Perhaps I am not aware how slowly committees are supposed …

Comment on Elder Graham: “Why I Support La Sierra University” by Sean Pitman.

Perhaps I am not aware how slowly committees are supposed to work, but it seems to me like this issue does not need decades to resolve. That’s right – decades. Many of the science professors at LSU have long been promoting the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet for hundreds of millions of years – since the inception of LSU. This problem has only become worse and the evolutionist professors more and more bold in their open defiance of the Church’s stand on this issue over the years.

I myself have been trying to get this particular problem substantively addressed at LSU for over 6 years. Then when David Asscherick’s letter made this issue generally known over a year ago, LSU continued to drag its feet and hope, as usual, that everything would just “blow over.” Well, it hasn’t blown over this time and over a year has gone by with no substantive action by LSU’s boards and committees to address this problem – despite repeated assurances of action.

The new freshman class added last year to introduce students to the interplay of science and religion was supervised and taught by the very teachers who openly admit to believing in and actively promoting the evolutionary story of origins while considering the 6-day creation week an outdated notion believed in by only the ignorant “lunatic fringe” within the SDA Church. The guest lecturers weren’t much better. Even those from the religion department at LSU cast doubt upon the validity of a literal reading of the Genesis account of creation in this new freshman class – a class originally touted as a solution to this whole debate.

Now, whole conference are starting to question the resolve of LSU to really do anything substantive to solve this active undermining of the Pillars of the Seventh-day Adventist Faith at LSU – the literal six-day creation week in particular. The Michigan Conference no longer recognizes LSU as a truly Adventist University and will no longer subsidize conference workers who send their children to LSU. The Central California Conference (CCC) has also recently warned LSU that it has had plenty of time to do something about this problem and that if it continues to drag its feet the CCC may have to take additional actions to encourage LSU to act in support of the Fundamentals of the SDA Church. I hear that the Texas Conference is thinking of doing the same thing as is the Gulf States Conference.

I’m sorry Elder Graham, but the time for the dragging of LSU’s feet on this issue is over. Now is the time to stand up for what is right by the SDA Church as a body and act decisively on an issue that is and has dramatically affected the lives of thousands of our young people – many of whom no longer believe many of the Pillars of the SDA Faith because of the doubts that were taught to them by their loved and respected LSU professors.

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Then you have several different questions to explain. 1) How can a 6 month developed (but dead?), non-human being (from a human mother and father?) , being carried in it’s human mother’s womb, leap for joy because he (it?) recognized the mother of the World’s Savior? ”The dead know nothing, neither have they any more knowledge under the sun.” 2) How can anything dead even move? The opposite of alive is dead. Everything alive has life from God. Dead things don’t grow and they don’t move. Every SDA should know this. The Laws of God are not altered in order to justify killing unborn human beings that He has given life to.

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
That’s just it. You say that, “The unborn think and feel”. However, an embryo in the earliest stages of development is just a single cell or an unformed ball of cells – with no apparent functional difference than a cluster of cells in my appendix. Such an embryo cannot think or feel or understand anything. There is no mind or intelligence at this point. If it isn’t murder to take out someone’s appendix, how then call it be truly “murder” to end a pregnancy at this point in time? How can you be so sure of yourself here? Based on what moral principle?

Also, people who are clearly “brain dead” need not be maintained indefinitely on life support. They’re just a shell of a body at this point and it is not “murder” to simply take them off the mechanical support of the empty shell of their body. This happens all the time in hospitals – and it is not considered to be “murder” at all… by most medical professionals (even most Christian ones).