Saturday, September 6, 2014

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It's been four months since my last NES review, and some astute readers may be wondering what happened. No, I didn't die, and no, I didn't give up the reviews. I just went through the most monumental change I've ever had in my life, and I thought I'd share, briefly, what's happened.

I was born and raised as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. For 30 years, I've lived and breathed their teachings. For those unfamiliar, Jehovah's Witnesses are a very eschatological religion, which means that their teachings constantly revolve around the end of the world. They believe that the end is coming RIGHT NOW, so nothing else matters. They also believe that their teachings are 100% correct and there is no other truth aside from what they teach.

In the past few years, I began to have some doubts on both of these fronts. For example, one of their teachings is that things are worse than ever before, but on a statistical level, life is better than ever. People are living longer, diseases are being cured, and violent crime is down worldwide. Another teaching is that while the Earth is old, man is only 6,000 years old. Of course, there are piles of evidence proving the contrary.

Once you start questioning one or two of their beliefs, the whole thing falls over. The contradictions and double-think piled up until I couldn't ignore them anymore. Realizing these things was huge, and completely shook me to my core.

Here's an analogy for non-JWs so that you can understand what happened to me: Imagine that after 30 years you find out that the people you've thought were your parents were really your adopted parents. What's more, everyone else knows this, but they've been actively stopping you from finding out that you've been adopted. How would you feel?

That's kind of what I've been going through: A sudden realization that what I thought was my world is completely wrong.

Here's the other wrinkle, though: Witnesses are instructed not to have friends outside their faith. Admitting that you were wrong about the teachings of the Witnesses means that you will be ostracized from their community. Still-in Witnesses are instructed not to even look at you or speak to you.

So there I sat. I learned that my worldview was completely, hopelessly wrong. Yet, admitting it meant that I was going to lose all my friends. This is what I've been going through all summer.

I'm pretty much over it, though. Even by writing this article, this brands me as what the Witnesses would call an "apostate," which is just a pejorative term for someone who once agreed with them that now disagrees.

So, who gives a flying fuck? Let's get back to the important work: Writing about NES games and living life the way it's supposed to be lived, not dwelling on the past or freaking out about some imaginary future that won't happen.

We'll be coming back with the NES articles shortly, and I'll be coming in a little more frequently to hopefully make up for lost time. If you've gotten to this point in the article, thanks for reading! If you have any questions about Jehovah's Witnesses, I strongly recommend reading, and if you're still in but want out, there are great support groups all over. You're not alone, and you'll be fine.

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