It is absolutely fascinating to examine the beliefs of certain branches of Christianity in relation to each other, especially when two are so different that you wonder how they were ever related to each other.
The relationship between Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses definitely falls into this category. Although Jehovah’s Witnesses came from Christianity and do have some similar beliefs, the majority of beliefs and practices vary greatly. A closer look at the differences will highlight just how far apart the two beliefs systems are.
The first major difference between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christianity is the belief in God. Although both faiths do believe in God, this is where the similarity ends. To Jehovah’s Witnesses, the only God is Jehovah, the creator of all things and the only entity that they answer to. They do not believe in the Holy Trinity at all, stating that Jesus is the son of God but a much lower entity and that the Holy Spirit is simply God’s force at work. Of course, Christians do believe in God but tend to worship Jesus Christ and fundamentally believe in the Holy Trinity.
The second major difference between the two faiths is the occurrence of and belief in life after death. Christians believe that there is a Heaven and a Hell, with fundamentally good people and believers going to the former and sinners heading to the eternal flames of the latter. In their eyes, Hell is an actual place that delivers eternal torment to those that have provided the same to others in life. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the existence of Hell at all. They believe that after death is nothingness because the soul cannot live after the body has died. The Bible states that humans do not have immortal souls but that those of Jehovah’s Witnesses can live forever in paradise on Earth. At End Times, all wicked souls are destroyed and the Anointed (144,000 Witnesses) will go to Heaven. The rest will remain on Earth.
Already you can see the stark differences between the two faiths in line with just two beliefs. There are many more although the majority of those remaining are smaller differences that impact upon practices rather than their complete way of life. Take the view of holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, for example. Christians celebrate both holidays in Christ’s honour. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate them for two reasons – because Jesus is inferior to God and also because the holidays arise from paganism and not the Bible. Another is the place of worship because Christians worship in a Church whereas the Witnesses go to Kingdom Hall, the home of the community, instead.
There are a few similarities that exist between Christianity and Jehovah’s Witnesses. For example, both agree on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the presence of two sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper). However, the lifestyles that people live as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christians are worlds apart. Their fundamental beliefs are so different that it is easy to see why so many misunderstandings occur and why so many members of both faiths are misunderstood. One thing that both religions have in common though is the desire of the members to do their best whilst living in the hope that they can spread the message of God and make a difference in this world. In truth, both offer elements that the rest of us can learn from.
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