This fall, a group of Jehovah's Witnesses started knocking on doors in our neighborhood and like a lot of people, we ignored them at first. We knew it was a bit rude, but we just didn't want to have that awkward conversation. After leaving their pamphlets left under our doormat a time or two, they didn't come by for a while. That combined with the fact that we were expecting a shipment of Tyrion's formula (which needs to be signed for) led to me opening the door without even looking to see who was there until I was already halfway down the front stairs the next time they rang our doorbell.
I could clearly see two older ladies standing on our front porch and I knew they had already seen me so I couldn't just walk back upstairs. That first conversation was actually pretty quick, just a "hi, my name is.... and this is my friend... What's your name?" Then out came the pamphlet and, "I'd just like to share something with you quickly." They read a short blurb from inside the pamphlet (or magazine as they called it) then they left me with the magazine and were on their way.
I'll freely admit that I tossed the magazine on the coffee table and then threw it in the recycling bin next time we cleaned up the living room without even giving it a second thought.
Several weeks later, again on a day when we were due for a delivery of formula that I had to sign for, the same two ladies were back again. This time I had Tyrion in my arms when I opened the door so they asked his name and complimented him before asking if I had a chance to read through the literature they had left with me. I'm fairly certain I said something along the lines of, "I think I did but I don't really remember much of it."
They handed me a new issue of their magazine and asked me if I had a copy of the Bible at home. I responded that we did in fact have several copies in the house, foolishly thinking that would be the end of it. Then they asked if they could come by next week for about 15 minutes to bring me a copy of their Bible and show me how it was the same as my own Bible but with just a small difference.
I almost wish I had some really great Christian-y sounding reasoning for why I said yes but honestly, I just enjoy learning new things and I thought if nothing else, this would be interesting.
The next week, they came by just like they said they would with both a copy of their Bible and a book entitled "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" They asked me if I had my own copy of the Bible handy so we could compare a couple of passages to see that they are the same. Then they pointed me toward a passage where in my Bible (NIV) God was referred to as "the Lord" and in their Bible, God was called "Jehovah." They told me in both the Bible and the study book they had given me were more information on why they used "God's true name" in their translation of the Bible and most other translations do not use it. We talked a little bit more and as they were leaving they said, "ok, we'll see you next week at the same time and we'll continue with the study."
I was a little bit shocked and overwhelmed as I didn't recall saying I'd do this every week but I didn't recover in time to object so I've met with them several more times and I'm honestly glad I have. Not because I have any intention of converting but because by learning more about what is written in the Bible and their interpretation of it and beliefs, I have been able to more concretely define what I personally believe.
I will be the first to admit that I am not as knowledgable about the Bible and Christianity as many others are, most of my closest friends are much further along on their faith journey than I am. But that's okay because I am learning more every day and growing in my faith and growing closer to God. Because I am not a Biblical scholar, I will include two of the websites I used to find the answers I was looking for in comparing Christianity to Jehovah's Witnesses.
The first website I found was Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs compared to Christianity
, this page lists 49 of the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses, what the Bible says about this belief and then sites specific scriptures to back up what they say the Bible says on the topic all in an easy to read chart. Below the chart, there is more detailed information and each scripture reference is actually written out. Personally, I went to my own Bible to find each scripture reference but I found them to match the ones on the website.
Coffee Talk: A Few Major Differences Between Jehovah's Witnesses and Christianity
was the second reference site I used. This site was much less detailed but has the advantage of being a very quick read if you're not looking for all the specific scriptures to back things up, this just lists out the differences of the two belief systems.
This experience has shown me that no matter what you believe, it is important to know why you hold that belief. It's not enough for me to just believe something because it's what the pastor told us at church on Sunday. Was there a Biblical basis for what was being said? If not, can I find one? Or is there a Biblical basis for the argument against what I heard?
I think it's important for all of us to question our own beliefs from time to time, how else are we to know whether they are helping us or harming us. This doesn't just go for our religious beliefs either. When was the last time you questioned your beliefs in your own capabilities? Are those beliefs holding you back or propelling you forward?
Labels: Faith, Religion, Self Improvement