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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.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Two points about "learning to believe"

Angela Schafer writes for Atoday:

While doing research for a religion class I came across a Web site made by former Adventists, and I started reading. My heart beat faster, and my throat constricted as I read the accusations that were posed: Ellen White was not a prophet; the investigative judgment teaching had no basis in scripture; the Ten Commandments, and therefore the Sabbath, were done away with at Christ’s death. I was terrified. Although I didn’t want to read, I sat transfixed in front of the computer screen.

These sorts of websites are out there. Most of them are written by disillusioned ex-Seventh Day Adventists. And all of them are written from a fundamentalist perspective on inspiration that is literalist. Most Adventists are aware that such sites exist, but we must understand that even if God has a special purpose for us, we are all still human. So even if I disagree with some of what Ellen White did, I can still appreciate her importance in our church.

She also talks about doubt.

I still have questions, but I think God can handle my questions. I have chosen to believe that God is leading in the Adventist church and in my life. In his book Life of Pi, Yann Martel describes the faith journey of an Indian boy named Pi who embraces Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism. Pi says that doubt has a purpose, “Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if he burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on.”

This reminds me of something I read by Anthony Bloom. The Russian word for doubt literally means "with two thoughts." I will have constructed my answers to life, the universe, and everything, but a new thought will intrude on that construct, giving me doubt. So doubt is and important part of learning, but it should not be used as an excuse to not progress.


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