LSU not different than secular universities according to LSU student

In this fascinating preview of the documentary film “The Last Generation” the issue of whether or not LSU should enact policies that would require staff and faculty to be consistent with the SDA teachings. Watch the entire 20 minutes, but the real interesting part begins at about 00:06:41. Hear what LSU students think about LSU’s stand on complete academic freedom in SDA Church schools.

Find out more: The Last Generation

The Last Generation (Preview) from The Last Generation Directors on Vimeo.

In the clip below you will find a scene that had to be deleted from our full-length film due to time constraints. The scene offers more details and insight on how sacred texts are understood and used within the movement.

Biblical Interpretation; Deleted Scene from The Last Generation Directors on Vimeo.

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25 thoughts on “LSU not different than secular universities according to LSU student

  1. Very interesting clip – and very telling about the current situation at LSU regarding “academic freedom” and the efforts of many LSU professors and leadership in general to free themselves from the restriction of supporting the very clearly stated SDA fundamental beliefs and ideals… on the Church’s dime.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. There is a screening of the whole film at La Sierra University, Hole Memorial Auditorium at 5:15 pm next Saturday. The directors claim there isn’t any bias, but just from what I’ve seen I don’t think the spin is entirely positive on the subject. It’s quite revealing though about LSU.




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  3. I’d like to get a hold of Jeremy Salvador. According to LaSierra.edu he was a junior in 2007, so he probably graduated in 2008. I’d love to see the whole debate with Christine Law. I think the video said she was the faculty advisor for the club or sponsor. She teaches Interpersonal Communications, Persuasion, Introduction to Writing for the Print Media, and Reading Improvement La Sierra University.




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  4. What a great film!

    What a fantastic “illustration” with faculty debating in favor of evolutionism – and argue that they should be able to teach whatever they jolly well feel like teaching under the wide umbrella of “academic freedom” and even that it is GOOD for the university to be instilling DOUBT in students regarding Adventist doctrine – since that leads students to go somwhere else and find answers to all the doubt that LSU generates — and possibly that student because “a better bird for having done so”.

    What a MISSION for LSU! What a VISION for their faculty.

    And of course they also argue that any attempt to curb their foray into what Ellen White called “disguised infidelity” 3SG 90-91 would be to bring back the Dark Ages!!

    And against all that – we see the STUDENT standing tall — opposing both faculty and fellow students who have fallen in line with the faculty!

    We could not have asked for more than this to ILLUSTRATE the LSU problem!!

    We would have expected the VERY SAME – from any public university all up and down the street!

    LSU seems to be on the path of offering to SDA students — “THE very BEST PUBLIC university education that SDA tithe, tuition and offering dollars can buy!”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  5. I just posted on this topic at Spectrum as follows:

    The term “fundamentalism” has a well known and very specific origin in Christian history. Fundamentalism was a reaction against theological liberalism, and “higher criticism”, which tended to deny the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, and specifically deny the truth of anything supernatural or miraculous in Scripture. The multi-denominational movement united behind the “five fundamentals,” which are usually listed something like the following:

    1) the verbal inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture;
    2) the virgin birth and deity of Christ;
    3) the doctrine of substituionary atonement, or blood atonement;
    4) the bodily resurrection of Jesus;
    5) the authenticity of Jesus’ miracles, and his pre-millennial second coming.

    The only one of these with which Adventists do not completely agree is verbal inspiration. While a thorough-going fundamentalist believes in word-for-word (in the original languages) inspiration, Adventists believe in thought or idea inspiration. We believe that God inspired the Bible writers with ideas that they then conveyed in language of their own choosing; they were God’s penmen, not his pen. But even on this point, we are much closer to the fundamentalists than to the liberals, the trend among whom is to deny inspiration and treat Scripture as a human document.

    So Adventists obviously are, and have always been, about 95% fundamantalist. So it is surreal to see the term “fundamentalist” being used as a scary word about Adventist youth. If Adventist youth are drawn to fundamentalism, they come by it honestly, since their parents are also essentially fundamentalists.

    Obviously, calling Adventist youth “fundamentalist” is a liberal rhetorical strategy designed to imply that traditional Adventist views are new and different, when it is in fact the liberals who are promoting a new theological agenda radically different from traditional Adventism. It’s a bold gambit, but I can’t imagine that anyone not totally ignorant of the relevant facts could be fooled by it.

    Subsequent to posting this, however, it occurred to me that the situation at LaSierra has probably been festering for close to 15 or 20 years. By now, at that institution, traditional Adventism probably is something new and different. If traditional Adventism exists at LaSierra it is because of a student rebellion against the faculty and administration.




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  6. @David Read:

    So Adventists obviously are, and have always been, about 95% fundamantalist. So it is surreal to see the term “fundamentalist” being used as a scary word about Adventist youth. If Adventist youth are drawn to fundamentalism, they come by it honestly, since their parents are also essentially fundamentalists.

    Obviously, calling Adventist youth “fundamentalist” is a liberal rhetorical strategy designed to imply that traditional Adventist views are new and different, when it is in fact the liberals who are promoting a new theological agenda radically different from traditional Adventism.

    I agree completely.

    I have over the years placed about 20,000+ posts so far on a very large Baptist discussion board (Ok 23,436 but who is counting) as well as posting on a number of other non-SDA contexts and I can tell you with some degree of confidence that your POV on what is regarded as “Fundamentalist” is correct.

    Many SDA liberals dupe their fellow SDA church member by pretending that “fundamentalist” is something that is “not SDA”. They are dead wrong.

    In common usage across ALL denominations – (as it turns out) the term simply means “one who takes the Bible seriously and literally”. A more focused defintion will also add that a fundamentalist is one who holds to certain “orthodox” Christian doctrines such as the Trinity saved by Grace through faith and the innerancy of scripture.

    By every measure – Adventists ARE fundamentalist!

    But the liberal anti-Bible argument is very wise in this regard – if they can dupe adventists into tossing that “baby out the window” as if it is “bathwater” they will have won their pro-evolutionist evangelistic objective as well as some key point on inspiration, the Judgment, the Ten Commandments etc.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  7. A Catholic priest wrote in a book that Adventists are the most fundamental of the fundamentalist sects, holding to a literal interpretation of the Bible, because we keep Saturday as the Sabbath.

    We should take his published comment found in What Else Would You Like to Know About the Church? as a compliment.




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  8. As a faculty member in the music department at LSU, I strongly object to the notion or suggestion that La Sierra is “not different than secular universities.” I received my Bachelor of Music degree from La Sierra, and an MA and PhD (as of this June) at the University of California. I have now been an adjunct professor at LSU for seven years and have also served as a teaching assistant and asst. instructor (adjunct) at UC Riverside over the past five years. There is no comparison. At UCR I have no opportunity to express my faith in an official context; rather I am expressly forbidden to do so. At LSU I have this freedom, which I choose to exercise. As an alumna of La Sierra and a current graduate student in a large public university, I can again say with certainty that there is no comparison between them as far as the student experience is concerned, and I can speak for scores of my colleagues who have followed a similar educational path.

    Perhaps this statement (which I have seen repeated in one form or another in comments on this site) is merely a broad generalization expressed in frustration at a perceived lack of response and resolution of this issue. However, I would invite those of you tempted to do so to avoid generalizations of this kind. There are many others, and comments like “this sounds just like LSU” are neither constructive nor are they accurate, as if the university is made up of automatons rather than autonomous individuals. No institution is a monolith and in a sense, I am LSU and I and the many devoted and dedicated members of faculty, staff and administration are not happy to be swept up in a blanket generalization of this sort, regardless of the concerns with individual faculty. Language, however temporal it may seem, has meaning and power and we are all responsible for the ways we use it.

    David Kendall, MA
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University




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  9. I wonder if the professor of New Testament Studies at LSU who speaks in the documentary realizes that the Seventh-day Adventist church already has a list of 28 fundamental beliefs. I was confused why she was joking that she would love to be on the committee to decide which beliefs the faculty at La Sierra would need to be consistent with. The list of fundamental beliefs is already out there for everyone to see. No new committees would be necessary. The fundamental beliefs are voted on at the General Conference not La Sierra.




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  10. @David Kendall, BMus, MA:

    La Sierra is worse than UCR. I am a Seventh-day Adventist, a graduate of Loma Linda University and also a graduate of UCR.

    At UCR, I was free to express my religious beliefs. This was accepted on the basis of freedom of thought and diversity. Even fundamentalist beliefs in the SDA context would be treated fairly in the context of diversity. At La Sierra, it is derided as censorship and wanting to take our chruch to the 1950s.

    At UCR we were served evolution at every meal in the biology department – it was the known religion of study. I understood this – I never trusted my professors to be anything other than teachers of their science and apologists of evolution. I never expected them to be expositors of my faith. At La Sierra, science professors ARE expected to be expositors of faith and science both. They are decitful if they proport to belive in God and cash their check from the Seventh-Day Adventist University that they work for and then teach their students the ideas of men that directly oppse these teachings and debase the very foundation of our faith – the Seventh-Day Sabbath as a memorial of Jesus Christ’s work.

    At UCR I received a world-class education from professors who had published in Evolutionary Journals. At La Sierra, the biology professors can’t even correctly identify the assumptions that make up Hardy-Weinberg populations. I.e. in the syllabus, one professor incorrectly states that if your population doesn’t look like a Hardy Weinberg population – there must be evolution occuring!!!! (?) And why were all the La Sierra kids coming over to UCR in the summer to take our O CHEM classes???

    At UCR, I left with a double major in Biology and Chemistry Magna Cum Laude and entered medical school at Loma Linda University without a single cent of debt and a clear head about what was truth and what was evolution. Apparently, this might not be the case for some La Sierra graduates.

    At the end of the day our decision as parents will be this: Why should I send my children to an SDA institution that is 5-10x more expensive to be taught evolution as truth when I can send my children to much cheaper schools, in most cases get a better science education and be able to tell my children that evolution is being taught to them because the public universities aren’t Christian nor beleive in the second coming of Christ or the Sabbath? It is going to be much harder to explain to my children why evolution is being taught as truth to them from an Adventist institution. I am not willing to pay for that problem. I am not alone.




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  11. Why be so vocal? Sometimes it may not be worth it – but each time I think this way I am reminded of a little old lady that once advised:

    “The greatest want of the world is the want of men,–men who will not be bought or sold; men who in their inmost souls are true and honest; men who do not fear to call sin by its right name; men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole; men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education, p. 57.

    I want to be one of those men.




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  12. Roger Seheult: At the end of the day our decision as parents will be this: Why should I send my children to an SDA institution that is 5-10x more expensive to be taught evolution as truth when I can send my children to much cheaper schools, in most cases get a better science education and be able to tell my children that evolution is being taught to them because the public universities aren’t Christian nor beleive in the second coming of Christ or the Sabbath? It is going to be much harder to explain to my children why evolution is being taught as truth to them from an Adventist institution. I am not willing to pay for that problem. I am not alone.

    You are definitely not alone on this one!

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. David Kendall, BMus, MA: As a faculty member in the music department at LSU, I strongly object to the notion or suggestion that La Sierra is “not different than secular universities.”

    I agree. Such generalizations are not helpful. If possible, it is always good to be as specific as possible if there are problems. Not everyone at LSU is of the same mindset as those in the science and even religion departments who are trying to promote and proselytize for the theistic evolutionary perspective. There are still those at LSU who do in fact support the doctrinal positions of the SDA Church as an organization and who do try to influence the students put into their charge in this direction…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  14. Roger Seheult: @David Kendall, BMus, MA:
    La Sierra is worse than UCR.I am a Seventh-day Adventist, a graduate of Loma Linda University and also a graduate of UCR.At UCR, I was free to express my religious beliefs.This was accepted on the basis of freedom of thought and diversity.Even fundamentalist beliefs in the SDA context would be treated fairly in the context of diversity.At La Sierra, it is derided as censorship and wanting to take our chruch to the 1950s.
      

    I am not sure this is a fair equivalence. While diversity and religious/social tolerance are certainly hallmarks of the UCR student experience (as they are at LSU; the University Motto is “From Diversity, Community), I am allowed to advocate for religious concepts at LSU as an instructor while I am forbidden to do so at UCR in that context. Also, I am unclear as to whether you attended Loma Linda University proper, or the La Sierra Campus (as LSU was known from 1967 – 1990). If the latter, I understand your comparison between LSU and UCR, though it would have to refer to events at least 20 years ago. If not, then the comparison is between a actual experiences at UCR and perceived ones at LSU.

    At UCR, I regularly encounter Mormon missionaries and Jehovah’s Witnesses, as well as sign-carrying Protestants confronting passersby at the top of their lungs. This is allowed and is part of the greater university discourse. As a student at LSU in the late 1990s I also advocated for more conservative policies by publishing a newsletter (which I cleared through the Office of Student Life, which was not interested in censoring it) and by attending Board of Trustees meetings with other like-minded students. We were always taken seriously and treated with respect, as I take seriously concerns that my students bring related to my own academic sphere of musicology. The statement that a question or concern can be “derided as censorship” may stem from the reality that faculty may choose not to act on a given issue (or they may choose to act in a different way than desired). This is a common state of affairs that all professors and administrators deal with, and we are tasked with making the best decisions possible based on our experience and expertise.

    David Kendall
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University




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  15. Roger Seheult: At UCR I received a world-class education from professors who had published in Evolutionary Journals. At La Sierra, the biology professors can’t even correctly identify the assumptions that make up Hardy-Weinberg populations. I.e. in the syllabus, one professor incorrectly states that if your population doesn’t look like a Hardy Weinberg population – there must be evolution occuring!!!! (?) And why were all the La Sierra kids coming over to UCR in the summer to take our O CHEM classes???

    I do not doubt that you received a world-class education at UCR, as I have received a world-class graduate education there. However, I also received a world-class education at LSU, as can be attested to by the large numbers of quality students we graduate and their subsequent performance in graduate schools and in professional life. The above syllabus example is simply one example of a mistake. Are there others? Are they repeated in a classroom setting? Syllabus mistakes are common; my music theory students know that I will commit at least one major syllabus error every quarter and we derive some entertainment by finding it. One mistake of this kind is not proof of scholarly incompetence, just as I would not be considered incompetent for mislabeling chromatic chords or occasionally sight-singing using the wrong solfege syllables.

    There are a number of reasons why LSU students go to UCR (and to RCC) to take Organic Chemistry and other courses during Summer Sessions. One reason is cost, though due to the California budget crisis and subsequent tuition hikes at the UC campuses, LSU is currently costing 2x-3x more, rather than 5x to 10x. Another reason is scheduling, as many students work during summers and find UCR’s class offerings more flexible (as there are more classes/sections to choose from). Still another reason, and a telling one, is that LSU’s chemistry classes (depending upon the professor) are fiendishly comprehensive and some students find it easier to pass them at UCR than at LSU.

    David Kendall
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra Univesity




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  16. David Kendall, BMus, MA: I am not sure this is a fair equivalence. While diversity and religious/social tolerance are certainly hallmarks of the UCR student experience (as they are at LSU; the University Motto is “From Diversity, Community), I am allowed to advocate for religious concepts at LSU as an instructor while I am forbidden to do so at UCR in that context.

    I think you mistake Roger’s main point. That is, one expects to get a certain philosophical perspective at an openly declared secular school – like UCR. One does not expect to get this same perspective at a self-declared “SDA” school – like LSU.

    In fact, it is quite shocking when professors at an SDA school scoff at fundamental doctrines of the SDA Church, calling them the “lunatic fringe” and laugh at or belittle or otherwise intimidate students who present such views in class. This is a real shock to experience at an SDA school – yet this is exactly what is happening in many of the science classes at LSU.

    This is the primary reason why Roger and I would not send our own children to such “SDA” schools – despite the fact that there may still be a few professors left at such schools who are not like this. Even one such professor who is openly deriding and countering the SDA perspective on fundamental issues in one of our schools is one too many since such a professor often carries with him/her a great deal of influence over the minds of the youth under his/her care. If I had knowledge of such a person in the employ of any of our schools, I would not send my own child to that school – period. I would rather send my son to a public university rather than have to explain the cognitive dissonance and frank schizophrenia taking place within a supposedly “SDA” school.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. Just from the preview of this movie, it seemed to start out really good, but I’m afraid they did not spend enough time answering clearly the arguments from the non-fundamentalist view point. At first I wanted to send this to some of my friends to let them see about young people being attracted to fundamental Adventism, but then I decided I was afraid to send it to anyone, because the film gives too much opportunity for the other side to make their point- without answering to it. It’s like we didn’t make our point well almost, like those listening might feel that the non-fundamentalists made a good point.

    I think we should also be careful not to try to copy the world even in this type of a movie making effort- if we add too many camera angles and mysterious music man starts to get the glory, “magical thinking,” vain imaginations. “be ware of spirits that whisper and mutter”- when we have strange music, it invites strangeness and perhaps an evil influence.

    “Be sober, be vigilant” it’s not that we can’t be creative, it doesn’t just have to be a documentary, but things should have a more sence of straight forward reality, and trying to avoid things that feel morose or hypnotic. We should try to shoot for 100% right on the mark- nothing for self, all for Jesus. It will be beautiful- it can be really very nice.




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  18. @Bob Pickle:

    A Catholic priest wrote in a book that Adventists are the most fundamental of the fundamentalist sects, holding to a literal interpretation of the Bible, because we keep Saturday as the Sabbath.

    Bob, who is the author and what is the title of the book to which you refer?
    Thanks and God bless,

    Rich




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  19. Perhaps Ellen White had some insight that the La Sierra apologists seem to lack.

    “When those who have reached the years of youth and manhood see no difference between our schools and the colleges of the world, and have no preference as to which they attend, though error is taught by precept and example in the schools of the world …”

    When this occurs the answer is not defensiveness by the faculty, loud protests of loyalty to academic freedom and thought, or pseudop-piousness of being “pastoral” to apostate faculty, but

    “then there is need of closely examining the reasons that lead to such a conclusion.” RH 1/9/1894. The rest of the paragraph gives great hope for our institutions as well as warning about “Our institutions of learning may swing into worldly conformity. Step by step they may advance to the world.”

    What is going on in our schools is no surprise to God. He has the means to correct the institutions. The Babylonian soldiers (and later Roman soldiers) who were sent to discipline Jerusalem should instruct the leaders of those schools of supposed higher education who are offended by the gentle remonstrances of the David Asshericks, Doug Batchelors, and EducateTruths, that much worse can come from the world they are befriending.




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  20. @Roger Seheult:

    At UCR, I left with a double major in Biology and Chemistry Magna Cum Laude and entered medical school at Loma Linda University without a single cent of debt and a clear head about what was truth and what was evolution. Apparently, this might not be the case for some La Sierra graduates.

    At the end of the day our decision as parents will be this: Why should I send my children to an SDA institution that is 5-10x more expensive to be taught evolution as truth when I can send my children to much cheaper schools, in most cases get a better science education and be able to tell my children that evolution is being taught to them because the public universities aren’t Christian nor beleive in the second coming of Christ or the Sabbath? It is going to be much harder to explain to my children why evolution is being taught as truth to them from an Adventist institution. I am not willing to pay for that problem. I am not alone.

    Very sobering thoughts to be sure.

    Thank you for sharing that!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. I finally had the “privilege” of seeing this one sided viewpoint of Adventist fundamentalism that was supposedly “neutral”. When the documentary starts out showing a burning World Trade Center while defining fundamentalism and ends with the credits giving thanks for support from Adventist Today and Erv Taylor, it doesn’t leave any opportunity for a balanced viewpoint. All so-called fundamentalists are thrown into one group of people that believe the King James is the only “real” version of the Bible and that salvation comes from works, while at the same time holding to the viewpoint that evolution shouldn’t be taught as fact in our Adventist universities. So if you believe in creationism, you are a religious King James bible thumping nutcase. One member of the audience pointed out that every time the use of “scary” music was utilized in the film, a “fundamental” SDA was speaking while this never occurred when interviewing the other side of the equation. The filmmakers avoided this question multiple times. And to top it off, the panel discussion included a non-Adventist film professor from a secular university just to ensure that we air all of our dirty laundry to those outside the faith.




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  22. @Timothy: I just got back from Loma Linda. It appears we were in the same room or you saw it at LSU. I thought the film was very biased and I found the producers unwilling to admit to their bias. They didn’t even want to say they were biased.

    There were so many things wrong with how they approached this subject. I’m fine with bias, it’s unavoidable, but I don’t think they were being honest about where they were coming from. I’ll try to say more on this later.




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  23. Phil Mills: “What is going on in our schools is no surprise to God. He has the means to correct the institutions. The Babylonian soldiers (and later Roman soldiers) who were sent to discipline Jerusalem should instruct the leaders of those schools of supposed higher education who are offended by the gentle remonstrances of the David Asshericks, Doug Batchelors, and EducateTruths, that much worse can come from the world they are befriending.”

    Amen.
    God bless,

    Rich




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  24. @Timothy:

    To Timothy –

    Indeed – “propaganda” tactics are easy to spot when we decide to use critical thinking instead of taking whatever they choose to feed their viewers and “swallowing it whole”.

    That was a good review of the material’s propaganda content.

    AToday and certain controlling groups at LSU seem bent on making LSU ‘the best public university that Adventist tuition, tithe, and offering dollars can buy”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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