Sunday, January 16, 2011

An Impromptu with Jehovah's Witnesses

(The following conversation I list is not verbatim. In fact, some parts may be paraphrased because I didn't have a recorder on hand to capture the full conversation. However, this is the best I can come up with based on my recollection on the couple who came to visit me one Saturday morning...)

Yesterday, I got up at around half-past ten and was expecting yet another quotidian day. After putting on a pair of jeans and some sneakers, I went out to the front yard to water the grass, as is my custom to do once a week this time of the year. I had just finished adjusting the appropriate water pressure to cover each area when I notice a man and a woman walking into my driveway. From the outset, they look like a couple of real estate agents.

The man asks me, "Do you know if anyone lives over there?" He points to the house on the corner directly in front of mine.

I reply, "No, sir. That's a foreclosed home owned by the government. It's been empty for a few years now."

"Oh, okay. Well, do you mind if I ask you a few questions, then?"


"Do you think there will ever be world peace on this Earth?"

I think it through for a few seconds before answering, "No, because our human nature is slanted towards greed and power and hatred. There's always someone who's got a beef with someone else."

"That's a shame," he replies pacifistically. He then pulls out his Bible and refers me to these verses. After reading me the passage, he tells me we're living in the end times but that peace will eventually win out. "What've you got to say about that?" he inquires in a friendly tone.

"I believe the only way we'll ever achieve global unity on this Earth is if we stop relying on man to deliver us from destruction. But it can never work out that way, since we cause our own destruction without even knowing it."

"That's interesting," he interjects, nodding his head.

"It is," I continue, "because we have a propensity to cause more damage than we need to."

Then the man says, "And you think that'll prevent world peace from occurring?"

I reply, "I think so. God is all for peace, but He also knows that fighting for what's righteous is necessary from time to time. I actually think we're doing God's work preparing for the end times without being conscious of our actions. There's a fine line between His will and our will that we often obscure. For instance, I don't think what we're doing in the Middle East, fighting the terrorists right now, justifies our stay over there."

"It's been, what? Nine years?", the lady asks, marking her first speaking role into the conversation.

"About that time, yeah," I agree. "I don't even think it's about fighting terrorism anymore. It's about establishing a free democracy in the Middle East, especially in Iraq, because the book of Daniel foretells that the anti-Christ will rise up from a geographical location that is similar to modern-day Iraq and build his own kingdom in preparation for Armageddon. But either way, I think he'll arrive when the time comes, regardless of our presence over there."

Silence befalls us for a few seconds. They had no idea that I, too, was knowledgable about the Bible. I'm no theology major, but I certainly didn't go to a Christian high school for nothing.

The woman opens up her Bible, in search of what I said. The man, stymied that I wasn't some religious dupe, continues on.

"Well, we say what we say because me and my wife here are Jehovah's Witnesses, and we wish to spread our message of peace to you."

You're Jehovah's Witnesses? Really? What gave that away? (I didn't actually say that to them.)

At that time, the man pulls out a pamphlet, turns to a page, and reads from the list that makes the Jehovah's Witnesses unique in both structure and doctrine. Most of what I read and hear is stuff most Christian denominations are based on, though the parts about not believing in the Trinity or Hell throws up a red flag in my mind. The woman then speaks about finding a verse in Daniel chapter 2, though it is unrelated to what I mentioned earlier. Another red flag.

Meanwhile, the man continues to tell me all the virtues of being a Jehovah's Witness and how independent they are from other churches, which therefore makes them "special". I listen only because I didn't want to be rude and lambast them right then and there with Scripture I was unsure of using in context. I figure, if I were to do the same for my faith, the least my audience could do is to civilly pay attention to what I say, even if they don't agree. And so I do. (For the record, I wanted to interject here and contradict some of their statements they made, but it's not every day that I defend myself in front of Jehovah's Witnesses. In fact, yesterday was the first time I ever done so. Sorry, I didn't know exactly what to say to them under those circumstances. Perhaps yesterday was a test of my faith to see if I were to stand by my Christian upbringing. I think I did alright for my first go-around. But next time, I'll be prepared.)

In the end, they decide to cut me some slack and give me a single pamphlet titled "Is Religion a Force for Peace?". (It could've been much worse. They had several on their person they could've passed out to me.) Once I have it in my hands, I know what I am to do with it soon enough.

We say our goodbyes, and they head off to the next house. I return inside, trying to figure out what in the world just happened and how to transcribe the past fifteen minutes of my life onto this very blog post. The pamphlet they gave me goes right into my trash can.

And thus, what is the moral of this awkward story? Be fair but firm in your faith, even when you're tested on the spot.

However, if they start coming back to your place with greater frequency, do yourself a favor and join a Jehovah's Witness Protection program.

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