…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I had the Jehovah’s Witnesses around again last week – they had been creeping closer and closer; during the first visit back in August I was politely handed some leaflets to read. The second time, I was given some more leaflets but asked some questions. The third time was just before Easter and they were promoting their up-coming celebrations regarding Jesus’ death; I was invited along, given more leaflets, and when asked if I would like to view a short video on their tablet I invited them to step inside. I was asked more probing questions about my views about Jesus. This fourth time was only a week after the previous one, and clearly a “follow-up” visit. I politely asked about how their celebrations went by way of acknowledging that I had been mindful of the occasion and not simply forgotten. I was asked more probing questions about my understanding/belief in the Bible, shown another video on the tablet, this time about how archaeological findings back up the stories in the Bible, and handed more reading material.
I was finding the whole thing somewhat awkward, but then I a recluse, but I’m also intrigued by the whole thing; curious to see how these visits are unfolding and learning a little more about them and… stuff. Partly I’m getting an understanding of how they operate and I feel like I’m receiving a ‘sales call’; they have me listed as a ‘possible sale’ and they’re now stepping up their campaign, but another part of me is trying to be sensitive to this possible sense of “calling” that such people may have. At least, I hope these JWs have.
I’m not feeling it particularly myself, not yet at least, but perhaps all of us will relax more in time, but when reading material or snippets of knowledge find their way to me I like to be open to more. I’m treating these visits and the reading material I’m presented with as I would with library books that stand out for me on the shelf, and how when two or more sources talk about similar topics then I like to probe further – I’m using the JW’s reading material as one source and keeping my eyes open for two or more, and then pursuing those topics.
I’ve now had two sources coincide and the second is by the way of a library book I’m reading at the moment. It’s called The Marshmallow Test and if you’ve not heard of this test it’s one that’s given to children; essentially a marshmallow (or other nice treat) is offered to pre-schoolers/nursery children, but they are told if they wait twenty-minutes without eating it they can have two. They are then left alone with that marshmallow, and a bell to ring to call back tester if they want.
The author explains how we have these ‘hot and cold’ systems operating within our brains – one where we operate impulsively, and another where we can operate some restraint and work towards some future goal (such as obtaining two marshmallows instead of only one). The author then leads on to the story of Adam and Eve and the case of “original sin”. As you can now imagine, the topic of Adam and Eve is discussed in the reading material provided by the JWs.
I began to ponder this original sin. By way of a third source of input into this topic I have been gradually watching Morgan Freeman’s Through the Wormhole science series and with topics on the laws of physics, multiple universes, mathematics and probability, I considered that if Adam and Eve, prior to eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, were capable of living forever, unless they had no interest in eating such fruit, chances are they would have one day given in to temptation – it was inevitable. One could say that if God created everything then he also created their ability to sin/their wants/desires and curiosities, and he also created the temptation.
Given this inevitability, because they were capable of living eternally, I then wondered, why do many people (I’m thinking of youngsters) have this “life is too short/you only live once” mentality that leads them to sin? I never had this mindset. By way of sinning here I mean things like drinking excessively, smoking, drug taking etc. Coupling this this mental attitude with the temptations surrounding them (often they inflict this on each other in a way that is labeled as peer pressure), it only makes it more likely that they will give in to temptation. The case with Adam and Eve seems to be the opposite though; for them life wasn’t “too short” because they could have lived forever, which by-the-way I think would lead to anyone giving in and trying/doing something they shouldn’t.
Personally I think, yes, some people sadly die before their time, but actually we have the potential to live a very long time, and longer if we look after ourselves (i.e avoid giving into certain temptations that put risk to or shorten our lives) but also that we are eternal beings beyond physical flesh and therefore avoiding sin is important for the well-being of our souls and our personal growth.
According to the reading material provided by the JWs however, they believe we are only physical flesh, there is no soul. However they also talk about how, during the Day of Judgment our dead loved ones will be born again. I’m therefore confused how this will be possible – perhaps I’ll get a chance to quiz the JWs on this seemingly contradictory point.
From these ponderings it now seems to me that when we commit sin, it’s the soul that dies, just a little at first, but once we have crossed that line “the original sin” the damage has already been caused. Because of Adam’s sin, as the Bible explains it, we are born into sin, and thus my ideas is that a part of us is already dead. Somehow, as the Bible later explains, Jesus was born without that ‘original sin’.