Whenever we relate the wrongdoings of the Society, a kindly Witness will nearly always tell us not to harp on “human imperfections” because “Jehovah will make it right.”
In response to this my first impulse is to ask: If God’s organization on Earth is just as prone to human imperfections as worldly organizations, then what distinguishes it as godly? But that’s a question for another day.
What I want to examine here is the notion that “Jehovah will make it right.” You see, I’ve never seen that as an adequate excuse for the existence of wrongdoing. Let me explain by taking a non-religious example.
Let’s say that a vulnerable, innocent young child is sexually molested by a depraved maniac who then attempts to beat her to death, but fails: leaving her not only traumatized but brain damaged and suffering a lifetime of chronic pain as well. Can someone please tell me how to “make this right”? What could possibly make it right? Money? Punishing the criminal? Keeping the victim on drugs her whole life to take away the pain? What about the psychological trauma? Can therapy “make it right”?
No, none of the suggested solutions could possibly “make it right.” The most they could do is try to make the victim as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.
But wait, you say: what if we could make her well and give her an eternity in paradise? Wouldn’t that make it right? Well, no; it wouldn’t. The memory of that event will have shaped her personality and have left life-long psychological scars. What if we heal those as well, you ask, and erase the memory from her mind? Wouldn’t she eventually learn to trust again, and find peace and love amongst other perfect people? I can only imagine this happening by reshaping her (and everyone else) into some sort of standardized “perfect person” in which everyone becomes identical (with all past traumas erased, and all personalities remolded to a norm with no reference to how their lives originally shaped them.) I hope a world filled with identical robots is not anyone’s idea of paradise; it’s certainly not mine.
No, there could only be one way to “make it right” without destroying personalities and ending up with an excruciatingly boring eternity amongst identical people. That way would be to go back in time and prevent the incident from occurring. But to change one incident in the past is to affect a multitude of other things, and radically change the present (as science-fiction writers have frequently–and correctly–pointed out.) And, if God were willing and capable of manipulating the past, then why wouldn’t he have just prevented the crime from occurring in the first place? Since he didn’t prevent it the first time around, it is even more unlikely that he would manipulate time and prevent it the second time around.
Now let’s take an example from the context of a Jehovah’s Witness life. Mary lost her son as a result of obeying the Watchtower commandment to “abstain from blood transfusions.” It’s hard to imagine the grief this caused unless you are a parent whose child has died due to your erroneous beliefs. Her son was denied the remainder of his childhood, as well as adulthood. Mary was denied watching her son grow into manhood. Those years can never be replaced. Mary no longer believes the Watchtower’s tales of resurrection, so there is no comfort for her in such lies. Even if she did still believe, there would be no real comfort in looking forward to receiving a substitute child: a newly created “person” injected with the memories of her son. Her son himself is gone forever, and a future surrogate cannot “make it right.”
Here’s another true-life Witness example: My sister was unjustly disfellowshipped. Can Jehovah “make it right?” Can he restore the 30 years of friendships she missed out on due to the Watchtower’s policy of shunning? It just so happens that her best Witness friend (former roommate and pioneering partner) eventually “saw the light” and left the Watchtower religion and contacted my sister. They renewed their friendship after 30 years, only to have it end a few years later with her friend’s untimely death. But those 30 years of shunning and being made to feel like dirt cannot be “made right;” the psychological damage has been done, the loneliness has been endured, and we can never have those years back again.
No, my friends, not even a god can make wrongdoings right. So, the next time you hear this excuse please don’t accept it: challenge it. Ask: “How could this ever be made right?” If there were a loving God looking out for us [or for “his organization”] wrongdoing would never occur in the first place. There was a great science-fiction movie that came out a few years ago called Minority Report in which they had developed a method of predicting murders. When they knew a murder was about to be committed, the police would take immediate steps to prevent it (usually catching the murderer “red-handed”), and then would lock up the would-be perpetrator. Well, of course that’s what any ethical person would do. But we are to imagine a God of perfect morals who sees (and foresees) murders, rapes, and child molestation — and does absolutely nothing to prevent them or rescue the victims! Instead, he sits silently and observes the crimes as they occur. So, this is a god who is less moral than we are. Yet this is the same god we are supposed to believe will somehow “make it right.” I’m not buying it: no sensible person could.
The fact that wrongdoing does occur, the fact that the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses are widely known as a “paradise for pedophiles,” and the fact that the suicide rate is higher amongst Witnesses than non-Witnesses due to their disfellowshipping policy, comprise overwhelming evidence that this cannot possibly be a loving God’s “organization on Earth.”
“But,” you say: “this is all just the price we pay for having followed Satan; we must bear the consequences of that until such time as Jehovah turns the tables and takes over the world. Then our blissful eternity will eventually make our present woes seem irrelevant.”
Such rationalizations remind me of the heartfelt answer given to them in my favorite novel: Dostoevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov. There the question is asked: what price are we willing to pay for future bliss? Think back to my first example of that young girl who was raped and beaten. Do you accept that as the price of admission into the New World? Or would you say “No! The price is too high”? Personally, I agree with Dostoevsky: I have “turned my ticket back in” and I refuse to enter a New World which requires that we sacrifice our children to gain admittance. Those who can accept such a deal have lost their humanity and my respect.