A reader sent this email and could use your help. He’s a former Jehovah’s Witness who is trying to help his still-religious family members see the rational side of things:
Several of my family members are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and as far as they are concerned, they are 100% right. I have tried talking to them about various skeptical things to do with religion, but they point out that most of the criticism is directed at Christians, and “Christians do not believe the same as JWs.”
I was a bit unsure about this, and having done a lot of research into JWs, it is actually true — a lot of what we ridicule Christians about is actually not believed by JWs. They do not believe in hell, or that Jesus is God, and some of them are fine with evolution (even though their website says they do not believe in it).
I am finding it very difficult to talk to them about my (lack of) beliefs because they seem to be impervious to criticism. They believe that you cannot read the Bible without their direct help, and any analysis of the Bible without their accompanying books is useless. They even have their own translation of the Bible. They believe that small inconsistencies with history are trivial — that it is all about the future, not the past — but they firmly believe the Bible is more accurate a historical record than anything else. They put up this huge barrier to entry and this stops anyone from criticizing them.
They tell me that any suffering on earth is Satan’s work, and God does not stop it because he “has given us a chance in the past and we ignored him so now we have to wait until armageddon before getting another chance.” They have an answer for everything I say.
What can I do to counter these people?
I know I should probably ignore them but I would feel so much happier if I could “save” them from this religion (how ironic).
Anyone is welcome to offer suggestions, but I’m sure advice from former JWs would be even more powerful.