JW.org’s identity crisis: Jehovah’s Witnesses “do not agree with creationism”

JW.org now refuses to accept that Witnesses are creationists because “some creationists” teach things that conflict with their ideas

JW.org has posted an FAQ page in response to the question “Do You Believe in Creationism?” Watchtower’s response? “No.” The reason? “Jehovah’s Witnesses do believe that God created everything. But we do not agree with creationism. Why not? Because a number of creationist ideas actually conflict with the Bible.”

Anybody who understands the meaning of the words “creationist” and “creationism” and who is familiar with Witness teachings will find the above answer both perplexing and self-contradictory.

Put simply, Watchtower is suffering from an identity crisis. On the one hand it rejects evolution, and on the other it seeks to dodge the creationist label because it doesn’t agree with what all other creationists believe. Such reasoning is tantamount to a person refusing to accept the designation “christian” because he or she doesn’t agree with what all professed christians believe.

Witnesses might be surprised to learn that Watchtower’s ‘refuting’ of creationism is nothing new. Back in 1986 a Questions From Readers article was published which stated, in part (bold is mine)…

“In these 1980’s, ‘creationism’ has become a true ‘ism’ because of its adoption by political pressure groups, such as the Moral Majority. It is no longer a neutral term, but embodies extreme fundamentalist views of the Bible, such as the view that God created the earth and everything upon it in six days of 24 hours each. There are now more than 350 books in circulation setting out such “creationism” dogma. Jehovah’s Witnesses reject the unreasonable theories of ‘creationism’ in favor of what the Bible really teaches about ‘creation.’” (w86 9/1 p.30)

Some “young earth creationists” believe that there were dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark

What both this 1986 article and the JW.org FAQ page fail to acknowledge is that not all creationists necessarily share the same views, in just the same way as not every christian denomination shares identical beliefs. There is room for variety. For example, it is possible to declare yourself a creationist but not be a “young earth creationist,” i.e. someone who believes the earth was created in six literal days.

Numerous sources confirm that creationists do not necessarily have to agree on every point. In Darwinism Comes To America Ronald L. Numbers observes, “Creationists of today are not in agreement concerning what was created according to Genesis.” And, as the book Science, Evolution and Creationism explains, “Advocates of the ideas collectively known as ‘creationism’ and, recently, ‘intelligent design creationism’ hold a wide variety of views. Most broadly, a ‘creationist’ is someone who rejects natural scientific explanations of the known universe in favor of special creation by a supernatural entity.”

This is where a Witness might argue, “Ah, but Witnesses do not reject ‘natural scientific explanations of the known universe.'” Indeed JW.org’s FAQ declares that Witnesses “have no objection to credible scientific research.” But is that really the case?

Evolution – a “false teaching?”

In a recent Watchtower magazine the Society reaffirmed its condemnation of evolution as a “widespread false teaching that blinds people to the truth about God.” (w13 10/15 p.7) Now, as unpleasant as this may be for some readers to consider, whether you believe in God or not, it is now impossible to justifiably deny that evolution is a real process. It is an astounding mechanism that has been unfolding for countless millennia, and is even happening right in front of us.

The existence of hospital superbugs is proof that evolution is a real process that shapes the development of all living things

The reason why hospital superbugs exist is because successive generations of bacteria with the necessary genes flourish due to having developed an immunity to antibiotics, which flush out any strands of bacteria without the needed adaptations.

In essence, this is an accelerated version of “natural selection” where the changing environment determines the survival of the species, which (in the case of bacteria) reproduces over minutes or hours rather than years or decades. Just because bacteria are small, doesn’t mean that similar environmental forces are not influencing the development of much larger organisms including animals and humans – albeit incrementally over unfathomable periods of time.

If you disagree with the above, and believe that each “superbug” is created on the spot by God the moment new drugs are developed as some kind of cruel joke to thwart the efforts of doctors, then you are of course entitled to your opinion. But in denying the process I have described you are denying clear evidence of evolution, which is precisely what the Watchtower continues to do right up to the present.

And yet, Watchtower wants the outside world to think of it as trendy and not “anti-science.” It sees itself as accommodating towards the latest scientific evidence, which is why it refuses to accept its proper designation as a fundamentally creationist faith.

“Limping upon two different opinions”

Elijah denounced unfaithful Israelites for “limping upon two different opinions”

Ironically, the scripture in 1 Timothy that the Society has used to label apostates as “mentally diseased” actually applies that expression to those who work themselves into a frenzy “over questionings and debates about words” – which is precisely what the Society seems to be doing with regards to creationism. (1 Tim 6:4) They are arguing that the word doesn’t apply to them because they don’t like the image it portrays.

Moreover, at 1 Kings 18:21 the prophet Elijah condemned the unfaithful Israelites of his day for being similarly indecisive. He said, “How long will you be limping upon two different opinions? If Jehovah is the [true] God, go following him; but if Ba′al is, go following him.”

In dancing between designations, and picking and choosing which words should or shouldn’t be applied to them, Watchtower is similarly “limping upon two different opinions.” On the one hand they dismiss evolution, but on the other they don’t like the stigma surrounding creationism. So, which is it to be?






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57 Responses to JW.org’s identity crisis: Jehovah’s Witnesses “do not agree with creationism”

  1. unbaptized says:

    What is the difference between evolution and adaptations? Does it matter? We see things as they are before us. God can do anything,created science…no conflict?????

  2. wishus says:

    ohh cmon… they are not ultra conservitave. muslem extreamests are ultra conservitive… JDUBS are only partly conservitive. they are however everything else you mention and more!

  3. Bastion says:

    I remembered thinking about this when I started studying biology back then. I had to learned so much evidence for evolution. The book and articles that were supposed to “debunk” evolution were worst than useless. For years, I thought it was my duty to disprove evolution and protect the truth. It al seems soo naive in hindsight.

  4. Anonymous JW Brother says:

    Dear John,

    I really appreciate your scepticism and wit. I feel for you, and your situation.

    However, this article misrepresents JW views on evolution. Is it possible to accept that generations of bacteria adapt but that there is a limit to their adaptions? It is, and it’s not just JWs that accept the first but reject the second proposition. You’re article equivocates on the term “evolution.”

    Do superbugs remain bugs? Without exception.

    Does the fact that living things adapt to their environment also explain how molecules can come to life, or how bacteria can become fish, fish become man? I do not think so. You would need some extraordinary evidence to demonstrate that, surely. Does such evidence exist, or is it an assumption? If only the latter, then why accept it without proof? Prove it first, then accept it. Is that not the proper order of scientific reasoning?

    Put it another way. What I’m trying to say is that information, prescriptive digital information, embedded within living things separates life from non-life. DNA is a three-symbol base-four digital code. Where does the code and the information it carries come from? Nature destroys digital information. It never creates it. How did nature create a digital code? In fact different kinds of digital code exist within living things. You cannot naturally select a code, not matter how long you wait. Natural selection explains the survival of the fittest. What explains its arrival?

    You could argue that science is working on it. We just need more time to find the answer. But why believe something until you know how it works? Isn’t that called “faith.” Put it this way, you might say I’m crazy to accept that God parted the Red Sea. “How did He do it?” you might reasonably ask. If my answer was, “I don’t know but theologians are working on it,” you might reasonably call it a matter of faith. You would be right.

    If science cannot answer how molecules became man, then evolution too amounts to an article of faith. Yet, how can that be since science disavows faith? It should be based on evidence only.

    Hope I’m making sense.

    • Rowland Nelken says:

      I suggest you study evolution before writing about it. That abiogenesis is yet to be understood takes noting away from the proven facts of evolution.

      • Anonymous JW Brother says:

        Buddy, I get that you don’t like Witnesses. I can appreciate your angst. The organisation is far from perfect. There are many things I’m not happy with. Still, not liking someone doesn’t mean they’re wrong necessarily. Regarding evolution these are my little questions.

        Why do living things have a limit to their adaptions?
        Why do superbugs remain bugs?
        Exactly how can bacteria become fish, fish become man?
        How can life come from non-life without intelligent intervention?
        Where does the DNA code and the information it carries come from?
        How did nature create digital codes?

        Can someone answer them without dropping a promisary note? Saying, ‘We don’t know yet but science is working on it,’ just makes evolution an article of faith; I would argue even credulous faith. And no just-so stories either. Reason requires repeatable evidence. If there is no repeatable evidence for molecules-to-man, then believing it requires that I exercise faith. Dare I even say: evolution becomes a kind of cult? If repeatable experiments aren’t possible because complete evolution relies on unique unrepeatable events, then are we not talking about miracles?

        As Lloyd rightly says, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you claim molecules became man without help, where is that extraordinary evidence?

        • Cedars says:

          Anonymous JW Brother…

          “Why do living things have a limit to their adaptions?
          Why do superbugs remain bugs?
          Exactly how can bacteria become fish, fish become man?
          How can life come from non-life without intelligent intervention?
          Where does the DNA code and the information it carries come from?
          How did nature create digital codes?”

          These are all questions spawned from your own ignorance and scientific illiteracy. Foisting them on me or others is just plain lazy. If you can present evidence that contradicts the answers scientists give to these questions, you can collect your Nobel prize and get a round of applause from us. But the fact that you are able to spew forth questions that are the product of a closed, indoctrinated mind, and a lack of reading and study, is not impressive. Quite the reverse.

          “As Lloyd rightly says, Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If you claim molecules became man without help, where is that extraordinary evidence?”

          As has already been expressed – abiogenesis and evolution are two different fields of study. While evolution is proven, and can be asserted as fact, the same cannot be said of abiogenesis at the moment. Therefore the entire premise of this last question is flawed. One can make the ‘extraordinary’ claim that one species can and will evolve into another given enough time and slow, incremental mutations influenced and shaped by the creature’s environment, because there is plenty of evidence for this in the DNA and archeological records. But if you make the claim that everything in our universe was made by a “wise and loving” God who fixates about what we do with the genitals he made for us while letting 9 million children die every year before they reach the age of 5, and thinks it proper to stone someone to death for collecting wood on the wrong day, you will find your ability to provide evidence utterly escapes you.

          • Anonymous JW Brother says:

            So let me get this straight, your response is: I’m ignorant, scientifically illiterate, and lazy. Well, that’s not very nice 😉 Is that not what you call ad honimem?

            So to disbelieve the ‘molecules to man without help’ belief, I have to present evidence against it for it not to be true, because scientists say its true. Isn’t that like saying the church says its true so someone has to disprove the priest before I disbelieve it? Shouldn’t such beliefs be personal? Why should anyone believe something because someone else says its true? I thought that’s what your blog is all about Lloydster?

            I’m just asking what anyone would ask, JW or not. If you believe in evolution, you must have solid ‘personal’ conviction. Scientist say so is not good enough. At least you should have some personal idea of where the information comes from. How do the laws of nature generate digital information? Sure, selection can tinker with pre-existing information. No problem with that. But as far as I’m aware, the physical and chemical laws surrounding us never generate new information. Only minds do that.

            I haven’t presented any evidence for God. Not sure why that comes up. Or do you mean molecules-to-man must be true because God is false? Isn’t that black-and-white thinking? A false dichotomy? Hey, I’m just asking.

          • Cedars says:

            My name is Lloyd, not Lloydster. Taking liberties with my name is at least mildly rude when you are too ashamed to give us yours, most likely because you know full well your elders (including, perhaps, your father?) will drag you into the back room and give your bottom a good spanking for your selective disobedience of the Governing Body by being on this website.

            As to your anti-science arguments, they can be summed up in this one sentence: “Scientist say so is not good enough.”

            Actually, “scientists say so” IS good enough, in just the same way as “my teacher says so” is good enough, or “my doctor says so” is good enough. When someone who is smarter than you, and who has spent many years (even decades) studying his field, and can support his conclusions with evidence, gives you verifiable information, you would need to be grossly ignorant or stupid to dismiss his conclusions because it conflicts with what your religious leaders tell you. I suspect you don’t dismiss EVERYTHING scientists produce, because you have no problem using a computer or the internet (both the products of unfettered scientific inquiry). Instead you treat science ala carte, choosing and using only the bits that suit you, and stuffing your head firmly in the sand if scientists tell you anything that conflicts with your mantra of “the Governing Body in New York have told me this, so it must be true.”

            Hence you have no problem believing that the God of the universe will imminently slaughter billions of men, women and children because they refuse to bow to the self-proclaimed authority of seven blokes who meet in an office in Brooklyn on Wednesdays, but the proposition that life evolves is, in your mind, too ridiculous to contemplate.

            So in summary: No. If scientists say all life evolved from a common ancestor, it does not behoove me or anyone else to prove this to you. The burden is on YOU to go out and educate yourself on this subject, which you will only be able to do once you shake off the shackles of fear and ignorance that are the sad byproducts of your Witness indoctrination.

          • Rowland Nelken says:

            Evolution, Anonymous JW Brother, is not a matter of belief. Unlike God wherein belief requires faith in the undevidenced, the facts of evolution are available for anyone to study. Your posts here demonstrate not only that you are one of the WT Gov. Bod’s unpaid skivvies. They also show, very clearly, that you have never taken the trouble to read about or understand evolution.

        • Rowland Nelken says:

          Many Christians accept the facts of evolution. I realise, of course, that the JWs regard their little sect of Christendom as the only true Christian group, and that all the others are in the grip of Satan and are soon to be executed at Armageddon.

          The theme of the opening statement, however, was about the JWs, as ever, pretending to be what they are not, and imagining themselves separate from and superior to, the rest of humanity. Hence their ridiculous claim that their late 19th century Adventist spinoff group is not part of Christendom.

          As your display of ignorance demonstrates, Anonymous JW Brother, you, instructed by your WT bosses, spout a creationist line. JWs are creationists and fundamentalists. They believe in divine creation as outlined in the opening chapters of Genesis and they take the Bible literally.

          The WT bosses may have fooled you and the rest of their brigade of unpaid mag pushers that your little cult is something special and superior, but to the rest of the world you only appear as ridiculous as you are misery making; yet another tiresome bunch of creationist fundies.

  5. Rowland Nelken says:

    JWs, Anonymous JW brother, are a whole load of things that, in their desperate attempts to seem other, that they claim they are not.

    JWs are Biblical fundamentalists and creationists. They are a doomsday cult and a minor sect in christendom. They are also, of course part of the world which, in their haughty and obscene manner, they affect to despise.

    I look forward to the day when this misery making outfit, and that horrible and ridiculous cloud of impending Armageddon which JWdom made to glower over my otherwise happy childhood, is flushed down history’s toilet.

  6. Little Sis says:

    One thing, as a born in JW that blew my mind, is that witnesses believe men are 6,000 or so years old, per the insight book under Adam. There are fossilized remains of humans much older than this. Explain that JWs without reverting to Carbon dating is inaccurate. It most certainly is not, especially combined with other methods.

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