Comment on LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued by Nic Samojluk.
Professor Kent August 18, 2011 at 10:21 am
â€œSo, when God asked Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit, they were expected to trust Godâ€™s word implicitly? They did not understand the consequences of disobedience? I can guarantee you Sean Pitman will disagree with you.
By the way, I find the philosophical gymnastics to distinguish between â€œblind faithâ€ and â€œfaith informed by evidenceâ€ silly but also highly entertaining. Iâ€™m glad that so many of you feel so smug about elevating your faith above everyone elseâ€™s (Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, Adventists who humbly submit themselves to Godâ€™s Word), which justifies the belittlement of others here at Educate Truth. I consider this an exercise in Seventh-day Arrogance.
Adam and Eve did not understand the full extent of disobedience. They should have trusted on Godâ€™s word implicitly, but the faith the Lord required from them was not Blind, but rather solidly based on what God had done for them.
He had given them life, a perfect environment and supplied all their needs. Trusting in Godâ€™s warning would not have been blind faith.
I do not think that we are elevating our faith above that of others. If our faith is genuine, it is a gift of God, which should preclude us from being arrogant about what we have received; and if it is false, then there is no basis for being proud about it.
Only God can judge the genuineness of anybodyâ€™s faith. The faith of everyone is measured against the backdrop of the light a person has received.
The faith of a pagan who has been deprived of spiritual knowledge might be greater than that of a believer who has received great light but is not living according to his great knowledge.
Nic Samojluk Also Commented
Professor KentAugust 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm
â€œBy the way, Nic, I do agree with you that our belief in the resurrection of Jesus â€œrests solidly on all the miraculous events connected with the life of Christ and the testimony of all the witnesses who saw him and talked to him following his resurrection.â€
However, I find it ludicrous for someone (Pitman) to insist from a position of superiority that they would reject Scripture if its claims did not bear up to scientific scrutiny, when the resurrection of Jesus has absolutely failed his test of human reason. How can you continue to defend him?â€
Pitmanâ€™s claim that he would reject Scripture and leave Christianity in the event it could be proved that sin and suffering existed for millions of years, contrary to what is found in Genesis, can be interpreted as favoring his strong faith in the reliability of divine revelation.
You should not fault him for this. His firm faith in divine revelation is shared by the majority of Adventists, especially outside North America. Most Adventists in the rest of the world do not believe in the theory of Darwinian evolution.
This morning I read an article describing how Lamarckism is staging a comeback and challenging slow Darwinian evolution.
There seems to be scientific evidence favoring fast adaptation to the environment which would negate the claims made by Darwin. Time will tell who was right.
My personal view slightly differs from that of Pitman. In the event it could be proved beyond any doubt that life on earth did exist for millions of years, I would not reject Scripture, nor would I leave Christianity.
I would merely reinterpret the way I read Genesis and would probably adopt Dr. Jack Provonshaâ€™s alternative theory that suffering and evil were the results of Luciferâ€™s rebellion instead of Adamâ€™s sin.
But I would never blame Sean Pitman for his strong faith in divine revelation.
The story of creation we find in Genesis can be interpreted as a result of a visionary experience by Moses or else knowledge he received directly from God.
It can also be explained as the result of the rich tradition he received from his ancestors. Internal evidence seems to suggest that the second alternative might be quite reasonable given the fact that Moses did not document the source of his information.
This fact contrasts with the way he treated everything else he received from the Lord. Elsewhere in the Pentateuch, Moses had the habit of documenting the source of the information he was receiving from on high.
There is a chance that the Information we have in Genesis follows the Lucan model of inspiration. We do not have any basis for believing that what Luke wrote was the result of a visionary experience.
Actually, he claimed that the information he was recording for posterity was the result of scholarly investigation. I believe that it is very likely that Genesis was the result of a similar type of inspiration.
If this is correct, then I would be on safe ground allowing for Jack Provonshaâ€™s suggestion that his explanation for origin might be an acceptable alternative in the event it could be proved that evil and suffering did actually exists for millions of years.
In spite of all the above, I still believe that Pitman is probably safer in having a strong faith in the literal reading of Scripture.
I am not ready to condemn him for relying on the traditional reading of the story of creation. I suggest that you treat him with Christian kindness. He might be right after all, and those who disagree with him wrong.
Professor KentAugust 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm
I get it. So long as there are eyewitnesses to a Biblical claim, then it is based on â€œsolid evidenceâ€ rather than â€œblind faith.â€
Letâ€™s see nowâ€¦there are probably millions of Mormons who have witnessed the experience of a burning bosom while learning the â€œtruthsâ€ of their religion.
And there are thousands, perhaps millions, of people testifying that they have seen images and statues of Mother Mary weeping tears (try Googling this should you doubt me).
By your criteria, you would disagree with Sean Pitman and Educate Truth in accepting these miraculous claims.
By virtue of eyewitnesses, these Mormon and Catholic claims would be â€œfaith based on solid evidenceâ€ rather than â€œblind faith.â€ But I donâ€™t think youâ€™re willing to go there.
This is why Sean Pitman (aka Educate Truth) insists that physical, empirical, falsifiable evidence (science) is the gold standard by which we judge our beliefs, using human reason to decide whether Godâ€™s word is real and can be trusted.
And again, you and he are bereft of any such evidence for explaining the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus. Your level of evidence is no better than that for a statue of Mary weeping physical tears.
We canâ€™t seem to get beyond the bias of declaring oneâ€™s own beliefs â€œinformed evidenceâ€ and anyone elseâ€™s beliefs â€œblind faith.â€
Itâ€™s arbitrary. Itâ€™s arrogant. Itâ€™s absurd. Itâ€™s abominable. And itâ€™s wrong to use it as a pretext for publicly persecuting and smearing other individuals. Especially our brethren in Christ.
Mormons and Catholics base their beliefs on evidence as well. Is it solid evidence? Yes, it might be up to a point. It is like skating on thin ice. The ice may be thick enough on spots and you may think that there is no danger to you, but you are not safe. This is why there is a need to weigh the evidence.
Consider the case of Moses when he demanded the freedom of the Israelite slaves. He provided solid evidence that he was acting on the authority of Almighty God. The Egyptian magicians duplicated some of the miracles Moses performed in the presence of Pharaoh.
The problem came when the serpent of Moses devoured the serpents made by the magicians. The contest between Moses and the magicians continued until Pharaohâ€™s magicians were forced to admit â€œThis is Godâ€™s finger.â€
Both sides did produce evidence which seemed solid on first sight, but eventually the difference became clear. This is why Satan deceptions are so dangerous.
Ellen White tells us that when Eve was tempted to eat the forbidden fruit, she watched as the serpent was eating it without any noticeable effect and deduced that she was probably safe in eating it too.
Likewise Adam could not discern any change in the way Eve looked after eating the forbidden fruit, and he figured that based on the evidence perhaps he could do the same with a certain degree of safety.
I conclude that Adam and Eveâ€™s faith in what the serpent had said was Blind. They could not foresee the terrible consequences of disobedience.
Pharaoh, by rejecting the solid evidence presented to him by Moses, demonstrated that his faith in the testimony of his magicians was blind. He could not see the far reaching consequences of his disobedience.
The king and his people paid a terrible price for rejecting the solid evidence of Godâ€™s power and authority.
The same can be said about the miracles performed by Jesus which climaxed in his resurrection. The Jewish leaders were blind to the consequences of their Blind Faith in their traditions.
They were provided with solid evidence, but they elected to rely on their blind faith in their twisted doctrinal views.
This is why Jesus cried over the city of Jerusalem and lamented: â€œIf you had only known what pertains to your peace!â€ Their blind faith paved the way for the final destruction of their Holy City by the Romans.
This tells me that Educate Truthâ€™s faith is neither blind, â€œarbitrary,â€ â€œarrogant,â€ â€œabsurd,â€ or â€œabominable;â€ but rather based on solid evidence rooted in biblical truth which you seem to ignore and reject.
Professor Kent August 13, 2011 at 11:58 am
â€œSo be honest: was it okay for Sean Pitman to single out a GRI scientist for proclaiming his faith in a young earth creation, for believing that what God said was true?
Iâ€™m not a clairvoyant; you simply havenâ€™t shared an honest opinion yet on this, and so Iâ€™m inclined to think you cannot do so.â€
Can you provide some context to help me understand what you are referring to? What did Pitman say about a GRI scientist? Who did he criticize? Can you provide me with a link so I can learn what took place?
Regarding your comment about honesty, I believe that we need to clarify the true meaning of the term.
Here is my understanding: If I believe that my son broke my neighborâ€™s window but pretend that he didnâ€™t, that would be an example of dishonesty. But if I am convinced that he is innocent, alleging that I am being dishonest would be wrong.
If you agree with my understanding of what being dishonest means, then let me know, or else share with me your understanding of honesty and a lack of it.
If you still believe that I have given you evidence of having acted in a dishonest manner, please give me the evidence in support of your allegation.
By the way, you have no need to ask me to be honest, since I always try to be honest when blogging. I donâ€™t like to play games and pretend to believe what I really donâ€™t.
Recent Comments by Nic Samojluk
Sean PitmanNovember 23, 2011 at 8:57 am
“How do you know? You said that you considered God’s existence to be “likely”. Isn’t the word “likely” a statistical/scientific term based on at least some ability to actually demonstrate the odds of a hypothesis being correct?
This is my problem here. How can you say that something is “likely” when, at the same time, you say that you have no empirical evidence for what you say is “likely to exist”? – no more evidence than you have for mythological fairytales?
You see, it is your use of the phrase, “likely to exist” that doesn’t make sense to me since it appears, at least to me, that you’re being inconsistent with yourself.
If you have no positive evidence for God’s existence, and if everything that you do know appears to you to have a mindless natural cause, how then can you say, one way or the other, that the “first cause” was “likely” an intelligent God-like being vs. some other mindless natural process? Upon what basis do you make this claim?”
Thanks for this impeccable logic. I appreciate the clearness with which you demonstrate the role evidence plays in providing support for our faith.
Faith without evidence places us at risk of becoming victims of charlatans and those who have been deceived by the Devil.
Sure, there is evidence for and against a belief in God and Creation, but the weight of evidence favors the biblical teaching that God is the one who created everything that exists.
We do owe our existence to him alone and he is entitled to our worship. The moment we credit Nature for our existence, we fall prey to the artful deceptions of the one determined to destroy our faith.
Sean PitmanNovember 15, 2011 at 7:01 am
I think that Bob’s answer was superb, yet ten bloggers voted his comments down. Is the voting system rigged somehow?
The voting is not rigged. It is just that people tend to vote from the hip for or against a comment, before actually reading it, based only on who wrote it – not what was actually said in the particular comment at hand.
This also happens on Talk.Origins – and pretty much all discussion forums. I did an experiment once where I re-posted a comment from a well-known evolutionist under my own name (on Talk.Origins). There was no end to the ridicule against the comment based simply on the assumption that I had actually written it. When I pointed out that I had not actually written the comment, that it was written by one of their own, the attempts at back-peddling were quite hilarious
I’m sure the same thing would happen here as well. That is why the allowance of “voting” for comments is really only a curiosity feature “just for fun” and really has little meaning aside, perhaps, from keeping track of how many people from opposing camps are actually following a particular thread.”
Thanks, Sean. You are so right! Perhaps I should pay less attention to the number of votes posted next to bloggers’ comments!
Back to Square One…
What happened to all the postings dated November 9, 10 and 11?
BobRyan November 11 2011 at 6:11 pm
In this case we are talking about complex houses not just a cube – complete with embedded nano-tech capable of self-repair – self-healing, auto-paint-updating etc.
Something like this…
When your fellow atheists and agnostics view that in a moment of objectivity – they respond something like ABC News did when it reported on it…
And in this case – those houses would be found all over Mars. And the observing agnostic friend might be tempted to claim “well then complex houses of that sort must occur naturally in the rocks and sand of Mars — err… umm… somehow, because there are sooo many of them”.
For the rest of us – it would be a sign of Martians – very smart ones.
I think that Bob’s answer was superb, yet ten bloggers voted his comments down. Is the voting system rigged somehow?
I must be a prophet. As I predicted, my previous responses directed at you were deleted, probably before you had a chance to read them. It would be foolish for me to repost them.
Since you are already familiar with my own web site, you will find the same material I used to answer your comment there. Look for my most recent entries and let me know what you think. Use my own web page for answering instead of Educate Truth.