McGowan Schools a Jehovah’s Witness on Scripture

As someone who has occasionally invited a door-to-door Jehovah’s Witness (or Latter Day Saint) in to discuss the Bible and/or Book of Mormon, I liked this piece by secular parent Dale McGowan:

She looked down and nodded once. “I can see you’re struggling with this…”

“Ma’am, one of us is struggling, and I don’t think it’s me.”

14 Responses to “McGowan Schools a Jehovah’s Witness on Scripture”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    Very, very good. Thanks.

  2. shcb Says:

    read the side link to the crucifix story, well done.

  3. leftbehind Says:

    Dale McGowen must be the fastest guy in the special olympics! I dunno, does winning an argument with a moron make you smart? If so, SHCB would be Albert fucking Einstein just for locking horns with Inky and Smith every day.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have no great sympathy for Christianity, and I think Evangelism of any sort is a waste of time, but if you’re going to be smug about winning a debate with someone about anything, shouldn’t a) the debate be about something everyone is concerned with and b) the other side of the debate be represented by someone with a brain?

    People like Dale McGowen are why I have so many religious friends; even if I don’t ultimately believe the same stuff they do, at least they can conceive of a universe that revolves around something larger and more important than themselves.

  4. leftbehind Says:

    …and by the way, how y’all been?

  5. shcb Says:

    Ii just consider Enky and Smith sport, the debate is with the rest of the guys (and gal)

  6. leftbehind Says:

    There’s a woman here now? She must have brought her own twenty-sided die to hang with this crew.

  7. Smith Says:

    Someone is awfully upset about a story in which a guy harasses door-to-door salesmen.

  8. leftbehind Says:

    Who’s upset?

  9. leftbehind Says:

    And which one’s the salesman?

  10. leftbehind Says:

    …I mean, both of them are selling their book, right? But doesn’t McGowen get the better royalty check if he sells his?

  11. TheBirds Says:

    You make an unexpected, valid point. Made me think differently about selling the stupidity of others.

  12. Tovia Says:

    Hello, everyone.

    The story Mr. McGowan relates is troubling to me. All it really communicates is the ignorance of all parties involved, including, I must assume, Mr. McGowan’s intended audience.

    On one side of this debate, we have a brainwashed Christian evangelist who has been taught just enough about her Bible to ape a few prepared statements and, possibly, “wing” her way through a discussion with either a like-minded fellow Christian, or with a more secular person who knows even less about the Bible than she. On the other side, we have a guy whose knowledge of the Bible extends no farther than his ability to find an apparent “zinger” with which to stump an adversary that was already stumped before the conversation began. And we are supposed to form or alter our view of the universe based on anything either of these people has to say? Reciting Scripture you don’t understand is Religion? Cherrypicking passages out of context from a book you’ve never bothered to read is valid critique? And who was this article written for, anyway – readers scholarly enough to realize the inherent faultiness of both sides of this exchange, or those who probably aren’t any more knowledgable regarding the Bible or religion than McGowan and are pre-disposed to accept this arguments on uninformed grounds.
    Believe what you are ready to believe, I suppose, but clearly the question of Religion and the existence of God is poorly served by this article.

  13. Tovia Says:

    Not that she should have known any of this, but an educated answer the Watchtower evangelist could have given Mcgowen would have been similar to this:

    Deuteronomy does not originate with the Christian Bible. It comes down to us as part of the Jewish Torah. It is one of the five Books of Moses that form the cornerstone of Jewish faith.

    The Torah is designed to be read and studied in the light of Talmudic commentary. The Talmud is a collection of Rabbinical writings and debates designed to elaborate upon and explain the Torah. It is, essentially, a written version of the Oral Law that developed alongside the written Torah. At the risk of over-simplifying things, you could say that the Torah states the rules and the Oral Law, codified by the Talmud, explains what the rules mean and how they are to be enforced. For a thorough Rabbinic analysis of Deuteronomy, chapter 21, verse 18, I would direct you to the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin, Folio 71a. One of the most notable discussions in that book is the debate about the ‘stubborn and rebellious son’ of Deuteronomy, 21:18. In Chapter VII of Tractate Sanhedrin, the rabbis openly express scepticism that a son who disrespects his father in a particular way should be put to death. In fact, the definition of “stubborn and rebellious” outlined in Tractate Sanhedrin is so specific that, by explicit design, no one could fit that definition closely enough to risk execution in any case. The Rabbis demonstrate that the Law of G-d is the Law of G-d, but it must be intelligently interpreted by man, within an educated, Torah enlightened framework, and that the enforcement of divine law must be tempered by human mercy.

    In general, Divine Law is divided into two distinct bodies of law:

    Gentiles are bound to obey Seven Laws as they arise from Noah’s covenant with G-d in Genesis.

    Jews are required to obey 613 commandments handed down to Moses at Sinai. These 613 laws elaborate on the 10 Commandments familiar to even the non-religious.

    Neither body of Law asks anyone to stone their children to death for being difficult.

    The Jewish commandments, with which the book of Deuteronomy concerns itself to great extent, address Capitol punishment, true, but clearly infer that the ultimate judgement of life or death lies with human courts. The Commandments state that the community must not hesitate from executing a murderer or a false prophet, but do not state that either offender must necessarily face execution. Capitol punishment is on the table, but not required, and will only arise at the judgement of the court, and execution would only be in keeping with the commandments if the death sentence was based on precepts of Holy Law. Consider this: there is no Commandment that any court be required to execute anyone as a matter of course, but there is a distinct Commandment against executing anyone without a fair trial.

    It is also worth noting that Children are not bound by any Commandment to the same extant as adults are, and there is no suggestion that any child would face Capitol Punishment under mosaic law. The “Rebellious Son” of Deuteronomy is clearly an adult; even if Deuteronomy 18:20 were a Commandment, which it isn’t, McGowen’s son has little to worry about.

  14. Tovia Says:

    I sense that you’re still struggling with this…

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