False Religion Breeds Fanaticism
THAT false religion or false worship breeds fanaticism the Bible clearly shows. A modern case in point occurred in Panama to a full-time minister of Jehovah by the name of José.
It was last November 5 as a group of four witnesses of Jehovah, including José, traveled on foot to a certain small village to preach. En route they stopped at the home of an acquaintance of one of them to give a witness. This one, a Mrs. Gonzalez, belonged to the Evangelist sect, and, she being a firm believer in divine healing, the discussion centered around this teaching. As the discussion continued her husband, Mr. Gonzalez, came in from the field with his machete, a long-bladed general-purpose knife, shook hands with the four visitors and sat down to listen. At one point the wife stated that her pastor said that Jehovah’s witnesses were a false religion. This statement at once aroused her husband, who began to shout insults at the witnesses, saying they were drunkards and that their film about the New World society showed that they were a worldly lot.
Gonzalez demanded that they leave at once, and as they got up to leave, one of the witnesses, José, endeavored to reason with him. At that Gonzalez made a remark that the witness did not get clearly and he asked what had been said. This made Gonzalez furious. Raising his machete he began to repeat, “Yes, you or me, you or me,” as the witness backed away. As José tried to pick up a stick to defend himself, Gonzalez swung with his machete, cutting a large gash on the left side of José’s face and almost cutting off his ear.
As José ran out of the house with Gonzalez in pursuit the other three witnesses also scattered. Running down the road until exhausted, José called for help and a woman came from a nearby house and took him in and gave him a handkerchief to cover his wound. Her husband helped José to the highway, where, fortunately, a small bus, driven by a person of good will, happened to come along. He took wounded José to the local first-aid dispensary, only to find it closed because of its being a holiday. There seemed that nothing could be done but wait for a bus to take José to the city of Colón.
While waiting, José was lying on the ground with his head on a friend’s lap and blood streaming from his nose and mouth. Neighbors brought ice and towels to help stop the bleeding. After almost an hour a police wagon came by and took José and his good-will companion to Amador Guerrera hospital in Colón. Meanwhile the police arrested Gonzalez.
As for the rest of the Gonzalez family, they strongly disapproved of his fanatical act and expressed real sorrow for what had taken place. Visiting him in jail, his wife found him not at all repentant. Fanatically he tried to justify himself on the ground that Peter had used a sword to defend Jesus, overlooking entirely that the one Peter struck was part of an armed mob that had come to take innocent Jesus, the Son of God. Also that even under such provocative conditions Jesus strongly rebuked Peter for resorting to the literal sword. How blind does fanaticism make persons!
The full-time minister, José, fully recovered from his wound and is again enjoying his ministerial privileges. Because of this incident he is having many opportunities to witness to Jehovah’s name and kingdom in the vicinity; also pointing out that Jesus said his followers could expect to receive such persecution. On the other hand, Mrs. Gonzalez reports that others come to her saying that they could never think of becoming one of the Evangelists, since they are taught to kill. Truly, false religion does make fanatics of people and fanatics not only harm others but injure their own cause.