An SDA school is not set up simply to present …

Comment on PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood? by Brandy Radoias.

An SDA school is not set up simply to present all sides of an issue without any bias in favor of the SDA perspective. After all, what’s the point in having an SDA school if the SDA position on the topic at hand is not favored by the professors who are presenting the topic?

The “point” of having an SDA school, Sean, is to provide a safe place for SDA youth to learn (and debate) the whole (read: complete) truth as it pertains to both their faith and their world, not simply to serve as a place of blind indoctrination. Implying that professors should always favor the SDA position on any topic they present leads me to believe that you are completely missing the “point” of education, SDA or otherwise.

If our schools are not clearly supportive of the unique SDA goals and ideals, there really is no point in having our schools vs. sending our young people to a non-denominational Christian school or even a public university in some cases…

Allow me to swiftly dispel you of the notion that PUC and other non-dogmatic SDA schools are no more of an asset to the SDA student than non-denominational or secular schools, or that they are driving young people away from the Church; if anything they are helping us stay put. In fact, attending PUC was the single contributing factor to my decision to remain a Seventh-Day Adventist, and had I chosen to attend a different university I likely would have left the Church a long time ago on the basis of its intolerance and narrow-mindedness. Yes, PUC has opened my eyes to a lot of conflicting ideologies, because–newsflash–college does that, but being able to turn to like-minded individuals who were going through the same inner conflicts helped me to feel less alone and ultimately convinced me not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. And that, for me, is the “point” of attending an SDA school. I suppose one person’s testimonial means next to nothing to you, Sean, since you seem to have already made up your mind on the issue, but gross generalizations are not my style, and I am reluctant to speak for the mass of SDA college students/graduates, though I suspect that more than a few of them have had similar experiences in our schools.

I see some here using the term “believe in creation” a loosely. Just because someone says he/she believes in creation doesn’t mean she/he believes that God created all the original animals and us within six-days.

Heaven forbid that someone should allow for the possibility of symbolic truth in the Bible. Can I ask, Shane, what makes the literal six-day creation week so paramount to one’s faith in Christ? Is your faith so weak that you must dwell in the minutia in order for your life to make sense? I honestly cannot understand some people’s obsession with literal truth, especially in light of all the Biblical symbolism that has been revealed and accepted by Adventism since our Church’s inception. Why is it not enough to believe in God AS WELL as in evolution? Why does that make me less of an Adventist?

I think there is something seriously wrong because the man is clearly biased in this video, leaving little room for the student’s to decide for themselves.

Wow, Lisa, you must have little to no faith (no pun intended) in the intellect of the average PUC student if you really think one man’s lecture is going to drastically sway an entire group of them into believing as you think he does. Perhaps you are confusing PUC students with their much younger counterparts raised in the Adventist system who are too young and naive to question what they are told, but I assure you that PUC professors do not resort to that particular brand of primary Sabbath-school tactics.

Remember, one only realizes that he or she was in the clouds of deception when such deception has passed.

Funny, that’s exactly the realization I came to in a single year at PUC regarding my staunch Adventist upbringing.

Brandy Radoias Also Commented

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Kevin Paulson,

At the risk of straying even farther away from the original topic of this post, I must ask, again: how do YOU explain the process of natural selection in the natural world?

You are holding strong with your views on natural selection, yet you never answered my question. And while we’re on the subject, I don’t really understand what you are trying to prove by invoking examples of the many ways Darwinist principles have failed in human societies. No one is disputing that fact, including most atheists. This is why we differentiate between the natural world and the rational world, both of which humans are a part. Did God not create us with the necessary equipment to rule over the fish in the sea?

To answer your question, I am willing to accept the authority of the Bible while also taking into consideration the fallible nature of the humans who have interpreted, authored and compiled it. You say that “all must be tested by the objective measure of God’s written counsel.” I would add that all must also be tested by the subjective measure of Christ’s teachings.

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Kevin Paulson,

As I said before, I do not wish to go into too much depth regarding my personal beliefs, so I’ll decline to respond to your assessment/evaluation of what you regard to be the validity of my faith (which, by the way, is astonishingly thorough and definitive considering how little you know about me or my faith); on that matter, I will simply say that I, like you and everyone, have the a right to a worldview of my choosing, and whether or not you approve of my brand of Adventism/Christianity is, quite frankly, immaterial. But thank you for rhetoric, which led me to ponder a new question: Can the SDA Church excommunicate members based solely on their beliefs?

I do want to address one erroneous assumption you made about me:

You say you believe in God “on most days” and that you are willing to allow God to have set in motion the process of natural selection which you acknowledge to be brutal and merciless.

If you go back and read my last comment, you will absolutely not find my alleged acknowledgment that the process of natural selection is indeed brutal or merciless. I frankly am hard-pressed to see how one could misinterpret my words so drastically. In fact, I do not think natural selection as it exists in the wild is all that brutal or merciless. Or perhaps you believe that, had original sin never occurred, all of God’s creatures would still be living in perfect harmony with one another, multiplying ad infinitum?

I assume you know that the historical consequences of believing in this means of natural progress, and in applying it to the human experience, have been grotesque.

I am so perplexed by this argument. No member of rational society, of which I consider myself a part, is suggesting that the process that governs the world of beasts should ever be applied to humans, and you won’t find many intelligent atheists, let alone Christian humanists, who will use natural selection as an excuse for the truly merciless and brutal behavior of HUMANS.

Just out of curiosity, what is your take on the origin of the natural selection process in the natural world? You don’t appear to reject that it exists, so I’m wondering how you explain it.

It is clear where your ideas and perspective have led you.

Careful there, Pastor. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Such clarity only serves to further demonstrate the incompatibility of such educational methods as those you defend with the goals and purposes of authentic Adventism.

What exactly is this “authentic” Adventism of which you speak? Is it Adventism as it is prescribed by and trickled down from the higher echelons of the GC? Is it the Adventism of 1863? I’m genuinely curious to hear your thoughts.

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Kevin Paulson:

I appreciate your attempt to answer some of my rhetorical questions from earlier, but with all due respect, the answers you provided are not ones that I have not pondered at length–sometimes ad nauseam–myself many times before. I will not go into too much depth regarding my personal philosophies/beliefs/faith, but let’s suffice it to say that there is room in my heart and mind for the possibility of a creator God AND the scientific laws by which our world is governed almost irrefutably. The logistics of the matter are not important to me; I believe in God (on most days) and I believe that natural selection as a theory has great merit (is it not possible for an omnipotent God to have set such a process in motion? Or, since you appear to regard the process as “brutal” and “merciless”, is it not possible for it to have been just another result of sin?) Ultimately, I am personally open enough to the mysteries of the divine that “having the answers” is not at the top of my list of priorities. What can knowing the “real” duration of the creation process or the “real” age of the Earth contribute to a person’s faith in Christ? I leave the “knowing” to the experts, earthly and otherwise.

I make no secret of the fact that my Adventism is mostly cultural rather than religious, and that in fact I find certain principles upheld by the SDA Church to be, at best, antiquated, and at worst, oppressive. Perhaps I should have led with this bit of information, so as to enable you to promptly deem me a “lost cause” and move on.

Finally, I disagree with you on this last part:

It is for this reason that one cannot believe in the Christ of Scripture and still believe in evolution. This is why there is no room in the Seventh-day Adventist Church for one who teaches and believes in Darwinian macro-evolution.

I don’t believe an institution of higher education, regardless of its denominational slant, should concern itself with the personal beliefs of its employees whatsoever, nor are said personal beliefs even relevant in a science classroom setting, whatever they are. In my opinion, a science professor is merely required to teach the science, and the fact that Dr. Ness is fair enough to present both sides of the issue at PUC (and as a former student of his, believe me, he does) is sheer graciousness on his part.