The last time the Jehovah’s Witnesses came to visit, at my last house, I was in the shower. I heard the doorbell ring and a few muffled words to my partner, Helen, and I knew straight away who was at the door. I have never moved so quickly, getting out of the shower, barely drying myself, and running downstairs, getting my trousers on whilst bounding down the steps. Helen knows me only too well, and did really well to stall them. I had them there for well over an hour and took their arguments to pieces, in my humble opinion. indeed, some months later, i met the young one of the pair in my local One Stop store as he announced, “Hello Mr Free Will!”
This time, it was an elderly couple in the fresh depths of winter. I was in the bedroom my gorilla onesie. Oh yes, it’s the Christmas holidays. As a result, in almost repeat fashion, I was bounding down the stairs, yet again, doing up my hastily grabbed trousers to meet the couple at the door. I stood there in almost zero temperatures talking theology and philosophy, again for almost an hour, bare feet and all.
And yet again, I pretty much destroyed every one of their arguments. But, as ever, it ain’t rational argument that changes people’s minds, because people believe what they want to believe, it’s psychological and emotional aspects.
What I found interesting is that one of the first things I said is that, as a philosopher, I try really hard to build my worldview from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. I ask what abstracts ideas are, and piece together reality from the very fundamental building blocks. Many or most Bible believing Christians appear to argue from the top down, from the truth of the Bible downwards. They scrabble around to find things to support their castles in the air. The couple claimed that this was how they operated too.
The lovely ending to the talk was when in talking about Adam and Eve and Original Sin, and all of the associated problems, the woman stated something like, “Well, Adam and Eve have to be true because..”
And there I had them. I pointed out that this was exactly what I started out talking about. They HAD to believe in Adam and Eve, otherwise the whole thing makes little sense. But they don’t argue to Adam and Eve from evidence, but from necessity. Even the most rudimentary analysis of the evidence of evolution and human history shows the literal Adam and Eve to be false. Adam and Eve are pretty much the conclusion they start with (or the truth of the Bible) and they merely argue back from there.
It was so very evident.
A lovely interchange, but water off a duck’s back for all parties.
My feet were blue by the end.
[If anyone has some experiences with JWs to share, please comment below or submit something to me for guest posting.]