A Better Way
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES are concerned about the erosion of spirituality in the world and the immorality and religious uncertainty that pervade society. As a result, they are sometimes called fundamentalists. But are they? No. While they have strong religious convictions, they are not fundamentalists in the sense that the term has come to be used. They do not pressure political leaders to promote a certain point of view, and they do not resort to demonstrations and violence against those with whom they disagree. They have found a better way. They imitate their Leader, Jesus Christ.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are convinced that religious truth exists, that it is found in the Bible. (John 8:32; 17:17) But the Bible teaches Christians to be kind, good, mild, and reasonable—qualities that do not allow for fanaticism. (Galatians 5:22, 23; Philippians 4:5) In the Bible book of James, Christians are encouraged to cultivate “the wisdom from above,” which is described as being “first of all chaste, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits.” James added: “The fruit of righteousness has its seed sown under peaceful conditions for those who are making peace.”—James 3:17, 18.
Jehovah’s Witnesses remember that Jesus was greatly concerned about truth. He told Pontius Pilate: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:37) Although he was an intrepid advocate of truth, he did not seek to impose his convictions on others. Rather, he appealed to their minds and hearts. He knew that his heavenly Father, a “good and upright” God, would decide how and when to eliminate falsehood and injustice from the face of the earth. (Psalm 25:8) Hence, he did not seek to repress those who disagreed with him. On the contrary, it was the orthodox religious leaders of his day who tried to repress Jesus.—John 19:5, 6.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have strong convictions about religious doctrines, and they manifest solid values in the matter of morals. Like the apostle Paul, they are convinced that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Ephesians 4:5) They are also aware of Jesus’ words: “Narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14) Still, they do not try to force others to follow their beliefs. Rather, they imitate Paul and “beg” all those who so desire to “become reconciled to God.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) This is the better way. It is God’s way.
Religious fundamentalism, as the word is used today, is very different. Fundamentalists use many strategies—including violence—to impose their principles on society. In doing so, they become an integral part of the political system. Jesus, though, said that his followers should be “no part of the world.” (John 15:19; 17:16; James 4:4) In harmony with those words, Jehovah’s Witnesses maintain strict neutrality in political controversies. And, as the Italian newspaper Fuoripagina acknowledged, they “do not force anything on anybody; everyone is free to accept or reject what they say.” The result? The peaceable Bible message of the Witnesses attracts people of all sorts, even those who were once fundamentalists.—Isaiah 2:2, 3.
A World With Solid Values
The Witnesses recognize that humans cannot solve the problems that concern fundamentalists. You cannot force a person to believe in God or to accept your personal set of beliefs. Thinking that such a thing is possible led to some of the worst horrors of history, such as the Crusades, the medieval Inquisitions, and the “conversions” of the American Indians. However, if you trust in God, you will be willing to leave matters in his hands.
According to the Bible, God has set a limit on the time in which he permits humans to break his laws and thus cause suffering and pain. That time has almost expired. Already, Jesus is ruling as King in God’s heavenly Kingdom, and soon that Kingdom will act to remove human governments and take over the day-to-day governing of mankind. (Matthew 24:3-14; Revelation 11:15, 18) The result will be a worldwide paradise in which peace and righteousness will be abundant. At that time there will be no uncertainty about how the true God should be worshiped. “The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and they will reside forever upon it.” (Psalm 37:29) Such eternal values as loving-kindness, truth, justice, and goodness will triumph for the good of all obedient mankind.
Looking forward to that time, the psalmist says in poetic fashion: “As for loving-kindness and trueness, they have met each other; righteousness and peace—they have kissed each other. Trueness itself will sprout out of the very earth, and righteousness itself will look down from the very heavens. Also, Jehovah, for his part, will give what is good, and our own land will give its yield. Before him righteousness itself will walk, and it will make a way by his steppings.”—Psalm 85:10-13.
While we cannot change the world, we can as individuals cultivate godly values even today. Thus, we can try to be the kind of people that God will want as his worshipers in that new world. We will then be among the meek referred to by the psalmist: “The meek ones themselves will possess the earth, and they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.” (Psalm 37:11) God supports and blesses those who do his will, and he promises wonderful things for their future. The apostle John said: “The world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”—1 John 2:17.
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Jehovah’s Witnesses invite all to become acquainted with the good news of the Kingdom of God
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Lamp on pages 3, 4, 5, and 6: Printer’s Ornaments/by Carol Belanger Grafton/Dover Publications, Inc.