I went to a Jehovah's Witness "Lord's Evening Meal" - the biggest event of the year for them after getting an invite at the door this morning.
They were incredibly friendly, everyone shook my hand and said hello when I sat down and the service was very solemn and beautiful. There were lots of families with children and everyone was wearing their best. When I realised what the event was, I wanted to leave but they insisted that I stay. So I sat in a corner and didn’t say anything. A young man from Nigeria introduced himself and his Sister and he shared his bible with me so I could follow what was going on.
The actual sermon was a selection of verses from the New Testament selected to reinforce the story of the "Ransom Sacrifice" of Jesus so that everyone can be forgiven and live for eternity on a paradise earth. I don't know how much of the bible they think is literal and how much they see as allegory. The preacher mentioned a literal Adam and Eve and that "most" geneticists think there was one man we are all descended from. He was probably referring to “Y-Chromosomal Adam” but has obviously missed the point and ignored the obvious contradictions to the bible. The way they flitted back and forth through the NT, selecting single versus out of context to back up the narrative was quite amusing. If I ever have a spare couple of hours I might do the same and see if I can tell the story of “Avatar” through biblical verse.
You could attend one of these meetings and see the sincere happiness and devotion that these people showed and it you may find it difficult to oppose what they believe in. But essentially what they are describing is how I and everyone I ever cared about was destined to burn in eternal damnation. They believe that salvation can only be gotten through strict adherence to their interpretation of the bible, they look at other religions and Christians as false and Satan’s helpers.
The one thing everyone knows about JW's is their rejection of blood transfusions and transplants. I couldn’t help but look at the children in the service and just be horrified at the thought of them being hurt and needing an operation. The parents attending were lovely people and I’m sure their parents were the same, but they’ve left a horrible, painful legacy by not understanding the context of the bible or what medical science would bring us.http://whatstheharm.net/jehovahswitnesses.html
I didn't ask any questions because it was their service and not a secular event. I'm going to try and set up a meeting with them and the humanist group, I hope they’ll show but I doubt they will. When everyone was saying hello at the beginning one mum introduced her three handsome young boys. When I told her that I was a humanist, her face changed and she shooed them away.