|Type of paper:||Research paper|
A Kingdom Hall is a place solely meant for Worship by the believers of the Jehovah's Witness. The term Kingdom Hall originated from Joseph Franklin Rutherford who founded the Watch Tower Society as a building in Hawaii in late 1935 (Persian and Jayne 1). Kingdom Hall is used as a place of worship and sharing of the Bible instructions. With time and over the ages, the believers of Jehovah Witness have remained politically neutral and do not engage in any activities around politics. According to the believers and the doctrines of the Kingdom Hall, the Bible teaches them not to lobby, engage in the democratic political voting processes, run for political positions or participate in any action that related to politics or change in the governance of a country. They are strict followers of the Religion and any aspect of diversion to the teachings of the Bible and the guidelines of the Kingdom hall are not allowed. According to them, they are staunch followers of the religion that anything that does not relate to the writings in the Bible and in their doctrines is not followed (Liedgren and Penilla 40)
Following the Examples of Jesus who denied a political office (John 6:15) and taught the disciples that they should not take part in the world. In addition, the disciples should not take any sides in the political arena and the issues around politics. Furthermore, the Bible which is a reference book for most of the religions clearly states that the religion should be preached to all the nations on the earth. It commissions its believers to proclaim the second coming of Jesus by remaining neutral and passive in political matters of all the countries (2 Corinthians 5:20)
The Primary research Question in this research proposal is:
What makes Jehovah witness believers neutral as far as politics is concerned?
The Secondary research questions are:
What makes the Kingdom Hall believers not vote during a general election of a country?
What hinders Kingdom Hall believers from running for political positions during an election?
What makes Kingdom Hall believers not participate in advocacy issues of a country?
Background of the Study
In reference to the words of Serena Williams, a die-hard celebrated tennis champion in the world, during the United States of America preparation for a general election in 2008, she spoke how she was convinced and lured by the former United States President Barack Obama manifesto. Despite having been impressed she could not vote for President Barack Obama due to the Jehovah Witness doctrines that do not allow their believers to be part of a political scene and voting is one of them. Biblically, in reference to (John 17:14), where Jesus was teaching His followers that they not of this world, just as He is not. Based on the statement the believers have remained neutral in all the political matters. Additionally, they also view themselves as the representatives of God's Kingdom, therefore they are supposed to live in strict compliance with all the Biblical scriptures without compromising on any of the scriptures. Staying out of the political matters is one way of being the ambassadors of the word and living as the true representatives of the heavenly kingdom. Additionally, the followers of the Jehovah witnesses are obliged to refrain from running for any political position or serving in the military.
Essentially, Jehovah Witness followers believe that the planet, earth, that we live in will be overtaken by the kingdom, therefore there is no point of being involved with the politics that have changed the way the world needs to be led. Moreover, the pleasures of this world have destroyed everything, therefore politics is one of them. Getting involved in the political space will taint your image as a follower of God. Besides that, they also believe that there are no human solutions to the problems of this world, all the solutions for this world come from above. This idea evolves from their whole time book of the Watch Tower that confines their thinking within the book and their own customized version of the Bible. This makes them view the believers of other religions such as Christianity and Roman Catholics as misguided and they are the true religion that was sent from above.
Despite that, the believers of the Kingdom Hall have an assertion that they should just wait for God from above to bring the rich heavenly Kingdom to the earth for them to inherit. Therefore, in the meantime, as they wait for the second coming of Christ, they should devote themselves to spiritual activities such as praying, singing and winning more souls to God. This makes them have more time for this activities and disregard politics. Additionally, they are staunch believers that upon the second coming of God, the people who have refused to abide or be part of their Watchtower version of Christianity they will vanish from the face of this earth. Therefore, they must remain within the doctrines of the Kingdom Hall so as their faith and character are strengthened and they inherit the kingdom of God.
In 1999 in Malawi, Jehovah witness believers were imprisoned while others were killed due to their political neutrality. They boycotted an election exercise which was their civic right and responsibility as citizens of the country. Although, with time the people in the government who were architects of their murder and imprisonments stood their ground and apologized to the public for those devilish acts (Chetana et al. 154)
Additionally, according to Penton and James, the Jehovah Witness Community in most instances strives to be different from other communities of churches due to their self-made assertions that they are the superior community of believers. Therefore, they must remain separate and conduct their activities totally different from the ways other communities of believers conduct theirs (170). Besides that, in order to strengthen their relationship with God, and the levels of their strength and faith they must desalinate themselves from the other 'worldly and sinful population' which will compromise their relationship with God (Lawrence et al. 56)
Literally, this sense of belonging to a different category of people who are the complete opposite of others makes them not easily embrace and participate in activities which other religions participate in. Also, based on their interpretation on the Biblical point of understanding, where it states that the highest allegiance of those who are faithful to God. According to the believers, the verse is meant to caution them against anything that does satisfy the will of God. Therefore, they do not pay allegiance to people, authorities or any higher being apart from God Himself who they pay their allegiance to. (Penton and James 102). Moreover, for this reason, they do not participate in any earthly activity since it is also not written in the scriptures. For examples, they do not indulge in political processes whatsoever, they do not celebrate public holidays, they do not engage in the wars and they also don't observe any of Religious holidays like Easter holiday, Good Friday, Christmas or the end year celebrations. This is because those events and holidays are not written in the Bible and Jesus and His followers did not observe it. Therefore, for them anything done outside what Jesus or the Bible says is considered "Worldly" and a no-go zone for them (Sepehr et al. 734)
According to Chaney and Cassandra, Jehovah Witness have a governing body that remotely controls and regulates all their activities to the influencing on their personal decisions. In relation to voting exercise, if the governing body gives them the go-ahead to be involved in the exercise they can be involved. This Governing body is second to them after Supreme power God (430). They believe that the Governing body is Instituted by a supreme power and perform their functions with a strict following of the scriptures in shaping the political process of his of her country (Persian and Jayne 2)
I believe that it is a primary responsibility of everyone to take part in the political processes of his or her country regardless of the religious affiliation. This is because no matter the consequences or the outcomes of a political process it will always affect everyone regardless of the religion. For example, incases where a political coup occurs in a country as a result of the electoral injustice, all the residents of that particular country will be affected. This calls for the equal involvement of all the parties in shaping up the political processes. Therefore, the purpose of this research is to find out the driving force and motivation that makes the Jehovah Witness followers neutral and passive to involvement in the political activities. In addition, to deeply find out the reasons why the believers do not exercise their civil rights and why they are not motivated to take up political positions. I tend to discover the reasons that make them not involved in the political processes (Tachascima et al. 640)
The research method that will be used for collecting data will be qualitative. The Qualitative data collection will apply both the interviewing processes, the market surveys, the Key Informants Interviews (KIIs) and the Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). The questionnaire will be structured to suit the category of the respondents and the random sampling method will be employed in collecting the data. The Research data collection will be structured according to the age groups. The views and opinions collated will come from the young people (18-25 years old), (19-35 years old) and the adults (36-50 years old), (5- - 65 years old).The data will be collected only from the Kingdom Hall believers. This method is suitable because, it collates diversity of opinions from different sub-set of a population both individually, as a group or expertly opinion from the Key Informants.
In conclusion, Political processes in any country shape the economic situation of that particular country and the living standards of the people. Therefore, uninvolvement in the political process as a result of religious restrictions doesn't hold water, is tantamount to an indirect attack to oneself since in any political outcome whether good or bad it has a direct influence to the standard of living of everyone. As much as we also respect the religious beliefs, it is imperative to sieve through the restrictions that impede on our involvement in matters that affect our lives.
Lim, Chetana, et al. "Safety and feasibility of elective liver resection in adult Jehovah's Witnesses: the Henri Mondor Hospital experience." HPB (2018).
Penton, M. James. Apocalypse delayed: the story of Jehovah's Witnesses. University of Toronto Press, 2015.
Takaschima, Augusto Key Karazawa, et al. "Ethical and legal duty of anesthesiologists regarding Jehovah's Witness patient: care protocol." Revista brasileira de anestesiologia 66.6 (2016): 637-641.
Shahshahani, Sepehr, and Lawrence J. Liu. "Religion and Judging on the Federal Courts of Appeals." Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 14.4 (2017): 716-744.
Chaney, Cassandra. "Prince Rogers Nelson: from "Dirty Mind" to Devout Jehovah's Witness." Journal of African American Studies 21.3 (2017): 425-442.
Liedgren, Pernilla. "Minorities with different values at school-the case of Jehovah's Witnesses." British Journal of Religious Education 40.1 (2018): 31-43.
Persian, Jayne. "Jehovah's Witness hierarchy means child sex abuse goes unreported." The Conversation 5 (2015): 1-3.
What is your Religion?
When do you go for your fellowship?
Personally, have you ever participated in a general election?
If No, what makes you not participate in an election process?
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