@Faith: I am not sure how to respond using your …

Comment on Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull by Ron.

I am not sure how to respond using your analogy. I just wish it were that easy. The problem is the confusion. Maybe it is like you finding your purse and someone else claiming it was theirs. It would take some investigation to prove your point.

A wise man once told me if you are confused, it is most likely that someone is lying.

So maybe you are satisfied with the simple Bible description of creation, and that is OK. Nobody wants to unsettle your faith. In that case the evolution discussion isn’t addressing your needs.

But there are others, particularly those who examine nature closely, who have questions. They are confused, and it takes some investigation to figure out who is lying.

I wish it were as simple as saying, just take the Bible at it’s word. It obviously means ____________. But the problem with that is that the Bible is often, and easily misunderstood. The very existence of the Seventh-day Adventist church is predicated on the idea that we have a new understanding of Bible truth that either hadn’t been discovered before, or had been previously misunderstood.

You can’t go around preaching that people have misunderstood the Bible for hundreds of years, and then all of a sudden say, just believe the Bible the way it reads. The very fact that you claim many people have misunderstood the Bible in other areas, raises suspicion that we might not understand the Bible in this area also.

So it takes investigation to figure it out. Do we really understand the Bible properly?
Do we really understand Science properly?
Is there some third way to harmonize what appears to be discrepancies that we have just not discovered yet?

In order to have that discussion, we need people to take various positions and argue them out so that everyone can eventually be convinced. It is a necessity that a believer will argue an opposing side, just to clarify their reasoning and strengthen the argument for Truth. But if you sanction anyone who tries to do that, then it is impossible to have the discussion and confusion and doubt remain.

You may say, “Well, the church already had these Creation Conferences, and we already have a consensus, so now it is OK to enforce our beliefs.” But this actually reinforces the points I am making.

There is a widely held opinion among the participants and observers of the Creation Conferences that it was not a free and open discussion, but that the outcome was pre-determined and enforced by the church clergy. The result is that people remain unconvinced.

This is a problem as I see it. To the extent that the discussion is contaminated by prejudice, fear, and coercion, or lacks transparency, the outcome is suspect and unconvincing. The outcome could be absolutely true, and it could be exactly the same as what would result from a free and transparent process, but the fact that the process is contaminated, makes it impossible to have faith in the outcome.
You will never achieve the desired result of having a group of people who are truly convinced and convincing.

That is why we are losing the battle over evolution in the minds of our young people. It isn’t because teachers teach evolution, it is because they see that the church is afraid to allow the discussion. The natural conclusion is that if the church is afraid to allow the discussion, the church’s arguments must be weak. Because a strong argument, doesn’t need outside coercion. It can stand on it’s own. Truth always outs in the end.

So, again, going back to the idea that if you are confused, someone must be lying, one of the ways you detect lying, is by an effort to hide. To restrict discussion. To enforce belief through threat or coercion. So when the students see that the church is afraid to engage in discussion and is using force or intimidation to enforce belief, then the natural conclusion is that the church must be lying.

Ron Also Commented

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Sean Pitman:
I think what you say could only be true if God were not a loving God.

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Sean Pitman:
Can you think of any metafore for God in the Bible where God would not in some way be responsible for our actions? The ones that come to mind for me are: sovereign, Lord, father, shepherd, a male lover. In all of these metafores God is responsible for either instigating the relationship as in the Song of Songs, or being an advocate, protector, or supervisor. I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible where God denies responsibility. I can think of lots of places where he claims responsibility and oundard explanation is, “Oh, he didn’t really mean that, He really just allowed some one else to do it,” Satan, Pharaoh, evil king etc.

Revisiting God, Sky & Land by Fritz Guy and Brian Bull
@Sean Pitman:

“I’m not sure how many more times I have to explain this concept to you? Natural laws, created by God, work independent of God’s need for direct deliberate action.”

Sean, where do you get this idea that there is a natural law apart from God’s action? I don’t see that being taught in the Bible anywhere.

Recent Comments by Ron

La Sierra University Looking for New Biology Professor
Wesley, Please forgive me if I don’t follow what seems to me to be very tortured logic.

Truth is truth regardless of whether you believe it or not. In fact I once heard someone define reality as that which remains after you no longer believe in it.

I think you go astray in your logic when you assert that coercing belief in truth makes it no longer true. Coercion does not alter what is true, it just makes it impossible to independently verify truth. That in turn leaves us very vulnerable to the risk of deception.

For me, I would much rather take the risk of questioning and doubting truth, than the risk of believing in presumably true dogma because I believe truth will stand the test, whereas if I fail to question the truth because it has become dogma, I run the risk of unwittingly believing in the error of a well meaning clergy with no mechanism to identify the error. It is the intellectual equivalent of committing the unpardonable sin because there is no remedy.

Questioning truth has a remedy. Believing in a false dogma doesn’t. Turning truth into a true dogma doesn’t accomplish anything other than to increase the risk.

To quote Christ, “You study the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life”. It is possible that the Bible isn’t saying exactly what you think it is. The only way to know the truth of it is through questioning. Coercion prevents the questioning.

Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation
@Bill Sorensen:
Bill, Science is only a formalized extension of your own logic and senses. If your own senses and logic are not at least equal to the Bible, then ultimately you have no way of knowing what is truth. See my comment to Kent below.

“they will see that their scientific reasoning can never bring them to a correct understanding of origins.” — This seems to me to be an unfounded assertion. Why do you believe such a thing? If this were true, your proverbial rocket would never be able to find it’s way back to earth.

Supreme Court Decision on Church Employment Case

Bill&#032Sorensen: Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan

Bill, It is Satan who is the “accuser of the brethren”. You might want to re-read your post with that in mind.

Bill&#032Sorensen: And so they point out how “loving and tolerant” Jesus was, and refuse to acknowledge His direct challenge to the false doctrine and theology the religious leaders taught in His day.

Hmm . . . The only time I recall Jesus challenging doctrine, is when he explicitly contradicted the clear teaching of the Bible on how to observe the Sabbath. (Something to think about.)

The only time he really got angry was when the people were being robbed in the temple, when they were plotting his murder, and when they were condemning sinners.

I see the spirit of Jesus as being in direct opposition to the spirit of conservativism.

An apology to PUC
“If the goal of the course is “to prepare future pastors for dilemmas they may face in ministry while strengthening the students’ faith in the Adventist Church and its core beliefs,” we would think that there would be evidence within the lecture to demonstrate this was actually happening.”

The course did exactly what it was advertised to do. The fact is that the pastors are going to have to meet the scientific evidence as it stands. Dr. Ness nor any other biology professor can give evidence for our belief in a short creation and a world wide flood because there is no evidence.

If there is evidence we could stop with the polemics and discuss the evidence.

Creeds and Fundamental Beliefs

BobRyan: Is it your claim that if we reject atheism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism, etc and insist that our own voted body of doctrines be promoted “instead” that we have a “creed”?

Bob, The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that we should not reject Catholicism, Hinduism, Mormonism or any other “ism” out right. Certainly not on the basis of an extra-Biblical creed, but we should always listen to everyone with courtesy and respect remembering that Jesus was the light that lights “every man” who comes into the world, and Jesus has sheep who are “not of this fold”. So we should approach every “ism” with an open mind to find the truth that Jesus has especially revealed to the that community. We don’t have to accept everything they say, and we certainly don’t have to give up what we believe without reason, but we need to be open to what God might be trying to teach us through his other children. Light shines in both directions.