Jehovah Witness is a Christian group that holds some beliefs that are different from other Christians on their faith. The name Jehovah Witness is a symbol that they are witnesses of Jehovah and views concerning Jehovah. Jehovah is the name of God who also created the universe (Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society). The Jehovah’s Witnesses was founded by Charles Taze Russel in 1872. He did not agree with some of the Christian views such as the Trinity, hell and Christ as divine and as a result started this faith. He began this being a co- publisher in a magazine, The Herald of the Morning. In 1884, he created the Tract Society and Watch Tower Bible.
He believed that the only way to understand the Bible is through what he interpreted and therefore guided the productions of the Magazines. Today, the magazines have expanded in their production and circulation. Before studying about the Jehovah Witnesses, I had several misconceptions. Jehovah witnesses disagree with some of the Christian teachings. They also do not support medical care and therefore none of the members should receive it no matter, how serious their condition is. I did not see why anyone would be against such acts that could save human life. In this way, I viewed them as a cult.
Another misconception I had is that Jehovah witnesses believe only 144,000 people will be saved from and the rest will perish. This 144,000 people would go to heaven why the rest of the people banish in the eternal fire. This seemed overboard, because it meant, no matter how righteous, you would not go to heaven if the number had already reached. On the door to door preaching they appear as people who want to force their faith on you and will not take no for an answer. They also appear fanatic, as if obsessed by their faith. I also thought they do not believe in Jesus, though they follow part of the teachings of the bible. I also thought that they are defiant and do not acknowledge the law or authority. This is because they refuse to salute the flag or sing the national anthem.
They also appeared too strict on some practices that I did not see any good reason for them to be against, for example, birthdays. When other children celebrate birthdays and other common celebrations, their children are deprived of these. I also thought that the ministers Jehovah Witnesses practice celibacy. Through my study, I have learnt that Jehovah Witness is not a cult group. They still view themselves as Christians, but share different views with other Christians, for example, Catholics. They believe in God and do not have any other divine leaders. The elders of the group or the governors only lead them and act as spokespersons between man and God. They also believe the Christian cross as paganism, since it represents the worship of a symbol.
However, these officials are not regarded as divine. Jehovah Witness supports medical care. In fact, some members of the group are doctors and nurses (Adnan).What they do not support about medical treatment is blood transfusion. Most of them have a card that shows they do not want transfusion of blood into the body, in case they are unconscious to speak out. This they say is because the Bible does not allow the consumption of blood into the body in any way. Therefore, since blood transfusion is the insertion of blood into the body, it is viewed. Jehovah Witnesses also believe in Jesus, unlike what I thought. However, they do not believe that He is God or the son of God.
They do not believe in the Trinity like the other Christians. They believe that God is the only divine power. Jesus was human. He died on a stake, but did not rise from the dead. He came back in 1914 in invisible form and will come back again to lead the people on earth after salvation. Another truth about Jehovah Witness is that the 144,000 people do not represent the number of people who will be saved, but the number of people who will go to heaven. When Jesus comes back, the world will end. The dead will be resurrected. The word of God will then be spread to all people, including the resurrected, for a thousand years, for salvation.
Those who refuse to lead by the word will cease to exist, but there will be no hell or eternal fire like the rest of the Christians believe. The 144, 000 will then ascend to heaven and help God in His work as priests and other religious leaders. A new earth will be formed where the rest of the people will live, with the leadership of Jesus. Their refusal to pledge allegiance or salute the flag they say is because Jesus forbade Christians from participating in politics. They also believe that pledging allegiance is an act of faith on man, which is a sin. The Jehovah Witnesses are also not fanatics and do not want to impose their religion on someone. (Adnan)
Members of the Jehovah Witnesses religion want to spread the word and preach the gospel, in order to ensure salvation of all humankind. One of the ways of spreading this word is by going door to door preaching the gospel to every home and every man. They also distribute books, which contain their faith. They see it as a duty to spread the good news. They do not receive any reward whatsoever for converting a person into their faith. They also do not give 10% of their income to their religion. This they say is the Law of Moses, which no longer applied after the death of Jesus. They fund their religion and work through donation, which is voluntary, and they do not take any offering. The donations are made private as an act against showing off.
Jehovah Witnesses do not celebrate Christmas and birthdays because they believe this originated from pagan worship. Christmas originated from the pagan worship of the sun god. Therefore, they do not want to associate themselves with paganism in these celebrations. In order to make their children not feel excluded, they give gifts on other days. Jehovah Witnesses’ ministers also do not practice celibacy. It is someone’s choice to marry or not to marry. Upon baptism, all Jehovah Witnesses are ordained as ministers and are expected to marry a person who has also been baptized. They do not have clergy classes, as they believe that all people are equal. They also do not have such names as fathers because these names should be given to God. People’s negative views on Jehovah Witnesses are based on hearsay and are judgmental just because their teachings do not agree with some of the Christian teachings. They simply live in accordance to their faith and to what they believe. They should therefore be respected just as any other religion.
Misconceptions on other people’s religion are common. This occurs from ignorance about a certain religion, stereotyping and prejudice. Due to religious segregation people do not have enough knowledge about religions that are not their own. They therefore judge these religions simply because their teachings and perceptions are not the same as theirs. Because of this, there are many misconceptions about various religions, apart from Jehovah Witness. This includes Islam and Christianity. One of the main misconceptions about Islam is that the Muslims are Terrorists. This misconception is due the terrorists attacks that have taken place in the past years by some Muslims. Muslims and Islam have therefore been associated with violence.
Muslims view this as extremism and state that their religion does not support this. Therefore, they should not be treated as terrorists because of the actions of some people from their religion. Another misconception about Islam is that its women do not receive equal treatment, because of the way they cover themselves. Islam leaders however say that Islam preaches equality of both men and women. The third misconception about Islam is that they do not believe in Jesus. This is as a result that Muslims believe in Mohammed as their true prophet. However, Islam acknowledges Jesus as one of the messengers of God. He has also been mentioned in the Quran several times (Closson).
There are several misconceptions about Christianity in this view the Catholics. The first one is that the Catholic Church discourages the reading of the bible. However, the priest reads the bible during the mass and the first Christian bible was created by the Catholic Church. The Catholics say the misconception is because in the past bibles were locked in the church in order to prevent them from being stolen. A second misconception about the Catholics is that they worship Mary. This is viewed as idolatry, which is a sin. This the Catholics claim is not the worship of Mary or any other statue when kneeling to it, but rather it reminds them of the holiness of the person represented by the statue.
People should be educated on the various religions in order to reduce misconceptions on religions. This education could be included in the curriculum in high schools or the other lower classes. In this way, it would ensure that the future generation is free from misconceptions and prejudice on other religions. The program could also be included in work places by employers, for a wider spread of the education. This would ensure that their employees respect each other’s religions. Conferences could also be held to show and teach people the importance of respecting other people’s religions. The media could also be used to give education in this respect. In this, we fight biasness and therefore a way for people to get along despite their different religious beliefs.
Adnan, Rashid. Jehovah’s Witnesses. Retrieved from http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~arashid/adnan.html
Closson, Don. (2003). Islam and Christianity: Common Misconceptions. Retrieved from http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4217703/k.1C99/Islam_and_Christianity_Common_Misconceptions.htm
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. (2006). Jehovah’s Witnesses- Who are they? What do they believe? Retrieved from http://www.watchtower.org/e/jt/index.htm