The Physiology of It – Faith vs. Evidence

By Wesley Kime M.D.

St. Faith and Dr. Evidence have gone to the blogs, duking it out for custody of LIKE and DISLIKE.  You two seem as separated as East and West and never the twain shall meet except at Armageddon. You seem to think you’re apples and oranges growing in separate groves continents apart, incapable of cross-pollination, brought to proximity only by UPS Air Freight and Trader Joes, or Spectrum or Educate Truth.  Each proclaims he holds the keys to the kingdom and the other the keys to hell.

Break it up, you two!  Very unseemly. You’re supposed to be married, a marriage made in heaven, remember?  And you’re Adventist, remember?  Alas, Another Adventist divorce, and not an amiable one.

It’s time you two got some serious counseling.  I’ve been waiting for that to happen.  Alas, it hasn’t.  I’ll try.

I’ll try by parables, not by syllogistic vectoring or fusillades of quotes.  And the parable I give is physiology.  For to me, being an MD (parabolic of the health professions), physiology is the most immediate and compelling parable of how Faith, by whatever name, and Evidence, by whatever name, work.  It is what I’ve studied for a lifetime, and — since announcing it seems important nowadays, even in the pulpit — have my doctorate in.  Also parabolic is the research laboratory, where I spent a couple of years of my life.

Physiology is the parable of how, in His image, we are fearfully & wonderfully made.  Right now physiology might well be even more informative than theology or academia.

Faith and Evidence: you are organs in the same organism, integral and integrated, afferent and efferent: you are the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, the frontal cortex and brain stem.  You are systole and diastole, the left and right ventricles, one balancing and empowering the other.    The left ventricle can’t eject until the right ventricle empties into it.

You are male and female, and what God hath joined together, thus and thus only to be fruitful and multiply, let no man put asunder.

It works very like human physiology with enzymes and hormones, cells and organs, bone and stromal jelly all working together in the same person.  Or like the separate kingdoms, animals breathing carbon dioxide out and oxygen in, and plants taking carbon dioxide in and producing oxygen.

When thinking of separate organisms, it’s most like symbiosis.  Symbiosis, as per favorite professorial PowerPoint, is when two beings or creatures, like fungus and intestine, or fungus and orchid, not merely assist each other but depend upon each other for mutual survival.  The very excrement of one is food for the other, food the other gets nowhere else.

Where does Evidence end and Faith begin?  Ideally one can’t tell: it’s seamless.  But sometimes Evidence seems to have abandoned Faith, a sore trial. Alas, Faith is sometimes the one that weakens, falters, faints.  Evidence and Faith are designed to work as fail-safes, backups, as reserves so that when one chokes out the other kicks in.  It’s normal and physiological for one to be active and the other not.  So it’s diastole and then systole., diastole-systole, forever.  If both ventricles are active simultaneously that’s arrhythmia and you’re sick; if neither, that’s cardiac arrest and you’re dead.

With Faith and Evidence working together like that, there’s no room for philosophical detours into servitude or blind Faith, a term which, it will be happily noted, is not herein used.  Except that it brings us to commensalism and our next PowerPoint.  That’s when two beings or creatures or living entities simply coexist on the same planet, or in the same organism, but are functionally oblivious of each other.  Then Faith is dead blind; Evidence is a dead-end.  By the way, when they coexist on the same blog they tend to be hostile and oblivious.

That’s all very poetic and beatitudinal but now for the nitty-gritty, the lab.  Popular wisdom and scientific myth to the contrary, the lab is not the model of Evidence supreme.  It’s more the model – in the lab we have experimental “models,” not parables — of total, constant interdependence of Faith and Evidence, sometimes a tense and sweaty relation, interested or disinterested, manipulated or liberated.  Mountains of Faith are required before Evidence ever comes on the scene, or can: first by the investigator, overarching Faith in the hypothesis he sets out to prove, not infrequently against already existing proof to the contrary.  Faith by the university in the investigator’s record and his spiel.  For grant funding by the NIH or whatever governmental agency or parochial foundation, the grantor will have to have Faith that the conclusions accruing from the investigation will be totally objective even if unwelcome or quite the opposite, friendly.  Finally the lab proceeds by Faith in hiring techs and engaging research fellows and expensive analytical and data processing equipment and experimental animal cages, and likewise exercising their own kind of Faith, Animal Rights Activists who somehow are in the process.

Then and only then come the data, the closest science ever sees of pure Evidence.

And finally, the – ta dah! — conclusion!, hopefully (Faith is already back) reflecting only, and honestly, and intelligently, the data.  “From the foregoing data it can be concluded that…” is the required, so familiar way The Journal of Clinical Investigation or Nature or Lancet put it, whereupon the rebuttals and counter experiments, the counter-conclusions, the rancor, the ardor, the hubris settles in.  Again.  I’ve been there.

Meanwhile back at our big tent, big enough for every diversity of culture, every worship- and lifestyle, ideology, theology and theodicy, ethic and ethnic, thus big enough, surely, but apparently questionably, for both Faith and Evidence.  By the way, I’m so old I remember when the big tent was for evangelism; now, more like a flea market.

We all have attaché cases bulging with proof texts for either Faith or Evidence – either or.  To me, all those texts prove neither.  They prove both.  Like John 20:7, where Christ instructed Thomas to “reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side,” for proof. In the next breath He blessed those who didn’t require such proof, but didn’t curse Thomas either, but gave us Thomas’s experiential proof for our own Faith.  And John 10:38 where He says, even though you “do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”  Which immediately confronts us with the consummate circular interaction: “No man can come to Me except the Father … draw him,” but “no one cometh unto the Father but by Me.”  John 6:44; 14:6.

And do we SDAs not understand – perhaps it is peculiar to and distinguishing of Adventists – that the whole Great Controversy is the story of God presenting proof to the universe, consummated by the Evidence of His crucifixion, of His character, and proof that Satan lied?  God, we believe, we know, could have simply proclaimed both those things and commanded that the universe simply believe it.

As Adventists, what happens when, as foretold in Matthew 24:24, St. Faith does the St. Vitus Dance and Dr. Evidence is operating without a license, behind a mask behind a mask – so that if it were possible the very elect will be deceived?  Then, only those who have stocked up on both will survive.

For an Adventist, where do Evidence and Faith end and God begin?  From the beginning and throughout.  Without Him central, this whole essay, never meant to be heavy, would be foolishness.  If Faith cannot survive without Evidence, neither of them exist without God.  Directly or indirectly, everything comes from Him.  In the end, at bottom, always, that’s what Faith and Evidence are all about, God.  To prove Him, confirm Him; to serve Him; to worship Him, praise Him, which is why we were created.  As described in Genesis 1, where Faith and Evidence first embraced, and were first put asunder, whereupon Cain bashed Abel to pulp.

For the Evidence and Faith of Adventism, Genesis 1 is Ground Zero.

 

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36 thoughts on “The Physiology of It – Faith vs. Evidence

  1. Wesley, I think most of the discussion was the role of each aspect and how they worked together as you suggest.

    I don’t think many would abandon one or the other. And perhaps the most important point you have made is the common error of an “either/or” theology that is rampant in the Christian world, including the SDA church.

    The bible for the most part is a “both/and” commentary on God and His kingdom. What is really important is to define parallel and contrast in these biblical concepts. So we must see the distinctive value and use of one, and then the other.

    So, did Jesus make an atonement for our sin on the cross, and are we “saved” by this reality?
    Yes….

    Did Jesus give us an example to follow and are we “saved” by following His example?
    Yes….

    It is not “either/or” as many if not most will vie for. And this is just one example of how the bible is convoluted by immature theology and immature thinking.

    And so evidence and faith work together as you suggest. The evidence is adequate, but not falsifiable proof. And where evidence ends, faith must take over and choose to believe and accept what is revealed and in harmony with scripture.

    Bill Sorensen




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  2. Thank you, Dr. Kime, for a very concise analysis. For me, a skeptic of just about everything, I sought to discard faith, prefering evidence instead. I found all the evidence I needed in the Bible. I cannot disregard the numerous Biblical prophets who accurately predicted events that accurately came to pass many centuries later, especially in the life of Jesus. I cannot dismiss how the prophet Daniel (through God), accurately made predictions that came to pass in a timely manner, especially with the coming of the Savior. Jesus likewise confirmed Daniel by quoting him. And, if Jesus be the Messiah and Savior of the world, why would He come to die a miserable death on the cross to redeem the world if He did not create it in the first place? So, I don’t rely on faith any longer, since my evidence is so abundant that I would indeed require extra-ordinary faith to believe in anything else but the literal events of Genesis 1:1. I must remain a skeptic of certain types of science, especially the “theoretical” variety, that, by definition, cannot be subjected to the scientific method. I would highly recommend the Bible as solid evidence. For those wishing more, try the Creation Museum, very near the Cincinnati Airport. There are wonderful lectures, exhibits, and scientific materials to consider.

    Kenneth Christman, M.D.




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  3. I’m not sure the faith vs. evidence routine is really all that germane to the LaSierra controversy.

    Origins is within the domain of faith. No one has ever had, now has, or ever will have the slightest idea how we and the world and the universe got here. Anyone who claims he does is just showing that his faith is so strong it has blinded him to the fact that he’s even exercising faith. You believe what you decide to believe and organize the evidence accordingly. I know Sean hates to hear that, but it is no less a fact for him hating it.

    The problem with LaSierra is that it is sponsored by a religious denomination, the SDA Church, that has a very definite and extremely important belief about origins, but some of the LaSierra professors are promoting and proselytizing for a different belief about origins. (Some of those professors might believe that their faith is actually dictated by the evidence but, as per the above, that only indicates that they believe so strongly in Darwinism that they don’t realize they’re exercising faith.)

    The bottom line is that the Adventist faith has to prevail at Adventist-sponsored institutions. If it doesn’t, if those institutions are used as platforms for promoting an alternative and in fact opposite faith, there simply isn’t any reason in the world for them to continue to exist. As Sean and Shane have repeated many times, Ford doesn’t hire salesmen to sell GM vehicles, and Coke doesn’t hire people to sell Pepsi. This isn’t rocket science.




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  4. To a simple soul who loves a Jesus, who loves the commoner, that from my perspective, with my high school education if what I just read is the king English that will be used in Heaven, then I just think I would rather go to hell. I don’t know who the author impressed but it really flew right square over my Cuckoo’s nest.
    (syllogistic vectoring or fusillades of quotes.)What, come again and again and again. Chew on that one for a while ye publicans. Could some one please break it down for those of us that are still on pablum




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  5. @David Read:

    Origins is within the domain of faith. No one has ever had, now has, or ever will have the slightest idea how we and the world and the universe got here. Anyone who claims he does is just showing that his faith is so strong it has blinded him to the fact that he’s even exercising faith. You believe what you decide to believe and organize the evidence accordingly. I know Sean hates to hear that, but it is no less a fact for him hating it.

    If origins were entirely within the realm of faith as you suggest, without any real need for support from empirical evidence beyond what exists for Santa Claus or garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, then why should it matter what is or isn’t taught in our science classrooms? – if there is no rational empirically-based means of distinguishing between any form of religion? Couldn’t the very same faith-only claims can be used by Latter-day Saints, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, and all forms of protestantism without any empirical means to see which one among many competing options is most likely true?

    Could it be that it is because empirical evidence does in fact have an impact on the faith of most rational people that this is even an issue at all at LSU?

    Given your agreement with the likes of Phil Brantley when it comes to faith in the validity of the Genesis account without the need for evidence, how is Brantley mistaken in his conclusion that it really doesn’t matter what is taught in science department since empirical evidence should have absolutely no effect on faith in the credibility of any book claiming to be “God’s Word”?

    Isn’t it possible, as Dr. Kime suggests, that rational faith does not exist without the backing of evidence? and that empirical evidence is essentially worthless, even in science, without the ability to take a leap of faith beyond that which can be absolutely proven? As Dr. Kime points out, faith and evidence seem to have been designed by God to go hand-in-hand. One does not function well, if at all, without the other.

    As an aside, it is the evidence that has brought many people not born into Christianity to recognize the Bible as the Word of God. Wouldn’t this be impossible if evidence had no essential role to play in leading at least some people to recognize the Bible as God’s Word and to understand the trustworthiness of the historical accounts mentioned in it?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. From someone who really has a hard time understanding all the ins and outs of the “science” in favor of evolution, I feel I have all the “evidence” I need for believing the creation story in Genesis in the many prophecies contained in the Bible. Prophecies which, in many cases, were given centuries before the events took place in what is now history. (I’ve never been able to confirm this but I have read that almost 40% of the Bible is prophecy.) And I suspect there are many like me in the Adventist church–as well as believing Christians “out there somewhere.”

    As Ellen White plainly says, there will be many in heaven that were never privileged to have even heard of the Adventist message which, as I see it, really puts to great shame those of us who have heard of it but turned our backs on it. What excuse will those who have done this have when the sky is “rolled back as a scroll” and they have to face the One who has returned to save His own? I suspect they will be the loudest crying out for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the face of the One who created us, Who died to save us, and Who gave us so many reasons to believe in what He has said.

    I don’t believe there will be much joking and finger pointing on that great and wonderful day. So enjoy your “fun” while you can. Someday–and I believe sooner than any of us think–you will wish with all your heart that you could live your life over.




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  7. Thank you Dr. Kime for your well worded analysis! I hope this website will continue to stick to the topic of La Sierra and what is going on there. By the way, what IS going on? Anything? Same old things? Does anyone know?




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  8. I would just like to point out that there are signs all around us that tell us we are approaching the end of ttime more rapidly than many would wish to believe. To name a few:

    Our economy runs on oil and the scientists tell us that we will run out of it in about 40-50 years. So far there is nothing to replace it except nuclear energy–which is, as we already know, extremely dangerous. One country, and I think it is Germany (someone please correct me if I’m wrong) is already beginning to stop using it.

    That our monetary system is in a state of disaster and the financial crisis , which is still in its early stages,should be apparent to every thinking person, and will soon be upon us. Gas prices are over $4.00 a gallon now and will only get worse the closer we come to running out of oil. Medical and educational costs are skyrocketing, the housing bubble has collapsed, stock markets are plunging, unemployment is global even as it’s population is growing by leaps and bounds and starvation is every where–even here in America.

    We have excessive government debt as well as tremendous personal debt. There doesn’t seems to be little doubt among thinkers that we are headed for another depression (which, “they” say that will make the one in the 20’s and 30’s look like good times.) As one who lived through it, I can assure you they weren’t!

    The retirement checks many of you receive through the church will begin to drastically shrink–and may eventually be unpayable as unemployment grows and tithes begin to shrink. You don’t depend on those checks as you have ample investments as well as a good bank account? Well, don’t depend on them either.

    One of my uncles was one of, if not THE richest man in our town, and laughed when my grandmother repeatedly begged him to go get his money out of the bank. The last time she called him he told her to mind her own business and slammed down the phone–he knew what he was doing and he didn’t need the advice of an old woman who only had a third grade education!

    Well, that very night the banks closed and every one was surrounded by police with guns drawn–at least in our town. No one could enter a bank and he, as well as thousands of others, were instantly reduced to paupers. (What happened to their money or the thousands of dollars worth of jewelry my aunt owned will never be known this side of eternity.)

    You don’t have yours in a bank? You may be feeling very safe and secure because you have many good investments–but even the stock market is also having it’s problems you know. (I was only 5 when the depression hit so I don’t know if there even was a stock market back in those days.)

    The value of the dollar (which is no longer backed by gold) will shrink. It is only the faithful few that have the promise that their food and water will be sure in those awful times we are facing–and even that won’t be a banquet–but my God will see to it that it is enough! (Who knows, He may even be sending us manna from heaven and water from a rock at that time–and that’s fine with me! I’ve always wanted to taste manna anyway!)

    Please, those of you who are preaching “another gospel” stop and think. Are you sure it is truly worth the price you will someday soon have to pay?




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  9. David Read September 12, 2011 at 8:39 pm “I’m not sure the faith vs. evidence routine is really all that germane to the LaSierra controversy.

    Origins is within the domain of faith. No one has ever had, now has, or ever will have the slightest idea how we and the world and the universe got here. Anyone who claims he does is just showing that his faith is so strong it has blinded him to the fact that he’s even exercising faith. You believe what you decide to believe and organize the evidence accordingly. I know Sean hates to hear that, but it is no less a fact for him hating it.”

    David, we generally agree with what the bible says about creation in the book of Genesis. And we all in general think everyone working for the denomination should be careful to represent the concensus of how the church believes on this issue.

    I for one, don’t believe in “faith alone” apart from the bibles own defense of itself by way of the evidence it presents for its own validated authority.

    For me, and some others, bible prophecy is the strongest “evidence” for its self affirming authority.

    Anytime the phrase “faith alone” is used, it must be qualifed as to its meaning and application. For the reformation, it was faith in the merits of Christ alone, vs. the idea of merit in human works.

    We might use it in several other ways, such as “faith alone” in the bible vs. other written ideas of religious truth.

    Or, “faith alone” in Protestantism vs. a Catholic and Protestant unity.

    For Paul, it was “faith alone” in Christ vs. the ceremonial law.

    For some of us it might be “faith alone” in historic bible Adventism vs. other Protestant faiths.

    Faith has no definition unless it is faith in something. Faith always has an object of faith.

    And while I don’t exactly agree with Sean on the way he presents his view, I certainly do agree there can be no viable faith in anything without some basis for evidence to build our faith on.

    I am not as “gung-ho” on science as Sean is. I think he overplays the value of science to affirm the biblical revelation. Having said that, I don’t deny that science has some value as evidence but not as valuable as he seem to imply.

    So, I don’t think we need to play off one against the other. We just need to understand the role of evidence in the context of faith and how faith is developed and maintained.

    Bill Sorensen




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  10. I’m shocked by all the thumbs-ups for David Read’s post (currently 10:1) and thumbs-downs for Sean Pitman’s response to David Read (currently 2:7).




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  11. @Wesley Kime,
    One of the fundamentals of Adventism is that truth is truth no matter where it comes from. Faith and evidence when properly understood cannot be in conflict, and if there is a perceived conflict, then our understanding of one or the other, or both is inadequate.

    Our understanding of scripture is supposed to inform our understanding of science, and our understanding of science is supposed to inform our understanding of scripture.

    Mrs. White objected to those in her day who were using science to attack truth found in scripture. Here we are seeing the opposite. Some are using a limited and constricted understanding of scripture to attack truth found in science.

    I don’t personally see any inherent conflict between belief in God as the creator and evolution as I see it in the lab. I invite those who have faith, to explore with me what that means spiritually.




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  12. Lydian said……

    “I would just like to point out that there are signs all around us that tell us we are approaching the end of ttime more rapidly than many would wish to believe.”

    Lydian, some of us believe that the events that are happening now are not necessarily holding back or hastening the Coming of Jesus.

    It is more likely that God is simply holding the “winds of strife” and when He is ready, He will release the torrent.

    There is an element of evil that must and will mature before God acts. A certain amount that He has set, beyond which, He will tolerate no more.

    As for this “false gospel”, people who embrace and believe it do not consider it false. You know it is, and I know it is, and so do a few others. But the world generally thinks it is true, mostly because they want to and hope it is, and partly because it has a certain logic and sense or reasonablness.

    As we know and see even in the creation and evolution discussion, human wisdom seeks to understand the things of God on a purely rational basis. So, they examine nature, and if the bible does not agree with their conclusions, they abandon the bible for human logic.

    But one thing is certain as you have suggested, we are surely near the end for all the reasons the bible gives us.

    And for you and me, the final challenge is this, Is it possible the church God has ordained to give the last message of grace and judgment will become the final antichrist movement?

    I say it is possible. And unless church members take this possibility seriously, it will surely become a reality. To deny the possibility is to guarantee the final failure. For no one will act, if they think they don’t need to.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • 9-25-11
      Bill said:

       “And for you and me, the final challenge is this, Is it possible the church God has ordained to give the last message of grace and judgment will become the final antichrist movement?

       “ I say it is possible. And unless church members take this possibility seriously, it will surely become a reality. To deny the possibility is to guarantee the final failure. For no one will act, if they think they don’t need to.

      **************************

      Bill, Ellen White plainly say there will be a “falling away” and that “Many will leave our ranks.”  But I’ve never seen a quotation where she even intimates that it will become the final antichrist movement–but then, I confess, I haven’t read every sentence that she wrote.  

      I do remember reading in several places that there will be a great “falling away from the truth” and that “many will leave our ranks and become some of our bitterest enemies.”  (These may not be quoted 100% accurately because I didn’t take the time to actually look them up but I think they are the general idea of what she said.)    I believe there are many honest hearted Adventists around the world that will be ready–and that many other honest hearted people  will join our ranks when they see all the signs taking place in the world.

      We are plainly told that there will be a “great shaking” to take place among us–and I am more convinced every day that this mess we are in could well be the thing that will bring this shaking on.  Couple that with scientists telling us we will be running out of oil in 30-40 years and so far we do not have anything to take it’s place.  Since the world’s economy depends on oil (our airplanes, cars, boats and many other things) it  isn’t hard for me to see how the world’s economy can collapse and everything spin out of control.

      However, I really don’t see Jesus waiting that long because the United States clearly has a place in the final events so it must remain a “super power” to do this.  What this does tell me–and many folks probably won’t agree–is that Jesus’ return is a whole lot closer than we dream of.  

      Ellen White also tells us that it is vital that we study and really get to know and understand Daniel and the Revelation.  They are THE Books that are written for OUR TIME and if we do NOT know, understand, and share them with others we will not go through and be ready to meet Jesus when He does come. As I am beginning to think, all of this evolution thing–which I’ll agree is important–but it can become a distraction for many–that will bind our eyes to this other, vitally important, point.   We were once known as “the people of the Book” but I don’t think that is true today.

      And I totally agree with this statement of yours that “no one will act, if they think they don’t need to.”




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  13. Jeff Kent, Educate Truth readers know that I do not think that the Adventist view of origins is “without any real support from empirical evidence beyond what exists for Santa Claus or garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” They know that I wrote a 600 page book that spends many pages exploring how the evidence supports the Adventist view of origins. They know that the evidence is very important to me, and that I certainly do not advocate anything like a “by faith alone” approach to believing in the veracity of the Genesis narrative.

    It is precisely because I know that empirical evidence is important that I disagree with the teaching of Darwinism as truth at Adventist colleges. It is because I understand that origins is within the realm of faith that I understand that Darwinism is NOT science but merely atheistic apologetics posing as science. Obviously it is grossly inappropriate for professors at an Adventist college to be make apologetical arguments for atheism.

    I share with my good friend Phil Brantley a very high view of Scripture; I disagree with Phil only in that Phil doesn’t seem to realize that mainstream origins science is nothing but atheistic apologetics, and he sees no harm in teaching it to Adventist young people.

    I advocate teaching creationism in Adventist colleges because I want our young people to be shown how the data of nature can be interpreted and understood in a way that supports our biblical faith. Sean and I are on the same page with regard to that bottom line. Sean may argue that creationism is science, I say it is closer to being a specialized area of Christian apologetics, but an essentially semantical debate isn’t likely to be very useful.




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  14. I’m shocked by Kent’s appeal to statistics as evidence of veracity.

    This case should be decided on its merits, not by the numbers of those of check yes or no.




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  15. @Professor Kent:
    The comments in this column are surely depressing. Is this the face of the true Adventist Church that would show the Grace of the God to the world in the 21st century? What are the representatives we have here; a skilled wordsmith with a doctorate in medicine and according to scopus publishing his last peer reviewed paper in 1974, an 87 year old who admits that she has trouble with the science, a lawyer who believes that the civilization practicing genetic engineering around 2000BC disappeared without a trace but Skara Brae. A former CTO of a fortune 500 company who perseverates about statements in spiritual gifts but seems oblivious to the anachronistic content of titles as a “Solemn appear to Mothers” and a Minister that is overjoyed that we should reprise the official actions of 1980 and purify the true church.
    Despite their lack of anything approaching skill or understanding of science they are all happy to engage in character assasination of 2 academics who have the temerity to recognize the cognitive dissonance between traditional Adventist positions and the reality of 20th century understanding.
    It is fortunate that the hostility of the discussion here is not mirrored in the Church that I know and attend.




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  16. Professor Kent: I’m shocked by all the thumbs-ups for David Read’s post (currently 10:1) and thumbs-downs for Sean Pitman’s response to David Read (currently 2:7).

    Prof. Kent, Why are you shocked. You have the same types of rating from virtually all your posts. Does that also shock you?




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  17. Holly said……

    “Prof. Kent, Why are you shocked. You have the same types of rating from virtually all your posts. Does that also shock you?”

    It is likely that at least some tend to vote up or down based on who said what. And then there is the likelihood that some may not exactly understand what is being said, and assume it is not in agreement with their own faith.

    In the end, we can’t take to seriously how many voted one way or the other. It is really not a big deal, is it?

    Bill Sorensen




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  18. Ken, thanks for the link to that article about feathers in amber. The idea that any of the feathers were dinosaur feathers is speculation, but the article for lay readers including its headline and a short video clip embedded in the article, report that speculation as though it were fact.

    Maybe they were dinosaurs feathers, maybe not. The scientists don’t know and neither does anyone else. It’s a good lesson on being careful about believing headlines, especially headlines of lay articles about scientific findings.




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  19. Pauluc, I didn’t mention Skara Brae in my book . . . but I wish I had. It has very tidy stone walls with built in stone furniture and, apparently, a sewage system. I did mention nearby Maes Howe, which is a passage grave in which a long passage is oriented toward the sunset at the winter solstice.

    These remarkable monuments, and many others like them, show that man has not always been on an upward trajectory, as Darwinian theory would indicate, but has had peaks and valleys. The earliest people to inhabit Scotland had a level of civilization much higher than what would be achieved for thousands of years afterward.




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  20. Thank you for your comment, Bill.

    I agree with you that the things that are happening do not hasten nor delay Jesus coming. My point was that I believe that they do show, at least to me,that the things happening all around us indicate that it is a lot nearer than we realize.

    The nations are angry, violence is increasing,morals can’t get much worse and many thinking people are saying “something BIG is going to happen soon!” But they have no clue as to what it is.

    It’s our responsibility to tell them and I am thankful for the many ministries that are doing just that. But what about the laity? Don’t we realize we have a responsibility too?

    I think many–maybe the majority–of us are sleep at the wheel and unless we wake up and “be about our Father’s business” we may wake up too late and find ourselves, like the virgins who went to find more oil, “outside the door.”




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  21. Holly Pham: Prof. Kent, Why are you shocked. You have the same types of rating from virtually all your posts. Does that also shock you?

    I expect more thumbs down than thumbs up because I disagree with the methods and negativity of this website. However, I’m shocked that the originator of this website would also get more thumbs down than thumbs up. This does not shock you?




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  22. pauluc: The comments in this column are surely depressing. Is this the face of the true Adventist Church that would show the Grace of the God to the world in the 21st century? … It is fortunate that the hostility of the discussion here is not mirrored in the Church that I know and attend.

    Couldn’t agree more. A Church like this would never grow to become millions strong.




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  23. David Read: Maybe they were dinosaurs feathers, maybe not. The scientists don’t know and neither does anyone else. It’s a good lesson on being careful about believing headlines, especially headlines of lay articles about scientific findings.

    David, you would find the original article very compelling (I realize you probably lack access to it); the photos of the feathers are especially fascinating. Here is a key paragraph that conveys the position of the authors:

    Although neither avian nor dinosaurian skeletal material has been found in direct association with amber at the Grassy Lake locality, fossils of both groups are present in adjacent stratigraphic units. Hadrosaur footprints are found in close association with the amber, and younger (late Campanian and Maastrichtian) strata of western Canada contain diverse nonavian dinosaur (26) and avian (27, 28) remains. There is currently no way to refer the feathers in amber with certainty to either birds or the rare small theropods from the area (26). However, the discovery of endmembers of the evolutionary-developmental spectrum in this time interval, and the overlap with structures found only in nonavian dinosaur compression fossils, strongly suggests that the protofeathers described here are from dinosaurs and not birds. Given that stage I filaments were present in densities relevant for thermoregulation and protection, and that comparable structures are preserved as coronae surrounding compression fossils, it becomes apparent that protofeathers had important nonornamental functions. Specialized barbule morphologies, including basal coiling, suggest that Campanian feather-bearers had already evolved highly specialized structures similar to those of modern grebes to enhance diving efficiency.

    Respectfully,

    Professor Kent
    Professing Christ until the whole world hears




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  24. We are a confrontational church, and when we cease to be one, both within and without, we will cease to be effective in advancing the kingdom of God.

    Jesus was very confrontational. Every thing we do should be “salvational” in its motive and action. A condecending patronizing religion will never prepare people for Jesus soon coming.

    It will prepare people for the antichrist movement that is culminated in Satan’s personation of the second coming.

    Educate Truth has been and still is a viable challenge to things that have developed in our church. And so the comment….

    “The comments in this column are surely depressing. Is this the face of the true Adventist Church that would show the Grace of the God to the world in the 21st century? … It is fortunate that the hostility of the discussion here is not mirrored in the Church that I know and attend.”

    The spirituality of the church you attend may be less than commendable in all its activities. I don’t know one way or the other. But when you condemn this forum for being confrontational, it would bring into question what you think real Christian witnessing is all about.

    A Sign of Growth.”–Whenever the people of God are growing in grace, they will be constantly obtaining a clearer understanding of His word. They will discern new light and beauty in its sacred truths. This has been true in the history of the church in all
    39
    ages, and thus it will continue to the end. But as real spiritual life declines, it has ever been the tendency to cease to advance in the knowledge of the truth. Men rest satisfied with the light already received from God’s word, and discourage any further investigation of the Scriptures. They become conservative, and seek to avoid discussion. {CW 38.3}
    The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what.” {CW 39.1} EGW

    Bill Sorensen




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  25. Dear David and Prof Kent

    Re Proto Feathers

    Gentleman, thank you for your comments. I quite agree that one should not jump to conclusions and look at all the facts and data. Hopefully more fossils will be discovered that shed more light on the issue.

    Are proto feathers indicative of a transition of dinosaurs to birds? Can one consider a proto feather  preserved in amber  to be a transitional fossil?  

    Does this make our friend Bob Ryan’s  mantra of ‘birds from dinosaurs’ not so absurd after all? Bob?

    Glad to see the site back up and running.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  26. Bill, Ellen White plainly say there will be a “falling away” and that “Many will leave our ranks.”  But I’ve never seen a quotation where she even intimates that it will become the final antichrist movement–but then, I confess, I haven’t read every sentence that she wrote.

    A couple of statements…..

    ” In the balances of the sanctuary the Seventh-day Adventist church is to be weighed. She will be judged by the privileges and advantages that she has had. If her spiritual experience does not correspond to the advantages that Christ, at infinite cost, has bestowed on her, if the blessings conferred have not qualified her to do the work entrusted to her, on her will be pronounced the                                                                            60sentence: “Found wanting.” By the light bestowed, the opportunities given, will she be judged. . . .  {LDE 59.3} 

    And this one…..

    it was decided that we would return to Battle Creek and there remain while the roads were in a muddy, broken-up condition, and that I would there complete No. 12. My husband was very anxious to see his brethren at Battle Creek and speak to them and rejoice with them in the work which God was doing for him. I gathered up my writings, and we started on our journey. On the way we held two meetings in Orange and had evidence that the church                                                                            578was profited and encouraged. We were ourselves refreshed by the Spirit of the Lord. That night I dreamed that I was in Battle Creek looking out from the side glass at the door and saw a company marching up to the house, two and two. They looked stern and determined. I knew them well and turned to open the parlor door to receive them, but thought I would look again. The scene was changed. The company now presented the appearance of a Catholic procession. One bore in his hand a cross, another a reed. And as they approached, the one carrying a reed made a circle around the house, saying three times: “This house is proscribed. The goods must be confiscated. They have spoken against our holy order.” Terror seized me, and I ran through the house, out of the north door, and found myself in the midst of a company, some of whom I knew, but I dared not speak a word to them for fear of being betrayed. I tried to seek a retired spot where I might weep and pray without meeting eager, inquisitive eyes wherever I turned. I repeated frequently: “If I could only understand this! If they will tell me what I have said or what I have done!”  {1T 577.2}       I wept and prayed much as I saw our goods confiscated. I tried to read sympathy or pity for me in the looks of those around me, and marked the countenances of several whom I thought would speak to me and comfort me if they did not fear that they would be observed by others. I made one attempt to escape from the crowd, but seeing that I was watched, I concealed my intentions. I commenced weeping aloud, and saying: “If they would only tell me what I have done or what I have said!” My husband, who was sleeping in a bed in the same room, heard me weeping aloud and awoke me. My pillow was wet with tears, and a sad depression of spirits was upon me.  {1T 578.1}

    Interesting dream to say the least. She does not say what it means and its application.

    And we must remember the Jews held to a view of election that was non-biblical. We could just as easily do the same thing.

    Bill Sorensen 
     




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  27. Bill Sorensen September 16, 2011 at 5:49 am

    “We are a confrontational church, and when we cease to be one, both within
    and without, we will cease to be effective in advancing the kingdom of God.”

    *********

    A physician who says to his patient: “There is nothing to worry about,” when
    a cancer is growing by leaps and bound should seek another line of work. Jesus
    said:

    “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace
    to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”




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    • confrontatonal ? its about time when truth is being assualted by people from witin the church education structure. When you compare it ti say the fundemental issue in the Mormon church wuth polagamy. If this is what it takes for the church to come to terms with fundemental doctornial issues. Bring it on..




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  28. Bcondon77: confrontatonal ? its about time when truth is being assualted by people from witin the church education structure. When you compare it ti say the fundemental issue in the Mormon church wuth polagamy. If this is what it takes for the church to come to terms with fundemental doctornial issues. Bring it on..

    I agree completely. Why are not more of our leaders not confronting those who would destroy our SDA Church and its biblically-based principles?

    From what I’ve heard directly from some of them–they are afraid to speak up.




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  29. A Servant: I’m shocked by Kent’s appeal to statistics as evidence of veracity. This case should be decided on its merits, not by the numbers of those of check yes or no.

    Speaking of statistics, has La Sierra done another survey to see if its students have changed as far as their perception of how “evolution as fact” is taught?

    Also, does anyone have accurate statistics on how many non-SDA’s attend La Sierra. I’ve heard it’s over 30%. When it gets to over 50%, will they have to reformulate the questions, since the majority probably won’t care about whether or how this subject is taught?




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