The importance of punctuation


So, here I was at home this morning marking exam papers during the Brisbane public holiday, while listening to Abbey Road (the greatest album of all time), when a couple of people showed up at the door. Turns out they were Jehovas Witnesses.

It was a hot day, I invited them in but they preferred to stand outside so I gave them some water.

One of them was speaking, the other much younger kid was just standing and watching. The kid looked like he was about 14 or 15. They were both very nicely dressed and really polite.

So, he started off with the "There is more suffering in the World" spiel. Easy one to dispell - I started off by comparing deaths in wars (WW1, WW2) with deaths due to war today. No contest. Followed up with death due to disease - again, no comparison. 1918 influenza vs Ebola? Not even close. Measurable numbers - it is difficult to argue against this. He started with the "yes, but what about before 1914...". I was waiting for his arument but he had nothing to follow up with. He obviously was not prepared for someone questioning his very first basic premise before we even started on religion.

He then asked me what my faith is. I answered "Orthodox Christian", but he then called me "Greek Orthodox" over and over after that despite my corrections - I suppose wearing a "I Love Yiros" shirt didn't help.

He became a bit wishy washy after that so I decided to help him along a little. I told him about how I can be saved today and do not need to wait until after I die. I told him about how Christ is Lord and I told him about what the word "heresy" really means in a historical Orthodox Christian context. He was a bit taken aback with me dropping the "H" word, but it really was the correct word to use.

Then he started quoting John and I finished the sentence for him "The Word was God". (Actually, the Greek original is more like "God was the Word", but let's not quibble). At this point I swung back to how it is possible to be saved today, and pre-empting his reply I jumped straight into “I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise". I figured this was going to end quickly, so I may as well get straight to the point.

After a very short reflection on how the position of a comma can completely change hope for humanity, he politely left with his friend.

It has been at least 10 years since the JWs have shown up while I have been home, and it is interesting that their arguments are completely unchanged and are still so flimsy. I was actually genuinely interested in whether I would be able to defend my Faith, but it wasn’t really much of a challenge. As for information flow in the direction of my visitors, it was clear that they were following a very very simple script and much of what I said was just ignored. My only regret is that my Interlinear bible was upstairs, it is now close to the door just in case I need to show someone where a comma really belongs...

© Steven and Andrea Kazoullis 2014