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Featured All Your Contacts in One Single Church?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by thomas t, Jan 17, 2021.

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  1. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    I think it is a great problem when all socail contacts, family and friends, can be found in one and the same church.
    In this video* (German language), a Jehova Witness explains that she is convinced to have been sexually abused by her father.
    Yet she stays in that church (minute 6:50). She says, in case of leaving the church, she would lose everything: family and friends.
    I can understand that.
    However, in my opinion, there is no environment that's more toxic to a victim of sexual abuse... than the place where the perpetrator goes to and receives backing.

    The problem that I see here is isolating oneself to the extent that 100% of your contacts can be found in one single church. This is running the risk of losing everything, if that particular church goes wrong.

    Parents, in general, must ensure that children have contacts into more than one environment, I think. Otherwise it could get dangerous.

    The problem of isolating oneself to one single church is not limited to Jehova Witnesses though, as I see it.

    * I'm posting this German vid to an English site only to provide a checkable source - at least some can check it here if they want.
     
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  2. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    I agree, makes sense to have friendships outside your church for all sorts of reasons.
     
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  3. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    That is right. That can be present in any Christian Church...although some are more open than others. I mean open to the external world.
    I am so sorry for Katharina...I hope she can find support elsewhere.
     
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  4. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    That can indeed be a problem, but I can tell you as a JW that nothing forces us to stick with one group of people and never meet anyone else. I don't know the details of this person's life and why things happened that way, but generally speaking, I'm free to make friends with other people if I want to.
    Of course it is much easier to get along with people of the same background, but if something goes wrong with one or two people in my congregation, first I'll try to solve the problem, but some things are too serious and need other measures. I can either try to get closer to others in the same group if they make me feel welcome, or change congregations. In my areas there are at least 8 or 9. Even if I want to stay within the circle of Jehovah's Witnesses I have that choice.
    I also know people who left the religion all together and they might have had some trouble if all their friends and family were JW, but they moved on to other activities, met new people, and made a new life. People adapt. I moved several times in my life and found myself alone in places where I didn't know anyone. It was hard but I always ended up making 2 or 3 good friends and having activities that contributed to my well being. Being part of a particular religious group doesn't necessarily mean to be condemned to social isolation.
     
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  5. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I see the problem but I also see a contradiction. JW are a closed society on one hand and frequently go out to contact non JW (door to door proselytizing).
     
  6. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    First off, it is not "a great problem" to have all your contacts in 1 church
    That I can even prove very easily. I had only contacts within my spiritual group and had no problems

    Although, it is no problem for me personally, I can see that for some people this might become problematic one day
    And I agree that for people in the OP with incest going on, this is really a "Great Problem" needing to be solved

    IF this really is a problem THEN it might be good to consider leaving such a church

    ETA: "Great Problem" I think the OP means "Big problem", not great as in fantastic or so
     
    #6 stvdv, Jan 17, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  7. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Yes this is fairly obvious. Apart from anything else, it is important for children to be exposed to a wide variety of people and viewpoints, to avoid them growing up narrow-minded and bigoted.

    This is no doubt why Jehovah's Witnesses seem to like children NOT to have this experience and NOT to have much education.;)
     
  8. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    However, cutting 100% of your close personal contacts is virtually impossile.
    I suspect that this wouldn't have worked out even for you.
    So, if you have zero close social contacts outside you can't even consider leaving that church, because in my opinion, most people can't just cut close social contacts by 100%.
    This, in my opinion, is not how human psychology works. Humans have a mental need for close contacts, as I see it.

    @Vee , so lets consider Katharina, the girl of the video, wants to seek friends in the second nearest Jehova Witnesses church.
    In the case of my town (Bamberg) this would be in the city of Forchheim, which is 30 minutes by car. If you don't have a car, you need to take the train. One ride is 4€60.
    Lets consider she made it to find two or three close contacts despite the distance.
    Lets further assume they meet 3 times a week which is 28€. Every week, I wouldn't have this money (I'm a musician).
     
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  9. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    IMO:

    I was speaking about leaving a "sick church" (condoning incest and that kind of stuff); very healthy. Staying in this environment is no good
    And first step might be to ask for help (therapist), so you have immediately 1 person outside the church, even if it is just your therapist
    (Note: in Holland it's easy to ask for help, maybe some countries less easy, but all are humans, so I am sure it will work out)

    I was in a Church who was belittling my feelings. I cut 100%. Not easy, but if you understand that belittling is making sick, its do-able

    Of course you can leave, no need to generalize this issue. For some it won't be easy, maybe for many. Just no need to generalize that's all

    Again, there are exceptions. Of course many have mental need for close contacts. I don't have this need.
     
  10. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    People in a cult never see it as a prob.
     
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  11. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    True. For some people its very difficult to admit that something is wrong in their group, esp. in a cult with a leader teaching he is the leader and you should follow
     
  12. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    I don't speak German so I couldn't watch the video, and even if I did, I don't like getting into conclusions without having all the facts. This is a particular case I know nothing about.
    But, on the subject of distance, I know not everyone lives in a city with easy transportation options. It is harder for those people to change their circumstances without moving and moving might not be possible just like that. My suggestion to someone in that situation would be to talk to others and see if someone can pick them up and give them a ride. I'm familiar with people who've been doing that for some time and it requires involving others and a good degree of organization, but it can be done.
     
  13. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Because it works well for you and some others does not mean it's not a problem for many. @Audie uses a key word "cult"

    One of the definitions of a cult is that you are cut off or urged to be cut off from other people. Classic Simpsons had a great episode about that The Joy of Sect

    And while it's natural to want friends who share your beliefs, when the organization/leader starts encouraging/insisting that you shun outsiders, it's way over the line.

    And while it's natural to hang with people you agree with, the danger is illustrated by the OP situation.
     
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  14. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    Proselytizing is not really "meeting people". It's just door-to-door selling.
     
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  15. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    I feel strongly about that. I'll express just how strongly. This is not only a problem for JW's (whom you mentioned), either. Many individuals and churches isolate ourselves, and that is why we are in my opinion completely wasting our time for much of the time. (sorry to be so blunt). We focus on saving our families, our kids, our people, ourselves. All that bible study and good-will goes in the blue file. I used to have this problem, however I eventually decided I was doing something wrong.

    Suppose that God gives you 200 million people to deal with, but you refuse to deal with anyone that might distract you from God. You might think that means you'll only be dealing with 200 or 2000 people, but what it actually means is you're alone. You might think you are the remnant, but no you are the buried talent. Think of yourself as either the 1, 5 or 10 talents in Jesus parable of the talents. Maybe you are a terrific Christian, but if you won't go out there and connect (I'm not talking about preaching but living) then you will be wasted. What you have (yourself as a Christian) will be given to another. That family you want to keep pure and holy? You'll spoil it like three day old manna. You'll live an empty life, thinking only to protect your own soul from loss, and you'll be lost. Like me. Lost lost lost in pursuit of saving yourself.

    Your great Christianity and spotlessness will be given to someone else that will invest themselves, that will accept being handled and tarnished and possibly stolen. This is how I interpret these two famous quotes: "He who does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. He who has will be given more," and "He who thinks himself wise let him become a fool that he may become wise."
     
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  16. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    But it's also not "living all together on a farm and never leaving the compound" seclusion. You got to have a special mindset to not see the people you visit as neighbours, humans, potential acquaintances or friends.
    For a cult that wants to keep to themselves and avoid outside contact, proselytising is a strange way to do that.
     
  17. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    I was talking about leaving a church AND the family, not sure if I brought this across clearly?
    of course you can generalize here.
    All humans need social contact says Bible: Genesis 2:18.
    For Bible believers, the mere fact that God recognises the need for close social contacts this early in the Bible... is telling, I think.
    But it's not only the Bible pointing to this fact, in my opinion.
    Science also agrees (cited by the following articles):
    Social Interaction Is Critical for Mental and Physical Health (Published 2017)
    Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

    So, Katharina might have survived jumping into a total void of relationships, however she might get into serious psychological trouble then. The mere fear of it causes her to keep the most toxic relationships she can have at this point of her life.
    This is at least how I see the situation.
     
  18. thomas t

    thomas t non-denominational Christian

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    ok. Then the three potential close contacts decide to spontaniously meet this evening.
    The people who could give you a ride to that place only go to Forchheim at 7 in the morning and they will return at 5:30 pm after work.
    I mean, in practice it might not work out like this.

    And Katharina might see it this way: either I risk having 0 close social contacts in Forchheim bacause the people that could give me a hitch do at th ewrong time... or I stay with the JWs in Bamberg, as horrible as it might seem.
    Does going to Forchheim to a new church having to wait like half a year to meet people she can't really interact with for reasons of not having much money... does this seem to be convincing option for Katharina, yes or no.
     
    #18 thomas t, Jan 17, 2021
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2021
  19. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    You would have to ask her that. At the moment all JWs meetings are help on zoom so she can attend any meeting she wants as long as she has an internet connection. Once the pandemic is over, she'll have to reevaluate her options and chose whatever works better for her. The way I see it, at the moment the only problem that doesn't have a solution is death. For everything else we can always figure things out. In an ideal way? Probably not, but when we look for solutions and ask for help, things start moving forward.
     
  20. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    That is exactly what I said in the lines below the ones you quoted;)

    I only pointed out that it was NOT correct to make an absolute general (for all humans) claim
     
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