For those not familiar with the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they teach that Armageddon is “god’s war,” a time when god will destroy Satan and his demons along with any on earth who do not worship god. By “worship god,” I mean anyone who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
To justify their idea that every person on the earth who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is deserving of death, and to make their congregants more comfortable with the idea of a worldwide destruction of every human on the planet, they have likened this to destruction to a homeowner who has a pest-infested house, and who is simply exterminating those pests.
In other words, as far as Jehovah’s Witnesses are concerned, you’re just a cockroach who deserves to be poisoned under a big tent. Yes, you.
Lest you think I’m exaggerating, note what the December 1, 2005, Watchtower says about Armageddon:
Let me first of all say that I believe there are many “incorrigibly wicked” people that perhaps have drawn enough breath on this planet. I’m not arguing for a death penalty in courts of law; that’s not my point. My point is, rapists, murderers, child abusers, people who abuse their spouses or the elderly, people who blame a woman for being raped, warmongers; I can see how the world would be better off without them.
This article, however, is not talking about such extremes, or those who so obviously “threaten the peace and security of their fellow humans.” The people whom they think are “pests” and who need to be exterminated are all those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. Period. That is the only criteria by which they are judged. Your average, everyday Joe Schmo who just goes to work, earns a living, watches TV at night, and generally doesn’t do anything wicked beyond drinking a few too many beers on the weekends, deserves to be exterminated, according to them. That elderly neighbor of yours who works part-time to pay her bills and who lives for her grandchildren and who rarely goes out except for Sunday brunch with her son and his family… pest. That single mom who works as a teacher’s aide and who rushes around every day to get her kids to school and whose life revolves around soccer games and homework… pest. You, the person reading this right now, if you’re not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, you’re a pest to them, and all of you are worthy of being exterminated, according to their literature.
There are a few problems with this thinking, and one is that it’s not supported in the bible. I personally am not a Christian so the bible’s standards are rarely my concern, but Jehovah’s Witnesses do claim to follow the bible. Yet, the bible says those who will be destroyed by god are those who are “wicked.” It mentions murderers, liars, fornicators, etc., but not “all those outside of this one particular religion.” Imagine the presumptuousness of a religion saying that if you don’t follow their teachings and beliefs and their interpretation of the bible, then all scriptures about destroying the wicked apply to you.
What really bothers me about this article and illustration however is the callused, dismissive, hateful attitude it teaches. Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that anyone who is not one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is a cockroach-like pest, infesting the earth. Those who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses have no right to be on this planet, according to them, and should basically be poisoned to death so that the leftover Jehovah’s Witnesses can finally enjoy it in peace, without other people threatening their “security.”
This thinking is beyond disturbing as it applies even to children, the elderly, those who perform charitable works, and anyone who simply minds their own business and lives their life according to their own beliefs without “threatening” anyone’s “security.” All of these people are not human beings to Jehovah’s Witnesses; instead, they’re cockroaches, just disgusting bugs. They’re so undesirable and so bothersome that they need to be killed.
Sweeping generalizations like this one are often used to justify war and mass killings; I remember when I was growing up hearing certain racial slurs directed at a handful of countries with whom the United States was at war. These words were used to create a broad, general hatred of everyone in that country, saying that they all deserved to die. Not just the leaders who made policies or the generals who directed those wars, or even the soldiers on the other side of the battlefield, but everyone. The poor peasants just trying to eke out a living, the children, the elderly, those who were just going about their business and who were no threat to anyone; they were all lumped in together and were all deserving of death, no matter who they were and how they lived their life, according to what I heard. That’s what those racial slurs were meant to accomplish. If they could convince people that everyone in a particular country was evil and threatening and somehow inherently defective, then it would justify declaring war on that country and slaughtering those people.
Propaganda: ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.
– Merriam Webster Dictionary
I always found that thinking very disturbing, and still do. Being presumptuous in thinking that your religion is the “right” way to believe is one thing, but teaching that anyone outside your religion not only deserves to die, but is a “pest” that should be exterminated, is inexcusable. This strips people of their dignity as humans and lowers them to the level of disgusting household bugs; unintelligent, disease-ridden, destructive, unwelcome, and lower than vermin.
It’s important to note that Jehovah’s Witnesses also teach that god is the only one to do this exterminating; Witnesses do not take up arms in any way and do not expect to do any killing themselves, as I’ve brought out in other posts on this site. They are not a literal danger to those people they think of as being pests. However, what someone does is one thing; what they believe is also important to consider. This religion that claims to be based on “love of neighbor” really doesn’t love their neighbors at all, not according to this article. After all, how can you love a disgusting, disease-ridden cockroach, especially when you’re just waiting for the exterminator to poison that bug to death, the way Witnesses are waiting for their god to destroy all their neighbors, including you?
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