Comment on NCSE Report: Adventist Education in the Midst of a Sea of Science by Sean Pitman.
Do you not see a difference between strongly disagreeing with the actions and/or public statements of a person and “ridicule” or a pejorative attack?
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Again, I agree that the public confrontation of this website is not the most ideal method given any other more private method that would have actually worked. However, what else would you have done that has not already been tried to substantively address the long-standing and entrenched problem at LSU? I’d really like to hear some other reasonable approach to this problem that has not already been tried without any effect…
I’m sorry, but you guys seem to me to be more concerned about the reputation of teachers and institutions than you seem to be over the undermining of the faith of the youth of our church or the very long standing and determined attacks on various fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church – the SDA position on origins in particular.
Again, I ask you, why is it such a problem to publicly declare, in no uncertain terms, what parents and students can expect from our own schools? – especially given the great personal cost involved for most parents who send their children to our schools? Shouldn’t our primary concern be for them? How can such an effort to inform parents, students, and the church membership at large rationally be referred to as a “scorched earth policy”?
If our schools cannot proudly and publicly proclaim the honest truth of what they are teaching our young people, we obviously have a real problem. I don’t think it is right for individuals or institutions to hide behind arguments for Adventist privacy over what we actually teach in our schools while they attack the very fundamentals of Adventism, on the Church’s dime, for decades. It’s time for this sort of thing to stop.
If you have a better idea on how to get this done, I’m all ears…
As I’ve explained many times before, the maintenance of church order and government (i.e., only hiring those paid representatives who will actually represent what they are being paid to represent) has nothing to do with salvation.
These are not moral judgments. These are practical judgments regarding the maintenance of church order and government. One does not have to be SDA to be saved you know. However, one does need to be SDA to be an effective leader or paid representative of the SDA Church.
If you don’t believe in the SDA message, that Ok, just don’t expect to get a paycheck from the SDA Church while you go about undermining the basic goals and ideals of the church. Try working for an employer who has goals and ideals more in line with your own.
Also, no one is arguing for the exclusion of anyone from basic attendance and worship with us in our churches. Anyone who actually wants to fellowship with us is welcome. Many of my best friends are not members of the SDA Church, a number are even agnostic and a few are pretty ardent atheists. Yet, we get along just fine and occasionally these same friends of mine come to my church with me to support something I’m doing.
You see, the problem here isn’t over basic socialization or diversity in worship. The problem is over paid representatives of our church attacking the church on the church’s dime. That’s the main issue here. No organization of any kind can long tolerate such subversive activity coming from within…
I actually agree with you on one level. I most certainly agree that a public forum is not the most ideal place to air any form of the church’s dirty laundry. However, at some point for certain important issues one is left with little choice but to use less than ideal methods to address very important issues within the church. For example, I’m sure Martin Luther wished there were some less public way to effectively address the significant problems of the church of his day rather than to nail his 95 Theses to the most public forum available – the front door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg. Likewise, I very much wish there were some much more private and inconspicuous way to effectively address the active and long-standing attack on the church from within one of our own universities. Unfortunately, I was unable to think of any other way (which had not already been tried).
If you know of another way, by all means do share it with me…
You’ll have your reward one day.
You certainly sound gracious and Christlike to me 😉
How about at least giving me the benefit of the doubt as far as my motive and possible ignorance is concerned before passing moral judgment? How about at least pardoning me as far as Jesus did when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”? – Luke 23:34
But, perhaps, I’m beyond all hope? My doom is sealed? – for trying to protect Adventist young people in our own schools from the unending attacks on Adventism from within – from our own hired professors?
Oh, and by the way, while I get many anonymous E-mails and even hand written letters on occasion (which I do not read unless they are signed) I’ve only been privately contacted by a handful of individuals who’ve identified themselves and who’ve expressed concerns about the effect of this website. As far as the one’s who’ve actually identified themselves, all have been male (as far as I recall). So, I assume your private message must have been anonymous?
Also, you should know as well as anyone (and should explain to your friend in case she is not aware) that public comments to the articles posted to any discussion website like this do not necessarily represent the perspective and/or goals of the managers/owners of this website. The attitudes of many commenters certainly do not reflect my own positions or attitudes. What then should I do? – block all comments with which I personally disagree? – including yours?
Also, you’ve failed to respond to my most sincere question as to how the issue at LSU should have been dealt with? How would you have dealt with the problem? What, specifically, would you have done? I’m really interested in any useful advice along these lines…
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
We are talking about something a bit more subtle here than the question as to what is merely “alive” and what is not “alive” – in the most basic sense of the term (as in the skin cell on my earlobe is “alive” and “human”). What we are talking about here are the qualitative differences between a single cell or a small cluster of unformed cells and a human being that can think and feel and appreciate sensory input. Now, someone might have their own personal ideas as to when, exactly, the human soul is achieved during embryogenesis, but the fact remains that the Bible is not clear on this particular question – and even includes passages suggesting that there is a spectrum of moral value to the human embryo/fetus. Consider the passage in Exodus 21:22-25, for example, which seems to many to suggest such a spectrum of value where the unformed fetus is not given the same value as a fully formed baby or the life of the mother (especially if read from the ancient LXX Greek translation which appears to be the most accurate translation of the original Hebrew text).
Because of this, there actually appears to me to be a great deal of disagreement among honest and sincere Bible-believing Christian medical professionals, embryologists, and theologians (modern and ancient) over when, exactly, during embryogenesis, does humanity become fully realized. Given the information currently in hand, I certainly could not, in good conscience, accuse a woman of “murder” for using various forms of birth control that end pregnancy within the first few days after conception (such as intrauterine devises or birth control pills).
Would you actually be willing to take action on this as you would for any other cold-blooded murderer? Would you be willing to accuse such a woman of wanton murder with all the guilt that is involved with such an accusation? or put her in prison for life for such an intentional act? Could you really do this? I certainly could not for the use of such standard forms of birth control during the earliest days following conception. Yet, that is what the current language of the church’s guidelines on abortion suggest… that these women who take such forms of birth control are in fact guilty of a heinous act of cold-blooded murder.
Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
”These latest guidelines appear to me to put the SDA Church in the same position as the Catholic Church on this topic –with human life beginning at the moment of conception. That doesn’t seem like a reasonable position ” – Sean Pitman (From an Adentist Review Article: https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story14133-statement-on-the-biblical-view-of-unborn-life-and-its-implications-for-abortion)
Yes, it is also in harmony with when every SDA pioneer, including the church’s founder, put the beginning of human life. It is also the same point that virtually every secular, evolutionary embryologist puts the beginning of human life. In fact, it’s the unanimous point of agreement among every biology textbook. If that doesn’t sound like a reasonable position based on empirical evidence then factual reasoning has escaped those who try to equate preventing the conception of a human being with intentional kllling of one that is already biologically and detectably in existence.
Brilliant and Beautiful, but Wrong
Thank you Wes. Really appreciate your note and being able to see you again!
Complex Organisms are Degenerating – Rapidly
As far as the current article is concerned, I know of no “outdated” information. The information is current as far as I’m aware. The detrimental mutation rate is far too high for complex organisms to avoid an inevitable downhill devolutionary path. There is simply no way to rationally avoid this conclusion as far as I’m aware.
So, perhaps your friend could be more specific regarding his particular objections to the information presented?
Complex Organisms are Degenerating – Rapidly
Look again. I did reference the 2018 paper of Basener and Sanford (which was the motivation for me writing this particular article). Of course, as you’ve mentioned, Sanford has also written an interesting book on this topic entitled, “Genetic Entropy” – which I’ve previously referenced before in this blog (along with a YouTube video of a lecture he gave on the topic at Loma Linda University: (Link). For those who haven’t read it or seen Sanford’s lecture on this topic, it’s certainly worth your time…