Comment on NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science by Eddie.
Sean, Faith and Holly, I quite agree with you: I am indeed a hypocrite, a judgmental sinner deeply in need of a savior.
I believe in a God of love. I love the SDA Church. I love our educational institutions. I love our leaders, including administrators, educators and pastors. I love all 28 fundamental beliefs. I love the Bible. I love the account of Creation and I love God’s creation. I believe all SDA employees should support the church and its doctrines. I believe theistic evolution should not be taught as fact in any SDA institution. I believe in church discipline by the appropriate methods sanctioned by the church.
Although some of you have labeled me as a liberal, I’m actually quite conservative in my views of the church and its doctrines. I regularly record Doug Batchelor’s program and often watch it on the Sabbath. He has been my favorite preacher since I first watched all of his Net 99 programs. I love Clifford Goldstein’s books–my favorite is “A Pause for Peace.” I love our prophetess and I believe she was divinely inspired. I may not agree with everything conservatives say, but it doesn’t stop me from listening to what they have to say.
I recognize that our leaders and employees are flawed, some more so than others. Our church has always had and will always have both liberals and conservatives, some of whom agitate to divide and conquer the church. It is the heart that accepts or rejects the truth, the Holy Spirit that convicts of truth, and only God who knows the true motives of each individual. Who am I to judge who should and should not be publicly disciplined on the world wide web?
I am not–I repeat, I am NOT the one who is attacking the SDA church! I have never publicly criticized a GC vice president, LSU, WWU, PUC, GRI, the presidents of SAU and LSU, the previous president of PUC, individual professors at LSU and PUC, individual scientists at GRI, various pastors and chaplains, and various students who have valiantly defended their institution and professors. A few who have been criticized here have confided with me how deeply hurt and betrayed they felt. Should I not feel compassion toward them?
As I have previously stated, it irks me when SDAs publicly criticize my friends and my church on the world wide web, where anybody can read what is written. I don’t know why it bothers me so much. Something about it strikes me as being unfair and unjust. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s the Devil needling me and I’m on the wrong side. Maybe I should just join the chorus here by condemning all the liberals, evilutionists, teachers of junk science, badventists and Seventh-day Darwinians who are striving to take control of the church. I am, after all, a professor on a SDA campus. I know what some of my more liberal colleagues believe and I could easily name them, expose their beliefs, and condemn them for their heresy. Is that what you want me to do? Is that what God wants me to do?
But somehow I admire those who restrain from fighting back when they are attacked. I admire our church leaders for refusing to publicly condemn each other on the world wide web. And I admire our agnostic friend Ken, who appears to hold a grudge against none, and treats all with the utmost love, courtesy and respect. I admire them for their wisdom, diplomacy, tactfulness and integrity. I could be wrong, but I think they are all motivated by love, the kind of love that I want to be motivated by as well. A love that comes only from God. Why should I not want to emulate them?
So why is it that some of you view me as the enemy? What have I done wrong? Is it wrong of me to defend my church when I feel it is under attack? Is it wrong of me for not joining you in condemning heretics?
Eddie Also Commented
<a class="bibly_reference" rel="Revelation 14:12" title="Read Revelation 14:12" href="http://bib.ly/Re14.12">Rev 14:12</a>: Don’t tell me that Dr. Bradley and his associates in the Biology Department didn’t know what they were doing. And don’t tell me that Dr. Guy and his associates in the Religion Department don’t know what they are doing supporting gay marriage against our church’s beliefs.
I have never once defended the promotion of theistic evolution or gay marriage by any professor. I believe such individuals should not be promoting such views in an SDA institution, and should resign or be fired if they insist on subverting SDA theology in the classroom. However, naming them and criticizing them online is a kick below the belt and well below my personal ethical standards of Christian demeanor.
I think Educate Truth has done the church a service by pointing out that theistic evolution is being promoted in the Biology Department at LSU, but by publicly naming and blaming individuals–including many who don’t even work at LSU–and allowing others to assault their character, many SDAs (including conservative SDAs) feel that Educate Truth’s scorched earth policy has violated God’s principles of human decency and respect. I am not alone. Many people, including non-Christians such as our friend Ken, believe it is morally unethical and uncivil to publicly criticize individuals in online websites, even though it happens all the time. That’s exactly the kind of behavior I expect from the Westboro Baptist Church, not the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
I have done my duty in expressing my concerns about the situation at LSU in writing to the relevant authorities and in prayer to God. Likewise I have done my duty in expressing my disdain for cyber bullying of individuals, which I’m convinced does the church more harm than good. I doubt any neutral individual who reads this website would conclude that SDAs love their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ any more than our agnostic friend Ken. It saddens me to think that many SDAs love each other less than agnostics and atheists.
Holly Pham: I personally would have no problem on a website, school newspaper, etc.
Even if it was your spouse or son?
<a class="bibly_reference" rel="Revelation 14:12" title="Read Revelation 14:12" href="http://bib.ly/Re14.12">Rev 14:12</a>: If you sit back and watch a cancer eat at our system and do nothing, are you not at least partially guilty for not doing something? If an innocent young person attends one of our universities and loses their faith or eternal life and you know that professors and administrators are teaching or perpetuating error, are you not partially guilty because you knew and did nothing?
First, although I know of some professors on my campus who have liberal views on various subjects, I don’t know for certain that any of them actually promote their views as “truth” to students. I have learned that some professors on my campus are theistic evolutionists, but none of them teach a course in which the subject is discussed in the classroom. I have privately quizzed students on my campus who take courses from professors who teach the subjects of creation and evolution, and am told to my satisfaction they get a fair treatment from both sides of the issue and that the professor is either biased toward creationism or, at worst, neutral (which, by the way, contradicts what some posters have asserted here at Educate Truth). If I knew that a professor was promoting theistic evolution in the classroom, I would wield whatever influence I could muster (which isn’t much) with the administration (but not in the classroom or on a website) to have the professor removed from teaching the course.
Second, professors who refuse to publicly condemn heretical colleagues shouldn’t be accused of “doing nothing.” Do you seriously think any student would respect a professor who publicly criticizes a colleague in the classroom or on a website? I can think of many, many, many positive and better ways in which a professor can counteract the negative influences of a wayward colleague, such as being a concerned and trusted advisor, sharing the love of God in the classroom and in the office, praying with a student, encouraging students to maintain their faith, sharing evidence that bolsters their faith, etc. Young people respond better to positive reinforcement than negative reinforcement. And positive reinforcement should not be dismissed as “doing nothing.”
Finally, I would like to know whether anybody here believes it is appropriate, ethical, professional and morally justifiable for a professor to publicly criticize another professor in the classroom or on a website.
Recent Comments by Eddie
SDA Bio Prof: The Bible makes multiple falsifiable prophecies about Nebuchadnezzar conquering Egypt, yet history never records it happening. Does this mean the Bible is effectively falsified?
Sean Pitman: Egyptians had a strong tendency not to record their losses… only their victories.
Sean, does that mean YOU personally believe Babylon conquered Egypt, just as predicted by two prophets? In the absence of any empirical evidence? If the Egyptians didn’t record their losses, why wouldn’t the Babylonians have recorded such a stunning victory?
Holly Pham: One of the things that has always concerned me is that, according to what I’ve read, birds and reptiles have completely different forms of respiratory systems (flow-through vs. bellows) How is this explained by evolutionists?
Evidence from the vertebrae of non-avian theropod dinosaurs suggests that they, too, possessed unidirectional flow-through ventilation of the lungs. So, according to evolutionary theory, it evolved first in “primitive” non-avian theropods rather than in birds, and comprises one of many shared derived characters supposedly linking birds with more “advanced” theropods. However, I don’t think there is any evidence or even a hypothesis for a step-by-step process of HOW it evolved. Here is a reference:
Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit
@Bob Helm: Bob, if you send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org I will send you a pdf file of a 1991 article published by Chatterjee in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 332:277-342, titled “Cranial anatomy and relationships of a new Triassic bird from Texas.”
Curiously his description is based only on cranial anatomy. I don’t think he ever published an analysis of its postcranial anatomy.
David Read: Eddie, ecological zonation will yield the same basic order that you’re pointing to: invertebrates appear before vertebrates; fish appear before amphibians; amphibians appear before reptiles; reptiles appear before mammals; reptiles appear before birds, etc.
It could, and it’s the best creationist explanation, but it doesn’t explain why flowering plants were absent from lowland forests. Or why so many land plants appeared before mangroves, which today occur strictly in the intertidal zone. Or why no pre-flood humans have been found. Or, if Sean is correct that the flood ended at the K-T boundary, why many modern groups of birds and mammals (including marine mammals) which first appear during the Tertiary were not buried by the flood.
David Read: The fact that something appears before something else in the fossil record is not proof than anything evolved into anything else.
David Read: You seem to be complaining that God has not made the fossil evidence compulsory, i.e., so clear that no reasonable person can possibly doubt it. And if God hasn’t made the evidence skeptic-proof, then the skeptic is God’s fault, God is responsible for the skeptic.
I’m not complaining. I’m merely pointing out that the evidence can be interpreted in different ways by honest people. And I’m relieved to see that even you don’t think the evidence is crystal clear.
David Read: Only people of faith can be saved, that is, only people who are willing to trust God and put away doubts can be saved.
David Read: Those tracks are so obviously bird tracks that the fact that some scientists want to assign them to “birdlike theropods” is itself a very useful teaching tool as to how the model creates the data.
David Read: That the model actually creates the data is one of the hardest concepts to get across, not only to lay people but even to the scientists themselves.
How does the model affect the data? Data don’t change and they shouldn’t change. It’s the interpretation, not the data, that is affected by the model.