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What Part of "No Part" Do You Not Get?

What Part of "No Part" Do You Not Get?
September 26th, 2017

Witnesses are known for their teaching that Christians are to be no part of the Political elements of the world, and to have no share in false religion. This follows from their understanding of what "the world" - often referred to as 'the system of things' - means and what it means to be "no part of" it. However, the World, in Witness thought consists of three parts, the two mentioned above and one more:
Jesus knew that only God’s Kingdom could change this world’s commercial system. The Bible shows that “the merchants,” or the commercial system, along with the political and religious systems, are part of Satan’s world. (Revelation 18:3) God’s people are able to separate themselves completely from politics and false religion. However, most of God’s people cannot completely separate themselves from the commercial part of Satan’s world. -Watchtower, study edition (July 2017; p. 3)
Perhaps you noticed the problem. One is to be separate from, and uninvolved in the world and yet is permitted to be part of the world when it is convenient. Why? The reasoning they surely have in mind is that it would be too difficult to abstain from working or owning business, buying food housing or entertainment, so one can be permitted some leeway here - just don't become materialistic.

However, this reasoning seems equally applicable to politics. Witnesses in Malawi were killed, beaten and raped for their refusal to buy the State's political party card. Purchase of this card was seen as intolerable surrender to Caesar, even though it wouldn't amount to much, nor would their obtaining that card affect the political course of that nation - at least no more than the Supreme Court cases Witnesses won in our country affected it. 

The dilemma that arises is: either you ought to have no involvement in commerce, or having some involvement is consistent with being 'no part of the world'. If the latter, you've opened the door for some inclement in politics as well. Either way, I think there is an inconsistency here. What do you think?

[10/13/2017: A friend of mine has noted this elsewhere. I'll quote the relevant portion (committing the citations he gives for his quotes), which is a bit more polemical than mine:]
In all fairness, since the Watchtower Society judges the actions of others based upon its biased interpretation of what it means to be “no part of this world,” we have a legitimate right to question whether its members comply with their own rule. Robert Bowman makes the excellent point that, judged by the Society’s own standard, Jehovah’s Witnesses are just as much a part of this world as anyone else. “Satan’s world” (according to the Watchtower Society) is a three-legged stool comprised of false religion, political governments, and “the greedy oppressive commercial system.” For that reason, JWs are forbidden to go to a church, join the military, or be involved in any way with the evil government — except to take any food stamps or welfare for which they may qualify.
But what about the third leg of that wicked stool? The Society says, “Satan’s commercial system, along with false religion and political governments, promotes selfishness, crime, and terrible wars.” To be consistent, then, in order to honestly assert that JWs alone are “no part of this world,” they must avoid Satan’s “greedy, oppressive commercial system” just as scrupulously as they avoid Satan’s false religious system or Satan’s political system. But they do not, and that leaves them open to the Society’s own charge of promoting “selfishness, crime, and terrible wars!” They compromise their stand for the sake of filthy lucre. To say that JWs need to participate in this part of Satan’s world in order to get by is a weak excuse, indeed. 
Even so, the Watchtower Society, while sitting in self-righteous judgment of “Christendom,” lamely instructs its membership to go ahead and take part in Satan’s “greedy, oppressive commercial system,” merely admonishing them to avoid the dishonest practices associated with it. By that same logic, wouldn’t it be okay to be involved in the political process (if you avoided dishonest practices) just as Daniel was in Babylon? The Society’s stand is arbitrary and hypocritical.

This post first appeared on Witness Seeking Orthodoxy, please read the originial post: here

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What Part of "No Part" Do You Not Get?


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