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What are the main differences between Jehovah's Witnesses and Catholics?


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July 15, 2015 9:13PM

For a complete discussion of the differences between Jehovah Witnesses and Catholics see History of the Jehovah's Witnesses.

Basically they are not Christians in the sense that orthodox Christianity understands itself.: The sect now known as the Jehovah’s Witnesses was started by Charles Taze Russell, who was born in 1852 and worked in Pittsburgh as a haberdasher. He was raised a Congregationalist, but at the age of seventeen he tried to convert an atheist to Christianity and ended up being converted instead—not to outright atheism, but to agnosticism. Some years later he went to an Adventist meeting, was told that Jesus would be back at any time, and got interested in the Bible.

Mr. Russell took a few verses from the Bible and built a religion out of it, claiming that the world would end in 1843. When it didn't he "discovered" an error in his calculations and said it would end in 1844.

The reason they are not Christians is they believe that only Jehovah is God, the Son is a manifestation of the Archangel Michael and that the end of the world will be soon. But they interpret the verse where only 144,000 are saved as literally instead of figurative.

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August 12, 2014 9:44PM

Catholics believe in the Trinity, that The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all God. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus is God's son.

Catholics believe that "good" people die and go to heaven. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that only a few (144,000) will go to heaven to rule over the earth (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:4) but that the majority will inherit the earth, or be resurrected from the dead to a restored paradise on Earth. (Psalm 37:11, 29; Proverbs 2:21, 22)

Catholic creed calls for allowing the Pope to supersede scripture if it is in harmony with the "Tradition of the Church". Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Bible is the final authority in all matters and cannot be over-ruled by any man.

Catholics teach that one should pray to saints & idols (images) who will intercede for Christ. Jehovah's Witnesses do not use any idols in their worship, only pray to Jehovah God through the name of Jesus Christ, the only approved mediator.

Catholics believe in the immortality of the soul. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that a person does not have a soul but IS a soul (Genesis 2:7) and that the soul dies at death. (Ezekiel 18:4, 20)

Catholics believe that bad people will be punished in a burning hellfire after death. Jehovah's Witnesses believe that God is loving & merciful and would never do such a cruel thing to his creation. (1 John 4:8, 18; Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 32:35) However, if a person persists in doing wrong, although knowing what right, and does not change, then they will simply be destroyed, but not tortured as many churches believe. (Hebrews 10:26)

Catholics believe in infant baptism. Jehovah's Witnesses do not baptize infants or anyone who is too young to understand and believe what the Bible teaches. They understand that baptism is a personal decision and an act which signifies a giving of oneself to do God's will forever.

ANSWER N.B. - there is no Catholic creed that says that the pope supercedes scripture, he is merely its interpreter and he cannot interpret it outside of the Tradition of the Church, which means he practically acts only as its guardian. No policy can be made contrary to the Bible. As well, Catholics do not use idols, merely symbols and art that all lead back to God. The main difference between Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses is the matter of authority. For the Catholic Church the Pope is the authority and the Church is responsible for interpreting Biblical questions. This is how the Nicean creed came about in the Fourth Century defining the Trinity when the Arians (who like Jehovah's Witnesses) did not believe in the Trinity. The Arans used the Bible and made some logical points to support their argument.Some Christians were confused, so the Pope convened the Council of Nicea to clarify what the Church actually believed. (By the way, most Protestant Churches accept the NiceanCreed since they began to emerge around the 15th Century as offshoots of the Catholic Church.) Catholics trace the authority of the Pope directly to Peter in the First Century Christian congregation. For Jehovah's Witnessses their final authority is the Watchtower organization. They believe it is made up of anointed men at the helm who interpret the Bible. They argue, like the Arians, that Jesus is not God--not part of the Trinity and that the Holy Spirit is not a person of the Trinity but God's active force. There are other doctrines unique to Jehovah's Witnesses as well, butmain difference is authority. Jehovah's Witnesses trace their authority back to the First Century congregation as well by arguing that soon as the apostles died the orignial Chriustian Church went into apostasy (something many Protestants also believe) and God raised up anointed men who perserved "true" Christianity in a more organized and unorthodox fashion until the "time of the end" (the end of the 19th Century to now) when he restored his "church"--the Watchtower Bible & Tract organization.