fall meeting of the Michigan Sociological Association at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, 21 November 1969; and at the annual meeting of the Illinois Sociological Association at Loyola University, North Campus, 30 October 1970." In it he quotes from authors who had made this deduction prior to him. I mention that because of what you said about Google book authors seeming dependent on him. In fact, there are prior resources that are more specific, that I haven't even touched on yet. But I will give you an opportunity to offer your own hypothesis for doctrinal similarities first.
  6. In Any idea if these figures are accurate. I had heard that it was over 50%, but never fully believed it was over 75%.
  7. That might have been because an admin or moderator thought they belonged there. I have no idea. Of course, even if they weren't controversial before, I might have just made the topics controversial in the way I answered either one of them. I don't know what the rule is exactly, so I leave that up to the moderators to decide. In my opinion there is often a small level of controversy in almost any question. And even something controversial can also be a "general interest" question, especially if someone brought it up because of a recently read or recently studied publication.
  8. The basic idea that 'comes to our rescue' is that the Watch Tower Society was on a path that would soon lead them into more and better light. But I understand your point, and if Jesus were looking for those who were faithful in what is least, then he must have been looking at their future, not every "least thing" they were doing and saying at the time. The 1917 "Finished Mystery" was a book filled with falsehoods by today's standards. Some of it was perfectly ridiculous. The 1918 preaching and convention campaign was based on the false prophecy that millions of people then living would never die because they would survive until the fulfillment of the Biblical promises in 1925. Rutherford promoted the Great Pyramid for another decade. He admitted that he helped promote "creature worship," in other words, the "cult" that had formed around "Pastor Russell." We can look back on false doctrines and false prophecies now and justify them as mistakes based on the limits of what they could know at the time. But in reality, it was possible to know that Jesus had specifically said not to follow anyone who would say that the "time is at hand" with reference to his presence (parousia). Yet, Rutherford, in 1916 to 1933, continued campaigns to distribute a book by Russell with that very name: "The Time is at Hand." Yet these were all mistakes by humans who wanted to do the right thing. I think it's pretty obvious that the motivation was pure, at least for the vast majority of these Bible Students. That's why I'm happy to overlook those mistakes of the past. But I also have brought up some of these same points, which probably sounds like I'm not overlooking those mistakes of the past. But that's not what the problem is. The problem is that -- now, in the present -- we keep looking back on these times in our history and repeatedly claiming things about them that weren't true. Of course, these things that we currently claim are partially true, but this just makes the untrue parts more insidious in the way that they can mislead us. Are we really honest today, if we think we need to use some deceptions to try to clean up our reputation from the past? We sometimes, for example, make a big deal out of the fact that the churches of Christendom all praised the League of Nations as "the political expression of God's kingdom on earth." This supposedly showed why the prophecy in Revelation was fulfilled against them: (Revelation 17:8) 8 The wild beast that you saw was, but is not, and yet is about to ascend out of the abyss, and it is to go off into destruction. And when they see how the wild beast was, but is not, and yet will be present, those who dwell on the earth will wonder admiringly, but their names have not been written upon the scroll of life from the founding of the world. It turns out that it was not all these "churches of Christendom" that had praised the League as the "political expression of God's kingdom" and who found it something to "wonder" at, and "admire." Notice what the Watchtower said about it in the February 15, 1919 issue, page 51: “We cannot but admire the high principles embodied in the proposed League of Nations, formulated undoubtedly by those who have no knowledge of the great plan of God. This fact makes all the more wonderful the ideals which they express. For instance, it has been made plain by President Wilson and the advocates of his ideas that the proposed League of Nations is more than merely a league to enforce peace. They would not have us consider it to exclusively from the standpoint of politics or of military relations. It should be considered as fully from the economic and social points of view. The President’s idea seems to be that the League of Nations which he proposes would stand for world service rather than mere world regulation in the military sense, and that the very smallest of nations shall be participants in its every arrangement. In other words, his idea undoubtedly is that the league shall not be established merely for the purpose of promoting peace by threat or coercion; but that its purpose, when put into operation, will be to make all nations of earth one great family, working together for the common benefit in all the avenues of national life. Truly this is idealistic, and approximates in a small way that which God has foretold that he will bring about after this great time of trouble.” This is exactly what is meant by the phrase claiming that the League of Nations is a "political expression of the kingdom of God on earth." In addition the Watchtower expressed that we wondered admiringly at it. Rutherford changed his mind and began saying instead what many "evil slave" Bible Students, and many church leaders had already begun saying about it. But even as late as 1933, Brother Rutherford continued to be fooled into thinking that proposals by political leaders were an "expression of the kingdom of God on earth." Rutherford said the following in his letter to Adolph Hitler regarding the ideals of the Nazi party: The conference [WT convention] of five thousand delegates also noted - as is expressed in the declaration - that the Bible Researchers [Bible Students] of Germany are fighting for the very same high ethical goals and ideals which also the national government of the German Reich proclaimed respecting the relationship of humans to God, namely: honesty of the created being towards its creator. The conference came to the conclusion that there are no contradictions when it comes to the relationship between the Bible Researchers of Germany to the national government of the German Reich [German Nazi Party]. To the contrary, referring to the purely religious and unpolitical goals and efforts of the Bible Researchers, it can be said that these are in full agreement with the identical goals of the national government of the German Reich. Based upon the supposedly strong language of our literature, some of our books were banned. The conference of the five thousand delegates pointed to the fact that the contents of the books which were criticized, only refers to the situation and actions within the Anglo-American world power - especially England - which is responsible for the League of Nations and its contracts and burdens imposed upon Germany. What is written in our literature - no matter whether from a financial or political point of view - is only directed towards the suppressors of the German people and their country, but by no means refers to Germany itself, which is trying hard to fight against the imposed burdens. This idea of using a lack of honesty about our past is clear even in this 1933 letter to Hitler. Of course, Rutherford quickly understood that the deception was not going to work to stop the ban on our literature, and again, Rutherford changed course accordingly. These are just a couple of important examples, but it should be clear that what we say about not being neutral before 1919, but learning our lesson was not really true. The majority of Rutherford's books, speeches and booklets were politically charged for decades, and took sides on many issues, especially between labor and capital, for example. When the publications sided with another politician, they could be praised as if they were a Biblical prophet. For example, the 1924 Golden Age (now Awake!), on page 149, says: We understand now, why Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, who like Judge Rutherford is permeated with the real Biblical and prophetic spirit, ceases not in his discourse to defy the devil, and throw (morally) an inkwell into his face, as the deceased Luther did. We understand also why the Premier of the Labor Party turns his back on the League of Nations, of which formerly he was an apostle, and draws near to the Americans whose eyes are opened. Judge Rutherford cites, in addition to prophecies from Isaiah, Ezekiel and Amos, from Mr. MacDonald: "There is neither betterment nor peace in Europe. The governments are powerless. The year 1924 is worse than 1914." Again he [Rutherfod] quotes the prophet David Lloyd George: "A new chapter opens in the history of Europe, with a climax of horror such as the world has never witnessed." Of course, this was during a time when Rutherford was campaigning that 1925 was even more of a sure thing than 1914 was.
  9. Some scholars read the two canonical letters to the Corinthians as compilations of several letters, with some duplication likely left out. I haven't read all their reasons, but when I come up with a question on my own based on a text-based issue, I often find that some scholars' explanation for that particular question makes as much sense as any other explanation. Psalm 14 and 53 shows that duplication has happened. (The Dead Sea Scrolls showed that many Jews had kept 151 songs as canonical, not 150.) Jude and 2 Peter contain identical passages. Paul does not appear to necessarily think of his own words as inspired in all passages when he says: (1 Corinthians 7:12) 12 But to the others I say, yes, I, not the Lord:. . . Jesus does not necessarily speak of Moses as inspired in all passages when he says: (Matthew 19:8) 8 He said to them: “Out of regard for your hard-heartedness, Moses made the concession to you of divorcing your wives, but that has not been the case from the beginning. Yet, the Jews were given the responsibility of collecting and validating which books were kept as canonical and which were not: (Romans 3:1, 2) . . .What, then, is the advantage of the Jew,. . . 2 A great deal in every way. First of all, that they were entrusted with the sacred pronouncements of God. And the Christians of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, in spite of "Babylonian captivity," were apparently given the responsibility of collecting and validating which books were kept as canonical and which were not for the Greek Scriptures. One of the last books by the apostle John gave them good advice: (1 John 4:1) . . .Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  10. In Spain, I understand that it's considered a problem when any organization (religious or otherwise) attempts to handle criminal cases with their own private judicial system. It's like a parallel government. The "Church" caused Spain a lot of embarrassment trying such systems over the centuries.
  11. Looks like it's time to add a necessary caveat again. For any readers who wonder whether this is a typical way in which JWs discuss information with each other, it isn't. Outsiders should not read too much into the way in which this particular topic has been discussed here. Most Witnesses are quite patient and reasonable, and do not so quickly lose control or lose confidence in their evidence such that they resort to the ad hominem. red herring, strawman, or any number of other logical fallacies. Please do not let this dialogue in any way shape your opinion of Jehovah's Witnesses in general. So with that said . . . You've done it again Allen. You have claimed that a point of fact was wrong, and then provided detailed evidence proving that you misunderstood. You provided evidence that shows that your claim is false. It has become even clearer with these recent posts that you are an opposer of true facts. I get the impression sometimes that you actually know that the evidence shows you are wrong, and that you just like to play the part of an opposer, which makes it odd that you so often use the word "thespian" as some kind of accusation against others. You made one partial statement that is true, and I will address it: This is absolutely true that they could have. Maesen even admits this along with admitting certain other weaknesses in his "Exploration" of the idea (that the NOI was influenced by Rutherford's teachings). I saw a couple more weaknesses based on Measen's misunderstanding of Watch Tower teachings. (For example, he thought that Rutherford was teaching that only 144,000 would survive Armageddon, which, if it were true, creates a closer match to the "official" NOI teaching. But of course it's not true.) The problem of course is that while official leadership of the NOI did borrow from a few different sources, they also singled out Rutherford as someone to read and listen to. Currently, of course, they deny Rutherford's influence, and you apparently believe them, which is fine. But there has been no attempt to explain why they once encouraged the buying of Rutherford's books, and they even encouraged people to buy radios to listen to Rutherford's lectures. So while they could have picked up a non-traditional view of "hell" from other sources we should still factor it in as we try to explain why they endorsed Rutherford. Rutherford was apparently the only white man the NOI ever endorsed as a kind of teaching source. That fact alone appears to entail some kind of influence. At least posit some reasonable explanation of that fact before going on to just say they could have got their idea about hell from other denominations. On that matter, too, please note the following: The Nation of Islam (NOI) teaching about "hell" is closer to Rutherford's than to the most common Christian sources, Jewish sources or even the Quran, which equates hell with Gehenna (Hebrew Gehennom; Arabic, Jahannam). The Pew survey you linked is not useful regarding the point made. That survey evidently asked about religions that believe in "hell" and apparently did not distinguish religions that believed in "hellfire." You will notice that it gives the impression that 98% of JWs believe in "hell" and 2% do not, while only 55% of Christianity in general believes in hell. This response is worthless because we already know that 100% of JWs believe in hell, and 0% believe in hellfire. Other denominations would more likely respond that they do not believe in hell only when what they really mean is that they do not believe in a literal hellfire. At any rate, this is not about any one reason, but about all the composite doctrinal reasons, combined with the official endorsement of Rutherford as a teacher. Perhaps they did get their idea about hell from another place. So now we should try to explain their interest in the meaning of: 1914 Armageddon The 144,000 The Millennium. New World on Earth The Mortal Soul Was there any other person who spoke of these 6 other items as much as Rutherford did, during the very time when they encouraged members to listen to Rutherford and read his books? The idea that the world's time was up in 1914 and that it was a time of judgment deferred so that more could be saved is curious in many ways on its own. How many religions do you know that were also teaching this besides the religion represented by Rutherford?
  12. Most Witnesses obviously want to live peaceful Christian lives and conduct ourselves in a way that pleases Jehovah God and Jesus Christ. None of us really want the job of being responsible to take a specific position on all doctrinal matters and setting priorities for organizational direction in our overall global ministry. But we can be thankful that among Christians, there will always be a few that will take the lead in those heavy responsibilities. The very desire to take the lead in such matters seems like an assignment that only someone who is very brave or very foolhardy would take. It seems that, from a worldly perspective, only the most haughty among us would reach out for such an important job. Yet, we know some of these brothers very well from either personal acquaintance, or perhaps they were Circuit and District Overseers in our congregations. Perhaps we worked alongside some of them in a Branch Office. We get to know their personalities from presentations, speeches, and broadcasts. We see them interact with each other at some events. All in all, the majority of them seem to be good, God-fearing, humble men who want to do what is right, the same as the rest of us. We don't get the idea that any of them "schemed" to get to this position. We know that the guidelines for elders apply to them just as they apply to congregation elders. And it's my opinion, but I see a certain stability and faithfulness to worthy goals among all of them. Now it's easy to say good things about these men, and that's my point. When these men were mostly chosen only from a certain similar mold, there was not a large "pool" for these "gifts in men" to be chosen from. In the past, most had been chosen from a limited bureaucratic background. At the point when there were 17 GB members alive at the same time, most (but not all) had the ability to give a good talk, but at least half of them were seriously lacking in Biblical expertise, and at least half of them had very little experience even in the door-to-door field ministry for the last 40 years of their lives. We should not have been surprised that certain kinds of flaws showed up among these men so that several were dismissed, and a lot of politics and scheming was known to go on among those who remained. But the current group, especially after the death of Theodore Jaracz, have been chosen from a much wider pool of candidates. These men have made more progress in the last 20 years than in the previous 100 years. They are managing a much bigger, and smoother operation, with millions and millions more persons in their care. Doctrinal changes over the last 20 years have been steady and clearly beneficial overall. The quality of the publications and the website has improved greatly. It's reach is enormous. I've already stated my opinion that the GB are not the equivalent of the "faithful slave" from a Biblical standpoint. But that's not the point of discussion here. These men, the GB, who have taken the lead for doctrinal and prioritized the organizational and ministerial direction have taken on an important and necessary assignment. They admit that they aren't perfect. Of course, that statement is meaningless, because such a statement almost always is used with the intention of meaning "perfect, for all practical purposes." But they don't leave it at that. They admit that they have made serious errors in doctrine and leadership. they admit that the spiritual food they produce and distribute is not always perfect. So, with that said, I think one way of looking at the overall picture is to see these men in the position of keeping order. They take the lead at the "highest" level, not because they think that you must think that all these doctrines are perfect. They do it because it keeps order and harmony. They do it by taking a stand on certain doctrinal matters and setting organizational priorities. Sure, they may do some of this by majority vote, but ultimately they make choices. This is part of remaining organized in any organization and not falling into chaos. Going off in many directions is inefficient. Even trying a certain direction that proves untenable has a certain value if it's caught early enough, and there is humility to change. Taking a stand means that we will sometimes discover we took the wrong stand, but it also has an advantage in making our beliefs transparent. If a doctrinal stand is taken, our thinking is clearer on it, and contradictions show up more easily. It would be easy to be 100% accurate by taking a less dogmatic stand on many things. But this makes it harder to test whether we are thinking correctly and reasonably on some of our beliefs. I think that it could be like those logic puzzles, like they do for LSAT tests, where you get 5 to 10 clues, and have to figure out, for example, where everyone lives and what they do, what they drink, and the color of their house: Bill is a plumber who drinks whiskey and lives in the green house that is next to a corner house. John is not a carpenter, and he drinks soda and lives in either a red or blue house that is two houses from Sally's house. etc. etc. etc. Sometimes you get to a point where you just need to take a stand and say that John must be in a blue house, for example, even if you don't know for sure, so that you can properly test if it works. (Actually, Sudoku was probably a better example, come to think of it.) So, we can have doctrinal claims that are still in the middle of such testing. We took a stand, and it clarifies our position so that it can be more clearly tested. It can work for both trivial and important matters like: whether Moses wrote all of the first five books of the Bible himself, or whether Galatians was written prior to 1 Corinthians, or whether the "other sheep" are Gentiles or "spiritual Gentiles." If we (as an organization) take a stand, it should be faster to get to a point where we can take a consistent stand on all important matters of doctrine and teaching. This assumes that haughtiness and love of tradition don't get in the way of change. And that gets back to having the right kinds of personalities taking the lead.
  13. Oops... I was the one who voted it up... and I just voted it down.

    What do you think a good solution for that problem might be? I could ask the admin to make that "question' section a normal forum.....but then we wouldn't have the option of the "best answer" either....

    Any ideas?

    1. JW Insider

      JW Insider


      The "best answer" feature works in forums where 10+ different people answer a question that requires some expertise, and the one with the most expertise can bubble up. I think that questions here are often intended to start a dialogue, and the best ones go one for several pages. No one is really looking for the single most "expert" sounding answer, they are usually looking to see how the idea was responded to by some and whether the answers, in total, produced a reasonable discussion. Taking any one answer out of the sequence makes it difficult to follow the conversation or dialogue.

      There are a few exceptions, but these tend to be questions with fewer answers anyway, and therefore the best answer is already somewhere on the same page as the question.

      So I don't know exactly what to suggest, except maybe to default to "Sort by date" and then have a message that might say: "Sort by votes to find best answers." Even that option might only be available when there have been some votes.

      But that's the complicated way to do it. For 95% of the topics, just defaulting to "sort by date" would be sufficient. In the topics I've read it is almost never used. I'm almost afraid that when people start using it more often it can be abused, too. I think it would usually be used as a way to highlight most interesting, most intriguing, most important, or "most agreeable to voter's way of thinking." Most of the posts that people would vote on are, in my experience, not even intended to answer the original question, but just to share some additional information.


    2. admin


      Insightful. Thank you both! @The Librarian and @JW Insider

      I changed it to a "normal" forum .... let me know if it works better for you or not.

    3. JW Insider
  14. Note to admin. Someone has "voted up" one of my comments in this topic. Unfortunately, this means that the default sort is by "votes" and that post appears out of order. It moves it to the top as some forums do for "best answer." This would be OK if I could leave "sort by date" as a default, but I really hate to look through these topics and have to go click for "sort by date" just to find my post. This has happened before and I was able to get someone to vote it down to avoid the problem. Unfortunately I'm not allowed to vote down my own post. But I would appreciate it if one (and only one) person would vote it down so that it gets back into chronological order.
  15. That's true. They have both been re-published by various publishers through the years. At Bethel, in the 1970's when we quoted from it a lot more often, we only knew of one edition of Matthew Henry, although that same edition with same page numbering was also in a three-volume paperback version. For Albert Barnes, there was an 1850-something version that was on the shelf until 1977 and it disappeared, probably to someone's office. There were also a couple of old stand-alone volumes from an incomplete set, or from prior to the combined set. We also had two single-volume Barnes' Notes on the New Testament both from Kregel Publications: a 2nd printing 1963, and a 7th Printing from 1974. The page numbering was nearly the same. Also, Brother Schroeder had, in his office, a set of them which had been published in several separate volumes, along with some standalone OT commentaries by Barnes. They had completely different page numbering. It's not wrong to mention only the publishing date, which could be any of about 25 different dates for Barnes (less for Matthew Henry). But in WTS publications, we sometimes mentioned a date, but without a page number, and we sometimes mentioned a page number, but without any date. I was primarily commenting that the Watchtower readership would generally have no idea if these men were from modern times or hundreds of years ago. Since Insight, the Watchtower, as far as I know, has never put a date next to quotes from Matthew Henry, or Albert Barnes. Since the 1980's, except for two footnotes (without dates), all references to Matthew Henry do not refer specifically to a commentary or a book, but to Matthew Henry as a commentator, scholar, or British author: *** w05 1/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers *** Understandably, then, many draw the conclusion reached by Bible commentator Matthew Henry . . . *** w07 4/15 p. 14 Follow Paul’s Steps to Beroea *** They tested what they heard by using the most trustworthy touchstone. They carefully and diligently searched the Scriptures. Bible scholar Matthew Henry concluded: “Since Paul reasoned out of the scriptures . . . . *** w98 9/15 p. 14 par. 17 Times and Seasons in Jehovah’s Hands *** Some Bible scholars link this expectation to Daniel’s prophecy. In commenting on this verse, Matthew Henry wrote: “We are here told . . . *** w94 2/15 p. 11 “What Will Be the Sign of Your Presence?” *** British author Matthew Henry commented: “The destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans was very terrible, but this exceeded it. Prior to Insight, references to him more often included the name of his work: "Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible" even if without a hint about the fact that it originally came from the 1700's. With the exception of one side note (like a footnote) this is similar to the "Barnes' Notes" references. Since Insight, there is never a date or name of his books or commentaries, although at least the term "19th-century" is mentioned a couple of times. Examples: *** w11 9/15 p. 22 par. 9 “Run . . . That You May Attain It” *** Scholar Albert Barnes observed: “As a runner would be careful . . . *** w07 4/15 p. 27 Let the Congregation Be Built Up *** Bible scholar Albert Barnes recognized that Jesus’ direction to “speak to the congregation” could mean . . . *** w02 12/15 p. 5 Lessons From the Record of Jesus’ Birth *** 19th-century Bible scholar Albert Barnes . . . *** w02 12/15 p. 5 Lessons From the Record of Jesus’ Birth *** 19th-century Bible scholar Albert Barnes . . . *** w00 6/15 p. 17 par. 2 “All You Are Brothers” *** . . . it is contrary to the ‘simplicity that is in Christ,’” noted the Bible scholar Albert Barnes. . . . With reference to what I said in a previous post on the use of commentaries in the Watchtower magazine, Albert Barnes is referenced 10 times in the 1970's (positively) and only 2 times in the 1980's (once negatively). Yet, his works, such as "Barnes' Notes" are mentioned 8 times in the 1970's (positively) and have only been mentioned twice since the 1970's until now. And one of those was a negative reference in 1984. Discounting the negative reference that means only one time, positively, since 1978. And even that supposedly positive reference said he "makes an honest admission" that something was true. (Imagine how "positive" we would take it if someone said that Brother Splane had to honestly admit that something was true.) There is also a tendency, as partially indicated above, to reference any commentators as persons: as scholars, commentators or theologians, but not necessarily as authors, and therefore with very few references to their specific books. Before Insight, it was much more common to also reference the title of their commentaries or books. Sorry for a lot of trivial detail, but if you are looking for subtle differences between the Aid Book research "era" and the Insight research "era," then the above does express a kind of trend to quote commentaries less. Although the two commentaries I used in the examples above are almost always used favorably, except in the 1980's, it is a little more common now to quote a commentator as a "bad" example, too. I think this helps serve as a kind of reminder that we heard in the 1980's, in warnings against seeking out commentaries for a different view of something.