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FRONT PAGE: Jehovah's Witness film DANGEROUS to the children - OVER ONE MILLION people reading this today (see comments for translation)

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A major front page headline and two page article in Sweden's Metro newspaper.

The Metro newspaper is a free newspaper that distributes 550,000-copies daily with a daily readership of some 1,153,000 people

HBTQ = Homosexual, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer.


Defector: Jehovah's film dangerous to the children

Metro (Sweden), Monday, July 2, 2018 - front page (via Google Translate)

Anti-HBTQ. Jehovah's Witnesses had a great gathering in the capital this weekend with many children in the audience. Then religious society showed a film of hbtq-critical message - which the state did not have to review.


Jehovah's Witnesses Show Movies That Disregard Children's HBTQ - Missing permission

Metro (Sweden), Monday, July 2, 2018 - page 4 (via Google Translate)

Religion. At Jehovah's Witnesses annual gathering, films with anti-HBTQ messages are displayed. Although the community lacks the permissions required, the movies are displayed to thousands of Jehovah's Witnesses with hundreds of children in the audience.

"You do not realize how dangerous this is for children," says Sabina Sjöberg

PICTURE: Several large-scale displays show the message of Jehovah's Witness during the annual gathering - but no permission for the film that conveys society's view of HBTQ.

The yearly gathering of Jehovah's Witnesses begins with the conference calling on the audience not to record anything from the day for other than private use.

About 8,000 people have gathered at the Stockholm Fair in Älvsjö, just outside central Stockholm. The event is open to the public.

It is the fourth year that Jehovah's Witnesses annual gathering is held at the Stockholm Fair, which is part of the City of Stockholm. This year, the key message is to show courage.

With well-produced films from the community's governing circle in the United States, we can see, among other things, how a woman distances a manifestation of hbtq people. Another film shows how a little boy is dealt with the fear of 'harmageddon', which Jehovah's Witnesses see as the final battle between God and those who refused to submit to God's rule.

The movies and the tales are displayed on four large screen monitors for an audience with hundreds of children and young people.

"Parents do not say that it's just a movie without something that's actually going to happen," said Sabina Sjöberg, who left Jehovah's Witnesses just over 20 years ago.

Today she is engaged in the organization Children's voice in a closed sect which collects testimony from people who left Jehovah's Witnesses. They have consulted both the State Media Council and the police to alert the video material that is being played during the gathering. But according to Sabina Sjöberg, the police have not responded.

-They do not realize how dangerous this is for children. Two years ago, films were shown with families and children hiding in a basement. In the final scene, soldiers storm up with automatic weapons, she says.

-Looking at an action film at home as a child, the parents can comfort. If you're taking movies from Disney, parents can comfort the kids and say it's not true, but here's no comfort and the kids get awful nightmares.

According to the National Media Council, which has the task of setting the age limits for films to be shown to children under the age of 15, the event fulfills the criteria for a general gathering and the films must, by law, have an age limit set by the authority.

They have pointed out to the police that the organizers of the gathering failed to seek permission to display the films. Penalty scale for violation of the law includes prison.

When Metro talks with the press department at the Stockholm Stock Exchange, they say they do not know anything about the permission and refer questions about the films to the community's legal department.

"We hope that nothing will be experienced in a negative way for anyone. Of course, this is not the goal of something we show, but it is our legal department that answers such questions, "said Niklas Sondell from the press department.

Yesterday, the Stockholm Police could not answer if they had been to the event to check whether a breach was committed.

"We hope that nothing will be experienced in a negative way for anyone." Niklas Sondell at the Jehovah's Witnesses Press Department

BOX: 22,000 witnesses in Sweden

More than eight million members worldwide, distributed in 240 countries.

In Sweden there are approximately 22,000 active members in 310 parliaments.

Is the only religious community that has been denied state subsidies. In 2017, the government said no with the motivation that society urges its members not to receive blood transfusions for minors.

Read original language online article:
https://www.metro.se/artikel/jehovas-vittnen-visar-filmer-som-tar-avst%C3%A5nd-fr%C3%A5n-hbtq-utan-n%C3%B6dv%C3%A4ndigt-tillst%C3%A5nd


I'm compared to pedophiles and killers - to the joy of the sect

Metro (Sweden), Monday, July 2, 2018 - page 24 (via Google Translate)

PICTURE: When Jehovah's Witnesses gathered for an open gathering in the Friends Arena in 2015, 50,000 people participated. "I remember the feeling of happiness and togetherness," writes Erik Engelv, who has experience in similar fairs since before hoping for Jehovah's Witnesses.

Sect. Now that I stand outside Jehovah's Witnesses, I see a propaganda machine claiming that the Hbt movement is God's opponent. Can I really just watch when my parents applaud this to the same place where I worked a few months ago as a married gayman? writes Erik Engelv.

"Those who are leading society today know that HBTQ questions are sensitive and a great subject to show we are against them" Defector Erik Engelv

Ever since childbirth, I was fed with what Jehovah's Witnesses believe is original Christianity in the Bible. You will certainly recognize that you do not receive blood, celebrate birthdays or have sex before marriage. A little inquisitive when you look at theology deeper, you find further ideas that all other religion is fake, that those who leave the congregation are to be completely thrown out and that gay men are equated with rapists, pedophiles and killer.

I was absolutely convinced that this was the truth. I remember the feeling of happiness and togetherness when you gathered in thousands for the annual summer gathering and received thorough education in the Bible's teachings and how I'm expected to live like a true Christian.

When I now, as an adult, is out of the sect, I see something completely different. I see a propaganda machine who wants to claim that the entire HBTQ movement is God's opponent. I see how to produce and show movies with messages calling for zero tolerance to married marriages. And I am reminded that, when he has received enough of the misery on earth, Jesus comes down on his white horse to clean up all of us who believe that one must love just who one wants. And it happens completely open. On my own home.

We must never forget that everyone is entitled to his own faith and thank God for freedom of speech! But we must also sharply question and visualize what was actually said this weekend at the Stockholm Fair, where the city of Stockholm is a partner.

Quite honestly, I have difficulty believing that all individuals who call themselves Jehovah's Witnesses will dare to base themselves on this. But this is how sect mechanisms work in practice. The leaders of society today know that hbtq questions are sensitive and an excellent topic for creating a "we against them" spirit. And the more we who look from the outside react and act, the more they see the reason to quit.

Should we be quiet? Can I really just watch when my parents are sitting and applauding this message in the same place where I worked a few months ago like a married gayman? Is it okay that, on the one hand, the city of Stockholm is receiving income from a society with socially destructive messages, on the other hand, being one of the world's most hbtq-friendly cities? Should we offer a platform for this message around the corner from the staircase where I hung up in the summer rain with that young man who had so soft lips and so beautiful curly hair?

Ironically, I will think of a verse in the Old Testament often used in religious rhetoric. "Do not be afraid, because there are more with us than with them." Do you know what I think? I think we are far many more who stand for all people's equal value and equal rights. I am absolutely sure that we will be many, many more who celebrate all the Pride Parades around the country than the religious group gathered at the Stockholm Fair.

For love overcomes everything. It says so. Also in their Bible!

BOX: Erik Engelv

Age: 34.

Location: Stockholm.

Employment: Head of sales.

BOX: Do you need someone listening?

The help source is a religious and politically unrelated activity that offers support and information to people who are, are, no longer want to be, or are considering becoming members of a closed religious community.

Read more here: hjalpkallan.se

Read original language online article:
https://www.metro.se/artikel/debatt-mina-f%C3%B6r%C3%A4ldrar-appl%C3%A5derar-n%C3%A4r-jag-j%C3%A4mf%C3%B6rs-med-pedofiler-och-m%C3%B6rdare

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Debate article today in Metro (Swedish edition) - JW and LBGT

My friend got his debate article published today in the Swedish edition of Metro!:

LINK TO ARTICLE

This is my translation of the article, might be a bit hurried so ask questions in comments for clarification:

Debate: My parents applaud when I am compared to pedofiles and murderers

Erik Engelv | Metro | Publicised: 02 July 2018 - 09:12

(text under picture with “JESUS”)

Are we supposed to offer a platform for this message across the corner from the stairs where I in the summer rain was making out with that young man with such soft lips and such beautiful hair?, writes Erik Engelv.

(text under the picture of Erik)

Photo: Edward Cisneros/Unsplash, Yurika Palmqvist

-

I can today when I am outside the Jehovah's Witnesses see the propaganda machine that insinuates that the LGBT-movement is God's enemy. Can I just stand here and watch while my parents approvingly applaud this in the same place where I just a few months ago worked as a married gay man?, writes Erik Engelv.

(text in box)

This a debate article. The opinions expressed is of the person who wrote the text, not Metro. Metro is a politically neutral paper.

-

Ever since childhood I was fed with what Jehovah’s witnesses deems to be original christendom in the Bible. You might recognize that they do not accept blood, celebrate birthdays or have sex before marriage. But when you look closer at the ideology you will find, nicely packaged, further ideas that all other religions are false, that those who leave the congregation must be shunned completely and that homosexuals are equal to rapists, pedofiles and murderers.

(text by vertical bar)

“Is it really acceptable that the city of Stockholm on one hand makes profit from an association with antisocial messages while on the other hand is supposed to be one of the worlds most LGBT-friendly cities?”

-

I was completely convinced that this was the truth. I remember the feeling of happiness and community when we gathered by the thousands for the yearly convention and was given thorough education in the teachings of the Bible and how I was supposed to live as a true christian.

Now that I as an adult stand separate from the sect I see something completely different. I see a propaganda machine that wants to portray the whole LGBT-movements as God’s enemy. I see how they produce and broadcast videos with messages that incites zero-tolerance for same-sex marriages. I am also reminded of Jesus, when he has had enough of the mess on Earth, will arrive on his white horse and cleanse from it all of us who believe that you are allowed to love whomever you want. This is happening publicly. On my own doorstep.

We must never forget that everyone has the right to their own beliefs and thank God for freedom of speech! But we must also sharply question and make public what really was said this weekend in Stockholmsmässan (translator's note: the place where the convention was held) where our capital city is a partner/co-owner.

Honestly I have a hard time believing that each and all individuals who calls themselves Jehovah’s witnesses will dare to support this. But that is how sects works in practice. They who are the leaders today know that LGBT-issues are sensitive and a fertile ground where they can create a “us versus them”-feeling. The more they see us on the outside reaction and acting, the more they see a reason to become a closed community.

Are we to be silent? Can I just stand here and watch while my parents approvingly applaud this in the same place where I just a few months ago worked as a married gay man? Is it really acceptable that the city of Stockholm on one hand makes profit from an association with antisocial messages while on the other hand is supposed to be one of the worlds most LGBT-friendly cities? Are we supposed to offer a platform for this message across the corner from the stairs where I in the summer rain was making out with that young man with such soft lips and such beautiful hair?

Ironically enough I am reminded of a verse in the old testament that is commonly used in their religious rhetoric. "Don't be afraid, for there are more on our side than on theirs". You know what? I think there are many more of us that approves of the idea that all people have the same worth and has equal rights. I am convinced that we are going to be much more numerous when we celebrate all the Pride parades all over the country than the religious group was when they gathered at Stockholmsmässan.

Love conquers all. That is written. Even i their Bible.

Erik Engelv

(text in box)

About the author

Age: 34.

Location: Stockholm.

Occupation: Head of sales.

(text in box)

Do you need a listening ear?

Hjälpkällan is a religiously and politically neutral organisation that offers support and information to persons who has been, is, or want to leave or join a closed religious community.

Read more at: hjalpkallan.se

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On 7/2/2018 at 11:15 PM, Jack Ryan said:

It is the fourth year that Jehovah's Witnesses annual gathering is held at the Stockholm Fair, which is part of the City of Stockholm. This year, the key message is to show courage.

 

I wonder why they would choose that theme?

On 7/2/2018 at 11:15 PM, Jack Ryan said:

-They do not realize how dangerous this is for children. Two years ago, films were shown with families and children hiding in a basement. In the final scene, soldiers storm up with automatic weapons, she says.

 

Yeah, like how police have shown up in Russia, typically in full riot gear, to arrest members of the faith.

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Stockholm Sweden is famous for it's acceptance of all kinds of people, ideas and philosophies, and welcoming people that will eventually lead to their destruction ( such as immigrants who will not eat ham sandwiches ...) .

Speaking of controversial choices, and Sweden, and Food, and diversity ....

 

Food Fight! (Extended Version) _ with The Swedish Chef _ Muppisode _ The Muppets.mp4

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3 hours ago, Jack Ryan said:

Swedish POLICE launch preliminary INVESTIGATION in Jehovah's Witnesses anti-LGBT video from 2018 Regional Convention

It just isn't possible to understand the Bible's code of conduct unless you accept it as of divine origin and obligatory. With that as a basis, then personal difficulties with it's requirements remain in that context, as a problem for the individual to resolve, not a problem with the requirement.

It just isn't possible to compromise the Bible's view on specific LBGT behavioural issues, despite the attempts of various religionists. So there will always be conflict between those who reject the Bible standard for sexual behaviour and those who adhere to and promote it. This conflict extends into the legal arena as the conflict has been blended with a human rights issue which basically excludes a consideration of God's will on the matter.

The Bible does not always give the reasons for why a course of conduct is right or wrong in God's eyes. That determination is left to the individual and may either be deduced by logic or by observation, over time. (Why circumcision on the 8th day? Also, see the book "None of These Diseases").

The basic, ubiquitous reason given for keeping God's requirements is the rather generally stated: "That it may go well for you" but this is just not enough of a reason for many. In fact, no reason is sufficient for those who just do not want to live by the Bible's code of conduct. What is most puzzling however is the fact that those who "do not" seek to impose by force an acceptance of that preference on those who "do". This takes the conflict into the thorny area of state control v freedom of religious expression.

Nevertheless, this conflict will continue. The fact remains that Jehovah's Witnesses do not discriminate against those who describe themselves in the terms of the LBGT movement. However they do discriminate, vigorously, against the sexual practices that identify such ones, and that will never change.

There's nothing new about rejection of the standards of the God of the Bible, and there's nothing new about the attempts on one group or another to introduce a reversal of those standards, even to the point of asserting that the practice once abhorred is now promoted by God. It follows the pattern of behaviour prevalent at the time of the prophet Isaiah and expressed at Isaiah 5:20:

"Woe to those who say that good is bad and bad is good,those who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness,those who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"

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3 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

Yeah, like how police have shown up in Russia, typically in full riot gear, to arrest members of the faith.

Sweden is just exercising their right to challenge anyone they think is no conforming to the E.U. empowerment of gay rights.

While they can scrutinize the Watchtower, they will not be able to prove malice. We are in an age of religion being challenged by the far left that has embodied itself to atheism rather than a religious order. But why would it surprise anyone within the Watchtower organization, if these events are foretold?

LGBT people have the same human rights as all individuals, which include the right to non-discrimination in the enjoyment of these rights. This

principle is enshrined in numerous international instruments, providing

for a wide scope in its application. Specifically, at the global level, it is

embodied in Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political

Rights (ICCPR) and Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic,

Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (see Annex 1).

The EU unanimously supported the December 2008 United Nations

General Assembly (UNGA) Statement on human rights, sexual orientation

and gender identity

1

supported by 68 countries from five continents. The Statement reaffirms the principle of non-discrimination and condemns executions, arbitrary arrest or violations of human rights on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

 

The same principle that is emerging in the U.S. Religion has been steadily being attacked since the millennials took over. 2000’s

The E.U will someday decide who is more beneficial. Christianity had a long run, So, now?

For now, just like article 26 give rights to gays? Article 9 give the same rights to religion. What the E.U. wants is a balanced approach by conscience.

In the meantime? Read up on all the sensational propaganda news.

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On 7/2/2018 at 11:15 PM, Jack Ryan said:

Sabina Sjöberg, who left Jehovah's Witnesses just over 20 years ago.

 

On 7/2/2018 at 11:15 PM, Jack Ryan said:

If you're taking movies from Disney, parents can comfort the kids and say it's not true, but here's no comfort and the kids get awful nightmares.

I guess she is talking from personal experience or the "testimony" from others who have left?

She makes it sound like JW parents revel in the idea that their children are going to personally witness and suffer persecution. "There is no comfort" ? Of course there is comfort, and I would hope parents of young children who show concern and fear over the videos would be sensible enough to put their child's mind at ease with age appropriate explanations.  A good topic for family worship no doubt. I have read a few "life stories" of ex witnesses who say that as children they were traumatized by images of Armageddon in the earlier publications. The scene with the little boy in the video perhaps illustrates that very instance.  Parents however are shown clearly a suggestion of how to deal with that kind of concern a child might have. I would say the video alerts parents to keep an eye out and be proactive in addressing great tribulation and Armageddon related issues....Just my thoughts anyway, but since I no longer have young children, out of interest I will ask a few of the moms who do.

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6 hours ago, alvi languore insanabili said:

While they can scrutinize the Watchtower, they will not be able to prove malice. We are in an age of religion being challenged by the far left that has embodied itself to atheism rather than a religious order. But why would it surprise anyone within the Watchtower organization, if these events are foretold?

 

 

You are right, and it does not. I will admit, however being surprised as the suddenness of the onslaught. This makes the third of three entirely separate reasons to viciously attack Jehovah's Witnesses, in Russia even banning them.

It appears to be like Jesus said abut the theif not announcing his presence beforehand and so the householder must keep on the watch. To the extent ones have done that, they are probably glad of it. It appears to be getting near to crunch time.

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8 minutes ago, Anna said:

I have read a few "life stories" of ex witnesses who say that as children they were traumatized by images of Armageddon in the earlier publications. The scene with the little boy in the video perhaps illustrates that very instance. 

Yes, it reminds me of the Newsweek cover a few years back emblazoning the headlines of recent disasters on all fronts, then concluding (on the cover) with a nice reassuring message for the children , because it didn't want to frighten them: "What the !@!* is next?" it read.

http://www.tomsheepandgoats.com/2011/04/what-the-is-next.html

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      The Court noted that religious freedom is internationally protected and that any limitation must be a based on “serious and compelling reasons,” as prescribed in the European Convention on Human Rights. (HFD at 10.)  The European Court of Justice has identified some limitations on religious freedom that do not violate the European Convention on Human Rights, such as prohibitions against “polygamy, child marriages, flagrant crimes against the equality between the sexes and acts forced upon members of a religious organization against their will.”  (HFD at 11; Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Nov. 4,1950, as amended), European Court of Human Rights website.)
      The Court found that there is a presumption in Swedish case law (established in HFD 2011 ref 10) that all applicant organizations subscribe to the fundamental values of Sweden. (HFD at 10-11.)  Thus, the burden of proof rests with the government to prove that the organization in question does not support these values.  (Id.)
      The Court observed that Swedish law has long recognized that a patient has an unrestricted right to refrain from medical treatment. (HFD at 12.)  By statute, “healthcare as a rule cannot be provided without the consent of the patient.”  (Id.; 4 ch. 2 § Patientlagen SFS 2014:821.)  Therefore, the Court argued, a personal choice not to accept blood transfusions would not violate the fundamental values of Swedish society; rather, that choice is part of the fundamental value that medical decisions belong to the patient.  (HFD at 12.) Moreover, parents have the right to object to certain treatments on behalf of their children.  (HFD at 13.)  The Court further observed that  Swedish law provides for a system whereby the state can take over the health responsibility of a child (by means of compulsory care under the law on forced treatment of youths) from the parents, and Jehovah’s Witnesses encourage parents, if this happens, to cooperate with the state.  It therefore concluded that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ position against blood transfusions for minors does not violate fundamental Swedish principles.  (HFD at 13; Lag med Särskilda Bestämmelser om Vård av Unga [Act on Special Provisions on Care of Youths [LVU] (SFS 1990:52), LAGEN.NU.)
      One judge dissented and argued that the fact that children belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subject to “compulsory care” by the state for medical reasons demonstrates that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not subscribe to the fundamental principles required to receive state funding.  (HFD at 17.)
      Aftermath of the Court Decision
      The ruling sends the application back to the government, which will have to make a new decision consistent with the verdict. (HFD at 13-14.) If there are no reasons other than the practice of refusing children’s blood transfusions to deny the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ application for funding, the application should be granted.  (HFD at 13-14.)
      Religious organizations may soon see another set of rules apply, however, as the Swedish government is researching a new law on state funding of faith-based organizations; a report is expected to be issued in March 2018.  (Översyn av statens stöd till trossamfund [Review of State Funding for Religious Organizations], REGERINGSKANSLIET (June 30, 2016).) Among the reasons for the review is to evaluate whether the government should withdraw funding when it is discovered that the faith-based organization receiving the grant has developed in a non-democratic direction. (Kommittédirektiv (Dir. 2016:62), Översyn av statens stöd till trossamfund, KULTURDEPARTEMENTET (June 30, 2016), at 3.) Moreover, the committee reviewing the state-funding program has been asked by the Department of Culture to look at ways to make the law more religiously neutral by using language other than “ceremony and service” ( gudstjänst).  (Id. at 6.)  The committee was also directed to propose language that would permit the recovery of funds that have been used to fund non-democratic ideas.  (Id.)
      Several Members of the Swedish Parliament (Sveriges Riskdag), representing five out of seven political groups, have previously voiced similar concerns and objected to the funding of religious organizations that promote gender inequality and discrimination against sexual minorities.  (Fel att skattepengar går till hederskultur [Wrong that Tax Funds Honor Cultures], AFTONBLADET (Feb. 25, 2016).)
      Author: Elin Hofverberg
      Topic: Discrimination, Freedom of religion, Religious minorities
      Jurisdiction: Sweden
      Date: February 24, 2017
      http://www.loc.gov/law/foreign-news/article/sweden-jehovahs-witnesses-have-right-to-state-funding/
    • By The Librarian
      Someone should invent heated literature cart handles ;-)
    • By JAMMY
      http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-37311038
       
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Sweden has made a formal request to interview Assange in Ecuador’s London Embassy, four years after the initial offer from Ecuadorian authorities
       
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    • Uh oh. You are reacting (and I thank you) to my Dawkins post on the wrong thread. Be prepared for an onslaught from @AlanF about how STUPID you are!  
    • Why I enjoyed your piece : it cclearly identifies the cantankerous way all darwinists act...... the religion seems to affect them this way.   Mr Dawkins has embarrassed himself quite a lot since he became a celebrity for the cause......  I think the best video I saw of him is when he said that aliens seeded the earth. ..... in a discussion on the origins of life. ..
    • Loved your contribution above.  The propaganda regarding the  "religion of peace" hides its extreme and barbaric violence.  True, JWs are the true religion of peace for refusing any political division in our ranks (not taking sides) or going to war to fight any of this system's battles. It is encouraging to be able to identify this nation on earth. I studied the "religion of peace" ...... most people in UK call it by this name now because one can get 2 years in prison for islamaphobia.  One can mock a Christian, burn the bible, call jesus an adulterer and make funny pictures of him but do NOT hint at  anything against the "religion of peace".  Oh-  I am comparing the injustice of the world in its bias treatment of JWs again in OCD way...... that will trigger Mr. JAH2......
    • This is not technically true. Admittedly, there was much opinion, but there was also at least one bit of solid information content: It would be very hard to dispute with that one.
    • I think a lot of people suspected that pretty quickly, especially as their top 3 issues appear to be the same, and as time goes on, even their pet peeves match up. I don't know for sure that JB was "DF'd" from the site, but it's the impression I got because there was some kind of warning, and then he was gone. At this point if they are the same, I don't think it matters in the slightest. But the reason I jump in on this topic is because I don't want anyone to be confused with my use of the term DF.  According to JB, he was treated as if DF'd in his congregation, even though he was not officially DF'd by a committee of elders. Not all of the reasons for this treatment were clear. Now that you have suspected that 4Jah2me was DF'd, I just figured that the JB story ought to be a reminder that it's always possible 4Jah2me was never DF'd either. 
    • Tweeted Richard Dawkins one fine day (11/13/19): “You could easily spot any Religion of Peace. Its extremist members would be extremely peaceful”  Can it be? Is Richard Dawkins referring to Jehovah’s Witnesses—universally known for being “extremely peaceful” yet declared “extremists” in Russia? If so, I will take back the relatively few bad things I have said about him. I have not really said THAT many bad things about him. At times, I have even been complimentary. When he blessed the atheist buses rolling out in London, I said that he raised a good point—his was a reaction to existing “hellfire’ buses, with advertising from the church. He did wuss-out, though, with a: “There probably is no God.” Probably? It wasn’t until I began following him on Twitter, though, that I noticed how breathtakingly contemptuous he was toward anyone who disagreed with him—not merely about God, but also on geopolitical things—and then I did say a few mean things. For example, I said of him that “he does not suffer fools gladly, and a fool is anyone who disagrees with him.” However, he has largely repented over this online meanness. I’ve noticed it over the months. He has not banished it entirely, but it is much less prevalent, so that I regret that I ever said what I did.  The temptation to be disdainful of opponents is well-nigh irresistible, particularly if you think that they are willfully choosing ignorance. I have (more or less) mastered the temptation, of course, but I have a source of effective and unending counsel that he does not. This is no more concisely stated than it was at a recent Watchtower Study. A Bible verse considered how we ought “do nothing out of contentiousness or out of egotism, but with humility consider others superior to you.” (Philippians 2:3) Practically speaking, this advice is not easy to implement. It may even strike one as nonsensical—how can everyone be superior to everyone else? Said that Watchtower: “The humble person acknowledges that everyone is superior to him in some way.—Phil. 2:3, 4.”  Of course. In some way everyone is superior to everyone else. Search for that way, hone in on it like a laser beam, and it will not be so difficult to treat even opponents with respect. “Disagree without being disagreeable” is the catchphrase today. But Professor Dawkins does not have this advantage. Much of his tradition would sway him in just the opposite “survival of the fittest” direction. So he must be given credit for his new, somewhat softer, online personality. Possibly someone who has his best interests at heart—perhaps his wife—said, “Richard, you sure do come across as a cantankerous crank on Twitter,” and he deliberately walked it back. It’s commendable. Now, I don’t think Richard had Jehovah’s Witnesses in mind with his tweet. He probably has formed his views of them through the contributions of their “apostate” contingent, and those views could hardly be blacker. I looked down among his comments to see whether any of those nasties had reared their heads. Perhaps here was an example: “Not entirely true. Extremists usually have their own misinterpretation of scriptures.” I responded to this one: “If “misinterpretation” results in a religion of peace, perhaps it is not a misinterpretation after all. Perhaps the mainline view is a misinterpretation.” Is that not a no-brainer?  Another one, disagreeing with the above tweet: “Actually no. Most extremists do exactly what is written in their book. ‘Misinterpretation’ is used as an argument by believers that cherry pick morals that fit our secular ethics today.” I know this type, too. This is the type that finds slavery in the Bible or war in the Old Testament and rails at the “hypocrisy.” I responded to this fellow as well: “Everything has a historical context and to deliberately ignore such context is to be intellectually dishonest. If our side does it to theirs, we never hear the end of it.” He blew up at this reference to context. Evil is evil, he carried on, across all places and time-frames. These characters are very predictable—you could even write their lines for them and not be too far off. Has “critical thinking” made us all nincompoops? It was once thought the most intelligent thing in the world to consider historical backdrop; one was irresponsible, even deceitful, not to do it. Very well. If he is going to trash, with blinders affixed, the source that I hold dear, I will do the same with his source: “You should turn your critical thinking skills upon Ancient Greece, the definer of it. When time travel is invented, history revisionists will give a friendly wave to American slaveholding forefathers as they race back in time to fetch wicked Greek pedophiles—it was an enshrined value of that world—back in irons.” He was not chastened by this. Hijacking Twitter as his personal courtroom, he cross-examined: “Is the holding and beating of slaves, as described in Exodus, morally acceptable? Yes or no?” I countered: “Is the raping of children as endorsed by Ancient Greek society morally acceptable? Yes or no?” Incredibly, he was not dissuaded. “Last chance!” he shot back. “Is the holding and beating of slaves, as described in Exodus, morally acceptable? Yes or no?” “To the blockheads, I became a blockhead.”—Paul (sort of) —1 Corinthians 9:19-22,” I tweeted back: “Two can play the game of obstinacy. Last chance: Is the rape of children—it was enshrined in Ancient Greek society—morally acceptable? Yes or no?” Then I went away, and when I came back, he had deleted all this tweets so that it was hard for me to reconstruct the thread. However, someone else had pointed out a grave sin I had committed: “Thomas you are guilty of the moral equivalence fallacy.” Am I? I suppose. You can sort of guess by the wording just what that phrase means—I had not heard it before. At least it is in English. I once heard a theologian quip that if there is a Latin phrase and a perfectly clear English phrase that means the same thing, always use the Latin phrase so people will know that you are educated. But my “moral equivalence fallacy” is still is no more than considering historical context, a praiseworthy intellectual technique for all time periods except ours.  Besides, I actually had posted something about slavery long ago. But it is not a topic so simple that it can be hashed out in a few tweets, and so I declined to go there with this fellow, who would debate all the sub-points. If God corrected every human injustice the moment it manifested itself, there would be nothing left. The entire premise of the Bible is that human-rule is unjust in itself and that God allows a period of time for that to be clearly manifested before bringing in his kingdom—the one referred to in the “Lord’s prayer”—to straighten it all out. In the meantime, the very ones who work themselves into a lather at religion “brainwashing” people are livid that God did not brainwash slavery away once humans settled upon it as a fine economic underpinning. If Dawkins’s tweet and my response hangs around long enough before burial in the Twitter feed, I would expect some of our malcontents to observe as they did in Russia, where the only evidence of extremism cited is proclaiming “a religious view of supremacy.” Huge protest will come at how Jehovah’s Witnesses practice shunning and thus “destroy” relationships and even family. But views inevitably translate into consequences and policies. Refusal to “come together” with those who insist on diametrically opposed views is hardly the “extremism” of ISIS—and yet the Russian Supreme Court has declared that it is, with the full backing in principle of those from the ex-JW community—the ones who go crusading, which is perhaps 10%. I’m going to write this up as a post and append it to his thread. Let’s see what happens. Probably nothing, but you never know. Plus, let’s expand on that particular Watchtower some more. The particular article covered was entitled: “Jehovah Values His Humble Servants” (September 2019 issue—study edition) Unlike nearly all religious services, Witness meetings are ones that you can prepare for. You can comment during them. They are studies of the sacred book, not just impromptu rap sessions, acquiescencing to ceremony, or sitting through someone else’s sermon. You can prepare for them, and you are benefited, as in any classroom, when you do. The focus here, as it so often is, is on practical application.  Humility draws persons to us. Haughtiness repels them, and thus makes next to impossible the mantra to “come together.” My own comment, when the time was right, was that haughty people can only accomplish so much—it may be a great deal, for haughty people are often very capable people—but eventually they run up against the fact that nobody else can stand them, and so people are motivated to undercut their ideas, even if they are good ones, out of sheer payback for ugliness. Humble people, on the other hand, may be far less capable individually, but their efforts add up. They know how to cooperate and yield to each other in a way that haughty people do not. Someone else on that Dawkins thread, an amateur wit, played with that them of unlikely extremists: “Jehova's witnesses are peaceful but their extremists are better extremely annoying...” Why fight this? It is a viewpoint. Viewpoints are not wrong, because they are viewpoints—right or wrong doesn’t enter into the equation. Better to roll with it. I was indeed on a roll, and so I tweeted back:  “I will grant that they can be. Still, if you had a choice between a team of JWs approaching your door and a team of ISIS members, you would (hopefully) choose theformer. Those 2 groups, and only those 2 groups are officially declared “extremist” in Russia.” And with that, I included a link to my ebook, “Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia.” I am shameless in that. No matter how many books I sell, it is not enough. I don’t sell them, anyway. The book is free, a labor of love. It is an application of the theme: “If you have something important to say, don’t hide it behind a paywall.” It is the only, to my knowledge, complete history of events leading up to and beyond the 2017 ban of the Witness organization in Russia. As to the latest developments there, another one was herded off to prison, who, making the best of a sour situation, or perhaps genuinely finding value there, said: "I want to thank … prosecution. I don't just thank you, but thank you very much, because thanks to you my faith has become stronger … I see I'm on the right path." Of course. It is unreasonable to oppose so vehemently a people totally honest, hard-working, and given to peace—and yet the Bible says that such will exactly happen. How can it not serve to strengthen faith?
    • According to scientific knowledge, the entire universe is in two states every day: something becomes and something disappears. Life on Earth is in the same status. I am disappointed with suffer of creatures on Earth, too. And can't connect with "my picture" of God as i accepted through JW Bible interpretations and my own interpretations, then and now. What if we made wrong pictures about Creator? .... based on wrong or failed text? 
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