Just recently, me and Rotherham (a JW) finished our debate. It was a written debate and took quite some time; specifically, four months. While I won’t rehash the arguments here, I wanted to address a few items. First off, if you haven’t read the debate and have any interest at all in the JW’s, then I would highly encourage you to do so. Of course, many may think that the “new light” on the Watchtower’s “Faithful Slave” doctrine could not possibly be defended. Such thinking is naive, but I do understand why many may think this. In a sense, I do see it as “indefensible,” but I also think that JW’s will defend it. Rotherham is no exception.
I must admit, I had no idea how Rotherham was going to answer many of my arguments. This is rare for me because i’ve often been able to predict how a JW might answer X, Y, or Z. This was not one of those times, and it made the debate all the more interesting.
Let’s get back to why I think you should read this debate: because JW’s have responses to these arguments. And if you’re involved in JW discussions, you will learn how to sharpen your arguments by anticipating their responses. We touched on quite a number of key issues, all of which are effected by this “new light”. So in this sense, I found the debate to be very useful. But in another sense it was far more tedious than what I was hoping.
And this brings me to another point: written debates in general. If I had the time, I would have written debates like these often. While they aren’t my method of choice, I think they are helpful and people read them (thus far, our debate has had thousands of views). Unfortunately, my life is far too busy to engage in such a debate in the near future as I know Rotherham wanted to do. I have several ministries going on right now in addition to my full time job that give me barely enough time to maintain a regular pattern of personal study, which comes before all online blogging, interaction, etc. (and let’s not forget i’m a newlywed!) Therefore, if I were to engage in such a written exchange, something would have to give. Otherwise, it could take 6 months or longer to complete.
What I would prefer to do is an audio debate, which Rotherham and most JW’s would avoid. I know why they avoid it (here’s a clue: why are JW’s almost always anonymous online, but many of us aren’t?), but I find audio/video debates to be extremely helpful for the following reasons:
- They are done in under 2 hours
- They are more personal
- It’s more difficult to back out of once the debate begins (one JW did this very thing in a debate with me)
- You are forced to answer direct questions in a cross examination (even written Q&A’s can fail in this regard)
- People who can’t read an endless forum debate may give 2 hours of audio a chance
I could go on, but audio debates are all i’m going to have time to do for the near future. But even then, these take preparation. Therefore, I’m posting a few debate topics that i’m willing to engage within maybe a months worth of preparation. However, i’m not expecting that any JW’s will agree to such an exchange, for I will require that they reveal their identity and not hide behind a nickname and avatar.