The shooting at a Jehovah’s Witnesses event in Hamburg has shocked Germany. What does this religious group represent in this country?
the church of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Hamburg, Germany turned into a terrifying crime scene thursday night, When a gunman kills and injures several people during a community event.
With approximately 170,000 members, Jehovah’s Witnesses are one of the largest minority Christian communities in Germany, after the Orthodox Church.
They are considered a sect because of their strict discipline and millennia-old belief that the end of the world is imminent.
Jehovah’s Witnesses consider themselves true Christians and pray to “Almighty and Eternal God,” whom they call Jehovah.
Although he is seen as an invisible entity that exists independently of humanity, he has vested interests in each individual.
Eyewitnesses believe that Jesus Christ was the first and only creature created by God alone.
For them, there is only one truth in the Bible. From an eyewitness’s point of view, it contains the only true and infallible word of God, and there are no contradictions.
Witnesses also believe that the Bible is the best guide to ethics and morality.
At the heart of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ message is their belief that the end times have already dawned.
There, as a believing minority, they face an overwhelming majority wholly under Satan’s control.
And they will be the chosen congregation to be saved in the new world.
Role of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany
According to the Evangelical Central Office (EZW), the membership of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany is stagnating.
THE EZE is a German church organization that observes other German religions and holds theological debates with them.
According to her, the German chapter of Jehovah’s Witnesses is one of the largest communities of its kind in Europe, despite stagnating numbers.
In 2006, it was granted status as an association of Jehovah’s Witnesses, making it a recognized religious organization under the Church of Germany Act.
This allows the organization to collect taxes from its members and organize its internal church structure according to its own legal standards.
Status as a corporation was also seen as a belated recognition of the suffering the community experienced during the Nazi era, when members were persecuted for refusing to pledge allegiance to Adolf Hitler.
Hundreds of Jehovah’s Witnesses subsequently died in Third Reich concentration camps.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are best known for their extensive missionary work, including providing free Bible courses and distributing publications.
His teachings are also introduced on the Internet.
The community makes its text freely available on its website in over 1,000 languages in text, image, audio, and video formats.
Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions, do not celebrate birthdays, and do not observe any religious holidays other than the Lord’s Supper, which falls on the same day as the Jewish Passover.
They do not participate in elections because they say they are politically neutral for religious reasons.
There are approximately 8 million members of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide, and their “World Headquarters” is in New York.
Eight people, including the perpetrator, were killed in a shooting at a Jehovah’s Witnesses’ hall in Hamburg, Germany. But questions remain about the shooter and his possible motives. pic.twitter.com/eIxYBhH2Et
—DW News (@dwnews) March 10, 2023
The community is funded by donations and was founded in the late 19th century by businessman Charles Taze Russell (1852-1916).
Historically, Jehovah’s Witnesses are the late result of the so-called Second Great Awakening or Second Great Awakening in the United States in the mid-19th century.
During this period, many Protestant religious groups moved against the Enlightenment.
The revival movement is a Christian current that emphasizes personal conversion, faith experiences, and a strictly Christian, Bible-oriented way of life.
For decades, Jehovah’s Witnesses were one of the fastest growing religious groups in the world, but their growth has slowed since the mid-1990s.
Prior to 2015, between 250,000 and 300,000 believers were baptized annually worldwide, according to figures from the religious groups themselves.
According to German EZW, the organization has seen impressive growth in Eastern Europe and Latin America.