My husband works from home occasionally, which puts him in range when the Jehovah’s Witnesses come calling. I don’t think I hear about it most of the time, but this week, they brought a tract he had to have. This was sitting on the coffee table when I got home.
Why can you trust the bible? Because a man in a suit is looking at it very thoughtfully, of course.
All right, maybe they didn’t stop there. There are actual words inside, words intended to refute the “some people” who have claimed the bible is unreliable. Who may those people be? Hush, children, there’s only so much space in a tract to argue with…whomever. We have three sections to get through.
Does It Contradict Itself?
Did you know that “some people” claim the bible contradicts itself because Cain and Abel were able to find wives? Me neither. I thought Cain and Abel having wives was just one more indication–among many–that early Jews didn’t have the same thinking we did on incest. Not too surprising, since the Jews of the time seemed to prize survival of their culture and their people above all else.
It is a little funny, though, to see that incest is still so clearly to be preferred over an untrustworthy bible. Do the missionaries say, “No, man. It’s all good. There was incest!”
Can’t take an example from the Old Testament without taking one from the New Testament, I guess, so they go with the famous example of the army officer who both comes to Jesus to ask a question and sends his representatives to ask for him. That one has puzzled scholars for ages.
It has, right? Hasn’t it? That’s why they use that one instead of, say, the wildly contradictory stories of Jesus’s birth? No? Oh.
History and Science
Hey, the bible mentions historical figures, so it must right in all its details!
I wish that were not a fairly direct paraphrase of the first paragraph of this section, but it is. By this reasoning, Harry Turtledove is a prophet.
Then we get to science. Ah, science.
Apparently scientists used to be absolutely certain that the universe had no beginning. I think we need to know who all these scientists are, so they can be roundly mocked. Sadly, the tract doesn’t tell us. I guess we’ll just have to thank the scientists who told us what a steady-state universe would look like versus a universe created by a “big bang” type event. They allowed us to determine that the steady-state model was wrong.
Now where are those scientists who will make some predictions about what a Genesis-model universe would look like so we can compare that to the Big Bang and see which one wins?
The rest of this section is some hand-waving about how the “circle of the earth” bit in Isaiah totally meant a globe and not a disk as was the prevailing theory of the time.
Foretelling the Future
This would be like me predicting that all those mean, narrow-minded kids in high school were going to grow up to have miserable, narrow lives, which, in fact, I did. That’s just what happens to the vast majority of those kids, just like oblivion is what has happened to the vast majority of cities.
Either that, or y’all need to start worshipping me. I went to a high school reunion. I saw. I totally foretold that.
I even foretold it in detail. I saw that some of them would never leave the suburb in which they grew up. I foretold that they wouldn’t make art, that some of them would burn out, that other would marry young and have kids young and age terribly soon. I foretold that they’d come to these reunions and get too drunk, too loud, too desperate to have a good time again.
I foretold it all, and I can prove it. I wrote it down. If you ask nicely, I’ll even show it to you.
There’s a funny thing about the tract using the fall of Babylon to show that the bible has predictive powers. Babylon fell when Cyrus the Great of Persia invaded. One direct outcome of this invasion was that the Second Temple was built. Would anyone care to guess when the books of the Torah were being written down and codified?
I’ll give you a hint: It didn’t happen before the Second Temple was built.
The tract ends with a prophesy for the future. You know the one. It says stuff about a time of troubles and has been cheerily adopted by every apocalyptic sect since it was written down. We’re all living in the end times, always.
Or maybe it just feels like it when the Witnesses come to call.