I have just been visited by two very nice ladies from the Jehovah's Witnesses. They flinched when I opened my door be-collared and when they recognised that I am something of a religious practitioner. That said, they didn't run, and we talked....
...quite a lot (while they got rained on, sorry)
They were pre-occupied with the question, 'when will the Day of Judgement come?', and clutching a translation of the Bible that I do not recognise, cited verses like so much rat-a-tat tat from an Ouzi 9mm. I said that whilst I couldn't conclusively rule out its possibility today, I rather expect to enjoy my Sunday dinner. They didn't like that, protesting that God would smite sinners from his Beautiful Garden and would introduce His Kingdom. Now. Not in a minute. Now. Got it? Now.
I argued that the beautiful green shoots of the Kingdom were already alive and growing, and indeed yielding fruit, on this Earth this day. So we moved on.
Apparently, in a Noah-esque flood, the following people can expect a little more that a splash across the mush: 'failing human governments', those who pollute the earth, naughty people and those so bad that even God in all his Majesty can't sort them out (or words to that effect). Well, ladies, I said - that's me out. I own a car and wear clothes made in factories (they weren't happy that I said that included them). I asked about murderers or those who were accessory. Nope, the mighty Smiter will issue a far tighter smiting for such blighters. Would such people go to heaven, I asked. No, of course not, they answered. 'Poor old St. Paul' I commented.
This game of theological tennis lasted 45 minutes, and I will say this, they were charming and polite and it was nice to engage in a discussion with them.
However, I think that for me, the Witness Movement is not for me. I took my copy of The WatchTower, and have pawed through it a little.
p6: When Will the End Come: now, 'cos the following things are happening ...
- social upheaval
- worldwide multi-language preaching campaign (so the end will be the JWs fault then)
p6: What Will Follow the End?
- 'mild-tempered' people will inherit the Earth (no more Mandelas, Jesuses or Tutus then)
- The Kingdom will be established - and the subjects will last for eternity in perfect health - in houses, apparently - and only their own houses - no renting in the Kingdom! (Isaac Azimov was right all along - robots will rule)
p7: 'The earth will not end, but those who ruin it will' (me and my kids will be recieve the Heavenly Bug Spray then - for we have a carbon footprint and use electricity)
p13: 'Acknowledge that your husband is now your God-appointed head' - so if a wife rejects her husband's headship, she rejects none less that God himself. (My wife is toast too, as we are equal in our marriage)
p13: if your husband cocks it up 'allow him time to master his new role as head of a family' (even if he beats you after a Stella or twelve?)
More later. As I said to the lovely ladies who knocked at my door, Christians (not sure if they call themselves that, must ask if there is a next time) have a tendency of labelling themselves on the side of good, and of others on the side of bad - like we are safe and sorted. As I pointed out, I believe in a God of love who includes, not a God of Hatred who excludes. 'Be the Damascus Road', I said, 'so that sinful people may find God, not be told that they, in common with all humanity (us included), have put themselves beyond the hope of the Salvation simply because they are imperfect and make poor choices from time to time'.
Then I needed caffiene ... and a smoke (and I don't even smoke)