Just about as “helpful” as the November LSU board decision… …

Comment on Board requests progress reports from LSU administration by Sean Pitman, M.D..

Just about as “helpful” as the November LSU board decision… complete inaction…

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman, M.D. Also Commented

Board requests progress reports from LSU administration

Bravus: Could Moses understand the concept of a billion? It’s important to understand what ‘highly educated’ meant at that moment in history, rather than to read Bronze Age texts with literalistic Information Age minds.

Moses could indeed understand the concept that creation took much longer than six literal days if in fact that was the case. Arguing that God misled him regarding what actually happened because Moses couldn’t understand anything else is nonsense – completely opposed to God’s usual dealings with us and a suggestion that we cannot really trust anything God tells us to actually be true as stated in language that we can actually understand.

Sean Pitman

Board requests progress reports from LSU administration

Bravus: Recognising that *both* our reading of Scripture and our reading of the natural world might need work is all I’m talking about. Again, not that Scripture is wrong, but that our reading of it might be. William Miller’s was, yet led to us all being here. Our understanding may be wrong… “Trust in the Lord and lean not on thine own understanding” extends to our understanding of Scripture.

We all might be wrong Bravus. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have opinions or stand for what we currently think is right. You yourself clearly have very decided opinions about what is right and what is wrong. You think you clearly know some form of “truth” because of this. That’s Ok. What’s disingenuous on your part is your notion that no one else should be able to have solid opinions about what is right and wrong – especially when it comes to interpreting scripture. You may be right and I may be wrong. However, what is clearly wrong is for you to expect me to pay you for your views even if I don’t agree with you. Paid representation is a privilege, not a right. It doesn’t matter if the organization is actually right or wrong in what it is trying to do. Either way, it would still be wrong of you or anyone else to take money from any organization and then do contrary to what that organization is paying you to do. It would also be wrong of any organization to advertise one product for sale and then provide a completely different product. That’s deceptive – a form of lying. Clearly, such deception is a moral wrong…

Sean Pitman

Board requests progress reports from LSU administration
The Post-Modern Hubris of Erv Taylor

Ervin Taylor: Based on their recent responses and other comments they have made on EducateTruth, both Sean Pitman and David Read seem to share with all other fundamentalists—ancient and modern, Christian, Muslim, and Hindu–a profound and pervasive hubris—otherwise known as pride—in their special ability to think God’s thoughts and do God’s will.

It is especially dangerous since these individuals tend to think that their understanding of what God wants them to believe about what the Bible teaches is what God wants everybody to believe about what the Bible teaches. There is only one truth and they just happened to know what that truth is. That is pure hubris.

If I didn’t think what I believe was worth while or beneficial for anyone but myself, I’d not try to share what I think I’ve discovered that is helpful and hopeful.

What is amazing here is that those like Erv think to chastise others for having an opinion on what they think is true or false while forgetting they they also have very strong opinions as to what is and isn’t true as well. And, they are perfectly willing to share their opinion and to declare that they are right and that others who disagree with them are almost certainly wrong – and likely a little mentally warped or even evil. Talk about arrogance!

The fact is that anyone with any opinion whatsoever has just a little bit of hubris to think that perhaps, just perhaps, he/she knows something that is worth sharing. Don’t let Erv fool you. He’s just as opinionated and passionate about his ideas as the rest of us – and he doesn’t mind telling you his opinions either and why those who disagree with him are clearly nut cases.

Also, it is disingenuous of Erv to suggest that I am trying to coerce or even force others to accept my point of view. That’s completely unfair and untrue. As Erv knows, I have consistently pointed out that freedom to leave the SDA organization without any fear of civil reprisals or moral accusations or recriminations is vitally important. However, this does not mean that the SDA Church can simply hire anyone and everyone as paid representatives either. No one has a right to claim money from an organization simply for being sincere and honest. That simply isn’t enough to be an official paid representative. Sorry Erv. Organizations require rules of internal order and government. A complete lack of internally enforced rules ends in anarchy, not a productive organization.

This fundamental misunderstanding is, in many ways, a kind of disease that appears often among the highly religiously motivated. We all need to help these individuals to see the nature of their problem and assist them to channel their passionate beliefs in more productive and positive ways. Don’t tell them they are wrong. Just suggest that as Adventist Christians they have a right to their beliefs just as every other Adventist Christian does.

Everyone has a right to his/her beliefs in a free civil society Erv. We have this in these great United States of America. However, not everyone has a right to expect to be paid by any particular organization for his/her beliefs – not even in the good ol’ US of A. That’s the rub here and you know it. Don’t try to confuse this issue by suggesting that I am making moral judgments regarding those who happen to disagree with me. I’m not – except to suggest that taking a paycheck from any organization while deliberately doing contrary to what that organization is paying you to do is stealing of the employer’s time and money (a moral wrong in anyone’s book).

Also, we might also suggest that they should work passionately towards having all of us make a special donation to ADRA. All Adventist Christians—liberal, conservative, historic, evangelical, or whatever—would probably support that. It seems to me that this would be a more appropriate and helpful way to channel their religious enthusiasms than what they are currently doing. Why not believe and do something that really helps people? Is that too much to ask?

We should all being helping the poor and needy continually, regardless of religious affiliation. This is basic morality that is written upon the hearts of all. This is also the basis of salvation. However, it isn’t the basis of a solid conscious hope in a bright literal future. In order to obtain such a confidence in the Gospel’s “Good News”, you need to understand the validity of the Christian Doctrines.

Let me ask you a simple question Erv. You claim to believe in God – right? Would you say that those who don’t believe in the existence of God are mistaken? Should the SDA Church pay people, as official representatives, to go around explaining to our Churches and schools why they think God doesn’t exist? Would that be a proper use of church funds?

Your post-modernist thinking is really self-defeating you know… all truth is relative – – except for your own of course ; )

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman, M.D.

Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?

“Essentially all the administrators, staff and faculty on our campus, including the pastors on our campus already know where I stand. I have never kept any secrets. I have to laugh when I see you say that I am upset because you ‘blew my cover.’ There was no cover to blow.” – Bryan Ness

You’re not the main problem here. I’d have no problem with you personally and what you personally believe at all except that you are a professor in an Adventist school – Pacific Union College.

It’s this school who presents itself as being in line with the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church, when it really isn’t. I have friends of mine who have gone to PUC and talked to the leadership about sending their children to PUC. They’ve specifically asked about the situation at La Sierra University and asked the PUC leadership and heads of departments what their position is on teaching the theory of evolution as “the truth” – and if the teachers at PUC support the SDA position on origins and other issues? They were told that PUC does not condone what happened at LSU and that the professors at PUC are fully in line with the SDA position on origins and all of the other fundamental positions of the church.

Of course, you know and I know that this just isn’t true. You, for one, publically speak and teach against the church’s position on origins as well as human sexuality. This reality is not being presented by the leadership of PUC to the parents of potential PUC students. This reality simply isn’t being advertised to the general church membership at all. What PUC should be advertizing to parents and the church membership at large is,

    “Yes, we do maintain professors who teach our students that the church’s position on various fundamental doctrinal issues is in fact wrong and should be changed to reflect the more popular secular position on these topics.”

That’s what it should be telling everyone, but this just isn’t what is being done.

I am attacking no one… Since when is a difference of views an attack on the church?

Since it was placed as one of the church’s “fundamental beliefs” by the church (Link). When you publically publish an article stating that the Church’s position is clearly mistaken and should be changed, that’s an attack on the church’s position.

And of all the issues facing the church, same-sex marriage hardly rises to the level of a “primary goal and ideal.”

The SDA Church has chosen to describe the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman as one of the “fundamental” messages to spread to the world – as one of the fundamental reasons for its very existence…

Now, you call what you’re doing, not an “attack”, but a “plea for compassion”. However, your plea for compassion is presented as a clear statement that the church’s position is absolutely mistaken – that the church’s position is not at all “compassionate” or even biblical. Now, you may be very honest and sincere in your views here, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not attacking the church’s position in a very real and fundamental way. The fact is that you are making a very clear attack on the church’s position while accepting money from the church as a representative who is supposed to be supporting the church as a paid employee.

Why do you want to cause such people so much pain?

That’s not my goal. However, if a person wants to know what the Bible has to say about what they are doing, I’m not going to pretend that the Bible has nothing to say when the Bible does in fact have something to say. If what the Bible says “causes pain” to a person living in what the Bible says is a “sinful” lifestyle, that’s between them and God. The very same thing is true of me and my own sinful tendencies. If what the Bible says about what I’m doing causes me pain, I can either respond to that by ignoring what the Bible has to say, or I can ask God for help in changing my ways.

Jesus himself said that He did not come to bring peace to those who are living in rebellion against God’s ideals for humanity, but a “sword” (Matthew 10:34). The denial of self and what we naturally want to do given our fallen condition, in order to follow God and what He calls us to do, is often quite painful indeed. That doesn’t mean it’s not the best path to follow. There simply can be no peace between God and those who wish to hang onto what God has said to give up. God does not condemn the sinner for being born broken, but He does warn those who refuse to accept His offer of help to escape their broken condition that, eventually, such refusals of help will not end well for those who are determined to follow their own way.

Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Response from Bryan Ness:

Yet, these professors get very upset when their actions are made public – when they can no longer hide what they are doing from the church at large. – Sean Pitman

Uh, I have never hidden my support and affirmation for LGBTQ+ individuals, and any parent who wanted to know my views on the subject could easily look up what I’ve written, or they could just plain ask me. I openly acknowledge where I stand on these issues on social media too. Essentially all the administrators, staff and faculty on our campus, including the pastors on our campus already know where I stand. I have never kept any secrets. I have to laugh when I see you say that I am upset because you “blew my cover.” There was no cover to blow.

You have not simply let people know what I advocate, you have attacked me personally and impugned my motives and personal spiritual path. You are causing pain not just to me, but to the very people I am trying to comfort and encourage. Your words are not just being seen by the legalistic and judgmental people like yourself, but by parents of LGBTQ+ children and those LGBTQ+ individuals themselves, many of whom are likely already heavily weighed down with self revulsion and depression. And you are doing this for who’s good?

And you wonder why I might be angry and upset? As hard as it is for me to do, I have daily decided to pray for you and those like you that God would soften your heart and show you the grave wounds you are inflicting on God’s beloved. I pray God will help you find compassion and clearer spiritual insight.

Do you really think it’s a “little thing” when our own professors are attacking the primary goals and ideals of the church from the inside? – Sean Pitman

I am attacking no one. You act as if you have not even read my article. I did suggest in there that I think it is time for the church to change and affirm same-sex marriage, but that is not an attack, that is a plea for compassion, a plea that the church return and study this topic again, and I laid out the reasons I think it is fully warranted that we do so. Since when is a difference of views an attack on the church? And of all the issues facing the church, same-sex marriage hardly rises to the level of a “primary goal and ideal.” You are inflating the importance of this topic. the only place where same-sex marriage really rises to a high level of importance is when you are an LGBTQ+ person contemplating marriage, or are the parent, relative or friend of an LGBTQ+ person. Why do you want to cause such people so much pain?

Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Posted by ArkDrey:

The purpose of the H.E. is not to wall people off by modifying curriculum of every subject to fit dogma. The dogma itself has to be enhanced with broader understanding of how to relate various perspectives to these fields of human enterprise.

Certainly, Adventist schools should by no means isolate students from popular ideas that are prevalent within secular culture. If anything, students educated in our schools should have a much better understanding of ideas like neoDarwinism or homosexuality than students educated in secular institutions. However, the education of students within Adventist schools shouldn’t stop here. Adventist education should also give students a reasonable explanation as to why the Adventist perspective on these ideas is actually supported by the Church – by professors who actually personally hold to the Church’s positions on these topics (like the topics of origins or homosexuality, etc).

Again, it is simply counterproductive to have a church school if professors in that school teach that the church’s position is not only wrong, but downright ludicrous, outdated, and completely opposed to the overwhelming weight of “scientific evidence”. Such teaching, by professors that are respected by the students, will strongly influence most students to be naturally opposed to the church’s position on these topics. Clearly then, this would not be in the church’s best interest. It would be far better, from the church’s perspective, not to form church schools at all than to have professors within their own schools attack the church organization from the inside.

But there is world of difference between presenting it as fact that the teacher believes, and a theory with problems. – @ajshep (Allen Shepherd)

I’m in total agreement here. Again, it is one thing to teach about a particular concept that opposes the teachings of the church. It is a far far different thing to then support this particular concept as “true” as compared to showing the students why you, as their teacher, don’t find it convincing.

That is why a teacher, employed by the church, is actually stealing from the church when they attack the church’s position on a given topic from within their own classroom or via a public forum. Such activity simply goes against what a teacher is being paid to do by his/her employer.

Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
From David1:

Your presumption and hubris are exactly what Jesus pointed out to those who brought the women caught in adultery. Have you learned nothing from the examples of what it means to be a Christian that you would indulge in such harshness and judgemental words and pronouncements.

Consider that while Jesus most certainly was very kind and gentle and forgiving to the woman caught in adultery (certainly one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible), that He did in fact tell her to “go and sin no more”.

I would say that the very same action and recommendation should be given to all who find themselves part of the LBGTQ+ community. God loves sinners and came to save all of us who find ourselves caught in the web of fallen and sinful lives. He doesn’t condemn us for being broken, but He does offer us a way out and tells us to “go and sin no more”.

In light of this, my problem with the efforts of Dr. Ness is that he is making the claim that there is no brokenness or moral problem with committed monogamous homosexual lifestyles – that the Bible says absolutely nothing in this regard and therefore there is nothing for God to forgive here. There is simply no need to say, “I love you, now go and sin no more”.

I’m also not quite sure why Dr. Ness draws the line with monogamy since he doesn’t accept the Biblical statements, often within the same passages as those discussing monogamy, that speak against homosexual activities? This seems inconsistent to me since it seems quite reasonable, given the arguments presented by Dr. Ness, that polygamy could also be argued as being even more consistent with God’s will and natural genetic mutations that God Himself designed. Upon what “scientific” or “religious” or “philosophical” basis does Dr. Ness draw the line at monogamy as being the clear Biblical standard where God draws the line? – when many have very strong and very “natural” polygamous tendencies?

Of course, I also have a problem with a paid representative of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, who is responsible for teaching our youth in support of the primary goals and ideals of the Church, publicly arguing that these goals and ideals are completely wrong – on the church’s dime. Such activity, even if one is totally convinced as to the error of one’s employer, is unethical since it is a form of stealing from one’s employer.

At the very least, parents who are paying a great deal of money to send their children to one of our church schools should be very well informed as to what they can expect their children to be taught at our schools and what positions the teachers at the school are publicly promoting. Providing this information to such parents is my primary purpose in responding to Dr. Ness’s publicly published article in public forum.

Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage?
Response from Dr. Ness:

Do you not understand what it is like in academia? Differences of opinion among scholars is not only tolerated, it is valued. I have nothing more to say concerning your accusations. Our church has no “official” stand on this issue, if by that you mean I am disavowing my membership in the church by simply believing that gays should allow ro get married to one another. That is not even how our church operates. I can point to many other church employees who openly disagree about certain issues of belief, including this one, and congregations that are fully affirming of same-sex marriage. They are a part of the SDA church just as I am.

My concern still is more about the tone and stance of your attacks. You are attacking fellow SDAs, some of them being the most vulnerable members of our church, and you seem to have no sense of the damage you are potentially doing to these individuals. By attacking me in the fashion you are you are also attacking all those for whom I am standing up. You may want to take Jesus’ words to heart:

But whoso shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to stumble, it is profitable for him that a great millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depth of the sea. Matt. 18:6

I know very well what it’s like to be involved in leadership positions within the church and within academia. My own father is a retired pastor and teacher. It’s one thing to publicly present and even promote various opinions that do not directly undermine the church or school one is working for. However, it is another thing entirely to directly attack the fundamental positions of the church while being a paid representative of the church. Such activity is not at all encouraged and is, in fact, unethical – a form of theft from your employer. Sure, there are many pastors and teachers who think to do such things anyway. That doesn’t make such activities morally right. It’s still wrong to do what you are doing.