If this scene seems familiar to us, it is because Jehovah’s Witnesses have been professing the Christian faith for decades : a well-dressed couple, walking down the street (or, years ago, knocking on our door), carrying a brochure in their hand about the work of God and that they selflessly offer us so that we can read it calmly.
Let’s learn a little more about this religious order and what its doctrine is.
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What are the Jehovah’s Witnesses
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a religious order that splits from mainstream Christianity and has established its own dogmas regarding this faith. Likewise, they disassociate themselves from any modernized vision of the Christian religion, betting on a more orthodox interpretation of the Bible and adapted to their vision. They propose a unified Christianity in which Jehovah is the highest and only authority.
They support a free interpretation of the Bible so much that the Jehovah’s Witnesses published their own translated version of the Holy Book , through which they spread their thought. The objective of this confession is none other than to attest to the Kingdom of God in paradise, something to which its members aspire.Why are they known as “Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
The origin of the name comes from the way this movement has to spread the word of Jehovah (name of God according to the Bible and, in its opinion, author of it), since They act as witnesses who attest to the teachings contained in these scriptures , which they take as regulations that apply to their way of living life. The 12 norms of the Jehovah’s Witnesses
These are the norms that the Jehovah’s Witnesses follow and promote from their website (www.JW.org), through which they open themselves to the world: 1. Unitarianism as a way of understanding the Christianity
One of the signs of identity of this sector of Christianity is its rejection of the symbology of the Holy Trinity(the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit).
In contrast, for them God is unique and Christ is nothing more than a mortal man created by the Almighty, although they do not deny his relevance. According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, God the Father is a whole represented by the same entity , confirming his monotheistic position. 2. God’s message is in the Bible
The faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses is contained in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. It is in these two books that the practices carried out by this order are based and from which they extract their message without making any modifications.
Now, the norms of the Jehovah’s Witnesses move away from any fundamentalist interpretation, sinceThey accept that many passages in the Bible contain symbolic elements that should not be taken literally . 3. The role of Jesus in the Christian faith
Jesus is treated as ‘the Savior’, a prophet who, although Son of God, is stripped of all divine status, a fact that comes in collation of his denial of the Holy Trinity. Instead, Jesus is the prophet of Christianity , although this does not make him unimportant or deny him homage.
Furthermore, Jehovah’s Witnesses must honor the sacrifice that Jesus made to save people. How to believe in him, get baptized and adapt his way of life so that it is in accordance with biblical doctrine?. It will be through the actions that this devotion will be demonstrated and that will earn salvation to those who carry them out. 4. The celestial kingdom as a final destination
It is not about any allegory or symbology. One of the precepts of the Jehovah’s Witnesses in which their thought and conception of religion is reflected lies in their idea of a kingdom in heaven, made available to the most blessed . According to the reading of some passages of the Bible that anticipate the end of days, there will be a transfer of the government of humans to the highest authority of this fiefdom created by God: Christ himself. Only a select few will have the privilege of living in heaven., ruling alongside Christ, Jehovah, and other heavenly creatures. Meanwhile, humanity will continue on Earth, being those most obedient to the requirements of the Most High blessed with good health and a full life. 5. The end of Evil and suffering
The fallen angel who later turned out to be the Devil was the one who sowed evil and suffering on Earth. Although his passivity in the face of the spread of misfortune may seem alarming, it is actually a matter of time before God acts to put an end to all suffering . Therefore, one of the strictest regulations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is to behave in a complacent way with the Lord of him. 6. What happens after death
Another rule has to do with what happens once we die:death is not the passage to a better or worse life depending on how we have behaved, but rather means the end of existence. Now, the day will come when God manages to resurrect those who have left, but those who do not fulfill his will will be destroyed again without the possibility of returning to life again. 7. The importance of the family
“The family is the sacred union between man and woman”, says one of the most controversial rules of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They also add that divorce can only be executed in case of sexual infidelity and that it is in the Bible where the secrets for the happiness of all the members of the same clan are found. 8. Rejection of all divine iconography
Like other religious orders, the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the worship of any symbol, including the cross and other divine images .
In contrast to this, they advocate praying to God, an activity that must be carried out daily, along with reading and studying the Bible for later application in everyday life. Meetings with other faithful to pray in a group are also contemplated, in addition to encouraging external people to join . Other common practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses arethe work of helping the needy and the promotion of the work of God. 9. Congregations as a form of organization
The meeting point of Jehovah’s Witnesses occurs in what are known as ‘congregations’, presided over by a veteran of the order, who does not receive any salary for his tasks. These congregations are financed solely with money from the donations they receive from volunteers . 10. A unified belief
Jehovah’s Witnesses are found everywhere on the planet, although that is not a problem since they all work for the same cause. In this sense, they do not believe in ethnic, class, or racial distinctions.Even with everything, they contemplate the possibility that each member acts based on their own values, as long as they do not leave the biblical dogma. 11. A neutral posture
In the face of political conflicts, Jehovah’s Witnesses will never position themselves, as long as they consider that the divine principles that support their convictions are not being attacked. In the same way, they are not related to other religions.
Be that as it may, they will always praise the love between all human beings and will act according to this disposition. 12. They are not Protestant
Although it may seem so because of their refusal to worship religious symbols or because of their particular tendency to understand the Holy Books, Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a Protestant denomination. It is true that they do not accept many doctrines imposed by the Catholic Church, although they neither approve of the Holy Trinity nor defend the existence of hell as a place reserved for sinners.
In the same order of things, they reject the idea of considering themselves Protestants because their work does not contemplate the reform of the Catholic Church or of religion itself, but rather the simple dissemination of God’s message. Controversies around Jehovah’s Witnesses
Despite the kindness that seems to underlie all these rules of conduct, some of the precepts that Jehovah’s Witnesses uphold as a sign of identity are not exempt from controversy. What role does science play for Jehovah’s Witnesses?
One of the controversies that have stalked this dogmatic order and that have given it all kinds of criticism against it, deals with its conception of science. Although it is true that they consider that science falls short when it comes to explaining the origin of certain phenomena that occur on the planet, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not deny the knowledge transmitted by it (in fact, in many passages of the Book Sacred is encouraged to benefit from this set of knowledge).
What they propose is to combine the most accepted scientific explanations with a teaching of the Biblethat allows to give answers to those unknowns that, in the opinion of Jehovah’s Witnesses, have not yet been irrefutably demonstrated. Without going any further, the Theory of the Evolution of Species, one of the most accepted theories by the scientific community (also including other members of religious faith), is rejected outright by this doctrine.
According to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who rely on the denial theses contrary to Darwin, it has not yet been possible to prove that current living organisms are the result of a process of mutations that occurred over millions of years to give them the appearance by which they are known. Instead of a process of natural selection by which the fittest individuals survive and the unfit perish, Jehovah’s WitnessesThey believe in an intelligent design, the product of the work of a superior entity: God . The rejection of blood transfusions
They have been accused of opposing the techniques of modern medicine (for example, the inoculation of certain vaccines). However, the Jehovah’s Witnesses defend themselves by claiming that, if they encourage among their own the study of science as a way of knowing the world, the logical thing is to think that they will not deny the benefits of medical assistance in conditions when they require it.
However, if it is true that this community disapproves of the use of blood transfusion treatmentsand advocate other methods. In the opinion of the Witnesses, today medical advances allow procedures to be carried out without the need to use donor blood, procedures that will be key in the future.
The reason behind this repudiation is biblical: it seems that in the Holy Book, God categorically prohibits the consumption and use of blood , since it is through it that life is breathed. As a result, the red liquid has the category of sacred, so skipping this rule is a direct offense against the Almighty that can lead to immediate expulsion from the congregation.
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