Religion is a Snare and a Racket
November 02, 2006
Atheist Sam Harris came to town and City! newspaper welcomed him as a born-again would welcome the rapture. His visit was cover story and he apparently did not fail to promote his book. At any rate, a coworker rushed out to buy it and told me all about it the next morning, very impressed.
Yeah, Tom, you should read what he says about religion! This guy doesn’t pull any punches! He just lays out the facts! All the wars and the hatred and the prejudice….there’s always religion behind it. Terrorists and Crusades and kamikazes….it can’t happen except for religion. You think someone would strap himself to a bomb if they didn’t tell him he would go straight to paradise? He just lays out the facts, Tom. I’m telling, you, religion is dangerous! It’s the biggest force for bloodshed that’s ever been!
Of course, this nettles me, because Jehovah’s Witnesses have said all this for years, only to elicit yawns from this same character so enamored over Sam the atheist. There’s nothing Mr. Harris says about religion that JWs weren’t saying before he was born.
Starting in 1938, the slogan Religion is a Snare and a Racket become synonymous with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The words first appeared on sandwich board signs, paraded by 1000 Witnesses through London streets as part of a campaign to advertise a public address at the Royal Albert Hall. The words captured attention, much of it hostile. It’s almost trendy to badmouth religion today, and many do it, but it required real courage back then.
Yet the words were timely, and proof would come just one year later with the outbreak of World War II. The greatest slaughter in history, it was fought predominantly between nations claiming to be Christian. Religious claims proved no match for national interests. The German population, overwhelmingly Lutheran or Catholic, readily embraced Hitler’s Gestapo and Holocaust. Belt buckles of German soldiers bore the standard inscription “God is With Us.” Religion was indeed, a snare and a racket.
Since some who saw that 1938 procession took Witness marchers for atheists or communists, subsequent processions featured alternating signs bearing the words Serve Christ the King and Live. For many years, it was routine for Jehovah’s Witnesses to advertise conventions in this way.
This message against religion precedes Mr Harris by 70 years, and has the added advantage of not throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Is it God’s fault that religions do not represent Him faithfully? Especially when He foretold that development?
Religion that is faithful to God can be likened to a faithful wife. Religion unfaithful is likened to an adulterous wife. Religion really unfaithful, religion which ignores God’s Kingdom interests so as to curry favor with human governments, is likened to a harlot, a whore. The book of Revelation (chapter 17 and 18) describes such a woman, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have long identified it with the world empire of false religion….religion that claims faithfulness to God, yet belies that claim through it‘s conduct. Instead, that “woman” embraces every political, social, and apostate fad to come along, at the expense of the Bible’s unchanging message.
Those two chapters of Revelation also foretell that political elements, in time, will turn upon religious elements, bringing them to ruin. So the tract that JWs are right now [Oct, Nov 2006] giving worldwide distribution, The End of False Religion is Near, is timely.
[Edit: 10/22/11 see also Enemies]
As war fever gripped WWII Germany, not everyone joined in.
“I've always admired [ninth comment] the conviction of Jehovah's Witnesses. They, virtually alone, chose to be persecuted under Hitler when simply pledging allegiance to the Third Reich offered an escape from persecution.”
If more people practiced versions of what the Jehovah’s Witnesses preach and practice, the Holocoust could have been prevented and genocide would scourge the world no more. Holocaust Politics John K Roth (a Jewish survivor of the holocaust)
This is a Great AUDIO clip from Rutherford:
I think it is Important to remember that above all things We MUST worship Jehovah and the Only way to approach him is through his Son, Our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus. No One can come to the father without going through his Son, Jesus.
Anyone trying to get to Worship the true God via some other means or by the promises of any group(s) would fall into Idolatry.
You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God,visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments." (RSV Exodus 20:3-6).
Placing a religion in front of your worship of Jehovah and saying that, "It is only by going through THEM!" You have changed the need of going through the "ONE" whom Jehovah setup as the only means of ones salvation that again being Christ Jesus.
Some People Use Crosses, Idol's, Pictures and even Beads but the same is true to say that Having a certain religion reminds you of God or Jesus.
The Bible is Clear that it is Only through Christ Jesus can we gain Everlasting Life. No one else can give you everlasting life.
Nor can all mankind have the exact same kind of "Faith" That is why Jehovah can read a mans Heart.
The Old Commandments are gone, Christ fulfilled the Law and gave us the 2 Greater Commands and they are to LOVE. When we error we can freely confess our sins because LOVE covers ALL. But Jesus did warn that LOVE of the Greater number Would Cool Off.
Why too would Jesus instruct us to pray for our Enemies? Because of LOVE, and Besides, Our enemies our OURS because WE MADE Them, So we should be nice to them. We should Stop Judging one another and Just Worship the True God Jehovah like the Bible commands us to DO! and know that it is only through Christ Jesus that we can approach our creator. amen
Posted by: Mit R | June 25, 2009 at 09:38 AM
It is a great audio clip. Thanks for the contribution.
Back when Rutherford gave that speech, Jehovah's Witnesses considered themselves representing "true worship." "Religion" was a pejorative term. Over time, the labels changed to "true religion" vs "false religion." It's really little more than terminology, much as "Israel" has meant different things at different times. Organization has always remained the same.
There are drawbacks inherent to any organization, and ours is an independant age. SO independant that it sometimes seems tempting to some to chuck any organization and focus on an individual relationship with Christ. Still, organization is what God, and later Christ, has always provided for his people. Much of the good fruitage associated with Jehovah's Witnesses - a unified yet detailed message, separateness from the world, prompt relief from physical disasters, moral and spiritual cleanliness, a people undivided by nationality, race, class & so forth - would not be possible without an organization. The Book of Acts describes Christian organization in the first century, headed by Christ, and Jehovah's Witnesses adhere to that pattern as closely as they are able.
One aspect from Rutherford's time that has changed is the emphasis on a single individual. See Screech's comment to the post Translators, Qualifications, and the New World Translation:
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | June 25, 2009 at 06:30 PM
I walked out onto my deck this morning in the western Appalachians and stood watching a grey squirrel. Now I've seen thousands of these little fellows over the years; so many that I suspect I've stopped really seeing them for what they are. Familiarity breeds contempt I suppose. But I suddenly appreciated this little guy for what he actually was: a huge clownish divine joke: big feet, tiny arms and "hands", goofy teeth, and a tail as long as himself. An atheist would tell you that the squirrel is just a product of evolution; that he has developed to race up and down trees; to pack acorns into his mouth; to fight and fall and half-starve; and yet to survive. But if I choose to conclude that the squirrel is the result of "intelligent design", or, as John Dominic Crossan has put it, that a God drives the mechanism of evolution, then I must also conclude the that this God has one hell of a sense of humor.
I think that, somewhere, God is laughing hysterically, not only at hapless Witnesses plodding unhappily from door to door offering propoganda, but also at the grim faced clergymen and their attendant lemmings, filing into pews on Sunday. And also at the fanatical and equally ridiculous Muslims on Friday last, waving toward Mecca with their ungainly asses in the air. Judge Rutherford was right, even if disingenuous in the knowing of it: Religion Is A Snare And A Racket. But it's funny. That's for sure.
Posted by: David Thornton | May 08, 2011 at 06:42 PM
I challenge you to post my last comment. Come on. Don't take yourself too seriously.
Posted by: David Thornton | May 08, 2011 at 06:44 PM
" then I must also conclude the that this God has one hell of a sense of humor."
well.....somewhere or other in the Bible, he is called the "happy God."
There's also something somewhere about Christians being a "theatrical spectacle" to the world in general. Yeah. They are that, too.
Thanks for commenting.
Posted by: tom sheepandgoats | May 09, 2011 at 06:24 AM