Educate Truth’s purpose and goals

By Shane Hilde

Despite the vast majority of Seventh-day Adventists who agree with our position on origins, there is a vocal, yet influential, minority of members in our church who disagree with what they think we’re doing, and have drawn some of their own conclusions based on the gamut of comments that appear on Educate Truth. Some of our most vocal opponents have taken extreme comments from our website and portrayed them as representative of Educate Truth. So we want to make it clear where we stand in regard to the relevant issues in the LSU conflict.

Educate Truth’s purpose

Educate Truth was created for a number of reasons. We wanted to 1) keep the issue public so that it wouldn’t “blow over,” so 2) potential students and their parents could make informed decisions. We also wanted to 3) create awareness in our church in hopes our leadership would look into this problem and begin a process that would address the concerns of LSU students and church members.

A significant catalyst in my motivation for becoming involved in this issue was my own experience in the biology department during the ’04-’05 school year. My biology professor made it clear to our class that life on earth was millions of years old and had descended from a common ancestor. I can sympathize with the students at LSU who believe in the biblical creation who attend these biology courses. I was one of them. There were a few conversations about the teacher’s beliefs amongst the students, but I personally took no action at the time. I remember telling my dad on the phone my biology professor believed in the theory of evolution. “I can’t believe the school is letting him do that,” I told him.

When I read David Asscherick’s letter over a year ago, I was thrilled that finally someone had spoken up. It was around that time I discovered a website called LaSierraUniversity.net. The website ran along the same lines as Educate Truth, and I became an avid commenter. About a month after the website had been up, it was shut down by GoDaddy.com because the owner could not be contacted in regard to an article that had been republished without permission from Adventist Review. The webmaster contacted me and asked if I wanted to continue the website. At first I said no and deferred him to Sean Pitman. Sean and I were thinking we weren’t very web savvy, but in the end I decided I would continue the website but with a different name.

Many have made fun of the “Truth” in the website’s name, but I thought it was quite fitting. I picked the name because it represented what the website would be advocating–the truth, as believed by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Educate Truth’s goal

So what’s the end game? What do we want to happen? Many assumptions have been made on behalf of the website, and few have taken the time to actually make any contact to understand more fully why the website exists. Charles Scriven contacted me in August 2009, wanting to know who I was and more about my beliefs in regard to the conflict. There are many things about Scriven’s theology that I disagree with, but I really did appreciate the effort he made. This is more then I can say for the other niche blogs that did not contact me, but had plenty to say about the intentions of the website. Here is what I believe myself and others who support our efforts would like to see happen:

1. Transparency. Currently there is an inconsistency between the biology department and the university administration in regard to how evolution is taught. The administration says evolution isn’t promoted, yet the evidence from the biology department strongly suggests otherwise. In other words, the professors have been open about what they believe and teach, but the administration denies what they’re doing.

2. Right now LSU is employing professors who are not representing the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in their classes. When applicable, we would like to see evidence for the biblical creation presented and promoted in the relevant science classes.

3. We would like to see a fair, supportive, and encouraging environment for students who believe in the church’s position on creation. It doesn’t appear there are many, if any, resources for these students, and for the moment they are resorting to outside speakers.

4. More important than all of these is that the Bible find its place as the ultimate authority on all it touches upon within the classroom. For me, this is the bottom line of the controversy. What is informing our science?*

We often get accused or asked if we’re trying to get people fired. The answer is no. If the professors are unwilling to represent the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s beliefs without pushing their own contrary beliefs, then I don’t see any other alternative but to ask them to resign. It is not my responsibility how the problem is dealt with. I have no desire to lead a campaign to take away someone’s job. It may be the fruit of this controversy, but it is not our goal.

Creation vs. evolution controversy not primary

While the issues surrounding creation and evolution are very important, the primary purpose of Educate Truth is not to debate the evidence. We have repeated numerous times that our core contention with La Sierra University is a number of professors employed there currently do not represent the church’s beliefs in their classrooms.

The bottom line of this controversy is not about creation vs. evolution, but authority. Does the Bible inform our science or does science inform the Bible? This question lies at the heart of this controversy. Ellen White said, “The Bible is its own interpreter” (OHC 207). In Review & Herald, July 3, 1900, she said: “If men had closely, earnestly, continuously studied God’s word, making the Bible its own commentator, the key with which to unlock Scripture, they would have been as much astonished at the golden treasures revealed as was the man who found the treasure in the field.”

There has been a departure from this practice at LSU. It is my firm belief that some within the biology and religion department have reversed this and made human reasoning the primary interpreter of the Bible and scientific data.

Not a campaign against individuals

Ultimate responsibility lies with the administration that hired them in the first place. The administration that continues to employ and support those who teach contrary beliefs are treading on dangerous ground. As appalled as I am that some of these professors are teaching at an Adventist university, I’m more appalled that there has been, and continues to be, an administration that hires and supports professors whose beliefs undermine the Bible and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We have named names, but we do not have a personal vendetta against them. Who they are is ultimately irrelevant to the issue. They are nice men who are influencing students positively in many areas; however, their beliefs in regard to origins blatantly contradict their employer the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is these beliefs that have and will continue to destroy the faith of students in the veracity of the biblical creation, that God created the ‘heaven and earth’ in six days, and all the variation in life we see today resulted from those first creatures. Also, that God sent a flood that destroyed the entire earth, and all this happened roughly 6,000 years ago. The creation story is foundational to all truth as presented in the Bible. These men are free to believe and teach whatever they want, just not at our university with our money.

UPDATE 9/8/2010
*This comment was made in the context of Seventh-day Adventists who already hold the Bible as the ultimate authority on all it touches. I recognize there are those within our church who do not share this belief, thus arguments assuming the authority of the Bible mean little to them. I believe “God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His Word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant” (MR No. 724). It is on this testimony (evidence) that I base my faith in the veracity of the Bible.

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42 thoughts on “Educate Truth’s purpose and goals

  1. Most of the blogs that are critical of this site aren’t interested in what this site is really out to do. They simply want to demonize it ergo Alinsky’s rule of indetify, demonize, and marginalize. Hence their cherry picking from the comments for their own purposes.

    Thanks for the recap though.




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  2. Shane, thanks so much for that clear and concise description of the goals of this website. You have a calling to do this task and you are doing it well.

    The role of “whistle-blower” is never easy. The Darwinists/theological liberals will hate you for exposing them; they prefer to carry out their corrosive agenda in secret, or if not in secret at least “under the radar.” The administrators, conference presidents, board chairmen, etc., even though they may be and often are creationists/conservatives don’t like this sort of thing either. They see their task as making the trains run on time. They don’t like controversy, and want to project the image that we are all gung ho, all on the same page, everything is just great, things are going along fine, etc. So you will incur the wrath of both the liberals and the highly placed conservatives.

    But if it is any consolation to you, the majority of the Adventist believers in the pews agree with what you’re doing.




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  3. Thanks for the summary Shane. Very well done. I think you should add this post to the “New Visitors” section…

    Just one caveat regarding this particular statement of yours:

    More important than all of these is that the Bible find its place as the ultimate authority on all it touches upon within the classroom. For me, this is the bottom line of the controversy. What is informing our science? – Shane Hilde

    I think it is a mistake to contrast science with religion as if one is different or inherently superior to the other. Useful scientific reasoning and true religion are, or at least should be and can be, one in the same thing since both have the same Source.

    All scientific hypotheses and theories, and all other forms of empirically-based beliefs, require leaps of faith beyond that which can be absolutely known – – as do all religious beliefs. There is no inherent difference here. And, both science and religion can be based on the solid weight of empirical evidence – to the same degree.

    Because of this I propose that a belief in the Bible as the ultimate authority is worthless (as a solid basis for a leap of faith in the trustworthiness of the Christian Gospel Message of hope) unless it has good solid empirical reasons to back it up. Without a solid empirical basis, I see no rational reason to promote the Bible as more authoritative in comparison to the multitude of competing options available – to include the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, the Talmud, and even the apologetic arguments of mainstream scientists.

    As Mrs. White put it:

    God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

    – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

    In other words, science and empirical reasoning are not the enemies of true religion – but its base. These are gifts of God which, rightly used with sincere motives and an earnest heart, are the only rational options we have to appreciate God and worship Him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize – a religion that goes beyond mere emotion.

    In short, emotion and faith need to follow the mind, not the other way around. God appeals to the mind first. After this, faith is increased and emotion follows. Consider, after all, the question of if the disciples of Jesus had more or less faith in Him as the Christ before or after His resurrection? Consider then that faith follows evidence. If there is no empirically-appealing evidence, none at all, there is no solid basis for faith or a truly comforting hope in the future that drives out all fear…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  4. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorrutible God into an image made like corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things, Romans 1:22 & 23 I wish LSU were the only place this type of confusion was occuring. You are to be commended for taking a stand. In the last days perilous times shall come—-




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  5. “I’m more appalled that there has been, and continues to be, an administration that hires and supports professors whose beliefs undermine the Bible and beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”

    I am also appalled. However guilt in administration does not void the responsibility of workers to study and carry out for exactly what they are being payed by the organization, by which administration is elected regardless of the admin’s fidelity.

    In the church, harmony of interest is of utmost importance more so than in the world. Comparing fidelity and harmony of interest in Fortune 500 corporations falls far short of the harsh reality of unfaithfulness with the true riches while some don’t even believe it is important at all.

    A dishonest employee may comfort himself that his supervisor is also dishonest to the end not lifting admin’s greater responsibility nor providing any real excuse.
    God bless,

    Rich




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  6. Shane: A very reasoned, calm, yet passionate portrayal of your efforts. I fully agree with you that this goes beyond “creation/evolution proofs” and gets to the plight of the poor old bloke who thought he/she was headed for an Adventist perspective when suddenly “a funny thing happened inside the classroom”…

    Parents send their kiddies to Adventist colleges so they can be thinkers with a purpose, a purpose that forwards the Creation Model in the context of being conversant with prevailing “ism’s” as well. Sadly, this paradigm has been misshapen into making mockery of the “primitive kids” who “think differently” than a Darwinist professor.




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  7. To pursue those goals – the first priority is to expose the facts where LSU sources themselves give witness to what they are doing. (As Bradley did for example).

    There are a number of examples of that on this website – however the easier they are to find for the new visitor – summarized in one place with links to the specific blog pages where the full articles are posted – is helpful. Grouping them into subject areas and making the case concisely in an opening or near-home page that is always on top is a good idea.

    Also – in some cases all of the comments are now missing from those pages – I would suggest that you re-think that – since in those comments some LSU sources defend teaching evolutionism (students, teachers, guest speakers) and that adds to the evidence. At other times those sources will try to bend the Bible to make it fit belief in evolutionism and at other times theistic evolutionists have posted on this site saying “Ellen White was wrong” in 3SG 90-91 because of her opposition to evolutionism.

    Those positions need to be easy for the visitor to find.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  8. @BobRyan:

    Those positions need to be easy for the visitor to find.

    That’s why there are subheadings at the top of the home page and all other pages with titles like “Evidence, Testimony, La Sierra, Letters” etc. There is also a history section for new visitors, and now this summary of the purpose of this website. I think the information is pretty easy to find as it is. But, if you wish to make things even easier, by writing up your own summary article or something like that, please do…

    As far as removed comments from certain postings, you’ll have to talk to Shane about that…

    Also, now that Louie Bishop and some of the other students at LSU who were helping us gather current information on their classroom experience are not longer at LSU, we need more students or other source of direct information on the LSU campus. We have some ideas and some new sources of on-campus information, but any other ideas in this regard would be helpful as we attempt to trace the corrective or non-corrective actions of LSU over time…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. Thank you, Shane, for restating the website’s goals. I hope there will be face-to-face discussions between involved parties and those in positions of leadership and influence. The persons of my acquaintance, including you, are able to hear another’s views, and engage to bring about positive change.

    I encourage my colleagues and leaders to contact Shane directly. Do not miss an opportunity to speak to Shane. He is as transparent as he is asking us to be. Can resolution occur via web? Will the issue of authority of scripture simply be returned to status quo? Probably not. Direct engagement between appropriate parties may be prudent.

    Elaine Fleming, DrPH, RD
    Assistant Professor, retired
    Department of Nutrition, LLU




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  10. Thank you for taking the time to provide a formum for these extremely important issues. I appreciate the tone of your recent article while outlining the purpose and goals for your website. Unfortunately, some may have drawn erronous conclusions about your initial intent and assumed all the information and postings were made by disgruntled students. Like you, I believe Seventh-day Adventist do not need to be appoligetic about the Genesis account. Does the Genesis model have unresolved scientific issues? Certainly and we need to honestly include these facts in our discussions. I would suggest it takes faith as well as research to believe in either the Genesis account or Evolution and we can confidently base our beliefs in scripture.




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  11. “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.”

    Augustine – De Genesi ad Literam 1:19–20




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  12. Shane Hilde: I appreciate your statement. I did not know that you had gone to La Sierra, and experienced those problems. I am proud of you for finally getting up the courage of your convictions. To me, it takes much more faith to believe in evolution than to believe in fiat creation. Since no one was there at the first creation, no one can be a first-hand witness, though Robert V Gentry’s discovery of Polonium Halos is very convincing to me. There certainly are many evidences of a world-wide flood, such as marine life at the top of Mount Everest. (Yes, I know that Mount Everest may not always have been that high, but I can not see how it could have been below ordinary sea level.) I am looking forward to seeing earth re-created after the millenium. I could not live with myself if I believed and was teaching contrary to the fundamental beliefs of my hiring organization. I would have to resign. (There is still plenty of room for mentally and spiritually stimulating discussion.)




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  13. @josh: Your thoughts would be welcome. What point are you making? You left your cut and paste job void of any commentary. Perhaps you are suggesting that what the Seventh-day Adventist Church believes about origins is based on “obscure passages”?

    @Dorothy Skadsheim: I get the impression many people do not know that I was a recent graduate of LSU. I know LSU is quite aware of that fact. When I sat down with Wisbey in Nov. 2009, he expressed that he was surprised that an alumnus would do such a thing as I have. I replied that I hoped any alumnus would do the same if they were concerned. Granted there are other methods, but so far the website seems to have been the most effective in bringing this problem to the attention of the world church.

    @Rich Constantinescu: I’m by no means defusing the employees responsibility. LSU leadership holds the greatest responsibility though. And when the hammer falls, and I believe it will, the hardship will be more on the administration and the school than the professors.




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  14. Shane,

    I believe and fear you are in every way correct that the leaders will give greatest account to the Lord. I did not take your comments about leaders’ as defusing employees’ responsibility. You are correct as Jesus said, “But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48 (emphasis supplied.) Thank you for the clarification and for the fine article. Very calm but earnest.
    God bless,

    Rich




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  15. @Rich Constantinescu: I’m reminded of Matthew 18:6:

    But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

    I parallel this with those who are in charge of the education of our young people. It appears some are blind to the reality that promotion of these ideas is faith destroying. And while it may not destroy the faith of every student, it certainly isn’t going to win any to Christ. There should be grave concern if even one student is caused to doubt the veracity of the Bible through being taught these ideas. Absolute academic freedom (a myth) appears to be a priority over the Adventist students who still maintain their belief in the biblical creation.




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  16. Shane,

    The myth of which you speak, absolute academic freedom was first entertained by Lucifer.

    How interesting the similarities between then and now as Satan sold his heresy to Eve for her soul.

    Adam never believed the lie, but partook in the rebellion because he was unwilling to refuse the fruit from the woman he loved. The Bible says, “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Tim. 2:14

    Now, the devil speaks through savvy, smooth-talking mediums his wisdom.

    Some like Eve believe the lie, but are condemned because truth was in their reach.

    Others like Adam love those like Eve too much to reject the fruit and the messenger, medium and the devil.
    God have mercy on us all.

    Rich




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  17. Shane,

    Your story here is the finest piece of writing I have seen from you, and you have done a very nice job of summarizing the purpose of EducateTruth. I still have some major issues you have not addressed.

    Would you or someone please explain to me why the topic and the “staff” here so often stray well beyond the LSU biology issue? Why do we have to read the ad hominen attacks, for example, on other SDA university presidents, including Dr. Gordon Bietz, the President of Southern Adventist University, and individual Geoscience Research Institution scientists like Dr. Clausen, Dr. Nalin, and Dr. Gibson? From all appearances, these men are strong supporters of SDA beliefs, yet they have been very publicly denounced and subjected to many would consider to be harsh and unfair criticism.

    I think it’s obvious to all that at least one staff member is quick to disagree with and criticize many moderates and conservatives, and has most certainly go so far as to suggest that some of these individuals be terminated (i.e., fired). I suggest, Shane, that you and this individual need to get on the same page–and not just on your shared understanding of the equivalency of science and religion.




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  18. @Professor Kent: Are you referring to the comments or the articles that are published here? From memory I cannot recall any articles that make ad hominem attacks, but there may very well be. You’ll have to refresh my memory.

    The comments ALWAYS digress from the topic. I don’t have the energy and time to keep every thread on topic. I will say this and I dont’ think Sean will mind: I do think that Sean and I differ in what “lens” we apply to this controversy; his emphasis is more on the science and mine tends to be more theological.




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  19. ARE there any science professors who believe in creationism?  

    Diana, Do you mean at LSU or in society in general. If the latter, there are many. Regarding the former, there are some that I have heard that do, but I don’t have any “insider information.

    The Intelligent Design movement has quite a few, from numerous scientific areas. Some are “Christian” and some deny any faith. Any others want to comment?




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  20. Shane, Great post summarizing what we are doing or TRYING to do. I agree the idea that some may be “nice guys” is a smokescreen issue, as is “LSU is doing some ‘nice things.'”

    “Human reasoning” as a higher “truth” than God’s Truth is exactly what this problem is about. Those that choose this should not be teaching in our SDA Schools.




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  21. @ Shane Hilde

    The comments ALWAYS digress from the topic. I don’t have the energy and time to keep every thread on topic. I will say this and I dont’ think Sean will mind: I do think that Sean and I differ in what “lens” we apply to this controversy; his emphasis is more on the science and mine tends to be more theological.

    Fair enough. From my perspective I’d have to agree with your portrayal of the “lens.”




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  22. Re Ron’s Quote

    “Human reasoning” as a higher “truth” than God’s Truth is exactly what this problem is about. Those that choose this should not be teaching in our SDA Schools.”

    Hi Ron

    Does it take ‘human reasoning’ to understand God’s Truth? Who decides what is God’s Truth? Ultimately if it is God, then no man, or woman, has that franchise, right?

    For example, it is apparent from the Educate Truth website that there are fundamental differences of opinion, even among SDA YEC’s, on biblical interpretation. Take Sean’s espoused Royal Law of Love, which would result in good men, irrespective of belief ending up in heaven. Many of you disagree with that position. So what is God’ Truth on that issue and who decides? You, me, Sean, others, God?

    Respectfully I think you will have to apply your ‘human reasoning’ to these questions.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  23. Re Professor Kent’s quote

    “Shane,

    Your story here is the finest piece of writing I have seen from you, and you have done a very nice job of summarizing the purpose of EducateTruth. I still have some major issues you have not addressed.

    Would you or someone please explain to me why the topic and the “staff” here so often stray well beyond the LSU biology issue? Why do we have to read the ad hominen attacks, for example, on other SDA university presidents, including Dr. Gordon Bietz, the President of Southern Adventist University, and individual Geoscience Research Institution scientists like Dr. Clausen, Dr. Nalin, and Dr. Gibson? From all appearances, these men are strong supporters of SDA beliefs, yet they have been very publicly denounced and subjected to many would consider to be harsh and unfair criticism.

    I think it’s obvious to all that at least one staff member is quick to disagree with and criticize many moderates and conservatives, and has most certainly go so far as to suggest that some of these individuals be terminated (i.e., fired). I suggest, Shane, that you and this individual need to get on the same page–and not just on your shared understanding of the equivalency of science and religion.
    – Professor Kent

    Dear Professor Kent

    Thank you for all of you comments which I have followed with great interest. The battle between you and Sean Pitman has been epic to say the least!

    Respectfully, I do not agree with your advice to Shane for him to get on the same page as (Sean, I presume?). If he does that as editor of this site then he, in my humble opinion will demonstrate a bias that will sully the open nature of this forum.

    As an agnostic I have been treated with respect and consideration on this forum, for which I am most grateful. Dare I say, without any offense to any specific individuals, I have been treated better than some SDA YEC’s are treating themselves!

    Shane has done himself, the SDA church, and all participants of this forum a great service by letting everyone have a voice, except when attacks become too personal. Even though the narrow issue is the teaching of evolution at LSU, this naturally leads to the profound issue of the nature of origins. That, in my humble opinion, is worth digressing upon as it foments a search for the greater universal truth. A truth by the way that goes well beyond ‘our’ egos and defensive postures.

    Even though I am in fundamental disagreement with the position of the SDA, I have gained great benefit and appreciation for the SDA’s position as a result of this forum. I credit that to Shane’s editorial stewardship.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  24. @Ken:

    Does it take ‘human reasoning’ to understand God’s Truth? Who decides what is God’s Truth? Ultimately if it is God, then no man, or woman, has that franchise, right?

    You’re exactly right Ken. At least in my opinion we humans have no option but to use “human reasoning” to decide what is and what is not most likely “true”. We cannot use God’s reasoning because we aren’t God – obviously. We can’t even use the reasoning ability of another person who seems to be more gifted at reasoning and understanding. We can only use what God has given us as individuals. Even when we decided that a particular source of information is most likely from God, such as the Bible, we must use human reasoning and empirical evidence to come to this conclusion – if we wish to be rational that is.

    Some claim that rational human-level reasoning, based on empirical evidence, is not needed because God reveals the truth to us through the Holy Spirit. Many of my LDS friends believe this way. If this is how God generally works, however, there would be no need for scientific investigation or empirical evidence of any kind whatsoever. The Holy Spirit would just tell us everything that is true without any need for personal investigation or struggle to study out and investigate the empirical evidences and clues that God has left in our way.

    I don’t know about you, but I have never experienced any direct revelation as to the authority of the Bible by the Holy Spirit which I can easily distinguish from a vague case of indigestion. I’ve never had an angel appear to me either to tell me, directly, that the Bible is true. However, God has not left me empty handed. He has given me abundant evidence of the trustworthiness and Divine origin of the Bible in the form of empirical evidences that I can and have searched out and studied for myself; evidences that have the potential to appeal to the rational candid mind; evidences that are generally available to everyone who is so inclined to also investigate and rationally evaluate with the same rational abilities and mental power that God has given to me (often to an even higher level of giftedness).

    Now, God may indeed condescend to help or “inspire” our natural reasoning abilities with thoughts and impressions that are beyond ourselves – granted. Yet, we are still left with what we are – our humanness. God does not expect us to be more than human in our faith or understanding. What He expects from us is for us to honestly and sincerely use the natural gifts that He has given to us as best as we are able according to the Law of Love, the “Royal Law”, that He has written on the hearts of all mankind.

    For example, it is apparent from the Educate Truth website that there are fundamental differences of opinion, even among SDA YEC’s, on biblical interpretation. Take Sean’s espoused Royal Law of Love, which would result in good men, irrespective of belief, ending up in heaven.

    Many of you disagree with that position. So what is God’ Truth on that issue and who decides? You, me, Sean, others, God?

    Good point. God is on trial here just as much and more so than the rest of us. Questions regarding God’s management of the universe are what brought all of us to this point. We ourselves have to determine if God is in fact who He claims to be. This determination also requires us to use our human-level God-given reasoning abilities (ironically).

    After all, we are told that in the final judgment when God is judged, every knee will bow and every tongue confess, “Righteous and true are your judgments, you King of Saints.” (Romans 14:11 NIV and Revelation 15:3)

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  25. I would like to add my “two cents'” worth of support and encouragement for what Shane is doing. Thank you for that very good explanation and for attempting to maintain a Christlike attitude in the midst of this most contentious issue!

    I check in to this Website on a regular basis to see what progress if any is being made in the hoped-for resolution. Sometimes I first see reproduced articles from the Review here, before someone tells me about it or I hear someone talking about it. So it is a good resource and a worthwhile forum for (hopefully) constructive discussion.

    Sandi




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  26. Our oldest daughter graduated from one of our colleges with a degree in elementary education. She came out of the process thinking that to teach the biblical, creationist, principles to elementary students too strongly in her schools would jeopardize her job, for if students at a young age were taught these principles too strongly, they would RUN INTO TROUBLE WHEN THEY GOT INTO OUR HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM, not being politically correct. She also had to design her own curriculum for teaching this unit in the multi grade format she was working in. During that time we had many long discussions about these issues. She was clearly distressed at the position she was in as a Seventh-day Adventist educator, trying to balance her belief in the scriptures with what she felt she needed to do to keep her job, for one expectation of her was to prepare the students to excel in the current secular educational environment. She could find little help or materials from Adventist sources for her elementary environnement.

    Let me say here we have home schooled all three of our children. Two are successful professionals, the other is still in the training phase. Our older children came out of their experience with Adventist higher education with their faith in the Bible in tact, but with a somewhat diminished respect for our educational system.

    I agree that we have the brain-power and the mandate to fix some of these things. If we will, we could be leaders in promoting true advanced science in this technotronic dark age the world has hurling itself into.

    Currently our daughter is not teaching, I don’t know if she will return to Adventist education or not. How much room is there these days for serious Bible believing people within our education system? [edit] The issues being debated here are central to our very existence as a church/movement.




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  27. How much room is there these days for serious Bible believing people within our education system?[edit] The issues being debated here are central to our very existence as a church/movement.  

    Aaron, There is lots of room for bible-believing SDA’s both within our Church and outside. I was educated in public schools up to college level. I went to a state university, majored in Biology with a Systematic Zoology emphasis.

    I endured many classed where evolution was preached (yes, preached!) but had no trouble believing God’s Word. I wasn’t even baptized until I was past 20, but had enough actual bible study to know how to approach the evolutionary dogma without compromising my biblical principles.

    Ironically, I found most of my profs much LESS dogmatic than some at LSU. When challenged, most evolutionists will back down, since they actually know the actual empirical (not Sean’s empiricism) evidence is embarrassingly lacking for most of the so-called “facts” of the General Theory of Evolution.




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  28. @Ken: First one would have to assume that the Bible is a revelation of God’s will and of himself. The Bible claims to have a divine origin and that all it’s writer’s were inspired of God. I submit that this is a believe it or reject it situation. I don’t believe you can rationally reject parts of scripture as divine and yet maintain that the Bible has eternal worth. So ultimately we must accept the claims of the Bible or reject them.




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  29. Re Shane’s Quote:

    “@Ken: First one would have to assume that the Bible is a revelation of God’s will and of himself. The Bible claims to have a divine origin and that all it’s writer’s were inspired of God. I submit that this is a believe it or reject it situation. I don’t believe you can rationally reject parts of scripture as divine and yet maintain that the Bible has eternal worth. So ultimately we must accept the claims of the Bible or reject them.” – Shane Hilde

    Dear Shane

    That makes eminent sense. Of course the problem arises when competing holy books claim they are right to the exclusion of others. That’s why Sean,rightly I suggest, proposes that there must be empirical, tested evidence to test the veracity of the Bible versus other world views. Truth can stand being tested, dogma can’t.

    Sean intuitively understands that the ongoing credibility of the SDA faith must withstand rational scrutiny. Power to him, he is appealing to the universal rational mind and in doing so I think doing a great service to the SDA. Although I don’t agree with his conclusions, I do agree with his methodology because he holds no fear of science.

    I would like to know however why he disagrees with Ben Clausen’s findings on the age of the earth. Sean, what is your scientific basis for doing so?

    Respectfully, I think it is as pointless to demonize mainstream science as it is to ridicule the SDA faith. Honest debate is what is needed. People of good will come from all sorts of points of view. That’s the virtue of Sean’s concept of the Royal Law of Love. It bars no one. That strikes me as a noble principle

    Best Regards
    your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  30. @Ken:

    I would like to know however why he disagrees with Ben Clausen’s findings on the age of the earth. Sean, what is your scientific basis for doing so?

    There are numerous evidences in geology, fossils, and even genetics that demand a recent catastrophic model of origins for all life on Earth. This evidence, I believe, significantly outweighs the evidences that those like Ben Clausen find so troubling and so difficult…

    I’m not saying that there aren’t unanswered questions from the young-life perspective. There are many. However, I do not believe that these questions trump the much greater weight of evidence that we do have and do understand.

    For further details of many of these evidence, please visit my website, listed below…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. @Ken:

    That makes eminent sense. Of course the problem arises when competing holy books claim they are right to the exclusion of others. That’s why Sean,rightly I suggest, proposes that there must be empirical, tested evidence to test the veracity of the Bible versus other world views. Truth can stand being tested, dogma can’t.

    I agree. I believe the evidence weighs heavily in favor of the Bible.




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  32. @Ken
    ‘..Of course the problem arises when competing holy books claim they are right to the exclusion of others..’

    The Bible is the only document that contains multiple prophetic statements, spanning thousands of years, upon which to base its accuracy upon–these are not subjective. Jesus and the apostles emphasized that it wasn’t the supernatural physical occurrences that should be the foundation of one’s faith in the veracity of God’s word, but that everything corresponding to the life and death of Jesus and the larger picture of what is happening upon this earth, was and is the fulfilment of ancient prophetic writings–even down to the time when Jesus was to perform his ministry upon earth. There is too much specific prophetic material to attribute it to ‘chance’ or just some good guessing. Humans just aren’t that smart.

    Isaiah 42:8-9
    I am the LORD, that is My name;
    And My glory I will not give to another,
    Nor My praise to carved images.
    9 Behold, the former things have come to pass,
    And new things I declare;
    Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”
    NKJV




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  33. Steve Moran’s latest article on Spectrum is a classic example of “head in the sand” or “whistling in the dark.” He states this website has “very little influence on the church as a whole.” Why?

    [ edit – Moran’s article was not addressing EducateTruth, but a different website called, “Hold Them Accountable” – http://www.adventisttruth.webs.com/ ]




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  34. Moran does not mention the website by name. I guess we have some in our church that are “meaner” than those of us here? I wouldn’t have thought this could be possible!




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  35. “Sean Says”

    “In other words, science and empirical reasoning are not enemies of true religion–but it’s base. These are gifts of God which, rightly used with sincere motives and an earnest heart, are the only rational options we have to appreciate God and worship Him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize–a religion that goes beyond mere emotions.”

    I really appreciate you putting this back on this web site again. I didn’t get involved at the beginning because I didn’t know anything about it until one of my daughters sent it to me after it had been up for a while. I have
    really appreciated knowing about it and have enjoyed following the information you and others have provided.

    As I have said many times, though I am a college graduate I am not a scientist. My field of interest was just along a different line so much of the scientific discussion simply goes over my head–especially when two of you scientist get to sharing your different points of view! However, I am a firm believer in Scripture and have learned a lot from the creation discussion.

    Yes, I do believe that true science and the Bible are fully compatible and that the honest seeker for truth can find plenty of proof for creation in true science. However, this is also an area in which Satan has been allowed to bring in a lot of confusion and error and it takes a person who has a truly converted “scientific mind” (which my husband had before his death) to intelligently dialog with another “scientific mind” along this line. (Meanwhile the rest of us peons sort of get “lost in the shuffle!”)
    I may be wrong but I question that the average “man/woman on the street” has the educational background to really understand the science behind it.

    So, I’m sorry but I can’t fully agree with you when you say, “These are gifts of God…which are the ONLY rational options we have to appreciate God and worship Him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize–a religion that goes beyond mere emotion.”

    To me anyway, Bible prophecy is the best answer to the confusion about origins as well other issues we are confronted with today–you don’t need a college education to understand it–and it certainly goes beyond “mere emotions!” Rightly presented, it can be understood and believed in a much shorter time by folks like me that can get completely lost in the scientific creation-evolution discussions. (Amazingly enough–even by people with very little education.)

    This is not to say that scientific discussions between scientists who understand it cannot be productive and soul saving. It surely can be,but even they need the Bible and the Bible prophecies to go along with it–at least that is the way I see it.

    For this reason (among others)I am so grateful that God included prophecy in the Bible! This is something no other so called “Holy Book” can duplicate and one of the few things Satan cannot touch with his outright lies. To me it gives irrefutable evidence that God IS God and that His Word can be absolutely trusted and believed! When a person really learns and believe this the subject of origins is forever settled regardless of what evolution may or may not do or say. We need to get back to being the “people of the Book!”

    Sean, Science IS important–but Bible knowledge is even more important. Science is NOT “the only rational option we have to appreciate God and worship him in the “intelligent” and thoughtful manner that He wants us to realize–a religion that goes beyond mere emotion.” Bible study–including prophecy–is a very vital necessity for everyone–and I seriously doubt that any of us will go though successfully until Jesus comes back for His people without a clear understanding of it.

    I wish there was someway this point was being brought out on this site but so far I have seen nothing along this line presented. I’m not sure how to go about doing it myself because prophecy just isn’t something you can fully present in a few paragraphs. (And I guess that’s not really the “theme” of this site anyway is it.)

    (Thanks for listening!)

    Lydian




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  36. I think I need to add just a bit more about Bible prophecy–of which there is a lot of in the Bible.

    The Bible claims that God has given chosen individuals (prophets) glimpses of real future events that will take place here on earth–some are thousands of years in the future. So far, every prophecy that He has given (and the time has come for their fulfillment) has been fulfilled down to the tiniest detail. To me, that says that the God who gave these predictions is truly “God” and you can trust Him completely regardless of what any human,or groups of humans, may say to the contrary–and regardless of how many degrees they may have behind their names. (Yes, God has given us minds–and He does expect us to use them. And He has also given us many evidences of His divine wisdom–which we ignore to our own peril.)

    The prophecies in the Bible have, so far, been absolutely fulfilled down to the most minute detail and there is, in my mind, not the slightest doubt but what the still unfilled ones will also come to pass in their time. Not another book in the whole world has this “track record.” For this reason, to me anyway, if God says it we can put complete confidence in every word He has seen fit to send us by His prophets.

    And He warns us to be careful what we accept and believe. In Isaiah 8:20 He says this: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” This is the “yardstick” by which I measure everything that I accept and believe. For me, it is the only safe guide through this world of sin and suffering.

    And when God says He created the world and everything then on it in six days (just like the 24 hour days we now have) and rested on the seventh I have no question but what that is truth! And I also have no question but what there is ample evidence out there to confirm it–even if I’m not smart enough to find it for myself.

    Believe me–I am NOT against true science–but when “science” denies what God has said in His Word I simply reject it out of hand. Call Me an “ignorant old lady’ if you want to but there is where I stand and there is nothing on this earth that can budge me from that position!

    Lydian




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  37. I’ve just now, after all this time, happened upon the image flagging this article’s main page, the lips whispering into an ear. Hmmm… Is that really the image this site wants projected?




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  38. And furthermore… those lips, with just a hint of glee, whispering into that well-formed ear, the ear is rather smallish in proportion to the lips and extrapolated to the rest of the face. I’ve quickie sketched or tediously painted about 20,000 portraits; kind of thing I’d catch. Color me picky. Meanwhile, about LSC and awkward Smartphones…




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