Saturday, October 2nd, 2010
"[Jesus] went around throughout the whole of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom" (Matthew 4:23)
Love for God motivated Jesus to preach and to teach. But Jesus also loved the truths he taught. To him, those truths were priceless treasures, and he was eager to share them with others. We as teachers, or 'public instructors,' feel the same way. Just think of some of the precious truths we have learned from God's Word! We know of the issue of universal sovereignty and how it will be settled. We well understand what the Scriptures teach about the condition of the dead and the blessings to come in God's new world. Whether we learned such truths in recent times or long ago, they never fade in value. Old or new, such truths are, indeed, priceless treasures. (Matthew 13:52) By preaching with heartfelt enthusiasm, we convey to others our love for what Jehovah has taught us.
(Watchtower issue: 1/15/09, 1:12, 13)
If you were "raised" knowing the truth about the Bible, it can be easy to take that knowledge for granted and forget that there are still so many people "in the dark" spiritually, because they've been misled by religious falsehoods their whole lives.
For some people, the religious falsehoods they've been taught aren't merely an "ideological dilemma" or obstruction to their knowledge about God, but their beliefs actually play a huge role in their society, and can literally encompass every facet of their culture and daily life. For instance, in some places, the people are so afraid of the demons and the spirits of their dead ancestors, that they live in constant dread of being harmed or cursed. So everything they do revolves around appeasing the spirits in order to protect themselves and their family members from harm.
Unscrupulous religious leaders have used this as a way to keep the people in subjection and to prevent them from hearing the truth even when they're finally presented with the opportunity to learn it. In many places the village priests will tell the people that if they speak to Jehovah's Witnesses they will be harassed by the demons or their children will be hurt or killed.
I heard an experience from an overseer who served in Papua New Guinea who said that the missionaries and clergy from other religious groups on the island would not even speak to the JW missionaries when they came into town, and they told everyone in the village not to speak to them either. They warned the people that if they disobeyed and talked to the Witnesses (who they claimed were "false prophets" of the Devil) they would burn in hell, or their firstborn child would be killed by the demons...so naturally, anytime the JW missionaries tried to engage in the ministry and approach a village, everyone would disappear by running away and hiding in their homes, and they wouldn't come out until the Witnesses were gone because they were so scared of the repercussions.
The natives in Papua New Guinea have many strange traditions (based on their fear of the demons) which consumes their way of life. They will place pointed spikes on the rooftops of their homes, because they believe that will prevent the demons from sitting on their roof. And after a mother gives birth, she will give her baby a "secret" name (which she won't even disclose to the baby's father...she will give him a "false" name instead), so that the only 2 people who know the baby's "real" name, are the mother and the child. And as the child grows up he will continue to change his name over and over again, even into adulthood, throughout his lifetime. The reason is because the people are so afraid of the demons, that they believe they can protect themselves and their children from harm by repeatedly changing their name in order to confuse the demons (by concealing their true identity), so that the spirits won't be able to locate them.
They also have a similar tradition of never telling anyone their "real plans" or the "real" time and place they will show up somewhere, because they don't want the demons to know what they're thinking or where they will be at a certain time. For instance, if they say they will be someplace at noon, they will purposely show up at a different time or go to a different location in order to "trick the demons."
So you can see how much spiritism and false religious beliefs (especially regarding demons, immortality of the soul, and hellfire), have kept some people in such deep mental darkness and in so much fear, that it actually controls them, and influences their daily activities and entire way of life.