@Bill Sorensen: Well, we will continue to disagree on what …

Comment on Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe by Sean Pitman.

@Bill Sorensen:

Well, we will continue to disagree on what we think the bible teaches on this point. You stated “All know, inherently from very early childhood, that it is wrong to take something that isn’t yours…..”

This is false. Unless they are taught bible morality, they are totally selfish. And I said that society has been influenced by Christanity and so even the heathen have some knowledge of truth. Not because it is an inherent knowledge, but because it has been communicated down through history by way of a Christian influence.

There have been heathen societies in history that never did have exposure to Christianity whatsoever – like various people of the North and South Americas before the Americas were discovered by “Christian” Europeans. Many times these peoples acted much more kindly and generously than did the Europeans – even to risking their own lives to save the European strangers. While there were waring tribes no doubt it wasn’t the Christian influence that gave those groups and individuals who acted kindly their moral consciences.

The very same thing can be seen in very small children who do not have to be taught how to love unselfishly. There is a gifted component of “enmity” against evil and for love from birth. If there were not, heathen peoples who were not “taught” by the Christian influence would have absolutely basis upon which to find Christianity attractive or upon which to express any kind of love or empathy with their fellowman.

There have also been those who grew up in environments or cultures that had a very twisted concept of God. Yet, even in these cultures people could be found who lived a life of love and concern for their fellowman.

In short, you cannot morally judge a person, any person, based on if they do or do not understand something like the literal 6-day creation week. You say you are not judging eternal destiny, but given your claim to be able to make current moral judgments you would be able to judge the eternal destiny of those who have died in a state of doctrinal error – such as was Wallenberg’s condition when he died not believing in the existence of God; yet having saved over 100,000 lives. This is something that you clearly cannot do. Only God knows the true moral state of Wallenber’s soul – not you.

So, the bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray speaking lies as soon as they are born.” Ps. 58

This scripture alone shows your misunderstanding of sin and how it has affected the human family. I am quite sure you don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin. And because of this, you have a limited and superficial understanding of sin and how it has affected humanity.

You’re quite mistaken. It just goes to show how easy it is to misjudge another person based on limited information and limited subject reasoning ability. The fact is that I think it is quite clear that all are sinful from birth, born into rebellion. However, it is also quite clear to me that we have been given an ability by God to know what is right and to actually choose to follow the right – without being “taught” by any other human being what is and isn’t morally right.

If our moral sensibilities depended upon being taught the right thing, no one could be held morally accountable who wasn’t taught the right thing. Since everyone is in fact a free moral agent, according to the Bible and Mrs. White, everyone must be able to be held morally accountable to something – to some universal moral standard of right and wrong to which everyone is naturally aware.

Babies are born selfish. Do you have any children, Sean? If so, how can you not see and know the reality of this truth?

I do have a son. He, like the rest of us, was born selfish, but not entirely so. Again, there is a component of knowledge regarding right and wrong – recognizable from a few months of age. There is a moral conflict from infancy within us all – between what we know to be right and what we know to be wrong. Otherwise, we would not be free moral agents.

And finally, I never said or suggested anyone could know 100% the motive of anyone else. You build a straw man. I said we have adequate knowledge to make a moral judgment on the motive of others and act accordingly.

If you cannot know, 100%, the motives of another, you cannot be 100% certain that your “judgment on motive” is actually correct. There is some doubt that remains. You should give the benefit of this doubt to the other person and limit your judgment to a statement of error without adding that you consider them to be morally corrupt at the same time.

We judge motive and the attitude of others continually on a limited basis. And this Christians do in the church and in the world.

We should not do this when it comes to doctrinal differences on issues like the literal 6-day creation week. We can say that such a person is mistaken, but we cannot say, for sure, if such a person is in deliberate rebellion against what they clearly know in their own heart is the truth.

When we understand that sin is both rebellion and ignorance, we take both of these factors into account and judge situations as we consider both factors.

Sin is not based on ignorance at all. That’s my whole point. If this were true we would all be living in a constant state of sin because we are all ignorant of something. Even the angels in Heaven do not know everything. Are they therefore in a state of sin? – just because of their ignorance? Only God is all-knowing you know. You simply cannot rebel against that which you do no know or conscientiously understand. And, since you do not know what a person really does comprehend, you cannot know for sure if your moral judgment of that person is indeed accurate.

In some cases, we see that rebellion is the main issue and we act accordingly. Even if we know there is some ignorance present in any given situation. Eve represents deception and ignorance. Adam represents rebellion and wilful disobedience. None the less, there was some rebellion in Eve and some ignorance in Adam.

If Eve had been completely ignorant, she would not have been guilty of sin. It doesn’t matter how little she rebelled against what little she knew of the truth. It is the fact that she deliberately rebelled against known truth that she sinned. It was not because of her ignorance that she was charged with sin – not at all. If anything, her ignorance mitigated, somewhat, the magnitude of her sin, and allowed her, along with Adam, the oppertunity to come back to God, given greater light.

Compare this with the rebellion of Satan in the full light of knowledge of God and His character. No additional knowledge could be given to Satan that would bring him back. He is beyond all help because there was no component of ignorance at all in his rebellion.

To what degree there is wilful rebellion in the LSU fiasco, we can’t say precisely. But we are not so uninformed that we can not discern some wilful rebellion in the situation. Is some of it ignorance? Of course. But we don’t simply excuse the whole scenario as ignorance and dismiss it as an unfortunate situation.

You can’t say this with absolute certainty – at least not when it comes to if a professor does or does not honestly believe in the mainstream evolutionary perspective. You just don’t know for sure.

Now, when it comes to taking money while doing contrary to what you’re being paid to do, that’s a whole different story. There is a clear moral problem in this particular situation.

And we demand moral accountability to what ever extent we have a right to. And we “judge” that some have wilfully abandon their responsibility in the matter and call them to account for their action or lack of it.

I agree with you on this point. It is quite clear that there has been and is ongoing rebellion against the very clear wishes of one’s employer going on here – on the employer’s dime. For this, there is no valid excuse before God as far as I can tell. One simply cannot honestly claim ignorance of the right path here.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
In any case, any further comments concerning the morality or lack thereof of those involved with the LSU situation will no longer be posted here on Educate Truth. However, You are free to send me a personal E-mail if you wish (my E-mail can be obtained by visiting my website listed below).

Sincerely,

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
@Ron Stone M.D.:

Well, Sean, atheists have written books explaining what, why, and how they have rejected God’s Truth. Those at LSU have explained what they believe and why they have accepted Man’s word and rejected God’s Truth. You say we can never know anything about this, and they must not really “understand” what they are doing.

I don’t know if they do or do not really understand what they are doing; and neither do you. Only God knows for sure…

Not only would I and others here disagree with you, but I believe the atheists would disagree. The idea that church members cannot be “judged” by their words and actions is simply not biblical.

And the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross would have claimed at the time that they knew exactly what they were doing too… but did they really? Jesus prayed for them saying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34 NIV

It is quite possible that even if a person is very adamant that he/she knows exactly what he/she is doing, that this person may not really know. This is a possibility that only God knows for sure. You simply cannot make this particular type of moral judgment with complete accuracy. You and I can judge the rightness or wrongness of the word or act (specifically regarding a doctrine like the literal 6-day creation week), but we cannot judge the rightness or wrongness of the heart; the motive.

There is a difference between being mistaken and sinning. Sinning requires a deliberate rebellion against known truth – something that you cannot tell for sure in cases of doctrinal disagreements on such things as the literal creation week or the true origin of the Sabbath or any other such commandment that deals specifically with man’s relationship with his or her God and God alone.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Adventist Review: Pastors Who Don’t Believe
@Ron Stone M.D.:

Sean says Moses and the Prophets are “empirical” evidence then says they are not!

Moses and the prophets are only “empirical evidence” in support of the Bible’s credibility if they actually say something true regarding the real world in which we all live (which I think they clearly do).

However, if Moses and the prophets did in fact clearly contradicted the real world (i.e., real history), the hypothesis that the Bible’s credibility is supported by them would be effectively falsified (as is the case for the Book of Mormon, for example) in such a situation.

It is in this sense that things like biblical prophecy must be held up for testing before biblical prophecy can be rationally accepted as credible (at least any more credible than the Book of Mormon).

In other words, biblical credibility is dependent upon the empirical evidence. Without the empirical evidence, there would simply be no greater rational reason to believe the Bible as any more credible than some moral fable that someone simply made up as a “cleverly invented story”. – 2 Peter 1:16 NIV

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
The strong anti-vaxx stance of many Adventists has been a big surprise to me as well! I just don’t get it. We’re supposed to be strong supporters of good cutting-edge advances in medical science…


Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
I think it’s even less common than that. However, when my boys were vaccinated, we did have the techs pull back on the syringe both times (Link). Myocarditis occurs about twice after every 100,000 injections. On top of that, research shows it’s typically mild and resolves quickly (Link).


Dr. Aseem Malhotra: From Pro-Vax to Anti-Vax
Maybe rarely…


Natural vs. Vaccine-derived Immunity
Toby Rogers is a political economist who is also strongly anti-vax. He is not a medical scientist or physician.

In any case, this particular article, by Rogers, distorts the data regarding vaccines and the position of Dr. Peter Aaby – who is a strong supporter of vaccines in general (although, when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines, he seems to favor the adenovirus-based vaccines, such as Johnson and Johnson, AstraZeneca/Oxford or the one produced by China’s CanSino Biologics, over the mRNA-based vaccines – since the adenovirus-based vaccines may have more benefit on reducing “overall mortality – Link). Note, however, that this study found that of the 31 deaths that occured in mRNA-vaccinated individuals, only two were from COVID-19. The rest were due to other causes. For the adenovirus-vaccinated group, two of the 16 deaths were from COVID-19. It’s very difficult, then, to determine a clear relationship here between the different types of vaccines and deaths not related to COVID-19.

“The study isn’t about the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines against COVID,” said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security. “The study is aimed to determine if COVID vaccines have non-specific mortality impacts that extend beyond the incontrovertible mortality benefit they confer with COVID-19. Certain vaccines have effects that extend beyond the target infection and decrease mortality from other causes (e.g. measles vaccine).”

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, also said the question of the paper isn’t about COVID-19, but whether the vaccines had a beneficial effect on other causes of mortality. The research reinforced that both types of vaccines significantly prevented COVID-19 deaths, “which is not surprising as both types of vaccines generate cellular immunity against SARS-CoV-2, protecting us against severe disease.”

“However, to be fair,” Gandhi said, “the number of non-COVID and COVID deaths were rare in all of the pooled analyses and the causes of non-COVID deaths not well adjudicated, so this analysis needs to be taken as preliminary and hypothesis generating at best.”

(Link)

What’s interesting here is that studies have shown that the “all cause” mortality rate is also reduced for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 – to include those who’ve been vaccinated via the mRNA-based vaccines (Link).

Anyway, here’s a more balanced view of Dr. Aaby’s position on vaccines (Link). Note also that Dr. Aaby supported the vaccines against COVID-19 for adults (Link), but not necessarily for children since children have significantly reduced risk (compared to adults) for COVID-19 infections (Link). Dr. Aaby did publish some interesting results, however, suggesting that the polio vaccine, as well as the BCG and MMR vaccines, may also reduce childhood risk from COVID-19 as well (Link, Link).

“We would not be surprised if MMR could provide some protection against severe COVID-19,” said researcher Peter Aaby, of Bandim Health Project in Guinea-Bissau and Research Centre for Vitamins and Vaccines (CVIVA), Statens Serum Institut, a governmental public health and research institution under the Danish Ministry of Health in Copenhagen, Denmark and a pioneer in the field. “Together with my partner Dr. Christine Stabell Benn, we’ve been reporting on mortality reductions from live-attenuated vaccines such as polio, BCG and measles vaccine/MMR for multiple decades now, and arguing for optimized vaccine schedules. With the COVID-19 crisis adding urgency, it’s good to see the potential of non-specific immune effects being taken seriously.” (Link)

Overall, I do find Dr. Aaby’s main concern to be well-supported that vaccines may produce unforseen beneficial as well as detrimental side effects. In the case of COVID-19, however, it was very clear to me that the potential unknown risks were clearly outweighed when compared to the known risks of getting infected by COVID-19 as well as the very clear known benefits of being vaccinated – particularly for adults over the age of 50 and those with various medical conditions that put them at great risk. Even healthy children seemed to be far more at risk from a live COVID-19 infection than from the vaccines – particularly regarding long-term effects. Of course, this was all before the current less severe Omicron variant took over and the predominant variant worldwide. At this current point in time, vaccines against COVID-19 don’t seem to me to have as significant of an advantage compared to earlier on in the pandemic.

Hope this helps,

Sean


Back to Square One…
I’m not sure what “teachings” you have in mind here that need amending?