Germany has been rocked by an attack on a synagogue of the Christian minority sect Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg. The central belief of this group is that the end of the world has arrived.
The northern German city of Hamburg became the scene of a horrific crime on Thursday night, when a gunman attacked a religious gathering of a Christian sect called Jehovah’s Witnesses, killing or injuring several people. In this article, DW provides an overview of the history of this Christian minority sect in Germany.
Who are Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Jehovah’s Witnesses see themselves as true Christians and worship the “Almighty and Eternal God,” whom they call Jehovah. They see him as an invisible being, separate and independent from humans but with a personal interest in each individual. Shahadans believe that Jesus was the first and only creature created by God.
For them there is only one truth, which is found in the Bible. In the Witness view, the Bible is the only true Word of God that is inerrant and cannot be contradicted. Witnesses are also convinced that the Bible is consistent with scientific knowledge and contains the best guidance on morality.
The basis of the message of Jehovah’s Witnesses is their belief that the end time has already dawned, in which they stand as a believing minority against an overwhelming majority. This majority will all be under Satan’s rule. According to Shahdan, they will be saved in a new world as a chosen group.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their extensive missionary activities, including offering free Bible courses and distributing their publications, “The Watchtower” and “Awake!” His teachings are also presented on the Internet. The community makes its religious views freely available on its home page in written, image, audio and video formats in more than a thousand languages. Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, do not celebrate birthdays, do not observe any religious holidays except the Lord’s Evening Meal, which is celebrated on the same day as the Jewish Passover.
They consider themselves politically neutral for religious reasons and therefore do not contest elections. Worldwide, Jehovah’s Witnesses have approximately eight million members, with their “world headquarters” located in New York.
Shahdan’s role in Germany?
The Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of Germany’s largest minority Christian communities after the Orthodox Churches, with around two hundred thousand members. They are considered a cult in part because of their strict discipline and their millennial belief in the end of the world.
According to the Protestant Central Office for Worldview Issues, a German church organization that monitors and negotiates with other religions in Germany, membership of Jehovah’s Witnesses is stagnant, although their German branch is the largest in Europe. is one of the communities.
In 2006, the corporate status of Jehovah’s Witnesses was recognized and they were declared a recognized religious community under the Church Law of the German state. This allows the organization to collect taxes from its members and organize its internal church structure according to its legal rules.
What is their history?
The donation-driven group was founded in the late 19th century by businessman Charles Taze Russell (1852 to 1916). Historically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are a belated outgrowth of the so-called Second Great Revival movement in America in the mid-nineteenth century.
During this period, several Protestant religious communities emerged as a counter-Enlightenment movement. Revivalist movements are streams in Christianity that emphasize individual transformation, faith experience, and a strictly Christian and biblical lifestyle.
For decades Jehovah’s Witnesses were one of the fastest growing religious communities in the world, but since the mid-1990s this growth has slowed. According to the religious community’s own figures, in the years prior to 2015, approximately 250,000 to 300,000 Witnesses were baptized annually worldwide. The organization has seen significant growth in Eastern Europe and Latin America.
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