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Monday, February 25, 2013

Addressing the False Claim That Jehovah's Witnesses Do Not Think "Independently"

Whoever says that Jehovah's Witnesses do not investigate, challenge, and scrutinize their beliefs is either completely ignorant of Jehovah's Witnesses, or purposely spreading prejudicial information.

Those who claim that Jehovah's Witnesses do not think logically or “independently” have been seriously misled because they gullibly accept a biased view of what Witnesses teach regarding "independent thinking."

Such people must misrepresent quotes from our literature. Because these quotes say we must reject "independent thinking" it is NOT referring to "independent research" or "independent reasoning."

"Independent thinking" can be used when referring to either a good or a bad thought process. The context must be examined to determine what it is referring to. For example here are two examples:

WT 3/15/72 p. 170: "Man possesses a mind and a heart, not controlled automatically by instinct, but capable of independent thinking and reasoning, making plans and decisions, exercising a free will, building up strong desires and motivation. That is why you are capable of exercising the fine qualities of love and loyalty, of devotion and integrity. That is why you are also capable of understanding what God has revealed in his Word respecting his will and purpose."

WT 1/15/83 p. 22: "Avoid Independent Thinking. From the very outset of his rebellion Satan called into question God's way of doing things. He promoted independent thinking. ‘You can decide for yourself what is good and bad,' Satan told Eve. ‘You don't have to listen to God. He is not really telling you the truth.' (Gen 3:1-5) To this day, it has been Satan's subtle design to infect God's people with this type of thinking.—2 Tim 3:1, 13."

So the term is often used to refer to thinking that is specifically independent of God's thinking as expounded primarily in the Bible. It is also used in a general way of thinking that is contrary to the Christian beliefs.

In this negative sense Witnesses use the term "independent thinking" in condemning the same idea that the Bible does in various texts:

(Pr 28:26) He that is trusting in his own heart is stupid, but he that is walking in wisdom is the one that will escape.

(Jer 10:23) I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.

(1Co 1:18-20) For it is written: "I will make the wisdom of the wise [men] perish, and the intelligence of the intellectual men I will shove aside." Where is the wise man? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this system of things? Did not God make the wisdom of the world foolish?

These Bible writers are warning us against *human* "wisdom" or thinking that is independent of God's input.

However, God has given us "reasoning ability" and "intellectual capacity" so we can discern truthful sayings (1Jn. 5:20). And throughout our literature Jehovah's Witnesses are counseled and trained to "be logical and convincing" in their ministry (See Logic in the WT Index).

Jehovah's Witnesses are repeatedly and constantly admonished that they cannot simply trust anyone else to tell them the Truth, but that they must study the Bible for themselves and make sure that they personally know and understand the facts. Others can only assist us to search for and gather the evidence, but we must confirm it through personal study.

From the first study with Jehovah's Witnesses a person is taught to examine the Bible on his own and compare their personal beliefs with it. Through extensive study individual Jehovah's Witnesses have come to trust the accuracy of their beliefs. Through experience they have proven that all True Christians are associated with Jehovah's Witnesses and this organization is the only one which gives solid evidence of being God's congregation (Mt.7:16-19; Jn.13:34,35).

The truth of the matter is that any individual who does not continue to seriously examine their beliefs in light of the Scriptures will not become one of Jehovah's Witnesses and if they do not continue to do so after being baptized they will not remain a Witnesses. They will go back to the war-mongering, sectarian, immoral, tickle your ears religions of Christendom (2Pt.2:22; 2Tim. 4:3,4).

Witnesses do not believe that individuals can place their *own* interpretations on the Bible, which is what Christendom does. The Bible interprets itself (2Pet.1:20, 21; 3:15-16). And any personal interpretative efforts to get the sense out of Scripture will agree with the overall teaching of the Scriptures as well as with true Christian doctrine as confirmed by the Christian Congregation as a whole (1Cor.1:10; Eph.3:10, 11; 4:11-14; Jn.6:67,68; Heb.13:17).

On the other hand Satan is the one who said: ‘Be independent of God. Do your own thinking. Decide for yourself what is right and wrong. (Gen.3:1-5).

SOURCE: The above is the chosen best answer to a question by Bar_Anerges at Yahoo Answers.


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