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)