…what is it good for?
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.
—Voltaire Questions sur les miracles (1765)
Historically, the main absurdities which have caused people to commit the atrocity of war have been:
These two things, together or individually, have been responsible — more than any other cause — for subverting people’s inherent empathy and thus allowing them to kill each other with impunity en masse.
The above point is forcefully driven home to me on this occasion of the eleventh anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City. Those horrific attacks were motivated by religion and patriotism. But the U.S. response was also horrific and also motivated by religion and patriotism. The ubiquitous slogans became “God bless America” and “Support our troops”, without bothering about whether the actions of our troops were justified or moral. The very things that caused the attacks were thus reinforced and the cycle of violence perpetuated.
The U.S. was out for revenge, and this became a convenient excuse to expand the “war on terror” ever further, in the hopes that no one would complain as more and more countries were invaded and their civilians killed by mechanical “drones” operated by young soldiers as if they were playing video games.
Just because someone lives in a different place than you, or holds different beliefs about the supernatural, that doesn’t give you the right to kill them, even if your country “declares war” on their nation. They are people, just like you: citizens of planet Earth, who know as much about the unknowable supernatural realm as you do (namely nothing).
Even if a criminal element from their country has killed people in your country, that doesn’t mean you have a right to kill other people in their country. You have a right to defend your home from attack, but no right to invade another’s home. This is why the U.S. has been condemned by the U.N. for the many wars and invasions it is currently waging supposedly in retaliation for terrorism (while actually being the major perpetrator of terrorism in the world as it pursues its selfish ends no matter what the cost to others.)
Why do I include religion when at least some of its adherents become “conscientious objectors” who refuse military service? Isn’t this the case with all of the members of the very religion I like to “pick on” most? Yes, to their credit the Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse to participate in war. But it’s not because their religion is anti-war and pro-peace. No; it is because they think their allegiance is to a heavenly kingdom: the one that will soon wage a global war to end all wars!
According to the Watchtower, when we pray the “Lord’s prayer”:
“…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven”
we are asking for God to hurry up and bring on his war with humankind by commencing the final battle: Armageddon, where his General Jesus will lead his armies of angels in slaughtering all who refused to do his will by pledging their lives to the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society.
Make no mistake: if the Watchtower came up with “new light” and published an order for Jehovah’s Witnesses to take part in the battle of Armageddon and to “start the blood of Revelation flowing,” we’d see those who still remained in the cult coming to our doors with rifle-cases instead of book-bags.
How can I say such a thing? Simple: I am basing it on the fact that the Witnesses already commit atrocities based on the absurdities in the Watchtower: they withhold life-saving blood transfusions, and formerly organ-transplants and vaccinations, and they watch their loved ones die right before their eyes — even though these Watchtower’s dogmas have been abundantly proven to be faulty even from their own essentially fundamentalist mindset. (Cults prohibit their members from viewing critical analysis of their doctrines, and brainwashed people can’t “get it” even if they do view it.) Other atrocities include shunning former members and cultivating a thorough hatred and loathing of “apostates” (i.e. those us us who have come to our senses and no longer believe the Watchtower’s lies).
It shouldn’t surprise us that the god of the Bible is the leader of the kingdom that will war against humankind and leave us all defeated in death (all except for his “name people”). After all, this is the god that the Bible fondly refers to as “the LORD of Hosts” — which the NWT makes all the plainer for us by translating as “Jehovah of armies“.
Already in the 14th chapter of Genesis we read of the first war mentioned in the Bible. This was a failed revolt by Sodom and Gomorrah against the king of Elam. Amongst the Sodomites captured in that war was Lot (Abram’s nephew or brother depending on which side of the biblical contradiction you lean to). Abram then waged his own guerrilla warfare on the victors and rescued Lot and returned the spoil and the other captives to Sodom (only for them to end up being horribly slaughtered by Jehovah five chapters later for having indulged the sexual appetites he gave them.)
The Hebrew Scriptures are jam-packed with accounts of barbaric wars led by their god of war Jehovah (who takes credit as “fighting for” the Israelites against their enemies (Joshua 10:42) — though he proved no match for enemies with iron chariots (Judges 1:19) so I wonder how he would fare against the tanks of today). In fact, there were evidently more wars of Jehovah’s than the Bible could hold, so it refers us to “the book of the Wars of Jehovah” (Numbers 21:14) — which has been lost to time.
The Bible’s war stories abound in tales of God’s armies ripping open pregnant women, murdering children, and slaughtering every living thing that drew breath (though sometimes saving the virgin girls alive for the soldiers to rape and the priests to sacrifice to Jehovah).
It all culminates in its final book Revelation with the war of Armageddon where the blood will be hip deep. According to the Watchtower, other books of the Bible also describe this “day of Jehovah” as follows:
Look! There is a day coming, belonging to Jehovah…and the women themselves will be raped…And Jehovah will certainly go forth and war against those nations as in the day of his warring, in the day of fight.And his feet will actually stand in that day upon the mountain of the olive trees… And Jehovah my God will certainly come, all the holy ones being with him… And it must become one day that is known as belonging to Jehovah… And Jehovah must become king over all the earth…And this is what will prove to be the scourge with which Jehovah will scourge all the peoples… There will be a rotting away of one’s flesh, while one is standing upon one’s feet; and one’s very eyes will rot away in their sockets, and one’s very tongue will rot away in one’s mouth.
‘And I will call forth against him throughout all my mountainous region a sword,’ is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah.‘Against his own brother the sword of each one will come to be.And I will bring myself into judgment with him, with pestilence and with blood; and a flooding downpour and hailstones, fire and sulphur I shall rain down upon him and upon his bands and upon the many peoples that will be with him.And I shall certainly magnify myself and sanctify myself and make myself known before the eyes of many nations; and they will have to know that I am Jehovah.’
The above is what the Watchtower has the audacity to refer to as “Armageddon–A Happy Beginning“! (Watchtower, 12/1/2005, p. 4)
I know that it’s hard to believe that anyone could be so unfeeling, so don’t take my word for it: listen to highlights from a 2007 convention talk by Bethel Speaker Ciro Aulicino (with video added by a non-Witness editor). It graphically describes the massacre that Witnesses look forward to. (Thanks to Paul Grundy of JW-Facts for making this available, please see his excellent related article.)
Who would look forward to a war? Who could hate another group of people to such a degree that they would eagerly anticipate rejoicing at their being slaughtered in that longed-for war? Who could be so emotionally sick that they would even dwell on the gruesome details of the painful deaths of these enemies? Once again, only patriotism and religion could lead a person so far astray from their inborn sense of empathy. The Watchtower religion is a prime example of this as they look forward to rejoicing at their upcoming “battle of Armageddon”.
The WT is so anxiously looking forward to the above revenge on their “enemies” that they have frequently made fools of themselves by announcing certain dates for the event which have now come and gone. But this doesn’t stop them from continuing to envision and long for the event. They will say that they are showing their love for humanity by trying to warn us of the coming wrath of their “loving” god so that we might join up and escape their threats. But how loving is a god whom his followers have to warn people against?
At least for some Witnesses [dare we say “most”?] the real truth is that they only warn people because the WT tells them that it is a requirement for their own salvation. They just wish their god would hurry up and start his war so they could stop having to go “out in service”.
But nearly every war in history has been “God’s War” — as viewed from both sides of the conflict. The formation of the U.N. is a major step in the right direction: holding out hope that nations can get together and peacefully resolve their conflicts. Unfortunately, the U.S. ignores the U.N. when it’s convenient, and the Watchtower, forever lost in its childish delusions, sees the U.N. as the “image of the wild beast” of Revelation which will destroy all other religions before being destroyed by their god. (I swear I’m not making this up!)
The Watchtower talks about “true peace and security” while longing for a bloody world-wide war inspired by a religious belief in a supernatural kingdom. In contrast, I imagine that true peace can only come when people give up the absurdities of religious belief and patriotism. Imagine if there were no religions or countries dividing us and causing us to view our fellow humans as “the others”. Imagine if we could eliminate the “us vs. them” mindset… Just imagine.