Thursday, 6 May 2010

Silence the Dissenters

The Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses does not like people who question their teachings or authority as they claim both are of God. (See this blog and listen to the audio recordings for an example of what I mean.)

That's why I found it so refreshing that StandFirm allows all comments to be posted on his Jehovah's Witness apologist blog (in my experience this is very rare). From his "About Comments" page;
All viewpoints-both agreeing with me and/or Jehovah's Witnesses or disagreeing with me and/or Jehovah's Witnesses-are welcome. Please feel free to leave your thoughts, so that I may improve the articles as best I can.

I do moderate my comments. The primary reason is so that I may read all comments, so that I do not miss any suggestions or questions asked of me.

The only comments I reject fall into four categories:
1. Spam-obvious attempts to drum up traffic to unrelated websites.
2. Hate speech-generally against Jehovah's Witnesses. Hate speech is defined as when derogatory comments are made without any burden of proof.
3. Requested as such-if you want to leave me a private comment for my eyes only, you may do so. However, request that it be made private or rejected after reading it.
4. Redundant-Opposers going over the same issues over and over again and taking over the blog with their comments.

Comments may be deleted if a full-post response is written or pending.
It was really sad, therefore, to see that he'd posted the following on this post;
Glad you've been enjoying my blog.

I will delete some of your comments repeated over here; they serve no purpose other than redundancy, and others I will delete after I address them in new posts.
It's hard to understand how comments on his blog, just because I've repeated them here on my blog are redundant. Surely any element of redundancy would only factor if an impartial reader where aware of my blog when reading his. And I'm not convinced that assumption can be made.

I would have thought in the interest of fair and open discussion, having all comments displayed for as long as the blog is active would be the right way to handle it. If his desire is to improve the quality of his articles, surely allowing contradicting comments to remain would enhance said quality and allow impartial readers to make an informed choice about the teachings and beliefs of the Governing Body, as dispensed to Jehovah's Witnesses through the Watch Tower Society.

It seems clear that StandFirm feels my comments fall into category 4;
4. Redundant-Opposers going over the same issues over and over again and taking over the blog with their comments.
I have to ask, who did he think would post on his blog? Active, supportive Jehovah's Witnesses? Also, notice the pejoratives that are thrown the way of those who don't actively support Jehovah's Witnesses and are willing to speak up about it; redundant-opposers.

Just because someone doesn't agree with the claims made by the Governing Body through the publishing channel of the Watch Tower Society doesn't mean they're redundant. And while it may make them an opposer, is that a bad thing? Jehovah's Witnesses oppose every other religious group and sect on earth and distribute literature and deliver talks in Kingdom Halls and conventions to that effect.

In what way are opposers' comments redundant? It is because their comments aren't truthful? Is it because there are satisfactory answers found in Watch Tower literature? Perhaps some issues need to be gone over "again and again" as they've never been dealt with by the published doctrines of the Governing Body and as a result Jehovah's Witnesses are in dangerous, spiritual darkness.

As the Governing Body themselves once said;
"Consequently, is it unchristian today to offer Bible-based comments about anothers religion? The scriptural answer must be No. True, criticism that reveals faults in the teachings or practices of someone's religion might at first seem severe. Yet, how should one react? Not like those who became violently enraged over Stephen's criticism. Rather, note the fine reaction of some Athenians who heard Paul's comments. They accepted the Bible truth and became believers, to their eternal benefit. Compare Acts 17:11, 12. Far from being rejected as unchristian then, criticism based on God's word should be carefully considered, for it can bring real benefits". (Awake! Nov. 22, 1974, p. 28)

"It is not a form of religious persecution for anyone to say and to show that another religion is false. It is not religious persecution for an informed person to expose publicly a certain religion as being false, thus allowing person to see the difference between false religion and true religion. (Watchtower, Nov. 15, 1963, p. 688)" 

"We need to examine, not only what we personally believe, but also what is taught by any religious organization with which we may be associated. Are its teachings in full harmony with Gods Word, or are they based on the traditions of men? If we are lovers of the truth, there is nothing to fear from such an examination. It should be the sincere desire of every one of us to learn what Gods will is for us, and then to do it." John 8:32 (The Truth That Leads To Eternal Life, 1968, p. 13)  

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is already accessible from my blog via your user profile on your comments. Therefore, they can find your blog quite easily.

    Most of your comments I have let remain. They are not all redundant. Any deleted comments of yours will be 'reposted' as I write a rebuttal post. I am not the only Witness blogger that does this.

    Be assured that I am not 'silencing dissent', but merely maintaining normal control. In fact, after further consideration, it seems to me that the issue is more staying on-topic than redundancy. In reponse to your concerns, I am editing the 'comments' page.