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Sabbath School for a New Generation

Among Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbath School is a time for discussion and learning. It is the belief of this site that Sabbath School should be an exciting venue for the discussion of new ideas, instead of rehashing old arguments. So welcome to a virtual Sabbath School, a Sabbath School for a new generation.

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I am an Electrical Engineer, working at Intel in the Portland area. I received my undergraduate degree from Walla Walla College and graduate degrees from the University of Southern California. The views expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the viewpoints of anybody else. I reserve the right to change my mind at any point in time.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Ten Myths about the Ten Commandments

Beliefnet has an article up about the Ten Commandments. I found most interesting the first myth.

1. The Ten Commandments have always been displayed in public places throughout the United States.
Many of the public Ten Commandments displays can be traced all the way back to…40 years ago. That's when Cecil B. DeMille, seeking to promote his 1956 "Ten Commandments" film, teamed up with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a men's service organization, to donate Ten Commandments monuments, with the text of the commandments, to be displayed on municipal grounds across the country.
So Hollywood distributes monuments to the Ten Commandments and Hollywood is the cause of our moral decay. Hmmm.

The Ten Commandments

The latest Supreme Court ruling got me thinking. Why is it, that the groups who think we should have the Ten Commandments displayed in court buildings are the same people who say that Seventh Day Adventists are legalistic for keeping the fourth commandment? And why are they so concerned about laws? Isn't it the Cross of Jesus who saves?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Book Review: When Science Meets Religion

I just finished reading this book by Ian Barbour and I must say it wasn't exactly what I wanted or expected. It is a very dense summary of the work done at the intersection of Science and Religion. The author intends to answer questions about what the latest scientific discoveries mean to religious faith. He does this by dividing the responses into four groups. The first group is conflict and this group believes that you must either accept science or religion, but you can't have both. This group includes atheists like Richard Dawkins or Carl Sagan as well as creation scientists and those who believe in Intelligent Design. The second group believes that science and religion are independant and look at the world in two complementary ways. This means that science has nothing to say about religion and religion has nothing to say about science. The last two groups incorporate dialogue and integration between the two fields.

Because of the large amount of work in this field, the author was unable to really give justice to all the ideas. Sometimes he cut out some more explanation that would be helpful to the lay person. On the positive side he has a large bibliography, so if a particular idea interests you, you can read more about it.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

God is love

John McLarty makes a good case that the foundational adventist doctrine is that God is love. I find myself agreeing with him. This concept of a loving God is one of the basic assumptions that I am using to sort through what I personally believe.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Bible and Circular Thinking

I just read an interesting article in the Adventist Review online about the experiences of Mr. Davis, an individual who answers questions on Bible Info. I thought his answers to the first two points were fairly good. He discussed the limits of logic when discussing God and talked about how God has to break through in our lives to remove the circular thinking. All logical attempts to describe God fall short. Most of my attempts ended up with a deist view of God. I think this is why the Incarnation is so important. God came to live on earth so we would know what God was like.

But how do I know the Bible is true? I know it is true because it fits what I know from my experiences of God the best. When I am talking about the Bible being true, I am not talking about if all events in the Bible literally happened. For example Jonah could never have existed and it still doesn't take away from the truth in the book of Jonah about God's forgiveness.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Finding God in Los Angeles - Part 2

Introduction: During my last sabbath school lesson, we talked about how to experience God. We talked about several practices that allow us to have a clearer picture of God. Since I didn't like the theoretical aspect of the last lesson, this lesson will be spent discussing how best to apply these ideas in our lives.

  • Why do we want to have a closer relationship with God?

  • Why is it important?


  • How would you classify your relationship with God?

  • What areas need work?

  • How would you describe somebody who has a good relationship with God?

  • What do you want out of this relationship?

  • How do we motivate ourselves to maintain and grow the relationship?

  • Set a goal.

  • What steps should you take to achieve that goal?

  • What would you like to accomplish this next week? Next month? Next year?

  • Do you have somebody you can talk to about your goals so they can help?


I hope that with these questions you were able to think about what is your relationship with God like, what areas need improvement, and what steps do you need to take to get to your goal.