An Atheist explains the difference between a cult and a religion.

Often atheists will associate all religions with being cults. In this video Hemant Mehta, an atheist YouTuber and blogger gives what I believe is a fair assessment of the differences between cults and religions.

 

Why I like talking with Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons

I think there are many Christians who feel intimidated to talk to Jehovah Witnesses’ and Mormons. Most of the time we realize that the missionaries from those religions have done a lot of studying and preparing to share about their faith and we find that intimidating because we feel like we haven’t done much of that ourselves. But I wanted to challenge you to think of this differently.

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Why we must find truth with not only our hearts, but also our minds according to Paul

Many religions in the world claim to be the true one. Of course we know that not all them can be true, because they contradict. Islam says Jesus isn’t God, Christianity does. Hinduism says hell doesn’t exist, western religions do. Buddhism says this world is an illusion, Judaism says that God created the very real world that we see. So how do we determine which one is true?

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Does the Jehovah Witness’ Watchtower speak for God like a prophet?

If you have talked with Jehovah Witness’ for any period of time you know that many of their doctrines come directly from a society called The Watchtower. The society publishes all of the substantial content of Jehovah Witness’, there is no independent Jehovah Witness publications. As the authority for Jehovah Witness’ it claims to speak for God much like the prophets that we see in the Bible. So should we trust it? Well, it seems the best way to know would be testing them by the Biblical standard.

In Deuteronomy 18 we are told that if someone is a true prophet of God they will not prophecy anything that doesn’t come to pass or speak in the name of any other God. As for the second part of that test, Watchtower is on track, it claims to speak only for the God we see in the Bible. In the second part we run into a slew of problems as many of the predictions of the Watchtower have never come to pass.

Here are some predictions that the Watchtower has made in the past:

  • Christ would come back in 1874
  • The world would end in 1914
  • Old Testament Saints would come to earth in 1925
  • The world will end and Christ would come back in 1975

The Watchtower itself admits this predictions were wrong.

So, does the Watchtower stand to the test in Deuteronomy 18? Obviously not, even according to the Watchtower itself.

In fact the Watchtower even tried ‘correcting’ some of these predictions moving dates further out when they were wrong initially only to be wrong even a second time. Perhaps getting something wrong once could be a mistake of some sort, though the Biblical test says otherwise, but once it was wrong a second time we should be completely abandoning such a source as a reliable mouthpiece of God. If they made a ‘mistake’ about something as important as when Christ comes back why should we believe that they are not leading us astray in other doctrines that they teach?

pyramid_russel_gravesiteEarly Watchtower beliefs under one of the Jehovah Witness’ church fathers Charles Taze Russel actually believed the Ancient Pyramid of Egypt to be a sort of ‘Stone Bible’. It was believed measurements in the Pyramid were prophetic to the beginning of ‘the years of trouble’. The doctrine was taught to Jehovah Witness’ for fifty years from 1879-1928, after Russel was buried under a pyramid marked grave.

Russel’s successor flipped from calling the pyramid a ‘stone Bible’ to a work of the Egyptians under the influence of the Devil. Quite a flip for a group that should be speaking for God.

The Watchtower Society is very unorthodox in many beliefs. The Watchtower doesn’t believe Jesus is God, they reject the Trinity, regard blood transfusions sinful, celebrating birthdays as sinful and have changed vital words or added words to the Bible in their New World Translation. But given the obvious unreliability of Society I think we can steer clear from accepting any of these doctrines.

Should we call God Jehovah as Jehovah Witnesses’ claim?

I’ve recently been in conversations with Jehovah Witnesses on a number of subjects. If you don’t know much about JW’s you probably still aren’t surprised to know that using the name ‘Jehovah’ for God is something that they find of great importance.  So, I thought I would give a little background about the name to explore JW’s claim that we should only call God Jehovah.

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Why Thomas’s Exclamation Proves Jesus was God

I’ve recently been researching  Jehovah Witnesses. I’ve attended the local Kingdom Hall, read a number of the Watch Tower Publications, and debated a Jehovah Witness online. It’s been fun. If you know me at all, you know that I really enjoy these sort of tensions and conversations.

The most important thing I have come to realize about Jehovah’s Witness is that they don’t believe that Jesus is God. In fact they don’t believe in the trinity at all. This is of course a huge break away from Orthodox Christianity. So I thought I would take some time to show one reason why such a view is unbiblical.

Most of you are well aware that Jehovah’s Witneses are not the only people that believe Jesus is not God. In fact, it’s a pretty common belief that Jesus is not God these days. Whether an atheist, a Jehovah Witness, aMormons, or even a Muslim, many people believe Jesus is not God. So what does scripture teach? One passage in particular seems to make it abundantly clear.

In John 20 we see Jesus appear to Thomas after the resurrection. Thomas had declared that he would not believe unless he felt Jesus wounds and saw Jesus himself. When Jesus appears and tells Thomas to feel his wounds Thomas says to Jesus, “my Lord and my God”.

Thomas is very clearly calling Jesus God! It’s possible that Thomas is somehow wrong in his exclamation here, but Jesus’ reply makes it clear that he has no problem with what Thomas has said. Instead of condemning or correcting Thomas for calling him God,  Jesus says ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’

Rather then correcting, Jesus confirms Thomas’ statement by saying those who believe what Thomas has proclaimed without seeing, as Thomas has seen, will be blessed.

Some would like to argue that Jesus makes no actual claim to deity here. To some extent this is true, Jesus does say ‘I am God’. But an understanding of the strict monotheism of Judaism would show that Jesus should have condemned such a statement and He didn’t. In fact he encourages Thomas for calling him God. Clearly Jesus did not disagree with what was being said.

Others claim that Thomas was not speaking to Jesus but actually to God, but the context makes it clear, ‘Thomas said to him (Jesus), my Lord and my God’. John is being explicitly clear that Thomas is addressing Jesus.

There is only way to interpret the passage within the context, Thomas is calling Jesus God and Jesus is confirming that Thomas is speaking the truth. So is Jesus God? This scripture certainly is saying so.