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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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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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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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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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2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

Understanding one's character and intent have yet to fail my views about certain people here. There is NO misunderstanding when it comes to subliminal message.

Assuming your obfuscation is purposeful, I'll try to translate your apparent intent:

"I, AllenSmith, have never yet failed to understand the true character and intent when I view certain people here. To myself, I now understand that I had previously misunderstood the main thing that 'JWInsider' was saying, although since I will never actually admit a fault, be they ever so blatant to others, I will, instead, focus on the new claim that that I never misunderstood the subliminal message."

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

But it’s good that one of your staunch supporters was brave enough to see through some of your commentaries.

If you meant @Srecko Sostar, I have never seen this person as a staunch supporter. If you meant @Melinda Mills, then you probably missed the fact that she does not typically "support" my views in areas where they might differ from the Watchtower, and never staunchly even when she does. In this case, she merely pointed out the fact that I left out the word "not," because the sentence wouldn't have made any sense in context as it stood. But she was pointing out what I must have meant, not what she necessarily believes. I see she did "upvote" a comment or two of mine, and that is always a dangerous thing for people to do when you are around, since they will often have to brave your disapproval. You often convey this disapproval of any kind of support in a bullying manner and go after people for assumed sins just because they found something agreeable in a post of mine. I hope you will stop this kind of bullying. (I'm not saying that what other people do doesn't ALSO come across as bullying . . . [ahem..j.t.r..ahem] . . . but it's easier to take when it's cushioned with a sense of humor.)

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

Therefore, you are correct to define some of your comments inappropriate to this post!

Yes. It's true. I gladly admit that this post was not primarily about the differences in our view of the GB. Still, many JWs believe that the time will come when the UN will attack religion, and there is an associated assumption that this will result in a collapse of religion in some global sense, and will thus precipitate a specific attack on Witnesses which is thwarted by Jehovah, Jesus and the angelic hosts. This is supposed to be our lot between the great tribulation and Armageddon. We are told to expect that it means times of being cut off from communication with New York, and a need for almost unquestioning reliance on local leadership through the guidance of congregation elders. In some cases, we expect that some will be cut off from even that much association.  JWs want to feel prepared to face such a time without fear.

I don't think it's out of place, then, to discuss this entire supposed "UN episode" in the light of such expectations.

I don't feel right about discussing it unless I also disclose that I have my own questions about the readiness of many Witnesses to face such a scenario. Part of that is the strained relationship that I see many Witnesses have with their local elders, and others in the congregations in general. Part of that is what I see as an unhealthy and immature relationship of dependency on the Governing Body for almost every aspect of their spirituality and worship. For me personally, I must also deal with the fact that I look to the track record of the Governing Body in attempting to predict the meaning of scripture, and I realize that so far they have something like a 0% accuracy rating in everything ever predicted when it comes to fulfilled prophecy. So, just out of the honest need for full disclosure when I give an opinion, I will be forced to include some of my personal hesitance to accept these predicted scenarios as necessarily accurate.

But I should still have a right to an opinion, and you should have a right to yours, and a right to give counterbalancing evidence if you have any.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

The GB has NEVER claimed to be Christ-like, Apostle like, or above anyone that has become a true “follower” of Christ.

Interesting. It's false to say they have never claimed this. But it's usually more subtle than an outright claim. Whether they claim it or not is immaterial. It's an impression that is given and never completely corrected. We could have a whole separate discussion on this topic.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

The GB has never asked anyone to glorify them as you claim!

I never claimed they asked for anyone to glorify them. Please stick with the evidence, not stuff you make up.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

However, what can be said of “Bethelites” that contend superiority for having served at the Bethel House?

They should feel no superiority for having served at the "Bethel House." No one should. I certainly don't. In fact, as you have pointed out yourself, sometimes serving at Bethel is a detriment to true spirituality.

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1 hour ago, AllenSmith said:

But it’s good that you now realize it’s only YOUR opinion on how other witnesses think about the GB and what they rely on.

Thank you for noticing that I have always considered my opinions here to reflect nothing more than my opinions here.

1 hour ago, AllenSmith said:

To you, Anna, JTR, and much more here DEMAND much more of our brothers than what is humanly possible.

I have noticed statements from JTR and Anna that actually state just the opposite. I've said it many times, too, that it really is humanly possible to make all the prophetic conjectures that you wish, and then just be humble about it and state that we really don't know for sure about these things we are conjecturing about. In other words, it's possible to make conjectures and be 100% right about everything we state as long as we are humble, discreet, and not presumptuous. The GB could have said that they don't know for sure, but that they believe the UN will attack religion for certain reasons, and then give those reasons. None of us would have the right to be dogmatic. We would always be 100% right, because we only stated that it was our current belief -- our opinion. Of course, I don't demand that we admit when we are just "conjecturing." But the Bible says it's the best course to avoid presumptuousness and the Bible recommends being faithful and discreet.

1 hour ago, AllenSmith said:

So, you are correct to suggest there are some that are uncharacteristic of having unity. Especially when you are speaking on behalf of all. Please! Enlighten Melinda on this famous crystal ball you have, and I will show you a spiritualist.

Your "word salads" imply so much that is incorrect that I won't bother to untangle them. But it is funny that you find a person who says none of us has a crystal ball, and that none of us should claim to have one, and then you claim that this person thinks he has a crystal ball.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

Once again, the one being “deleted” in the past for the whims of people like you was me. So, NO! My opinion has been silenced and deleted to protect people like you in the past. However, you think too much of yourself if you think my opinions are invalid and yours are.

I didn't want you deleted and you didn't want you deleted. So you are like me in that regard. Someone went against the whims of people like you and me. However, you have repeatedly claimed that you have not been silenced because you merely had to create new versions of your name and new versions of several other supportive "characters" who can up-vote yourself and show derision to others. I agree with you that you have never actually been silenced. So this should not be an excuse for coming up with no evidence for your opinions. Your opinions are just fine. Many have been spot on. Some of mine have been merely opinions unsupported with evidence. Opinions on their own are not valid or invalid, just opinions. But if anyone shows evidence contrary to my opinion, I will ALWAYS adjust my opinion in favor of the evidence. This is one of those places where no one has to hold back in presenting either opinions or evidence or counter-evidence. So if you have evidence, great. But if you don't have any evidence, then please stop whining about how one or two of your "characters" were deleted for abusive behavior several years ago.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

especially when you falsely claim NO prophetic fulfillment

I apologize. I was only thinking about prophecies associated with dates and time periods like 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1925, the mid-70's, the end of the century, the generation, etc. But I admit that there is one "prophetic fulfillment" in another category that comes very close. It's the best example available. I'm referring to the one that Knorr "predicted" about the League of Nations rising again as the United Nations. This one was not originally from the Watchtower, but from Christendom, but still the Watchtower should get credit for choosing to repeat it.

2 hours ago, AllenSmith said:

Well, something we can agree on. You for being there, and me for knowing human conditions, and all its elements. Just like having to deal with spiritual matters when the time comes. ALL MEMBERS SHOULD BE SPIRITUALLY PREPARED TO TAKE ANY ROLE NECESSARY AS A UNIT OR FOR PERSONAL SALVATION. That message hasn’t changed since Christ. Philippians 3:4-11

Here, it seems, we really do agree! And this was the main point I was making, too.

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

I'm referring to the one that Knorr "predicted" about the League of Nations rising again as the United Nations. This one was not originally from the Watchtower, but from Christendom, but still the Watchtower should get credit for choosing to repeat it. ?

Knoor's Law: "No matter what happens ... SOMEBODY predicted it."

As far as TRUE predictions ...... it just was not .... us.

We do know, however, from GB member Stephen Lett, that (paraphrased) " ... there is more evidence of God's Kingdom on Earth now, than there is for gravity, and electricity."

... but for the life of me, I find it impossible to wrap my mind around that statement.

If Ah had stated that ... Ah could legitimately be involuntarily committed to a mental institution, and wear size 400 sleeves that tie in the back.

My Movie.mp4

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Is the UN preparing to attack Religion?

Just getting back to the main topic. The most relevant  prophetic statement I am aware of relating to this question is here:  

"And the ten horns that you saw and the wild beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her devastated and naked, and they will eat up her flesh and completely burn her with fire.
For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, yes, to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished." Revelation 17:16-17.

Leaving aside extensive argumentation on the interpretation of these two verses, Jehovah's Witnesses understand this to be describing the destruction of false religion at the hands of its long-time partner, the political element of human society.

  • "The ten horns" = those "movers and shakers" within the political set up (as opposed to "vassal" states) at the time these events occur.
  • "The wild beast" = the earlier referred to "was but is not" conglomeration of nations we currently know as the United Nations of which the "ten horns" are a prominent part.
  • "The prostitute" = said "Babylon the Great", the world empire of false religion, destined for complete destruction at the hands of the political powers.
  • "Their one thought" = preservation of national sovereignty at all costs. There has always been a rather tenuous balance in this element of the religion/politics relationship. In fact, the false charge of "sedition" constitutes a prime weapon in the anti-Jehohvah's Witness strategy employed by false religion. It has been a main component of it's murderous schemes to eliminate servants of Jehovah with the enlistment of political muscle.(Compare John 19:15: "We have no king but Caesar") However, in striking similarity to the failure of Haman's schemes at the time of King Ahasuerus as described in the Bible book of Esther, false religion is "hoist on it's own petar", (to borrow a Shakesperean idiom). This will involve a remarkable feature in that the political elements (particularly those dominant UN partners, more inclined to veto than agree) participate in an unreserved delegation of authority to their political figurehead, currently identified as the UN.
  • "God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought" = the crux of this whole matter. Observers today may well detect evidence to support their view of a rising anti-religious trend in UN attitudes to religion. But there may equally be those who would choose to argue a completely opposite view. Not to be overlooked is the view held by false religion itself at the time of it's destruction. This is indicated at Rev:18:7 "I sit as queen, and I am not a widow, and I will never see mourning". Rev18:8 adds "That is why in one day her plagues will come".

The destruction of false religion at the hands of it's one time political allies will be something to shock this system of things to it's very foundations. It will open the world stage for "a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation that God created until that time" Mark 13:19. Those blessed with the 'abundant true knowledge' characterising these" last days" have a comprehension of the world scene that is very different from the many who remain in "darkness mentally and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensitivity of their hearts." Eph 4:19.

So in answer to the question, probably not, as a body, although godless elements have been in it's composition since it's origin. This event will come "as a thief in the night", a development indeed, but something precipitated by Jehovah, at a time of His choosing, once the "good news of the kingdom" has been preached in all the inhabited earth, for a witness. Then the end will come.

Now is not the time to bite the hand that feeds us!

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There is a known thing going on behind the scenes, however, a majority of people do not know about such, I say this to you guys too as well as to Jehovah's Witnesses here, albeit, some people are aware of the situation hence the response from the Religious Movement seeking unity throughout the globe.

I am among those who know far too many things, the type of guy who is aware of the monster under the bed, so to speak. The only hint I can drop is money and oil as well as security and power at this point regarding nations, as for religion it is a conquest of peace and unity.

Keep your eyes on Israel and Saudi Arabia.

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1 hour ago, Gone Away said:

Is the UN preparing to attack Religion?

Just getting back to the main topic. The most relevant  prophetic statement I am aware of relating to this question is here:  

Discuss the question from the title of the topic? Now that's a novel idea. ?

1 hour ago, Gone Away said:

"And the ten horns that you saw and the wild beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her devastated and naked, and they will eat up her flesh and completely burn her with fire.
For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, yes, to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished." Revelation 17:16-17.

It is a reasonable solution to see the 10-horns and the wild beast as either representing, or some part of the dominant world power at the time of the great tribulation, the fall of Babylon the Great, Armageddon, etc. And it is a reasonable assumption to see the prostitute as false religion. And it seems that God puts a thought into the heart of the ten horns and the heart of the wild beast to give their kingdom to this wild beast until some end predetermined by the God's words will have been accomplished.

1 hour ago, Gone Away said:

Now is not the time to bite the hand that feeds us!

Obviously. But is it the same as "biting the hand that feeds us" to discuss whether our current explanation of this chapter is reasonable? Is our end-time-scenario too sacrosanct to question in any way. Or is perhaps now the best opportune time to consider where our loyalties will lie if things seem NOT to be working out as expected? Or is perhaps now the best opportune time to consider the meaning of Jesus words about not being able to work out the closeness of the time of the end if things DO INDEED seem to be working out as expected?

As several people already know, I come at this issue from the perspective that Jesus warned us against trying to look at signs of the times to divine the closeness of the end. It will come as a "thief in the night." Some of us will answer, but we won't be surprised, or in the dark, as someone who is awake and prepared for the thief. That's true, of course, but not because we will be able to figure out the time or season in which the thief will appear. Not because we will be watching for some entity to call out "peace and security." It's because we as Christians will be both patient and ready at all times because we are always looking out that our motivations are pure. Peter says we stay ready by watching ourselves and the type of person we ought to be, and clarifies the motivations behind all our activity in 2 Peter 1:5-8:

  • 5 For this very reason, put forth all earnest effort+ to supply to your faith virtue,+ to your virtue knowledge,+ 6 to your knowledge self-control, to your self-control+ endurance, to your endurance godly devotion,+ 7 to your godly devotion brotherly affection, to your brotherly affection love.+ 8 For if these things exist in you and overflow, they will prevent you from being either inactive or unfruitful*+ regarding the accurate knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There have always been those persons who think they are doing a favor to fellow Witnesses, or perhaps also highlighting their own faith in the predicted scenario by watching out for any mention of "peace and security" by a Pope, a world leader, or a UN representative. The initial post in this topic goes to a lot of trouble to try to read between the lines for items coming from the UN that somehow indicate that "they" could turn against and attack religion at any time. I think this is unhealthy and unchristian for several reasons. But I've already gone into detail about this aspect in other posts in the past.

This doesn't mean the scenario is impossible, only that Jesus said it was wrong to look for such scenarios as a way to anticipate the closeness of the end or to try to predict the timing his parousia. They might create some fervor and anticipation about the closeness of the end, but they will produce an unchristian motivation.

And, as I've also said, it would not be honest for me to discuss the question at hand without also mentioning that I think the whole scenario should be questioned. And, as I've also said, I think as Christians we are under an obligation to question such scenarios as to whether they are Biblical or even useful.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

the whole scenario should be questioned.

Which scenario do you refer to here as needing to be questioned?

  • the scriptural picture as portrayed in Rev. 17?
  • the interpreted understanding and application that Jehovah's Witnesses currently hold in connection with Rev.17?
  • the suggestion that UN preparation for an attack on religion could be discerned from current political and ideological developments? And by extension, where we are in the stream of time relative to the start of the great tribulation?

 

1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

I come at this issue from the perspective that Jesus warned us against trying to look at signs of the times to divine the closeness of the end.

This is quite right as the several uses of the thief and unknown hour metaphors in Scripture confirm.

However, why do you think that Jesus outlined detailed events in prophecy relating to end times?

 

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58 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

Or is perhaps now the best opportune time to consider the meaning of Jesus words about not being able to work out the closeness of the time of the end if things DO INDEED seem to be working out as expected?

 Had to caution a few brothers that were sending out thoughts on Facebook and a few places on the matter of looking for God's intervention in human affairs "whenever it is that they are saying "Peace and security!" around the time (a few weeks ago)  America seemed to be making progress in securing peace between North Korea and the West. I reminded them about Jesus' words at  Matthew 24:42-44, as follows:

"(Matthew 24:42-44) Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 “But know one thing: If the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 On this account, you too prove yourselves ready, because the Son of man is coming at an hour that you do not think to be it."

 At the transfiguration Jehovah told Jesus' disciples to "Listen to him".   These sayings are from the same source, Jehovah, but we have to be sober and not run off with one but not weighing the other.  We know the season we are in, but we will not be able to work out the precise period of the end. No matter what we see now, the end is going to take us by surprise.  We should obey Jesus and prove ourselves ready. No one knows when a thief plans to come.  Jesus stated that it was at an hour that "you do not think to be it", referring to his disciples. So let us to take note but be modest, sober and most of all, ready.  So the question above is really timely.

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

There have always been those persons who think they are doing a favor to fellow Witnesses, or perhaps also highlighting their own faith in the predicted scenario by watching out for any mention of "peace and security" by a Pope, a world leader, or a UN representative.

I hate when people do this.

Ford had just assumed the presidency and pardoned Nixon. At a NYC District Convention the next day, the speaker held aloft the NYDaily headlines - "Peace and Security!" and said: "Have you seen this headline??!!!"

It was irresistable. I would have done it, too.

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As the August 2018 Watchtower on page 3 points out a profound general principle that cuts on BOTH sides of the sword ... NOT JUST THE SOCIETY'S SIDE ....

"When anyone replies to a matter before he hears the facts, it is foolish and humiliating"  -  Proverbs 18:13

This assumes that the "hearer of facts" has the slightest bit of common sense, which may or may not be the case.

 

Gravity Electricity Wind .mp4

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1 hour ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

The cool thing about "bent light astronomy", or "lensing", is once you learn how, sometimes it is possible to see galaxies hidden behind foreground galaxies .... and get multiple snapshots in different epochs by calculating the difference in the timing of light ray paths.

 

I was born in a small town of a small country. I have a bit of school education and ordinary city life. But I'm becoming a peasant when I see how little I know and how much knowledge there is in this life - before, now and after today (yesterday, today, tomorrow) the past, the present, the future - in the eons of time. :))))

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6 hours ago, Gone Away said:

Which scenario do you refer to here as needing to be questioned?

  • the scriptural picture as portrayed in Rev. 17?

I don't question that Revelation 17 has an important meaning for us.

6 hours ago, Gone Away said:
  • the interpreted understanding and application that Jehovah's Witnesses currently hold in connection with Rev.17?

Yes. We should always pay attention to our teaching. 1 Tim 4:16: "Pay close attention to your life and to your teaching. Persevere in these things, for by so doing you will save both yourself and those who hear you." [Berean]

6 hours ago, Gone Away said:
  • the suggestion that UN preparation for an attack on religion cold be discerned from current political and ideological developments? 

If this Watchtower eschatological scenario could be absolutely known for sure to be correct then I would think that some hints could be discerned from political and ideological developments. Of course, I trust that Jesus' words preclude any human from knowing absolutely what the future scenario might look like. However, when the Bible says that God puts the idea in their hearts it likely means (as the Watchtower teaches) that Jehovah allows these entities to go ahead with intentions that already existed in some form. Therefore, such a future scenario could very well be discernible to some extent in advance. To the extent that anyone might feel it useful to look for such hints as a way of testing the validity of the teaching then there is a legitimate reason to "test the spirits." [1 John 4:1]. But I would think there are much more basic and important Bible principles to test against before we can get to that point.  

7 hours ago, Gone Away said:

However, why do you think that Jesus outlined detailed events in prophecy relating to end times?

I think Jesus told us why. He made it clear that the very topic of the end and the natural desire to get advance information about when it would occur would result in much confusion and persons who would end up misleading others, either on purpose or just human nature. So Jesus made it clear that there would be a lot of things happening that people would latch onto in order to claim that they KNEW more about the closeness of the end. So Jesus made it clear that wars would continue to happen, but that they shouldn't get all excited and think this was a sign that the end must be close. Jesus made the same point about earthquakes that might shake someone from their reason and make them think the due time had approached. Or pestilence, famine, persecution. All these things would go on happening, but there was no reason to become inordinately excited. In fact, Jesus added that during the period leading up to the final end [the synteleia/parousia] people would be marrying and being given in marriage, people would be eating and drinking, and the parousia would come upon most of them as if without any warning. In other words, these people would be crying out 'there is peace and security' before sudden destruction came upon them. Peter adds that scoffers could even say 'Where is this promised parousia [that will shine brightly like lightning from one part of the heavens all the way across to the other]? Things are still going on just as they always have.

So, yes, Jesus gave a lot of details about the prophecy related to the end times, but many of those details were to show that there would be NO specific details that could be seen as an advance sign of the end, but that Christians should remain active and endure patiently in spite of the lack of signs. But when the end finally came, THEN there would be an unmistakable sign that this parousia was upon us suddenly like bright visible lightning.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

they shouldn't get all excited and think this was a sign that the end must be close.

I find this a bit difficult to rationalise against a statement that uses an apparent pregnancy metaphor: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."

A woman is pregnant for 9 months, but pangs of distress or contractions usually start occurring during the last 3months. The reaction to the pregnancy announcement is not quite the same as the reaction to the onset of contractions although the anticipated end result is the same.

Are we to understand Jesus's illustration differently? 

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"Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman; and they will by no means escape.” (1 Thess. 5:2, 3) 

"A woman is pregnant for 9 months, but pangs of distress or contractions usually start occurring during the last 3 months."  The scripture above is more true to life.

Pangs of distress usually come instantly and unexpectedly at the end of the last trimester - a day or two  before or a few hours before. 

The metaphor in Matthew 24:8 is still fitting as the conditions were distressful ever since the beginning of the last days since 1914. Distressing things would be happening concomitantly with happy things like celebrations, etc. We had a joyous, sumptuous wedding last weekend but we also had a shooting, an ongoing volcanic eruption, a  plane crash around the same time.

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On 5/23/2018 at 7:09 PM, Gone Away said:

A woman is pregnant for 9 months, but pangs of distress or contractions usually start occurring during the last 3months.

I used to think the same thing, until after my first, second, and third child. That's when I realized that my idea about pangs of pregnancy had actually been influenced by my (our) incorrect understanding of this very scripture. I had to think that the "pangs" would be a "generation" long, in some similar way to how up to 120 years of a generation compares to the 1,881 years from 33 CE to 1914 CE. In the long run, I could rationalize that the final generation was only about 5% of the full period, and this might be considered "instantly" in some sense.

But then I realized that my wife was able to work a full-time job (high school principal) right up until the day she went to the hospital and then she always had the baby within a matter of hours. The "5% solution" implies that the pangs of distress (labor pains) last at least half-a-month. With the new definition of the 'generation that never seems to pass away' the percentage rises to 10% or nearly a whole month.

So the expression about the labor pains is really a huge hint that Jesus actually meant what he said about something coming as a surprise, as if without warning. Just like the days of Sodom would have seemed to suddenly come to an end without warning.

Just an aside, but others have already pointed out that the labor pains analogy was appropriate for the birth of the kingdom. This hardly seems to fit a birth that starts in 1914 and then the labor pains only start AFTER the birth and last for 120 to 240 years. Labor pains usually start BEFORE a birth, not AFTER.

[moved out of order with next post . . . read that one first.]

On 5/23/2018 at 9:37 PM, Gone Away said:

Others indicate that these pangs of distress can indeed occur weeks before the birth, or days before. The difference seems to add weight to the metaphor.

Actually, all we have to do is look into the meaning of the original Greek word to understand that this is not about when contractions can start:

  • The original-language word rendered “pangs of distress” refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. [Source: Internet]

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1 hour ago, Melinda Mills said:

Pangs of distress usually come instantly and unexpectedly at the end of the last trimester - a day or two  before or a few hours before. 

 "the contractions in the uterus start sometime near the start of the final monthhttps://baby-pedia.com

1 Thess. 5:2, 3 appears to be applying a pregnancy metaphor differently to the way Jesus did at , for example Matt.24:8.

1 hour ago, Melinda Mills said:

The scripture above is more true to life.

I have only been present for 5 pregnancies and births, but the mother tells me that while the contractions certainly increased in intensity quite close to the delivery, they started much earlier in the final month, though at different times for each child. (not to be confused of course with the Braxton Hicks variety). Others indicate that these pangs of distress can indeed occur weeks before the birth, or days before. The difference seems to add weight to the metaphor.

From what I can glean then, both are true to life descriptions of the occurence of labor contractions. Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. Paul uses the suddeness of their occurence to relate to the manner in which a prophesied event takes place.

In answer to @JWInsider who posted whilst I was writing, I would suggest that trying too hard see some sort of specific time element as having any significance here would be a mistake. ?

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5 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

intense pain

Let mother be the witness to intensity. Certainly, there is an escalation from intense to very intense, in my experience as an observer.

I think also that it is not about when they start, it is more about that they occur as an indicator of the start of a process that leads to an inevitable conclusion.

By the the way, Kingdom birth illustrations are another subject altogether.

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Nice points from both of you. 

For my son I had an intuitive feeling that something was about to happen but no significant signs, e.g. broken amniotic sac or contractions.   Since I was tired only, I checked myself in  just before sunset and had the baby just after midnight , although the nurse told me I was not in labour.  Just to show that sometimes one can't go by the normal signs. Still shows you have to be always ready, as you are expectant.

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27 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

Certainly, there is an escalation from intense to very intense, in my experience as an observer.

Of course there is, but this escalation usually lasts from a few hours to a few days. Remember, too, that you already had to posit that the two uses of the same word, once by Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same. That might be a hint that you got something wrong, based on what is sometimes called "special pleading."

If there was any question about the actual meaning we merely need to look at the way that both Jesus and Paul used the word "instantly" in this context. So even if we pleaded that the word CAN sometimes refer to the longer-term process, we have the evidence from Jesus and Paul that they were referring to something that comes "instantly" upon them. (Luke 21:34; 1 Thess 5:3 -- αἰφνίδιος, unexpected, sudden, unforeseen. [Source: Strong's; Thayer's; Vines, etc.)

27 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

By the the way, Kingdom birth illustrations are another subject altogether.

Special pleading again. Actually, this is exactly the way we speak of the labor pains in Revelation 12, and we tie this birth to 1914.

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After having spent twenty five and more years discussing things like this with people who have strong ideas about such things ... but like myself, NOT HAVING THE SLIGHTEST CLUE, I have given up even caring about such things.

Things ARE WHAT THEY ARE .... and,

THEY ARE NOT WHAT THEY ARE NOT

... and a million word exposition  by the clueless ... myself included ... will not change that.

Do the best you can ... chill out ... have a beer ...  relax ... take more naps.  Pay more attention to your children while you still can.

Most "pangs of distress", I have found ... are self inflicted.

About the OTHER "pangs of distress" ... soon ... perhaps too soon ... we will all know.

I will probably be worse if you built your home on the side of an active volcano, or you live close to Yellowstone Park.

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15 hours ago, TrueTomHarley said:

 

EC241521-1393-4E0B-BB9F-06A3BD49FB30.jpeg

Hi.

Does this graphic show actual-this moments situation or is it intention of draw to motivate observer to put all this (facts, interpretations, conclusions, perceptions ...)  in time-space dimension? :)))

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15 hours ago, Gone Away said:

I find this a bit difficult to rationalise against a statement that uses an apparent pregnancy metaphor: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."

I should add that it's very possible for the disciples in 33 CE to hear these words on their own without the context and understand them to say that wars, food shortages and earthquakes would be signs that the end would be nearly upon them. We can't be blamed for seeing them the way the Watchtower explains them, because the Watchtower has always relied on re-translations of the words in Matthew 24 which tend to remove the meaning in context. 

There is a good example of this mistranslation in the Matthew 24:8 above, where it supposedly says "All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." The KJV is often followed as closely as possible by at least half of the modern English translations whenever the differences do not seem that important. So about half of the English translations are very similar to ours. But a little more than half, from a check of 40 translations, include a translation of the Greek particle "de" which the KJV and the NWT skips here. In other words we translate it as if it said:

  • πάντα ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

when it really says:

  • πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

Why is the word important? It changes the meaning from:

  • "All these things are a beginning of birth pains"

to:

  • "But all these things are but a beginning of birth pains."

In other words it emphasizes that something is missing or even wrong in the natural understanding of the previous statement about wars and earthquakes and famines. Here's why. All the Greek lexicons mention something like the following:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1161&t=KJV

  • δέ dé, deh; a primary particle (adversative or continuative)
  • STRONGS NT 1161: δέ
  • δέ (related to δή, as μέν to μήν, cf. Klotz ad Devar. ii. 2, p. 355), a particle adversative, distinctive, disjunctive
  • 1. universally, by way of opposition and distinction; it is added to statements opposed to a preceding statement: ἐάν ὀφθαλμός κτλ. Matthew 6:23; ἐλεύσονται δέ ἡμέραι, Mark 2:20; it opposes persons to persons or things previously mentioned

It's true that it isn't ALWAYS translated, but when the context repeatedly refers to the possibility of a misunderstanding then it is an important part of the meaning and must be translated. (Matthew 24 repeatedly and explicitly mentions the possibility of misunderstanding or being misled.)

This is why, when we bring in the meaning of context with the original Greek meaning of the words (including: parousia, synteleia, de, etc) we would have a meaning that more likely fits the following scenario:

  • Disciples: Please, can you tell us when this destruction of Jerusalem's Temple will occur? Can you tell us the sign that we should look for when we know that the final end and your final manifestation is about to happen? 
  • Jesus responds: Look out that nobody misleads you. Many people will come around, even on the basis of my name, saying they represent me, yet they will mislead many. [You could easily be misled by the fact that] there will be wars, earthquakes and famines. Don't be tempted to raise the alarm based on such things, because these kinds of things will keep taking place [as they always have]. All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The reason Jesus said this becomes clear in the rest of the chapter when he mentions the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end. It can't be predicted. It's as if two persons were going about their business grinding at a mill, and one was taken and one wasn't. It's the way it happens with most pregnancies, when the mother-to-be can be going about her business, and suddenly and unexpectedly a pain comes upon her. It's the way it happens with a bolt of bright lightning that suddenly happens. It's the way it happened in Noah's day when people didn't really believe or expect it to happen and suddenly the flood sweeps them away. It's the same way it happened in the days of Lot and Sodom when, without warning, fire came from heaven and destroyed them.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same.

Not so as explained in the post.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Special pleading

Nonsense. This is a ploy to avoid the issue I am afraid. Kingdom birth illustrations are not the same as matters related to the last days as the the birth of the kingdom precedes the last days....in my universe anyway. ?

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

(Luke 21:34; 1 Thess 5:3

same words, different circumstance. In one case self indulgence dulls awareness. |n the other case,  deceptive propaganda.

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The beginning and end of birth pangs are not remotely situated. Excuse me if I miss your point here? 

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1 hour ago, Gone Away said:
21 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same.

Not so as explained in the post.

Yes, I actually agree with your point here. Here is what you explained in the post:

22 hours ago, Gone Away said:

From what I can glean then, both are true to life descriptions of the occurence of labor contractions. Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. Paul uses the suddeness of their occurence to relate to the manner in which a prophesied event takes place.

I agree with this. I was too anxious to jump off on a tangent to focus on a specific area of disagreement, so that I never even responded to what you were saying.

Jesus does indeed seem to imply a potentially longer period of time for the labor pains, and it does give the impression that there is even nothing wrong with saying that the "labor pains" he speaks of sound as if they can start even at the very beginning of a pregnancy. It's not what the word usually refers to of course.

In fact, you probably knew that the real source was the Watchtower magazine on jw.org, not just the Internet in general when I said above: 

  • The original-language word rendered “pangs of distress” refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. [Source: Internet]

Our current doctrine puts the beginning of the labor pains at WWI, at the very beginning of the generation. Jesus implies this is possible. After all, who is to say that one of those wars or earthquakes would not occur in the year 34 CE just a year after Jesus gave the prophecy, at the very beginning of that generation? Some persons, perhaps even some apostles, were bound to be misled into thinking that a war or earthquake or some other event was a "sign" that the expected Parousia was imminent. This must be why Paul said in 2 Thess 2:1,2:

  • However, brothers, concerning the presence [Parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christa and our being gathered together to him, we ask you  not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. 

[Can't help but notice that Paul apparently equates the "Parousia" here with the "day of Jehovah." And this is not the only place.]

It's a very similar discussion of the Parousia from the end of 1 Thess 4 to the beginning of 1 Thess 5 which includes of course:

  • we the living who survive to the presence [Parousia] of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16  because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet . . .  Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. . . . just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape.

I come at this with the idea, of course, that both Paul and Jesus are dealing with the question of "When can we expect the Parousia?" and "Will there be any kind of sign, or advance warning?" Since I think that Jesus was referring more directly to the situation of the first generation of Jewish Christian disciples who would still be around Jerusalem, he knew that there would be wars and events and even teachers that might influence them to mistake the sign to get out of Jerusalem. There would be all kinds of ideas about how this or that teacher, or apostle, or another Messiah could mislead them by convincing arguments, or by saying to pay attention to this or that major earthquake, or major war. Paul was more addressing people around Greece, Macedonia and Thessalonika who would not be as much affected by the Romans trampling through Jerusalem. But the question was still the same, because it was still assumed that the same destruction of the Temple would be instantly followed by the end of all things, worldwide. 

To me of course, I think Jesus is saying that these things (wars, etc) are NOT related to the Parousia (the highly visible royal judgment event), but are things that people will easily mistake as signs of the impending judgment event. And another danger, of course, is that disciples might think it necessary to begin counting these as part of the Parousia and then wonder why the real Parousia is delayed, being thus disheartened and discouraged, as "expectation postponed is making the heart sick."

In the previous post I showed how Jesus theme was also the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end [Parousia/Synteleia]. It was primarily in this sense that I meant that Jesus and Paul were covering the same subject matter.

You say that Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. This is true, but not necessarily so different from what Paul is talking about, although I agree that Paul focuses on the suddenness and unexpectedness (as a thief in the night). Jesus also mentions the unexpectedness and suddenness of course, but attaches the word pangs to events could occur earlier, long before the end.

[Hopefully, this covers enough of the separate questions you posted, too.]

I think there is still an important point to repeat for clarity, which is that while Jesus does indeed speak of the pangs even at the beginning instead of just at the end, Jesus does not attach these early pangs to the Parousia/Synteleia. He clearly divorces these early mistaken/misleading signs from any kind of useful sign that might answer their question about the end. I'm sure that's the specific point where we still disagree.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

answer their question about the end

His answer to that question is simple. No one knows the day or hour, only the Father. (Matt.24:36). So no sign was given to indicate that element. All the focus must be elsewhere to understand what was said.

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55 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

His answer to that question is simple. No one knows the day or hour, only the Father. (Matt.24:36). So no sign was given to indicate that element. All the focus must be elsewhere to understand what was said.

Agreed. However the odd mobilization of Religious Leaders by means of movements, some of which to bolster more converts and the like is at least something to keep an eye on for these people are on the mental path of, You are either with us or against us, and clearly any church that is not for this movement, all branches that connect to a sole source, then you are deemed an enemy, for example, it is known by many the Jehovah's Witnesses are not into politics and or anything that affiliates to decisions made by such people for JWs are neutral, and clearly they do not take the stance of what the Religious Leaders who had joined together are doing, thus making them a target to some extent, the only clear example was when the talk about religious unity among all faiths was brought up, and those who are not for this joint effort are considered lost, blind or against, thus being branded as an enemy.

The Nations itself is already part of this Religious Movement, little by little since the early 2000s whereas around 2014-2017 religious leaders, most of them have joined forces, even more by means of Reformation whereas Baptist, Catholics and Methodist have joined in so the group is getting bigger, with the backing of politics as well as respective nations behind them, and the United Nations being the one planting the seeds to having their version of Religion, as well as their version of Education and Government, after all, the Spiritual Mother of the United Nations, long dead right now, had an obvious disinterest in Christians, as did those who had the same mindset as her and followed her, even those before her didn't like Christians, but clearly they didn't have the means like the Spiritual Mother of the UN, whereas her legacy continues by means of what the nations is doing in regards to Religion.

Meanwhile, The Bible itself, regardless of the translation at this point, has been called into question by those of today's society, in addition, in some areas in the US, the bible cannot be used and or read at all.

Lastly, if you live in the Texas area, said Religious Movement will pop up around October 2018 for their so called religious event, to reap more converts with the message they are spreading, as they did in Washington DC a while back, and obviously since the mainstream is so gullible, if said movement speaks of Jesus Christ, they follow it without hesitation, and these same folk will be the very people to do anything and everything in their power to treat you as an enemy, thus making them following consumed by the nation's so called one religion of unity, which is clearly a front for any moves people of Babylon will pull in the future.

All people have to be careful though, for they think they can avoid such things, but end up getting pulled into that madness, mainly when such madness consist of many, many false prophets.

I'd also like to add that the Russian Church who had involvement with the JW ban, is indeed part of this movement. The Ukrainians however were not cool with the RoC until later on, thus they too join said religious movement. The UN may not being attacking religion, per say, but they are molding a religion of their own (check out their 55th anniversary) by means of their so called messenger who had been rounding up and influencing religious leaders to unite, the UN will only react soon after when no other faith is willing to join their version of religion and or views, or as their supporter had said, "Instead of all these different Gods, maybe theirs one God who manifest himself  in different ways to different people" ~ Ted Turner (The New Aged Concept of a Globe Religious Organization).

But yes, we have to be careful, we may not know the last day or hour, but we have to be careful of not being easily mislead by false prophets who are increasing in numbers now.

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:36 PM, JW Insider said:

This hardly seems to fit a birth that starts in 1914 and then the labor pains only start AFTER the birth and last for 120 to 240 years. Labor pains usually start BEFORE a birth, not AFTER.

Good point 

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THE  HEADLINE.....

I  HOPE  THEY  SOON  WILL  DO  IT,  BUT  JEHOVAH'S  PLAN  IS  NOT  A  SIMPLE  PEOPLE  PLAN  -  ITS  MORE  COMPLICATED,  BUT  IT  WILL  FULL  REACH  THE  GOAL, JEHOVAH  IS  PLANING...  NO  PROBLEM  FOR  HIM,  HE  WILL  MAKE  IT !  THANK  YOU  SO  MUCH  OUR  LOVING  GOD  :x

SOON  THE  DAY  IS  THERE :)

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:36 PM, JW Insider said:

So the expression about the labor pains is really a huge hint that Jesus actually meant what he said about something coming as a surprise, as if without warning. Just like the days of Sodom would have seemed to suddenly come to an end without warning.

As a woman, who has given birth, I am not sure I would say that "birth pangs" or going into labour, is a surprise. In fact a pregnant woman in her last few weeks is expecting to go into labour soon. The only time she will be surprised and not expecting it is if she goes into labour prematurely, at an unaturaly early date in her pregnancy. However, the surprise element could be in that she could go into labour while out shopping and her waters break in the middle of the shop floor (or in the middle of a field in Jesus' day). So although she may be expecting to go into labour at any time, she could be caught at a rather inconvenient moment. So in view of that, what was Jesus saying?

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:37 PM, Gone Away said:

they started much earlier in the final month, though at different times for each child. (not to be confused of course with the Braxton Hicks variety).

There can be false alarms of course, where the mother to be ends up in hospital, only to be sent home again. I wonder how that scenario could fit into Jesus' illustration.

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Early contractions coming  before or during the eighth month are a danger sign, indicating that something is wrong with the woman or the baby - e.g. the womb not expanding or some other ailment. There is nothing normal about that. That is premature and a hospitalization event, sometimes meriting a Caesarean section. So I don't think Jesus would be talking about that - he would be considering what is the usual thing.

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5 hours ago, Anna said:

I am not sure I would say that "birth pangs" or going into labour, is a surprise.

LOL! I'm sure no one thinks it's ever a complete surprise. (Although that has supposedly happened, too, in rare cases.)

Jesus said that the "synteliea" [which can mean a "destructive final end"] would come upon Jerusalem within one generation, within the lifetime of some of those disciples who heard him speak. So it could not have come as a complete surprise. They knew the "season" just as anyone who sees a fig tree blossom knows that summer is near.

But apparently Jesus himself didn't know how long long this judgement event (proto-parousia) upon Jerusalem would have to wait. He only knew that the kingdom was not going to manifest itself instantly and that there would be a need for patience and endurance, that there would be a seeming delay, and that they should not be misled by great earthquakes, or international wars, or persecution, or famine. They would go through a period of time that would allow for preaching to be done all around their known world. Jesus knew that the Gentiles would be preached to during that same generation. The good news would be preached in all the known nations of their world before that end came. Paul did not declare that this had happened until the 50's or 60's when he told the Colossians:

  • (Colossians 1:23; New Living Translation) But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.

Only after the actual first sign, the parousia and synteleia upon Jerusalem (the "sign" they asked about) could the parousia and synteleia for the world now occur at any time "instantly." Matthew 24:30-36, New Living Translation:

  • And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.h 31And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the worldi—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
  • 32“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generationj will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
  • 36“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.k Only the Father knows.

 

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In process of reading many of your comments, especially about pregnancy and birth time, i learned a lot. But what is interesting to me in trying to connect all this information, i can put in this form of conclusion:

What Jesus meant and why while using such descriptions - and what his listeners concluded and understand is one thing. Something else is what (second or third opinion...) is what we today thinking about all that and what we derivate as conclusion/s about what He meant or even told in original form before so many centuries.

But human must try and try and try .... and never to stop :)

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On 5/19/2018 at 3:11 PM, 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.

It is both terminally sad, and actually funny, to see the Society's Lawyers speaking as one ... trying to explain that the obvious Elephant they are trying to hide under the beach towel is not really there.

Who knew that the Russians were AT LEAST as smart as the average amoeba?

 I mean .... who knew?

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13 hours ago, JW Insider said:

The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.

Paul, as he was, might have had a fixed, imaginary idea that he is the one who will complete the preaching ministry, "all over the world" - (translated by WT to "the known world in the 1st century") The pause for the question: "Did the Greeks and Romans then,  also the Jews of that time of course,  believed and thought that the" world "consist only of the few hundred miles that Paul was traveling around ????

JW's modern "Pauls" (plural of Paul) preachers also lives in the belief that the end of the universe will come after encompassing the whole world with its preaching campaign. Very similar to Paul's idea and zeal. Unlike today's interpretations on "generation issue"  , the ruin of the then-known "world" has been happening in less than 40 years. So, for those who like to count and multiply, share and subtract  numbers - "generation life" has lasted much, much less than (?? number of years -- without complicated, confused, puzzling overlapping thesis to put in::::))))).

"And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.h 31 And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

- When and how did the Jews of the 1st century see all this signs? And by that, conclude that the "end of the world" is coming, is here ?

This short expose is not for argue with you dear JW Insider, just rising questions that came :) 

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7 hours ago, James Thomas Rook Jr. said:

It is both terminally sad, and actually funny, to see the Society's Lawyers speaking as one ... trying to explain that the obvious Elephant they are trying to hide under the beach towel is not really there.

Who knew that the Russians were AT LEAST as smart as the average amoeba?

 I mean .... who knew?

To be fair, the Jehovah's Witnesses were already deemed a target after being robbed by an ally of the church, and after the head of RoC came back from a spiritually powered journey in Antarctica, a bit after his meeting with the Pope, a historic meeting.

What you do not see is what the RoC is doing since the JWs are not on the streets, and what they are beginning to do to other Christians, technically, so to speak, holding a gun to their head or they will meet the same fate. The RoC has also expanded, for there was a group, who also have a channel now on YT that is working to expand the Catholic Church with the aid of anyone connected to the Pope, hence the whole talk about the One World Religion thing, clearly JWs and several others are not for this seemingly forced unity, hence they become targets.

Other then that it is odd that now Catholics, in robes, are going door to door in place of JWs, at times, if the complex is own by the church, they will come to your door to, kick you out if the rent is not paid, and they'll do it by force once you hear the knock, if not, expect the FSB to saw down your door, jump through your window, crash into your roof, rambo style, in order to arrest you.

I'll have to find my source again, and if I o I'll post it so you can see the situation in Russia for yourself.

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It seems to me, an avid Bible student, that Satan has always worked the same deceits on the general population, here on planet Earth, since way before Jesus. His tactics have never change. He demands truth and honesty from the population but he himself, and all his cohorts, rally themselves around lies and deceit…deceits which cannot be seen, unless we, ourselves, follow righteous teaching…then we innocently speak truthfully, behave truthfully, and expect truthfulness in response. Thus greed, selfishness, squeezing the last ounce of strength out of humanity, out of more honest people, becomes harder, because it is all built upon lies. It is spiritual oppression and the Jews should all be well acquainted with it.

The Romans were good at it before Jesus, during Jesus, and have continued ever since, and every authority has the same standards, and this is reflected by the attitudes and health of the world’s population today. It is important to realise that all this unrighteous duplicity is what causes our misery, our distress, our depressions, our health to fail, and what gives evil all its strength, and so, to be an asset in the forthcoming, righteous, new heaven and new Earth, we need to repent and follow truthfulness and honesty, as Jesus Christ taught us. Even though the general population cannot now distinguish between the two…the fiery lake of sulphur can.

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@Melinda Mills, @Gone Away, @tromboneck, @Srecko Sostar, @James Thomas Rook Jr., @ComfortMyPeople@Space Merchant, and anyone else who was interested: I have moved the portion of this conversation that moved from the topic of UN to the topic of earthly hope, heavenly hope, and 144,000 to a new topic called:

It wasn't tromboneck who asked for this, but his is the earliest post from which the new topic material was begun, so it looks like he started it. I actually went to a lot of trouble to avoid this, so it wouldn't look like I did this on purpose and I'll try to fix it again.

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@NicholasMarks Yeah, and the Romans were against and willing to "have their way" with those who don't believe what they believe, even though the Romans technically remixed Christianity into something it is not, mainly when you have people like Theodosius II who will be the one to draw the sword on you before you can even react -  during those times.

Eventually a time will come in our day and age where things will be cranked up to max regarding persecution and those siding with the nation's religion and are against those not for them. Out side of religion (technically), the UK pulled something that can and will cause problems, imagine that when it is in regards to Christianity, but at a grander scale around the globe - that will eventually come.

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      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 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 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , . . . . 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 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. and and interesting version of events found in a 1981 Watchtower about why this "insight" was given Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. The Proclaimers book states it like this on page 192-3 ( 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) 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 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , 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.” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ) 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. ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ; 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 Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. 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."
      But, as many Witnesses already know, there is something even deeper that is wrong with these claims of accuracy in discernment. The claims are inaccurate! It turns out that this was not really even predicted in advance. A close look at the original transcript of Knorr's talk actually solves the mystery of why he used the term United Nations in his speech. It's because he gave the speech AFTER official work on the United Nations had already begun.
    • By The Librarian
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  
      Jehovah's Witnesses have long been persecuted as a religious minority but the United Nations is telling Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Eritrea that time is up! Listen to investigative journalist Joseph Bonner break down the facts.
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      Macron to UN: "Our fight against terrorism is also a political, cultural, moral fight"
       
       
    • By Kurt
      The similar demolition of a Catholic church last year is prompting Christians to worry that the central government will begin ordering the mass destruction of church buildings nationwide as new religious regulations go into effect next month. These regulations grant the Chinese Communist Party increased power over religion, paving the way for escalated persecution.
      according to 
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    • By The Librarian
      The heated language of Trump’s presidential campaign is affecting American Muslims, who find themselves increasingly on the receiving end of hate crimes. A year into TrumpÂ’s presidency, how will his words and decisions affect the countryÂ’s Islamic minority? We ask Trita Parsi, former informal Obama administrationÂ’s adviser and head of the National American Iranian Council.
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      'Mismanagement' keeps UN from reaching full potential, Trump says in debut speech
       
       
    • By bruceq
      WHAT DOES TRUMP THINK ABOUT PUTIN’S WAR ON RELIGION?
      BY  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  ON 8/12/17 AT 12:20 AM
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. Just ten years ago, it would have been hard to imagine that the crackdown on civic activism in Russia would target religious communities, not just NGOs. And yet it is happening.
      The Russian state persecutes Baptists, Pentecostals, and Adventists and closes down Orthodox parishes that are not part of the Moscow Patriarchate.
      For the first time since the Soviet Union collapsed, preachers are now being fined for proclaiming GodÂ’s word outside church buildings.
      And a recent Supreme Court decision has opened the door to liquidating JehovahÂ’s Witnesses communities in Russia.
      “Traditional” versus “Nontraditional” Religions
      Russia divides all faiths into “traditional” and “nontraditional.” This concept, while absent from the Russian Law on Religious Freedom (although mentioned in the law’s preamble), has been introduced under pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and Patriarch Kirill personally.
      Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are deemed “traditional,” while Old Believers, Catholics, various Protestant denominations, and many others are not.
      A member of the 'Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers' takes part in a demonstration against the movie 'Matilda' in front of the Church of the Resurrection in Moscow on August 1, 2017. 'Matilda', a Russian movie about a love story between the last Russian Tsar Nikolay II and the ballerina Mathilda-Marie Feliksovna Kschessinskaya set for theater release in October, is believed by many Russians to insult the monarchy and offend religious sentiment.MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GETTY
      The concept of traditional religions not only pits worshippers against each other, it also ignores the religious diversity of Russia. Today there are some 15 million practicing Orthodox believers in Russia, 10 million Muslims, 3 million Protestants, 500,000 Buddhists, 200,000 Jews, 175,000 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses, 100,000 Hindus, and 100,000 followers of other religious faiths (e.g., there are an estimated 10,000 Mormons in Russia).
      The ROC has usurped the right to a close relationship with the government and accuses Catholics and Protestants of proselytizing in the territory that it considers its own. As for Muslims, the ROC accepts as “traditional” only those who are loyal to the government.
      The ROC’s concern is understandable. According to the Russian Ministry of Justice, ROC organizations are the most numerous in the country (around 16,000 communities), while Protestants and Muslims are second and third (5,000–6,000 communities each).
      However, polls show that Protestants and Muslims may be twice as numerous as official figures suggest. For example, evangelicals are now the second largest Christian denomination in Russia after Orthodox Christians in terms of numbers and presence throughout the country.
      In fact, in many regions of Siberia and the Far East, the number of Protestant communities and active parishioners is higher than the number of practicing Orthodox believers. In light of this, Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly urged the authorities in the Far East to “fight against sects” and support the Orthodox projects.
      Tightening the Screws
      The path toward tightening the screws on various non-traditional religions began in 2012, with the “foreign agent” law limiting the activity of foreign-funded noncommercial organizations. Furthermore, the law on meetings and demonstrations was also tightened. And in 2015 a new directive was introduced specifying that all religious groups must inform authorities of their existence.
      Then, in June 2016, the State Duma adopted a series of laws known collectively as the 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  Named after Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya, who initiated it, the law amends Russian public safety and anti-extremism legislation. The part of the law that has already come into force and has received the broadest coverage consists of the statutes regulating liability for failure to report “extremist activity”—a very broadly defined set of activities under Russian law, ranging from calls for violence to the vague “incitement of racial, nationalist and religious hatred” and “propaganda of exceptionalism” based on religion or nationality.
      The part of the Yarovaya Law that has received much less attention is the provision imposing new restrictions on missionary work. The law now imposes a fine of 50,000 rubles on a private citizen for illegal preaching and up to 1 million rubles on a religious organization.
      Illegal preaching may mean preaching in a building that is not designated for such purposes and lacks proper signage. As a result, the police and the prosecutor’s office now consider the activity of religious groups lacking official registration as illegal—a change from the recent past.
      Targeting JehovahÂ’s Witnesses
      The recent court proceedings against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses are a case in point. The campaign against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses began in 2009, during the still relatively liberal Dmitry MedvedevÂ’s premiership.
      In a number of cases the courts, relying on poorly and unprofessionally conducted evaluations, concluded that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature could be defined as “extremist,” referring as it did to the faith as the only true faith.
      The adoption of the Yarovaya Law, therefore, opened the door to liquidating Jehovah’s Witnesses communities on the basis of their possessing “extremist” literature.
      On April 20, 2017, on the basis of the totality of these cases, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to liquidate the JehovahÂ’s Witnesses Management Center and all of the regional organizations. On July 17, 2017, a Supreme Court panel declined the JehovahÂ’s WitnessesÂ’ appeal, and the decision entered into force.
      The decision means prohibition of activity for over 400 JehovahÂ’s Witnesses organizations all over Russia and criminal prosecutions of more than 170,000 believers if they continue to gather and read faith publications and the Bible in their specific translation. (There are more than 2,000 groups engaged in this activity in Russia.)
      On top of that, because Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations are now judged “extremist,” the state is confiscating the profession’s assets: 118 buildings in fifty-seven regions whose total value is 1.9 billion rubles.
      For the West, it was specifically the prohibition against JehovahÂ’s Witnesses that came to symbolize pointless religious discrimination in Russia and a drastic reduction of religious freedoms in the country. The EUÂ’s Office of Foreign Policy, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Helsinki Committee have all broadly criticized the move and called on Russia to rescind it.
      On top of that, JehovahÂ’s Witnesses has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. It is clear in advance that the judgment wonÂ’t be in RussiaÂ’s favor. Taking into account the losses sustained by the faithful, the fine that the Strasbourg court will impose on Russia for the benefit of JehovahÂ’s Witnesses may reach astronomical heights.
      The fact is, authoritiesÂ’ fight against nontraditional religions and religious denominations, which they peg as weird and scary sects, takes ugly, almost caricature forms.
      Journalists, politicians, and Orthodox activists accuse those of other faiths of activities that constitute the core religious activities of all faiths, including the ROC itself: collecting donations, engaging in prayers with emotional overtones, and instructing followers, including children, in the tenets of the faith. In the context of the massive anti-West hysteria, xenophobia, and search for spies, all of these generally normal activities become a crime.
      Most politicians and public figures, both conservative and liberal, readily jump on the bandwagon, portraying unfamiliar “sects” as threatening to the secular state and even citizens’ psychological health. And the media ignore the persecution of those targeted under the Yarovaya Law.
      There are now more than 100 court cases challenging the imposition of fines against religious communities and individual faithful, yet they are proceeding unnoticed by the general public.
      Who Benefits?
      Many assume that the suppression of religious dissent automatically benefits the ROC. But that is not necessarily the case. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate are torn by irreconcilable contradictions.
      On the one hand, there are those who would like to prohibit all sects legislatively and in that way eliminate all competitors. (They are particularly troubled by the evangelicals in the Far East, who at this point exceed the number of the Orthodox.)
      On the other hand, many experts note that as soon as the word “sect” is introduced into the law, half the Orthodox communities could be prohibited. Rank-and-file priests and believers have stated that the anti-missionary statutes of the Yarovaya Law could also be used to prevent Orthodox sermons and missions among youth.
      In Russia, the gap is growing between the discriminated-against non-Orthodox Christians and the Orthodox, between the ROC bureaucracy and Orthodox activists of different persuasions, between the ROCÂ’s leadership and the pro-democracy-minded part of society, between the desires of law enforcement organs and the aims of the missionaries of different churches, including the ROC.
      These conflicts are getting sharper because Russian society betrays more civility than the Russian state. Ordinary Russians are much more tolerant of those professing different beliefs than are the police and the prosecutorÂ’s office.
      And the trend toward aligning the governmentÂ’s policy with the interests of the ROC produces a boomerang effect: civil society criticizes priests and bishops from the Orthodox standpoint, not from an atheistic one.
      This is why the state has decided to safeguard itself against independent religious authority by heavily regulating it.
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  is Senior Researcher at Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Center for Religious Studies in the Institute of Europe (Russian Academy of Sciences), a member of Russian team of Keston Institute (Oxford, UK) project “Encyclopedia of religious life in Russia Today”, editor-in-chief of the web-portal “Religion and Law” ( Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. ), a public policy scholar in the  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  and the  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  (2011) and The Galina Starovoitova Fellowship scholar of the Kennan Institute (2017).
    • By The Librarian
      The US leader's comments marked a change in tone after his sometimes anti-Islamic rhetoric during the presidential race.
       
      Trump urges Muslim leaders to 'drive out' terror
      Donald Trump has likened the fight against Islamic extremism to a battle between "good and evil" and not different faiths.
      Speaking to leaders from around 50 Muslim-majority countries in Saudi Arabia, the President attacked militants as "barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life".
      The US leader urge the nations to "confront Islamic terror of all kinds", deny sanctuary to extremists and stand together against the murder of innocent Muslims by groups like Islamic State.
      According to Mr Trump, "95% of the victims of terrorist attacks are themselves Muslims".
      He said America was seeking a "coalition of nations" in the Middle East with the aim of "stamping out extremism".
      Trump in Saudi: 'Tremendous progress tackling IS' He said the countries "cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them".
      Striking a conciliatory line, his comments marked a change in tone for Mr Trump after his remarks during the presidential campaign where he told the US: "Islam hates us."
      Addressing the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, he said: "We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading."
      Saudi King: 'Islam is the religion of peace'  Mr Trump told leaders at the meeting that he brought "a message of friendship and hope and love", and urged Muslim countries to ensure "terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil".
      He announced a deal with Gulf countries to crackdown on the funding of extremists.
      The President also hit out at Iran, accusing Tehran of "fuelling the fires of sectarian conflict".
      He said among Iran's destabilising interventions was in Syria, where President Bashar al Assad has "committed unspeakable crimes".
      "From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region," Mr Trump said.
      Sky's Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley said the President's comments "will be very much welcomed by the predominantly Sunni attendees from some 50 nations.
      "And it will strike a degree of horror into (Shia-dominated) Iran.
      "Terrorism is sponsored through groups like Hizbollah, by Iran, but there are also Sunni Islamic terrorist groups that the Iranians are fighting, not least Islamic State in Syria."
      Mr Trump also called upon countries around the world to work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria.

      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
    • By admin
      The UN should create a set of international rules to help stop the pandemic of fake news and Cold war-style disinformation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said during a session of the UN Committee on Information in New York.
       
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      Bolivian Ambassador Remembers The U.S. Saying Iraq Had Chemical Weapons!


      World News
    • By Kurt
      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*. 
      “This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said. 
      “The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed. 
      The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.  
      A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events. 
      A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’. 
      Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016.   The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.  
      “We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded. 
      (*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. , and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on  Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content. .   The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.  of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.   UN Human Rights, country page: 
      Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.    Hello guest! Please register or sign in (it's free) to view the hidden content.
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      The Clean Seas campaign was launched last week, aimed at eliminating major sources of marine plastic and changing shopping habits.
      The United Nations has declared war on plastic. In an unexpected announcement that emerged from the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali last week, the UN officially launched its ‘Clean Seas’ campaign. The goal is to eliminate major sources of pollution, including microplastics in cosmetics and single-use disposable plastics, by pressuring governments and individuals to rethink the way goods are packaged and their own shopping habits.
      Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, stated:
      “It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop.”
      It’s a problem that must be dealt with as aggressively as possible. Scientists say that the equivalent of a dump truck load of plastic is deposited in the world’s oceans every minute, and this quantity will only increase as consumption and population grow, too. By 2050, it’s said there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. The UN writes, “As many as 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy – litter our seas, seriously threatening marine wildlife.”
      On the campaign website, people can commit to certain actions to combat their personal plastic pollution, such as not using disposable grocery bags, bringing their own coffee cup, avoiding cosmetics with microbeads, and pressuring firms to reduce excess packaging. The campaign’s press release says it will make announcements throughout the year, highlighting advances made by countries and companies to reduce disposable plastics.

      Some countries have taken noteworthy steps, with ten already signing onto the #CleanSeas campaign. Indonesia, for example, has pledged to reduce marine litter by 70 percent by 2025, and Costa Rica says it will “take measures to dramatically reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.” Other nations are turning to taxes on plastic bags.
      The UN Clean Seas campaign is a good place to start, as it will spread the awareness of a little-known problem much further afield. Awareness, however, is just the first small step. It must translate into real lifestyle changes in order to make any sort of difference. It requires people to think ahead – request no straw with a drink, pack containers and bags when going to the store, trade in the diaper wipes for a washcloth, kick the bottled water habit – and it requires municipal governments to take a strong, often unpopular, stance.

      Just as microbeads are being eliminated in many places, plastic shopping bags should be, too; or at least the tax should be high enough to deter anyone, say $5 a bag, instead of 5 cents. Every town should have a bulk food store where the use of reusable containers is incentivized. Styrofoam and plastic takeout containers should be made illegal. Places to return packaging directly to manufacturers should be built alongside recycling facilities, based on the successful model of returning wine and beer bottles for refund in the province of Ontario. Schools need to start teaching children to care proactively for the Earth and to live with a reduced footprint, much like the strong anti-littering messages taught in Japan.
      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
       
      For years, critics of the United Nations have been calling on the U.S. to defund and even quit the world body. Some have urged that a rival or successor organization be established. Now, the empty sheet of bitter discontent with the UN has been filled in with a new name and a new movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with the Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of this movement.
      Just days after the passage of UN Resolution 2334, which declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It has started with a conversation of ideas proposing an official international conference that would carefully propound a multilaterally-signed diplomatic convention to be ratified by countries as a binding treaty that would juridically forge the covenant into operational reality.
      The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity, or national origin, as well as formulating a mechanism to resolve disputes.
      A prime mission of the new world body would be to re-ratify, amend, or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Thus, the Covenant would create a new body of long-overdue, reformed, clarified, and updated international law. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN overseeing its collapse from economic and bureaucratic processes as was done when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
      Clearly, the history of world bodies, fluttering high-minded banners of peace on earth following wars that scorched the world and scarred all humankind, is not a good one. The League of Nations was born after World War I out of a quest for revenge by the victors, laced with a visionary desire to end colonialism and empower self-determination among nationally awakened peoples, so long as the whole business conquered the oil fields of the Mideast, lubricating the machinery of the post-Second Industrial Revolution West—and the multinational corporate palms that controlled it.
      Countries were invented that had never existed, carved and chipped off the toppled Turkish and German empires, with handpicked kings and sovereigns put into place who could legally sign lucrative petroleum contracts. Backstage, oil companies got the oil. But the flaccid League of Nations – which never included the United States –proved its utter uselessness during the Hitler regime.
      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/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      UNESCO has intervened in the long-running Israeli-Arab conflict over Jerusalem's holy sites of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall. It passed a resolution for the sites to be referred to only by their Arabic names - Haram al-Sharif and the Buraq Wall - thereby ignoring any Jewish connection.
       
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