Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So what happened

I was thinking about this the other day. What happened to my faith? Then I realized that from the time I was 12, I went to fairly liberal churches or at least churches that were accepting of liberal view points. During that time my beliefs had changed significantly. It wasn't until the last year or two that I realized that not only had the church at large not changed with me, but they don't really want people like me to be a part of the Seventh Day Adventist church.

So first off, I guess I should explain where I am at today when I am in a good mood. First off, I believe that the Bible is not "The Word of God." It is a history of God's interaction with certain people. But it is written from the person's perspective (this is how I get past all the genocide.) Secondly the evidence that all life descended from a common ancestor through the process of evolution is overwhelming and inescapable. Thirdly my conception of God is probably best described as panentheism. When I am in a bad mood, I am a straight up atheist. But even in my atheist moments, I believe that religion currently has the best answer to the problems in this world. Also, I love the Seventh Day Adventist church and consider it my family. I love our emphasis on health, I love the concept of sabbath, I love our humanitarian work and work on religious liberty for all, and I love our holistic thinking (body and soul are one.)

More and more, I started to realize that my family no longer wanted me. It started with Clifford Goldstein, the editor of the Adult Sabbath School Lesson. In the Adventist Review a few years back he wrote an article, which said
If you honestly reject a literal six-day creation in favor of theistic macroevolution, fine; now turn that honesty into integrity and go somewhere where you won't have to cloak your views under the anfractuosities of language.

This year there have been countless articles in the official Adventist publications about how evolution is not compatible with Adventism. It was partly due to this year being the 150 year anniversary of the Origin of the Species and partly due to the effort to expel biology professors from La Sierra.

Recently I saw a disturbing video of a Q&A Session (found the link here at the Educate Truth site.) A fairly large group of Vice Presidents of the church were answering questions on several topics at a GYC conference. I wasn't able to watch all of it, but I found the sections on evolution and homosexuality to be full of narrow mindedness, arrogance, and ignorance. They definitely made it clear that people who are not Young Earth Creationists are not wanted. People who believe that we shouldn't oppose gay marriage because of religious liberty concerns are not wanted (even the ones who believe it is a sin.)


  1. Hi Michael,

    Great blog! One of the central questions I'm asking myself about Adventism is this: how much should I participate in fighting against Adventist anti-intellectualism and bigotry you describe above? Since the metaphysical content of my beliefs are so different from Adventism/Christianity, do I even have the right to participate in such debates?

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. You definitely have a right to participate. The likelihood of it doing any good radically diminishes the further away you are from the center. Even though I basically consider myself an atheist, I still attend the local church and find myself getting excited about many things God-related. For example I got all excited today about an article on house churches on spectrum magazine. I will still offer my opinion, but I am not going to let myself go insane over the whole thing.