Sunday, August 14, 2011
Questions Often Asked by Interested People
If God is love, why does he permit wickedness?
GOD does permit wickedness, and millions on earth willfully make a practice of it. For instance, they declare wars, drop bombs on children, scorch the earth, and cause famines. Millions smoke and get lung cancer, practice adultery and get sexually transmitted diseases, use alcohol to excess and get cirrhosis of the liver, and so on. Such people do not truly want all wickedness stopped. They only want the penalties for it eliminated. When they reap what they have sown, they cry out, "Why me?" And they blame God, as Proverbs 19:3 says: "A man's own folly wrecks his life, and then he bears a grudge against the LORD." (The New English Bible) And if God stopped their evildoing, they would protest their loss of freedom to do it!
Jehovah's main reason for permitting evil is to answer Satan's challenge. Satan the Devil said that God could not put men on earth who would be true to Him under test. (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-10) Jehovah allows Satan to remain to have opportunity to prove his challenge. (Exodus 9:16) Satan continues to bring woes now, to turn men against God, as he tries to prove his challenge. (Revelation 12:12) However, Job kept integrity. So did Jesus. True Christians do now.—Job 27:5; 31:6; Matthew 4:1-11; 1 Peter 1:6, 7.
I would like to believe in an earthly paradise where people live forever, but isn't that too good to be true?
Not according to the Bible. It seems too good to be true only because mankind has known the bad for so many centuries. Jehovah created the earth and told mankind to fill it with righteous men and women who would care for its plant and animal life and preserve its beauty instead of destroying it. (See pages 12 and 17.) Rather than that promised Paradise being too good to be true, the present sorrowful state is too bad to continue. Paradise will replace it.
How can I answer people who scoff and say that the Bible is a myth and is unscientific?
Faith in these promises is not a matter of credulity. "Faith follows the thing heard." By studying God's Word, its wisdom becomes apparent and faith grows.—Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1.
Biblical archaeology confirms much of the Bible's historical accuracy. True science harmonizes with the Bible. The following facts were in the Bible long before they were discovered by secular scholars: the order of stages through which the earth passed in its development, that the earth is round, that it hangs in space on nothing, and that birds migrate.—Genesis, chapter 1; Isaiah 40:22; Job 26:7; Jeremiah 8:7.
The inspiration of the Bible is shown by fulfilled prophecies. Daniel foretold in advance the rise and the fall of world powers, as well as the time when the Messiah would come and be put to death. (Daniel, chapters 2, 8; 9:24-27) Today, still other prophecies are being fulfilled, identifying these as "the last days." (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew, chapter 24) Such foreknowledge is not within man's power. (Isaiah 41:23) For more confirmation, see the books The Bible—God's Word or Man's? and Is There a Creator Who Cares About You?, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
How can I learn to answer questions on the Bible?
You must study the Bible and meditate on it, at the same time asking for God's spirit to direct you. (Proverbs 15:28; Luke 11:9-13) "If any one of you is lacking in wisdom," the Bible says, "let him keep on asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching; and it will be given him." (James 1:5) Also, there are Bible study aids worth consulting. Usually help from others is needed, as when Philip studied with the Ethiopian. (Acts 8:26-35) Jehovah's Witnesses conduct Bible studies free of charge with interested people in their homes. Feel free to request this service.
Why do many oppose Jehovah's Witnesses and tell me not to study with them?
There was opposition to Jesus' preaching, and he said that his followers also would be opposed. When some were impressed with Jesus' teaching, religious opposers retorted: "You have not been misled also, have you? Not one of the rulers or of the Pharisees has put faith in him, has he?" (John 7:46-48; 15:20) Many who advise you not to study with the Witnesses are either uninformed or prejudiced. Study with the Witnesses and see for yourself whether your Bible understanding increases or not.—Matthew 7:17-20.
Why do the Witnesses call on people who have their own religion?
In doing this they follow Jesus' example. He went to the Jews. The Jews had their own religion, but in many ways it had turned away from the Word of God. (Matthew 15:1-9) All nations have religions of some kind, whether so-called Christian or non-Christian. It is vitally important for people to hold beliefs that conform to God's own Word, and the efforts of the Witnesses to assist them in doing this constitute a showing of neighbor love.
Do the Witnesses believe that their religion is the only right one?
Anyone who is serious about his religion should think that it is the right one. Otherwise, why would he or she be involved in it? Christians are admonished: "Make sure of all things; hold fast to what is fine." (1 Thessalonians 5:21) A person should make sure that his beliefs can be supported by the Scriptures, for there is only one true faith. Ephesians 4:5 confirms this, mentioning "one Lord, one faith, one baptism." Jesus did not agree with the modern, relaxed view that there are many roads, many religions, all leading to salvation. Instead, he said: "Narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it." Jehovah's Witnesses believe that they have found it. Otherwise, they would look for another religion.—Matthew 7:14.
Do they believe that they are the only ones who will be saved?
No. Millions that have lived in centuries past and who were not Jehovah's Witnesses will come back in a resurrection and have an opportunity for life. Many now living may yet take a stand for truth and righteousness before the "great tribulation," and they will gain salvation. Moreover, Jesus said that we should not be judging one another. We look at the outward appearance; God looks at the heart. He sees accurately and judges mercifully. He has committed judgment into Jesus' hands, not ours.—Matthew 7:1-5; 24:21; 25:31.
What financial contributions are expected of those attending meetings of Jehovah's Witnesses?
Regarding money contributions, the apostle Paul said: "Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7) At the Kingdom Halls and convention auditoriums of Jehovah's Witnesses, no collections are ever taken. Boxes are placed so that it is convenient for any who wish to contribute to do so. No one knows what or if others give. Some are able to give more than others; some may not be able to give anything. Jesus showed the right view when he commented on the treasury box at the temple in Jerusalem and those contributing: It is one's capacity to give and the spirit of giving that count, not the amount of money.—Luke 21:1-4.
If I become one of Jehovah's Witnesses, would I be expected to preach as they do?
When one becomes filled with the knowledge of the promised earthly Paradise under Christ's Kingdom, one wants to share it with others. You will too. It is good news!—Acts 5:41, 42.
Doing this is an important way of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ. In the Bible, Jesus is called "the faithful and true witness." When on earth he preached, saying: "The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near," and he sent out his disciples to do the same. (Revelation 3:14; Matthew 4:17; 10:7) Later, Jesus commanded his followers: "Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, . . . teaching them." He also foretold that before the end, "this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations."—Matthew 24:14; 28:19, 20.
There are many ways of declaring this good news. Conversation with friends and acquaintances often opens the way to do so. Some do it by writing letters or by using the telephone. Others mail literature containing material that they think an acquaintance would be especially interested in. Out of a desire to miss no one, Witnesses go from door to door with the message.
The Bible contains this warm invitation: "The spirit and the bride keep on saying: 'Come!' And let anyone hearing say: 'Come!' And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life's water free." (Revelation 22:17) Telling others about the Paradise earth and its blessings is to be done willingly, out of a heart filled with a desire to share this good news.
We are sure that you have other questions about Jehovah's Witnesses and their beliefs. Perhaps some issues are controversial in nature. We would like to answer your questions. Space is limited in this brochure, so we invite you to ask the Witnesses locally. You can do so either at their Kingdom Hall meetings or when they visit you in your home. Or you may send your questions to Watch Tower, using the appropriate address.