The Librarian

Is the UN preparing to attack Religion?

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Our Brother Bill Underwood wrote an interesting article in the newspaper:

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If you had to choose between Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Speech, which would you choose?Now, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t have to choose, I already have both.’ Are you sure?Last August, the central district court of Tver – the oblast or ‘state’ in which Moscow resides, banned a religious website, jw.org. They did this secretly, not notifying the owners of the website until the day before the ban was to go into effect – January 22, 2014. Had they prevailed, their rationale would have been to claim, as they have in the past, that the ‘free speech’ on jw.org defames other religions. Jw.org won that battle in the court of appeals, but the foundation on which the attack was based still exists.In 1999, Pakistan brought a resolution to the UN calling for a ban on “Defamation of Islam.” Cooler heads prevailed and, after much discussion, the Commission on Human Rights passed instead a resolution banning “Defamation of Religion.”Over the years from 2000 to 2009 the resolution was added to, revised, strengthened, and re-worded, but it was consistently approved. Aside from the lack of elections, U.N. politicians are no different from any other type. It would have been politically incorrect to be seen as anti-Muslim, especially after 9/11, so passing a bill to protect them from defamation seemed like a good idea. Typical was the vote of the UN General Assembly in December, 2007: 108 for, 51 against, and 25 abstaining.In 2009, however, Pakistan pushed again. Their resolution that year stated that they were concerned that defamation of religion led to “the creation of a kind of Islamophobia in which Muslims were typecast as terrorists." They weren't opposed to freedom of expression, oh no. They merely wanted to ban "expression that led to incitement.”They said the hatred of Muslims was just like the hatred of Jews that Hitler had whipped up in pre-WWII Germany, and look what that led to. Has there been a Muslim “krystallnacht” that I didn’t hear about...the night of August 9, 1938 when Germans destroyed over 7,000 Jewish businesses and over 1,000 synagogues? Even in the days after 9/11 when there was enormous outrage against Muslims, the level of hatred never approached that.Pakistan’s proposed resolution said basically that freedom of speech sometimes has to yield in order to maintain peace. Governments such as Russia, Pakistan, and most of the middle east are quick to use this argument: some opinion or expression of yours is causing distress to others; therefore, instead of telling the ‘others’ to grow up and get over it, they tell you to stop expressing your opinion.In any case, this was a step too far, and the pendulum began to swing back. Pakistan’s argument was recognized for what it was, and over 200 civic groups, some Muslim, some Christian, some atheist, demanded that the UN push back.Over the preceding 10 years, the UN had assigned a “special rapporteur” to analyze the subject of defamation of religion and report back. The rapporteur’s report in 2009 included this telling statement:

  • “[We] encourage a shift away from the sociological concept of the defamation of religions towards the legal norm of non-incitement to national, racial or religious hatred."

Three months later when the United States and Egypt introduced a resolution which condemned "racial and religious stereotyping," EU representative Jean-Baptiste Mattei said the European Union "rejected and would continue to reject the concept of defamation of religions." Significantly, he said:

  • "Human rights laws did not and should not protect belief systems."

And the representative from Chile pointed out that,

  • "The concept of the defamation of religion took them in an area that could lead to the actual prohibition of opinions."

A month later, at a human rights meeting in Geneva, the United States representative admitted that defamation of religion is “a fundamentally flawed concept.” The rep from Sweden repeated what the Frenchman had said earlier: international human rights law protects individuals, not institutions or religions.By 2011 the backlash was complete. The UNHRC declared that "Prohibitions of displays of lack of respect for a religion or other belief system, including blasphemy laws, are incompatible with” the charter of the Human Rights Committee.In the years since then, any proposal in the UN attempting to ban ‘defamation of religion’ has been shot down. Freedom of speech has trumped freedom of religion.Last week, far from worrying about ‘defamation,’ the UN came out loudly and publicly chastising the Vatican.

  • This has never happened before.

Their purported justification for doing so went like this: The Vatican is a signatory of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 34 of which reads in part:

  • “Parties undertake to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.”

The UN accused the Vatican not merely of failing to protect children, but of actively endangering children by their policy of moving pederasts to new parishes where they could continue their predations, and of obfuscating all attempts by law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the offenders.Now, here’s where it gets really interesting: The UN went further. They also condemned the Church’s doctrines regarding homosexuality, abortion, and ‘reproductive rights.’Chastising a signatory of a contract for failing to abide by the contract is one thing; Attempting to dictate to a church what their doctrines should be is something else. Where is the UN’s authority to do that? Yet they did it anyway.If, as the UN says, religions and belief systems are not protected by human rights - and I agree, they clearly are not – what prevents them from taking the next step: deciding that religions and belief systems are nothing more than ancient superstitions that are doing more harm than good, and that it’s time to ban them?It’s too bad the UN doesn’t have any teeth. Do they? We'll Investigate that next.

Bill.underwood@mail.com

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The United Nations and Religion

Who better to discuss religious freedom than the man tasked with promoting and defending it for the United Nations?

 
Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.

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Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.Photo courtesy United Nations - Geneva via Flickr


This image available for Web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.I caught up with Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt, U.N. special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, on the eve of his first official visit to Jordan last week. Speaking from the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany where he’s also a human rights professor, Bielefeldt discussed the fundamentals of religious freedom, how it fits together with other rights, some of the worst offenders around the world and the state of religious liberty in the Middle East.The conversation started with a simple but loaded question: What is religious freedom? Bielefeldt acknowledged that defining it can be a tricky and often political endeavor — governments, scholars, people of faith and those of none sometimes tailor its definitions to suit their own interests.He sees religious freedom first and foremost as a human right that protects human beings rather than one that protects particular belief systems:

  • “Religious freedom is as universal as any other human right and as liberal as freedom of expression. It protects a broad range of human freedoms like the search for meaning, the freedom to leave or change communities, to adopt a new faith, to spread one’s beliefs and to establish educational institutions. Like every other right to freedom, it’s about the right to equality.”

But religious liberty often comes into conflict with other rights, like when it’s summoned up to suppress free speech or to oppress women and sexual minorities. Bielefeldt said these examples are “problematic invocations” rather than legitimate uses of religious freedom.Beyond such “subversion”, Bielefeldt identified three major obstacles to religious freedom around the world today:

  • “One of the biggest obstacles is hatred, collective manifestations of hatred caused by aggravating societal circumstances. Another big problem is that, increasingly, people think freedom of religion or belief might be superfluous or not a human right at all. Another big issue is the situation of religious minorities worldwide. Some minorities are harassed, stigmatized and treated as though they do not belong to the nation.”

In determining the worst state offenders of religious freedom, Bielefeldt thinks it wise to distinguish systematic state discrimination from society-based hostilities, citing China as an example of the former and Nigeria the latter:

  • “In China, it seems the general population doesn’t care so much [about religion]. It’s really restrictive government policies that threaten religious freedom. We see that with the Falun Gong in Tibet, Protestants and Catholics, the non-recognition of churches. Freedom of belief is facilitated by state administration. Unless the state registers a group, it is illegal. That goes against the spirit of human rights. Here it’s not the society really, but rather the state apparatus exercising oppression.
  • “In Nigeria, it’s totally different. There, Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, is terrorizing Christians, but also many Muslims. State institutions can’t provide protection. It’s a totally different pattern.”

Bielefeldt said the Middle East, and Egypt specifically, are home to both systems of oppression and a host of other complicating factors:

  • “What we’re seeing now throughout the region is an enormous politicization of religion, especially of Islam. It’s a huge and complicated conflict that cannot simply be spelled out as Muslims vs. Christians. That would be too easy. In Egypt, there are Muslims and Christians on both sides of the political debate.
  • “Christians are now an easy target group for people to vent their frustrations. It’s about the identity of the country, about creating a new Egypt. Religion is a big part of that, but it’s not the only thing. One shouldn’t leave out unemployment, the desperate situation of youth, and disenchantment with the West and Western development strategies that have failed. It’s a complicated picture. Religion is a big part of it, but it’s not the key to understanding absolutely everything.”

On the international scale and particularly at the United Nations, Bielefeldt said the state and reputation of religious freedom have changed significantly in the past decade or so, notably around the discussion of religious defamation. Starting in the late 1990s, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, a group of 57 states that bills itself as the “collective voice of the Muslim world,” pushed for U.N. resolutions to prohibit such defamation.Bielefeldt said these resolutions “cast a shadow” on religious freedom:

  • “The defamation of religions issue was articulated as a dichotomy of freedom of expression and freedom of religion, which is totally wrong in my opinion. Freedom of expression is often seen as totally liberal, you can be provocative with it. But the perception of freedom of religion is that there is a stop sign. You can only go so far. That has contributed to the dubious reputation of freedom of religion as being somewhat less liberal, which is unfair and unjust. It is as liberal a right as any but has this perception that it somehow doesn’t fit.”

Red lines between religious liberty and freedom of expression surfaced amid these defamation debates when illustrations of the Prophet Muhammad, published in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, resulted in violent protests around the world. These demonstrations in 2005 and 2006 were led by some Muslims who deemed the depictions blasphemous and offensive. Bielefeldt said the fact that global media organizations reprinted the cartoons amid threats of violence “made it clear that there is no such right as the right to be free from criticism.”A U.N. Human Rights Council resolution in 2011 “put aside the discussion on religious defamation,” according to Bielefeldt, by considering and protecting both free speech and religious freedom.Bielefeldt is currently finishing a report on gender relations and religious freedom, in part to further emphasize his assertion that religious freedom should not be viewed as a right in isolation:

  • “In this report, I’m speaking out against fragmentation, the idea that human rights should focus on gender or religion. Some people think it’s an alternative, an either/or of anti-discrimination. I don’t share this view. I believe all human rights are interrelated in a positive sense.”

Bielefeldt is scheduled to issue preliminary findings from his current mission to Jordan on Sept. 10, with a full report slated for 2014.

http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2013/09/06/qa-with-united-nations-religious-freedom-czar-heiner-bielefeldt/

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On 6/17/2017 at 04:40, The Librarian said:

The UN accused the Vatican not merely of failing to protect children, but of actively endangering children by their policy of moving pederasts to new parishes where they could continue their predations, and of obfuscating all attempts by law enforcement agencies to find and prosecute the offenders.

why this sound so familiar to me, looks as the same problem as in some other religions

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I think they are being clear with their message:

Any questions?

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On 12/10/2017 at 10:37 AM, Srecko Sostar said:

Almost 2000 viewers, but no comment??

When you do not know the answers, sometimes it is best to let those who pretend to know, comment.

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NOTE: This is not a religious section of the forum, but I will respond based on the link between JW beliefs and certain expectations concerning the UN that are fairly unique to JW teachings.]

The protection of the civil rights of various religious groups for some will look exactly like the suppression of religion to others. If someone has a religious investment in defaming other religions, then telling them that they can no longer defame others is considered to be an encroachment on their own religious rights. There is no perfect solution to this problem. We know that Jesus and the apostles, too, set an example of pointing out the hypocrisy and wickedness found in the leaders of other religions. The attitude of the world itself and its non-religious philosophies are also defamed in the Bible. So there is nothing unchristian about defaming religion and empty worldly philosophy.

So what happens if there is a demand supported by international law to protect the civil rights of individuals by outlawing the defamation of their religion by another religion? This supposedly makes it impossible for religions which require the conversion of persons of other religions and ideologies. It is a necessary tenet of our religion that we promote it publicly just as 'Acts of Apostles' shows the earliest Christians spreading religion through conversion of others.

There have been several interesting tests of how Jehovah's Witnesses have reacted to political or legal pressure by the rules and laws of various nations. When I first visited Jehovah's Witnesses in Mexico, Mexico had rules that supported the Witnesses. We could preach and convert people exactly as we do in the United States and elsewhere. But due to past problems with the political power of the Catholic Church, they also had rules that restricted religious organizations from owning property. The Watchtower Society didn't like this restriction even though other religions had no problem with it. So it was decided that it would be OK for Witnesses in Mexico to act like a non-religious, civic organization that basically taught people how to read (using WT publications), but without prayer and singing and use of the Bible in door-to-door work. The talks at the Hall were considered to be "educational" and the TMS was about speech training. There could be no purely religious talk, especially of the kind that spoke out against other religions. Of course, as soon as the rule changed so that the Watchtower would now be allowed to own property, then the Watchtower allowed singing of kingdom songs, prayer and use of the Bible in service. The Watchtower had suppressed these proper forms of worship among Witnesses for decades, until the property rule changed.

In other places, most recently in Russia, Jehovah's Witnesses are being suppressed from Russia's own legal system, their national courts. (The undue influence from the Russian Orthodox Church also seems obvious.) In Mexico the suppression came from the rules of the Watchtower Society, but now the rules (in Russia) are part of the law of the land. Apparently, the initial design of the rules was not to stop Jehovah's Witnesses from worshiping, praying, using the Bible or singing kingdom songs. Any religion, including JWs, could still exist and Witnesses could do what they wanted, as long they wouldn't denigrate other religions through their publications and preaching activity. In Russia, we would have to become a religion that could not convert others using the current version of our message.

But, in Russia, we would not have to act like a civic organization. The goal was to "blunt" the sharper edges of the religion in terms of its control over membership through its own sets of laws and punishments. Russia would allow the religion to go on, but to be independent of literature produced or translated from the United States (that demeaned other religions) and independent of the control from the United States. Of course, this is not how the hierarchy of Jehovah's Witnesses works. The new interpretation of the "faithful and discreet slave" requires a close observation of the latest changes made by a specific group of 8 men in the United States. The brothers tried to convince the Russian court that they were not directly dependent on rules emanating from the United States, but this was actually seen to be a false claim and the court didn't accept it.

But this makes me think of a few questions. Is it possibly true already that enough influence has already emanated from the Governing Body so that Jehovah's Witnesses can now continue to follow the practices and doctrines already defined from prior publications and educational direction given in the past? This could be an important question because our publications have already promoted a view that, at any time, nations of the world could turn on Jehovah's Witnesses, and individuals might be "on their own" and will need to follow the direction of their local congregation elders. In some countries, the suppression could be so harsh that it may be difficult to find fellow members of a dissolved congregation. And this is also considered to be an indication that it may no longer be time for continued preaching work for the purpose of converting others, but time to remain faithful even if we seem to be on our own. 

Another question is a more basic one. Could our preaching work go on if we were not able to demean and diminish other religious choices publicly? Is this really the primary goal of the public preaching? What would happen if, in such countries, under such legal restrictions, our ministry transformed to one of good works for others of all religions, but especially toward those related to us in the faith. In the earliest public ministry mentioned in Acts, it is the sharing of food and possessions with those related in this faith in Jesus. That appears to be the big attraction of "the Way" -- those who would be Witnesses of Jesus to the most distant part of the earth. With a reputation of showing love and caring for their own, people were interested in what motivated them to such acts of goodwill and kindness toward each other. It was likely that the majority of those who were converted learned more about Christians from this reputation. Would such a new style of ministry work with JWs in Russia? What if JWs were the most well-known for how they took care of each other? What if they had the best practices for taking care of orphans and widows and honoring their elderly parents and other elderly members? If people came to them over their loving reputation and only THEN did the JWs happily explain why they do such things, might this actually result in an increase in those who want to follow them? There would be less need for JWs to formally go out to others. (There is some evidence that the actual growth of JWs in most places has been primarily through informal contacts, not formal door-to-door contacts.) I wonder if it's possible to transform a ministry to work just as well by having people come to us. Wouldn't Jehovah bless the work that is motivated correctly? Wouldn't Jehovah make sure that media was attentive to such stories of charity and goodwill?  

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On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

Jesus and the apostles, too, set an example of pointing out the hypocrisy and wickedness found in the leaders of other religions.

How to tell to some Catholic priest or GB leader or to some secular politician or city major that he/she is wrong in something or that he/she made bad deed, or pointing on their hypocrisy and similar?? ..... and in the same time not to be, not to sound offensive or rude and in the same time expressing own feeling and thoughts? 

Does it "pointing out" or "criticism" on something and someone, only privilege of "higher class" of people aka that same leaders or is that same "privilege" actual  "human rights" of all people, not just few chosen?   

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

So it was decided that it would be OK for Witnesses in Mexico to act like a non-religious

 

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

In other places, most recently in Russia, Jehovah's Witnesses are being suppressed from Russia's own legal system,......The Watchtower had suppressed these proper forms of worship among Witnesses for decades, until the property rule changed.

In first example "suppression" came from WT leaders, own Church and   such GB decision was "justified, righteous, wisdom from Above" :)))) ..... but in Russia case it is "devil attack, suppression caused of enemy worldly people". :))))))  Past and present events in different perception (differences in perception) on, about good and bad, about "proper or less proper or worldly forms of sacred service to god and all other forms.  Interesting!  

 

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

The brothers tried to convince the Russian court that they were not directly dependent on rules emanating from the United States, but this was actually seen to be a false claim and the court didn't accept it.

Of course, it is WT lawyers false claim :)))))

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

Of course, this is not how the hierarchy of Jehovah's Witnesses works.

WT is Corporation. From that, this point, post, standpoint, view, every JW member must start processing all what came from Main Church Body aka GB. 

 

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

if we were not able to demean and diminish other religious choices publicly?

.... or whatever else. Does some group or individual can express disagreement on all and every issue??  Not only to different, other groups, but to his own group too?  Or  to be "politically correct", whatever such frase means? :)

 

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

I wonder if it's possible to transform a ministry

 "Transformers" :) 

 

On 19/05/2018 at 21:11, JW Insider said:

work that is motivated correctly

please , this is grey field ... motivations, humans hearts, minds :))) interpretations are many. They will judge you and praise you for the same thing :) I have enjoy in reading your posts. Have a good and peaceful day, greetings!

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On 5/19/2018 at 1:11 PM, JW Insider said:

But this makes me think of a few questions. Is it possibly true already that enough influence has already emanated from the Governing Body so that Jehovah's Witnesses can now continue to follow the practices and doctrines already defined from prior publications and educational direction given in the past?

It’s interesting you cite Jesus Work, and yet have a heretical view of the GB influence that extends from scripture, to begin with. 1 Corinthians 12:27. At what point was the contentious appointment of Christ, Luke 4:14-44 meant to be seen as a blessing to other religions, Philippians 1:15-16 and to the “false” application of Jewish Law? Luke 18:1-8, 1 Timothy 1:9-10

Therefore, it is neither the influence of Pastor Russell, Bro. Rutherford, or the GB that influences one promise to God, with one’s mission in life that has always been a command from God himself through the history of man to obey, love, honor, respect, and have faith in him that those that obey his promise through his son, now! Will reap the reward of everlasting life.

That promise is NOT contrived by the GB but a direct promise from God, referenced in scripture. A book that the Governing Body DOES NOT misrepresent, as most of your past claims have been.

Then it becomes a matter of how we interpret scripture. To most people, it becomes an instrument of “justification” to see the intent of others in a cognitive way, rather than a teachable moment as instructed in scripture. 2 Timothy 3:16

That standard is what makes or breaks a person, personal conviction since justification is “influenced” by the manner in which we relate scripture in our own lives. Either it is acceptable, or it is NOT.

To some for example? Sexual immorality isn’t seen as sinful as scripture describes it. Therefore, scripture has not changed, humanities mentality about SIN has. Not even a court of law delegates a divorce solely for adultery anymore. The fabric of Morality has changed to become acceptable enough to “write” the QUEENS JAMES VERSION OF THE BIBLE! To make those JUSTIFICATIONS that people so desire.

So, when you STATE, GB influence? Rather than a GUIDE to the teachings of Christ? It is NOT representative of SCRIPTURE!

https://corechristianity.com/resource-library/articles/8-habits-of-the-excellent-bible-teacher

No different than what Christ taught to his disciples. Then, it becomes a matter of commitment to convince people of Christ message, to keep Gods commandments John 14:6 rather than use the word “influence” in a NEGATIVE way. Did Jesus Influence anyone by his work in a negative way?  Matthew 19:16-19

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

That’s the summation of the Russian takeover of certain religions rights. It can’t be said ALL religious rights were removed by the heresy shown toward the Watchtower, since it was NOT just religious rights that were REMOVED by the Kremlin? It also removed the Watchtowers religious FREEDOM, and assets. The God of this world spares no “intent” in which organization to attack first.

BY THE RESPONSES HERE. THIS BELONGS IN CONTROVERSIAL POST! Let’s not hide the fact!

As for the UN attack on religion? Freedom of speech is the topic. To some, the internet has become a license to defame without consequences, that’s what is changing, now! and the UN is paying close attention.

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3 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

It’s interesting you cite Jesus Work, and yet have a heretical view of the GB influence that extends from scripture, to begin with. 1 Corinthians 12:27.

I Corinthians 12:27 is a perfect example of what I believe. It says:

  • 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. (NIV)

Anyone who believes that says there is currently another body to look to, such as a Governing Body, should be the ones defending against a potentially heretical view. I believe that there is a way to view the Governing Body concept in a way that is is not heretical, and not at odds with the Bible, and I have explained it before. Holding a specific, proper view about a group of 8 specific men in New York who make up this "Governing Body" is NOT, in my view heretical. For the sake of efficiency, an organization will find it useful, helpful, and proper to look to groups of older men for guidance. We have the example of Moses taking the advice of Jethro. We have the Sanhedrin. Jesus, in fact, wanted the combined experience and advice of the apostles to help guide the first-century congregations as they emanated forth from Jerusalem in the days following his death, ascension, and the pouring out of the holy spirit at Pentecost.

So there is nothing necessarily wrong or heretical about a group of men selected for the purpose of efficiently running an organization. 1 Corinthians 12:28 mentions teaching and helping and guiding as proper ministries for some of the body of Christ to be involved in. It would therefore be proper for the body of Christ to select specific persons or even committees of persons to serve in various capacities as that body of Christ might choose using Scriptural guidance and advice.

The potentially heretical view is the claim that these men and only these men currently make up the fulfillment of the parable Jesus gave about the unfaithful slave. (Yes, it is also a parable about a faithful slave, but the primary focus and majority of content in the parable is about the unfaithful slave.)  Because then we would have a body of men who are not the apostles, wishing to be thought of as if they were apostles. It would require us to view a specific body of specific men as a Body within the Body of Christ. Looking to a body of men as a committee who are our specific leaders to follow is precisely what Paul spoke against when he spoke of those who would look to various "superfine" apostles. It is precisely what Jesus was referring to when when he said that we should [NOT]** look to specific persons as our leaders or teachers. The Bible often mentions the dangers of such arrangements. It even mentions the potential danger of looking to the body of apostles themselves as our leaders. This is what Paul emphasizes when he tells the Galatians that he did not look to the body of elders in Jerusalem for leadership, not even the apostles, those who "seemed to be" pillars in the Jerusalem congregation.

[Edited to add the "NOT" in the above paragraph where Melinda pointed out the error.]

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 "It is precisely what Jesus was referring to when when he said that we should look to specific persons as our leaders or teachers."  You may wish to review this sentence in the context of what you are speaking about.

 

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3 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

It’s interesting you cite Jesus Work, and yet have a heretical view of the GB influence that extends from scripture, to begin with. 1 Corinthians 12:27.

I attempted above to only address the actual point of difference, as I see it, between your view and my view of the GB.  To be fair, I should probably acknowledge that you appear to be trying to make some additional specific points in your post, but there was nothing there that seemed very appropriate to comment on, because most of what you said just simply doesn't apply or I have always been in full agreement with it. The intent of some of your post wasn't clear to me. So perhaps if I try to respond to what I think you meant, you will be able to clarify further if you can see I'm not understanding you correctly.

From what I can tell, your instant reaction to call me and my views heretical and your other attempts at defamation have become a kind of reflex for you. You apparently don't read what I am saying before quickly misunderstanding words that you don't like.

In this case, I think the primary word you didn't like was "influence." You didn't like that I had said used the term "influence . . . emanated from the Governing Body" in the following question that I had asked:

On 5/19/2018 at 3:11 PM, JW Insider said:

Is it possibly true already that enough influence has already emanated from the Governing Body so that Jehovah's Witnesses can now continue to follow the practices and doctrines already defined from prior publications and educational direction given in the past?

You might not have understood that I meant this in a very positive way. I mean that the Governing Body has positively influenced Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide with proper guidance and teachings. Yes, I know I have not held back from discussing non-Biblical influences in the past, too, but the question above focused only on the positive influences. It could be restated as follows:

Is it possible that (through all the various publications, practices, encouragement of good habits, assigned Bible reading/discussion, reviewing of important Bible topics, etc.) that the Governing Body has already produced enough good influence on congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses so that they are readily capable of standing on their own in the event of severe persecution that would cut us off from communication with the Governing Body? I hoped the question was rhetorical, because it seems obvious that congregational elders and servants should already be trusted to help guide and teach a congregation in such circumstances. We already know there have been exceptional cases and extreme circumstances in the recent modern history of Jehovah's Witnesses where communication has been cut off and the Witness work and congregational matters went on without any major problems. And as I already stated in the post, we are reminded that we should be ready for such extreme circumstances.

I also note that you might have misunderstood my use of the word "past." It didn't refer to Russell, Rutherford, and past GB "influences." It refers to the pattern of instruction already received, with good habits learned over the years. Many elders and servants had no ability to manage even a small project, yet past assignments over the years have taught many brothers and sisters to rise to the occasion to manage complex tasks. (Assembly organization, budgets, donations, paperwork, building halls, scheduling assignments.)

I think you took some offense to the fact that I mentioned influence of the GB as if it superseded the influence of Jehovah, Jesus, the Bible, and the holy spirit. That wasn't the intent. For some individuals, unfortunately, I think it does supersede all these entities. But that wasn't the topic here. I meant it only as a guide for understanding proper spiritual influence.

3 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

So, when you STATE, GB influence? Rather than a GUIDE to the teachings of Christ? It is NOT representative of SCRIPTURE!

This is where I figured you must have misunderstood GB influence. I meant it, just as you said: "a GUIDE to the teachings of Christ" not a replacement for Scripture. I know where you are coming from, so I don't blame you for thinking I was here referring to areas where I believe the Bible gives us a clear reason to disagree. But in this context I was referring to the many areas where we can positively agree.

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25 minutes ago, Melinda Mills said:

You may wish to review this sentence in the context of what you are speaking about.

Thanks Melinda. 😁 I left out a fairly important three-letter word: NOT. Edited it above to correct it.

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You know... I am just sitting here .... minding my own business ... when on my 3rd monitor I see some guy in  three piece suit run by, and with his hair on fire, crying "heretic! Heretic! HERETIC!" !!

 

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    • By JW Insider
      Sometimes, the Watchtower publications have pointed back to a time when the Watchtower predicted World War One (WWI) in 1914 and then also predicted that the United Nations would rise up to replace the League of Nations. These two "predictions" have even been paired together and presented nearly back-to-back in our publications. They were even brought up again at the 2014 convention and the 2009 convention. The reason the Watchtower has reviewed these two ideas from our history is probably already obvious and clear, and it has been clearly stated, too.
      One of the most recent reviews of the history of Jehovah's Witnesses contains very similar claims, and is found in one of the videos, now also available on tv.jw.org: https://tv.jw.org/#en/mediaitems/VODOrgHistory/pub-ivfa2_x_VIDEO
      These online transcripts appear fairly accurate:
      Video Transcript Jehovah's Witnesses Faith in Action Part 1 Out of Darkness.pdf Video Transcript Jehovah's Witnesses Faith in Action Part 2 Let the Light Shine.pdf Here is the relevant part about 1914:
      —Geoffrey W. Jackson—
      They realized that 1914 had a significance, —Gerrit Lösch—
      When World War I broke out in July, they felt vindicated and it strengthened their faith in the Bible, and in Jehovah’s prophetic Word. Also, it enhanced their trust that Jehovah was using Brother Russell and his friends to explain truth to others. —Anthony Morris III—
      Just looking at the sign of the times that Jesus told us to look at is enough, but it's still significant that they could pinpoint that year. That's phenomenal. Here is the relevant part about the UN and League of Nations:
      —Narrator—
      . . . And soon, they would boldly proclaim a Bible prophecy that pointed to the outcome of that war. ——Chapter 4: "Taught By Jehovah"——
      —Narrator—
      The year was 1941. Having taken the lead for 25 momentous years, J. F. Rutherford had become seriously ill and was about to make his final public appearance. . . . The second World War was raging. Some felt that these events could lead directly into Armageddon. In spite of this, in 1942, Nathan H. Knorr—the one next appointed to take the lead among Jehovah's Witnesses—spoke at a convention about a Bible prophecy that indicated that significant events had to occur first. —Knorr (reenactment)—
      This international war is not 'the battle of the great day of God Almighty.' Before Armageddon comes, the Scriptures show, a peace must come. —John Wischuk—
      There was no peace on the horizon, and yet we said, "Peace—Can It Last?" —Narrator—
      Knorr centered attention on Revelation 17:8, which indicates that a figurative wild beast would come into existence, would cease to exist, but then would come back to life. Knorr then drew his listeners' attention to the defunct League of Nations. —Knorr (reenactment)—
      The League is in effect in a state of suspended animation and needs to be revived if it is ever to live again. It has gone into the abyss of inaction and ineffectiveness. It "is not." Will the League remain in the pit? Again the Word of God gives answer: The association of worldly nations will rise again. —Narrator—
      That association did rise again three years later as the United Nations. —Anthony Morris III—
      They didn't know it was going to be called the United Nations, and we don't make that claim. But they knew it was coming out.  
      [Should be noted that Morris is claiming something that they "KNEW" in advance but he is also correcting a common claim that not only did Knorr predict the rise of the League of Nations three years ahead of time, but that he even used the term "United Nations." As one person writes on a website "Knorr prophesied in 1942 that the League of Nations would rise out of the abyss. Knorr used the expression 'United Nations.' How could he have known the exact name of the new incarnation, when it wasn't established until 1945?"]
      Witnesses got these ideas about a correctly predicted prophecy from an article published a few years later under Knorr's administration in 1960. These quotes should be compared with the actual transcript of the speech Knorr made on September 20, 1942, which was made available as a booklet, and can be found here: http://www.strictlygenteel.co.uk/booklets/peace.html
      The July 15, 1960 Watchtower, page 444, said this:
      "In 1942 the “faithful and discreet slave” guided by Jehovah’s unerring spirit made known that the democracies would win World War II and that there would be a United Nations organization set up." You can also see a reference to the 1942 event in the Revelation book (p.248) on WOL at jw.org: https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101988034
      You can also read the following about it in the April 15, 1989 Watchtower, p.14 https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1101988034
      By divine providence, Jehovah’s Witnesses received enlightenment on that mystery in 1942. . . . Nathan H. Knorr, president of the Watch Tower Society, gave the public talk, “Peace—Can It Last?” Therein he reviewed Revelation 17:8, . . . . Was that Bible-based forecast fulfilled? Truly it was! In 1945 the international “wild beast” emerged from its abyss of inactivity as the United Nations. See also the Kingdom Come book  kc chap. 17 pp. 162-173 and and interesting version of events found in a 1981 Watchtower about why this "insight" was given w81 12/15 pp. 28-30
      The Proclaimers book states it like this on page 192-3 (  jv chap. 14 pp. 188-201 )
      This time, it involved the United Nations, successor to the League. While World War II was still under way, in 1942, Jehovah’s Witnesses had already discerned from the Bible, at Revelation 17:8, that the world peace organization would rise again, also that it would fail to bring lasting peace. This was explained by N. H. Knorr, then president of the Watch Tower Society, in the convention discourse “Peace—Can It Last?” Boldly Jehovah’s Witnesses proclaimed that view of the developing world situation. In 1993 the idea was stated as follows:
      “The Disgusting Thing” 12, 13. What was “the disgusting thing,” and—as foreseen by the faithful and discreet slave—when and how was it reestablished? 12 When the end of the second world war was in sight, there was another development. “They will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.” (Daniel 11:31b) This “disgusting thing,” which Jesus also mentioned, had already been recognized as the League of Nations, the scarlet-colored wild beast that according to Revelation went into the abyss. (Matthew 24:15; Revelation 17:8; see Light, Book Two, page 94.) It did this when World War II broke out. However, at the New World Theocratic Assembly of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1942, Nathan H. Knorr, third president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, discussed the prophecy of Revelation 17 and warned that the beast would rise again from the abyss. 13 History bore out the truth of his words. Between August and October 1944, at Dumbarton Oaks in the United States, work was begun on the charter of what would be called the United Nations. The charter was adopted by 51 nations, including the former Soviet Union, and when it came into force on October 24, 1945, the defunct League of Nations in effect came out of the abyss. There are several more examples, but this should suffice. I am struck by how often the point is emphasized that these were Knorr's words, "his words" and that they were a Bible-based forecast "foreseen" and "discerned" and "known" in advance through "divine providence" and "enlightenment" and men being "guided by Jehovah's unerring spirit." This is an odd focus on the insights and discernment of men. These expressions are also dangerously presumptuous in that they are so often applied to the one or two times when it seems something was foreseen correctly, but there is no balanced way of discussing the reasons that literally dozens of predictions were made incorrectly and have been dropped as "old light."
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      GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*. 
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      (*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association, and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.  
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      Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard quotes Wang Yang Ming in his book, Let My People Go Surfing: “To know and not to do is not to know.” Hopefully the Clean Seas campaign will be that crucial first step toward informing greater swaths of the world’s population and inspiring them to further action.
      http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/un-says-its-time-tackle-plastic-pollution-aggressively.html
    • By The Librarian
      United Nations Building, New York City
      Photo Credit: Flash 90
       
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      After World War II, the League was replaced by the United Nations. Although enshrined as a democratic enterprise, profoundly undemocratic and scheming governments penetrated the organization from its inception. Civil war-torn China and a tyrannical and hegemonic Soviet Union joined France, Great Britain, and the United States to create the Security Council. Expansion, inclusion, and extension eventually enrolled 193 nations, including such egalitarian democracies as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia. The world body began as a sick organ and deteriorated from there.
      The Covenant conversation launched in earnest on January 23 when a panel of like-minded voices assembled in a crowded Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ,) who currently supports a bill to defund the UN, opened the Covenant Launch proceedings by declaring, “This is a critically important issue. The United Nations started out with a noble charter…but the United Nations has not only failed their charter, they have distinctly moved in the opposite direction and done actual harm…. They have become an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-freedom mob…. We need some type of alternative – a Covenant of Democratic Nations…. We need to repeal and replace.”
      Sarah Stern, founder of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), pinpointed America’s 22 percent share of the overall UN budget. Stern said America was not getting what it pays for when “despotic, ruthless, tyrannical regimes” such as Syria “could pass judgment on the one democracy in the Middle East.” The UN has, she said, proven to be “abysmal” and added, “It is now time to begin having this conversation about dissolving the United Nations and replacing with a Covenant of Democratic Nations that share our common values…of tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law.”
      Famed constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin, who has worked on 28 Supreme Court cases, proclaimed to the room, “The United Nations deserves an obituary…because the United Nations committed suicide when it adopted Resolution 2334. It wrote its own death warrant…. Today I am happy to join a group that would spell the end of the United Nations, the end of its funding, it presence and significance in the world order.”
      The Covenant launch in Washington was only the beginning. Additional panels and town hall meetings will convene in several locales in the coming weeks. The conversation has begun.
      Edwin Black
      About the Author: Edwin Black is the author of several books including “ IBM and the Holocaust” and the initiator of the Covenant of the Democratic Nations effort. For his prior efforts, he has been awarded the Moral Courage Award, the Moral Compass Award, and the Justice for All Award.
      http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/replacing-the-un-with-the-covenant-of-democratic-nations/2017/02/02/
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    • Entre estos prisioneros se encuentra el cineasta Oleh Sentsov, condenado en 2015 a veinte años de cárcel por supuestas actividades terroristas en la península de Crimea y que lleva 34 días en huelga de hambre   Estados Unidos urgió este lunes al gobierno de Rusia a liberar "de inmediato" a más de 150 presos identificados por organizaciones internacionales como reos políticos y religiosos. "Pedimos a Rusia que libere de inmediato a todos los identificados como presos políticos o religiosos y cese su uso del sistema legal para reprimir a la disidencia y la práctica religiosa pacífica", señaló el Departamento de Estado en un comunicado. La portavoz de esta división, Heather Nauert, precisó en esa nota que la sociedad rusa "merece un trato igual ante la ley y la capacidad de ejercer sus derechos sin temor a represalias". En concreto, el gobierno de Donald Trump mostró una "especial preocupación" por el bienestar de cuatro reos ucranianos "injustamente encarcelados", según Nauert, que están actualmente en huelga de hambre. Entre estos presos se encuentra el caso del cineasta Oleh Sentsov, condenado en 2015 a 20 años de cárcel por supuestas actividades terroristas en la península de Crimea y que lleva 34 días sin ingerir alimentos en protesta por su confinamiento.     Oleh Sentsov (AP) EEUU destacó también los casos del activista Volodymyr Balukh, que lleva casi tres meses en huelga de hambre; del soldado Oleksandr Shumkov, que ha estado 23 días sin comer, y de Stanislav Klykh, que inició su huelga el pasado 9 de junio. Además, Nauert subrayó los casos del activista Oyub Titiyev, encarcelado "por acusaciones inventadas de drogas en Chechenia (Rusia)", y de un testigo de Jehová, Dennis Christensen, que permanece en una prisión rusa desde mayo de 2017 sin haber sido enjuiciado. Con información de EFE    
    • I just happen to have a spare "star in a stick". When you tap the star on something, glitter comes out. I will give it to him for free, as I control the glitter supply. BROUHAHAHAHAHAAA!
    • Hey ... they had "expenses" ! Yeah .... that's the ticket! "Expenses"
    • Things are thought of in Chicago quite differently ... it has a very long history of being a criminal hotbed, and unassailable corruption ... and the current Mayor, Rom Emmanuel ran for mayor (unofficially) on a platform of "let the murders continue .. it's good for business". (His being continually reelected). The thing you have to remember is that all crime is LOCAL, and all attempts at Justice are LOCAL.  This is almost ALWAYS true. A "good" Leader" ( that is to say, one that the people will follow ...) is a person that gives those over whom he has authority permission to do WHAT THEY  WERE GOING TO DO ANYWAY !! Trump has  nothing ... ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the massive murders going on in Democratic Party controlled Cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia,, Detroit ... in fact, he has threatened to replace their police departments with National Guard Troops, the corruption and malfeasance is so bad. Chicago has a particular immunity to change as their political machine is, and has been since the early 1920's, been geared to to allow people long dead,  to vote ... and vote OFTEN!   They always vote Democrat. Philadelphia had several precincts where NOT ONE PERSON voted for Trump. A statistical impossibility. But of course, it's like Josef Stalin once said (paraphrased...) "He who votes counts for nothing ... it's only he who counts the votes!". What you are experiencing is not new, not even real news ... as it is the normal condition of human mis-rule. If you are not willing to fight to the death ... LITERALLY ... and are prepared to be the first casualty ... you have no natural right to freedom from tyranny. Freedom is PURCHASED through mountains of bodies and oceans of blood, and if your wallet cannot take the hit, a slave you will remain. For me, the simplest solution is sell everything you own, and move somewhere else. During World War II, many Jews in Poland did just that ... and many who did not ....stayed, were rounded up and sent on around the world cruises up crematorium chimneys. There are only three choices ..... fight ... flee .... or be enslaved.  
    • Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and the company's ex-president were indicted on criminal charges.
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