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Education -Why Bother When Armageddon is so Near?

The Watchtower Society doesn’t mix its words when they are discouraging kids away from further education.  Such phrases as “you will never fulfill any career that this system offers” or “Do not let them "brainwash" you with the Devil's propaganda” are clearly suggesting that education is a bad thing.  Instead the Watchtower encourages young people to “get into the full time field service as quickly as possible” or “Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry or the Bethel your goal”.

As the Watchtower believes Armageddon is very near they teach that there is no point to higher education, in fact, it’s worthless. Unfortunately the Watchtower have been saying its the end of the world for the past 100 years, and most of the young Witnesses struggle to find good and fulfilling jobs due to missing out on higher education.  Any one for window cleaner?

Watchtower 1969 March 15 p.171 What Influences Decisions in Your Life?

12 The influence and spirit of this world is to get ahead, to make a name for oneself. Many schools now have student counselors who encourage one to pursue higher education after high school, to pursue a career with a future in this system of things. Do not be influenced by them. Do not let them "brainwash" you with the Devil's propaganda to get ahead, to make something of yourself in this world. This world has very little time left! Any "future" this world offers is no future! Wisely, then, let God's Word influence you in selecting a course that will result in your protection and blessing. Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry, with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service your goal. This is a life that offers an everlasting future!

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower 1st September 1975 p543

No Jehovah's Witness should want to go to college. Rather, work in the Watchtower Organization!

Watchtower 15th March 1969 p171

Do not pursue higher education. There is very little time left! Make pioneer service, the full-time ministry with the possibility of Bethel or missionary service, your goal.

Awake! 22nd May 1969 p15

What about professional careers? The position has not changed. If you are a young person thinking about a career-forget it. The end will be "in a few years". Do you remember expecting the end by the mid-1970's.

Awake! September 1968  p10

Professional people, doctors and lawyers are often "inconsiderate of others" due to their undesirable higher education. 

Watchtower 1st August 1975 p451

 It is foolish to want to be a doctor or a lawyer.

Kingdom Ministry June 2001 for week starting July 2nd 2001

15 min: Youths—Be Wise in Choosing Your Career. This is the first of three Service Meeting parts that will review Scriptural principles relates to supplemental education. Some Christian youths are pursuing secular careers through higher education, which is having a negative impact on their spirituality. This part is a discussion between two parents and their teenage son or daughter. The youth is at a point where a serious decision needs to be made about future goals. Although some may want to pursue financial advantages, prestige, or comforts of life, the family examine the Bible to see what it recommends. (See Young People Ask, pages 174-5; The Watchtower, August 15, 1997, page 21, and September 1, 1999, pages 19-21, paragraphs 1-3 and 5-6.) The youth agrees that it is wise to pursue a course in life that will serve him or her well in achieving theocratic goals to advance Kingdom interests.

[Emphasis Added]

Kingdom Ministry April 1999 p.8

"What Should I Do?"

1 As a youth approaching adulthood, you might ask, 'What should I do with my life?' Christian youths want to expand their service to Jehovah in the ministry. But how can you do this while taking on the responsibilities of adulthood, which include providing for your own material needs? Finding the answer may not be easy.

2 Some youths become anxious when they look at the world's economic situation and the forecasts for the future. They wonder: 'Should I pursue additional secular education? Should I enter the full-time service right away?' In order to make the right decision, a person needs to answer this question honestly, 'What is my foremost interest in life?' He must examine his motives.

3 What have you cultivated as your prime concern during your youth? Are you mainly interested in seeking financial advantage, or do you really want to use your life to advance Kingdom interests? A university degree does not guarantee success in the job market. As an alternative, many have acquired marketable job skills by means of apprenticeship programs, some vocational or technical school education, or short-term college courses that require a minimum of time and involvement.

4 Take Jehovah at His Word: An all-important fact to consider is the assurance from Jehovah God that he will provide for those who put Kingdom interests first in life. (Matt. 6:33) This is not an idle promise. Many brothers attending the Ministerial Training School earned college degrees prior to learning the truth. But what were they doing for secular work? Very few were pursuing the career for which they had been educated. Many were working in service-oriented fields, caring very well for their financial needs while pioneering. By expanding their activity in the ministry, they are receiving blessings far beyond anything monetary.

5 In deciding what you should do after graduation from high school, weigh all the factors and examine your motives carefully. For a balanced view of your choices, consider such information as appeared in Awake! of March 8, 1998, pages 19-21. Speak with your parents, the elders, your circuit overseer, and successful pioneers in your area. That will help you make a wise decision about what you should do with your life.—Eccl. 12:1, 13.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower November 1 1992 pp.17-21 Education With a Purpose

Education With a Purpose

[...]

Adequate Education

8 This seems, therefore, to be an appropriate time to consider the Christian's attitude toward secular education. What Bible principles bear on this subject? First, in most countries proper submission to "Caesar" requires Christian parents to send their children to school. (Mark 12:17; Titus 3:1) As for young Witnesses, in their schoolwork they should remember Colossians 3:23, which states: "Whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men." A second principle involved is that Christians should be able to support themselves, even if they are full-time pioneer ministers. (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12) If married, a man should be able to provide properly for his wife and any children that may be born, with a little extra to give to those in need and to support the local and worldwide preaching work.—Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:8.

9 How much education does a young Christian need in order to respect these Bible principles and meet his Christian obligations? This varies from country to country. By and large, however, it seems that the general trend in many lands is that the level of schooling required to earn decent wages is now higher than it was a few years ago. Reports received from branches of the Watch Tower Society in different parts of the world indicate that in many places it is difficult to find jobs with decent wages after completing simply the minimum schooling required by law or in some countries even after finishing secondary or high school.

10 What is meant by "decent wages"? It does not indicate highly paid jobs. Webster's Dictionary defines "decent" in this context as "adequate, satisfactory." What might be termed "adequate," for instance, for those who wish to be pioneer ministers of the good news? Such ones generally need part-time work to avoid putting "an expensive burden" upon their brothers or their family. (1 Thessalonians 2:9) Their wages might be termed "adequate," or "satisfactory," if what they earn allows them to live decently while leaving them sufficient time and strength to accomplish their Christian ministry.

11 What is often the situation today? It has been reported that in some countries many well-intentioned youngsters have left school after completing the minimum required schooling in order to become pioneers. They had no trade or secular qualifications. If they were not helped by their parents, they had to find part-time work. Some have had to accept jobs that required them to work very long hours to make ends meet. Becoming physically exhausted, they gave up the pioneer ministry. What can such ones do to support themselves and get back into the pioneer service?

A Balanced View of Education

12 A balanced view of education can help. For many young people of the world, education is a status symbol, something to help them climb the social ladder, the key to a prosperous, materialistic life-style. For others, schooling is a chore to be dispensed with as quickly as possible. Neither of these views is appropriate for true Christians. What, then, might be termed "a balanced view"? Christians should regard education as a means to an end. In these last days, their purpose is to serve Jehovah as much and as effectively as possible. If, in the country where they live, minimal or even high school education will only allow them to find jobs providing insufficient income to support themselves as pioneers, then supplementary education or training might be considered. This would be with the specific goal of full-time service.

13 Some have taken training courses that have opened up job opportunities enabling them to engage in or resume full-time service. One sister in the Philippines was the family breadwinner, but she wanted to pioneer. The branch reports: "She has been able to do this because she has received additional education to qualify as a certified public accountant." The same branch report stated: "We have quite a number who are studying and at the same time have been able to arrange their schedules to pioneer. Generally they become better publishers as they are more studious, provided they do not become overly ambitious in worldly pursuits." The last remark should give us reason to reflect. The purpose of the extra schooling, where this seems necessary, must not be lost sight of or change into a materialistic goal.

14 In a few countries, secondary schools provide vocational training that can prepare a young Christian for some trade or occupation by the time of graduation. Even when this is not the case, in some lands enterprising youngsters with only basic schooling do find part-time work that enables them to earn enough to pioneer. So no hard-and-fast rules should be made either for or against extra education.

15 Many who are now serving in responsible positions as traveling overseers, at the Society's headquarters, or in one of the branches had only basic education. They were faithful pioneers, never stopped learning, received training, and have been entrusted with greater responsibilities. They have no regrets. On the other hand, some of their contemporaries chose to get a university education and fell by the wayside, subjugated by the faith-destroying philosophies and "wisdom of this world."—1 Corinthians 1:19-21; 3:19, 20; Colossians 2:8.

Counting the Cost

16 Who decides whether a young Christian should undertake further education or training? The Bible principle of headship comes into play here. (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 6:1) On this basis parents will surely want to guide their children in the choice of a trade or occupation and consequently in the amount of education that will be needed. In many countries educational and occupational choices have to be made early on during secondary education. That is the time when Christian parents and youths need to seek Jehovah's direction in making a wise choice, with Kingdom interests uppermost in mind. Young people have different propensities and aptitudes. Wise parents will take these into account. All honest work is honorable, be it blue-collar or white-collar. While the world may elevate office work and disparage working hard with one's hands, the Bible certainly does not. (Acts 18:3) So when parents and young Christians today, after carefully and prayerfully weighing the pros and cons, decide for or against postsecondary studies, others in the congregation should not criticize them.

17 If Christian parents responsibly decide to provide their children with further education after high school, that is their prerogative. The period of these studies would vary according to the type of trade or occupation selected. For financial reasons and in order to enable their children to get into the full-time service as quickly as possible, many Christian parents have chosen for them short-term study programs in vocational or technical schools. In some cases youths have needed to be apprenticed to some trade but always with a full life of service to Jehovah as the goal.

18 If additional courses are taken, certainly the motive should not be to shine scholastically or to carve out a prestigious worldly career. Courses should be chosen with care. This magazine has placed emphasis on the dangers of higher learning, and justifiably so, for much higher education opposes the "healthful teaching" of the Bible. (Titus 2:1; 1 Timothy 6:20, 21) Further, since the 1960's, many schools of advanced learning have become hotbeds of lawlessness and immorality. "The faithful and discreet slave" has strongly discouraged entering that kind of environment. (Matthew 24:12, 45) It must be admitted, however, that nowadays youngsters meet up with these same dangers in high schools and technical colleges and even in the workplace.—1 John 5:19.

19 Should supplementary education be decided upon, a young Witness would do well, if at all possible, to take this while living at home, thus being able to maintain normal Christian study habits, meeting attendance, and preaching activity. At the outset a proper stand should also be taken on Bible principles. It should be remembered that Daniel and his three Hebrew companions were captives in exile when they were obliged to undertake advanced studies in Babylon, but they consistently kept their integrity. (Daniel, chapter 1) While placing spiritual interests first, young Witnesses in a number of countries have taken courses to equip themselves for part-time work as accountants, tradesmen, teachers, translators, interpreters, or other occupations that supported them adequately in their primary career of pioneering. (Matthew 6:33) A number of these youths have later become traveling overseers or Bethel volunteers.

A United, Educated People

20 Among Jehovah's people, whether a person's occupation is white-collar, blue-collar, farming, or services, all need to be good students of the Bible and able teachers. Skills acquired by all in reading, studying, and teaching tend to dispel the distinction that the world makes between manual and office workers. This makes for the unity and mutual respect that is particularly visible among the volunteer workers in Bethel homes and on Watch Tower Society construction sites, where spiritual qualities are all-important and required of all. Here, experienced office personnel work joyfully with skilled manual workers, all displaying appreciative love for one another.—John 13:34, 35; Philippians 2:1-4.

21 Parents, guide your children toward the goal of becoming useful members of the new world society! Young Christians, use your opportunities for education as a means of equipping you to lay hold more fully on your privileges in serving Jehovah! As taught ones, may all of you prove to be well-equipped members of the theocratic society both now and everlastingly in God's promised "new earth."—2 Peter 3:13; Isaiah 50:4; 54:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! May 8 1989 pp.13-14 What Career Should I Choose?

University Education—Advantageous?

Most pioneer ministers support themselves with part-time work. But what if later on you need to support a family? Surely one would never regret devoting one's youthful years to God's service! Still, some ask, Would it not make sense for a youth first to obtain a university degree and perhaps pursue the ministry later?

The Bible, of course, does not spell out exactly how many years of schooling a Christian youth should obtain. Nor does it condemn education. Jehovah, the "Grand Instructor," encourages his people to read well and to express themselves clearly. (Isaiah 30:20; Psalm 1:2; Hebrews 5:12) Moreover, education can broaden our understanding of people and the world we live in.

Nevertheless, is a university degree always worth the huge commitment of time and money it demands? While statistics indicate that university graduates earn higher salaries and suffer less unemployment than high school graduates, the book Planning Your College Education reminds us that these statistics are mere averages. Only a minority of university graduates actually receive sky-high salaries; the rest are paid wages that are far more down to earth. Besides, the high incomes attributed to university graduates may also result from such factors as "unusual abilities, motivation, area opportunities for employment, . . . special talents"—not simply the amount of their education.

"A [university] degree no longer guarantees success in the job market," says the U.S. Department of Labor. "The proportion [of university graduates] employed in professional, technical, and managerial occupations . . . declined because these occupations did not expand rapidly enough to absorb the growing supply of graduates. As a result, roughly 1 out of 5 [university] graduates who entered the labor market between 1970 and 1984 took a job not usually requiring a degree. This oversupply of graduates is likely to continue through the mid-1990's."

Further Facts to Ponder

A university degree may or may not improve your employment prospects. But one fact is indisputable: "The time left is reduced"! (1 Corinthians 7:29) For all its presumed benefits, would four years or more in a university be the best use of that remaining time?—Ephesians 5:16.

Would a university education steer you toward or away from your spiritual goals? Remember, a high income is not a Christian priority. (1 Timothy 6:7, 8) Yet, a survey of U.S. university administrators described today's students as 'career-oriented, concerned with material success, concerned with self.' One group of students said: "It seems like all we talk about is money." How might being immersed in an atmosphere of intense competition and selfish materialism affect you?

Universities may no longer have the riotous scenes of the 1960's. But a decrease in university bedlam hardly means the campus environment is wholesome. Concluded one study of campus life: "Students still have almost unlimited freedom in personal and social matters." Drugs and alcohol are used freely, and promiscuity is the rule—not the exception. If this is true of universities in your land, might living there thwart your efforts to remain morally clean?—1 Corinthians 6:18.

Another concern is the well-documented association of exposure to higher education with decreased "adherence to core religious tenets." (The Sacred in a Secular Age) The pressure to maintain high grades has caused some Christian youths to neglect spiritual activities and thus become vulnerable to the onslaught of secular thinking promoted by universities. Some have suffered shipwreck concerning their faith.—Colossians 2:8.

Alternatives to University Education

In view of these facts, many Christian youths have decided against a university education. Many have found that the training offered in congregations of Jehovah's Witnesses—the weekly Theocratic Ministry School in particular—has given them a real edge in finding employment. Though not possessing a university degree, such youths learn to be poised, adept at expressing themselves, and quite capable of handling responsibility. Furthermore, while in secondary school, some take courses in typing, computer programming, auto repair, machine-shop work, and so forth. Such skills may lend themselves to part-time employment and are often in high demand. And though many youths disdain 'working with their hands,' the Bible dignifies doing "hard work." (Ephesians 4:28) Why, Jesus Christ himself learned a trade so well that he came to be called "the carpenter"!—Mark 6:3.

True, in some lands university graduates have so flooded the job market that it is hard to obtain even commonplace jobs without additional training. But often there are apprenticeship programs, vocational or technical schools, and short-term university courses that teach marketable skills with a minimum investment of time and money. Also, there is a factor that employment statistics do not take into account: God's promise to provide for those who give priority to spiritual interests.—Matthew 6:33.

Employment prospects and educational systems vary from place to place. Youths have different abilities and inclinations. And while a career in the Christian ministry is recommended as being beneficial, it is still a matter of personal choice. You and your parents must thus carefully weigh all factors involved in deciding how much education is right for you. 'Each one must carry his own load' in making such decisions.—Galatians 6:5.

If, for example, your parents insist that you attend a university, you have no choice but to obey them as long as you are living under their supervision. (Ephesians 6:1-3) Perhaps you can continue living at home and avoid getting caught up in the university scene. Be selective in your choice of courses, for example, focusing on learning job skills rather than worldly philosophies. Guard your associations. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Keep yourself spiritually strong by meeting attendance, field service, and personal study. Some youths who have been obliged to attend university have even managed to pioneer by choosing a schedule of courses that made that possible.

Choose your career carefully and prayerfully, so that it not only will bring personal happiness but will enable you to 'store up treasures in heaven.'—Matthew 6:20.

[Emphasis Added]

Watchtower September 1 1975 p.543 Questions from Readers

Questions from Readers

• How many years of secular education are advisable for children in Christian households?

Today, there are many teenage baptized servants of Jehovah… how far should they go with a secular education? It would hardly be consistent for such a youth, of his own choice, to pursue extensive secular studies beyond what is required by the law and by his parents… additional years of college education may present snares.

[Emphasis Added]

Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15

If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the 'last days' in 1914, Jesus foretold: 'This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.' Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way towards its finish, if not actually gone! This is why parents who base their lives on God's prophetic Word find it much more practical to direct their young ones into trades that do not require such long periods of additional schooling… True, those who do not understand where we are in the stream of time from God's viewpoint will call this impractical. But which is really practical: preparing yourself for a position in this world that soon will pass away? or working toward surviving this system's end and enjoying eternal life in God's righteous new order?

[Emphasis Added]

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