The beliefs and sentiments expressed by those whose letters appear here are not necessarily shared by the Adventist Review or its editorial staff. These letters have been edited for clarity and length. -- Editors
The Great Debate
Kudos to Roy Adams for responding to one of the most venomous attacks on religion in recent memory in his article, “Going for the Jugular” (Dec. 11, 2008). Richard Dawkins, a respected biologist and promoter of the public understanding of science, has been working his way to The God Delusion for many years. Unfortunately, he has become an embarrassment to his science colleagues (myself included), for he has spewed out his personal hatred for religion on the platform of his scientific reputation.
As a young boy Dawkins was fascinated by the apparent design in nature, and was initially put off by the Darwinian view of evolution he learned in school. But as he states in a video interview recorded in the early 1980s, when he learned more about the Darwinian view and understood it better, it was like a blinding conversion experience—all his former belief in design was blown away. His first book, The Blind Watchmaker, attempted to support the thesis that “biology is the study of complicated things that [merely] look like they have been designed for a purpose” (italics added). Thus, he denies the implications of Romans 1:20.
I think Dawkins is angry. And his virulent attack on religion in general, and on the religious instruction of children in particular, only serve to reveal its depth. Although he minimizes it, his being sexually fondled by a teacher at age 9 cannot be ignored. I think his books are his own way of working out his frustration and anger at what for him was misguided religious instruction.
We need to pray for Dawkins. He needs to hear—actually hear—the gospel of Jesus Christ. Given his current mindset, I don’t know how that will be possible. But when he does, it will be another blinding conversion experience, this time toward God, not away from Him.
Edwin A. Karlow
Professor of Physics (retired)
La Sierra University
Roy Adams’ article works from the assumption that if atheists are wrong, Christians must be right. After years of Christian teaching it is obvious to me that both atheists and Christians are wrong, but atheists are more right than are Christians.
Let’s face it: There is a Creator, but the evidence is not overwhelming that He wants to be treated as a god. Christians make the grave error of assuming that what the ancients claimed about the Creator must be true.
On the other hand, even though atheists claim that Christians cannot be trusted, instead of independently considering the evidence that creation provides about its Creator, they selectively decide that what Christians say about the Creator must be untrue. In the end it is the Creator’s reputation that suffers.
West Friendship, Maryland
Sweet on Sugar
Regarding “What About Splenda?” (Nov. 27, 2008): I have followed the Seventh-day Adventist diet for many years with no sickness of any kind, including colds, flu, nor anything else.
When Splenda came on the market I decided to try it. It almost killed me; the things that went wrong with me are too numerous to list. Within a week after ceasing its use I started to feel better, but even after a year I had not fully recovered. I have spoken with others who have suffered ill effects also.
I might add I tried Equal with terrible effects. I started losing an excellent memory. Almost immediately after ceasing its use I started to improve.
I have used sugar sparingly all these years with no ill effects, except for that of weight gain. But I would rather be a bit overweight than dead.
Mary L Barber
Living in History’s Shadow
Bill Knott’s editorial, “This Remarkable Moment” (Dec. 11, 2008), about the election of Senator Barak Obama as the fortieth president of the United States is refreshingly poignant, compelling, appropriate, and Christian.
In the recent past I have observed with remarkable concern what appears to be a penchant for God’s people to utter verbiage suggesting being focused on the mission of the church and readily acknowledging this event of historical significance as mutually exclusive realities. I proffer it is not only possible but probable and necessary for Adventist Christians to be focused on mission and simultaneously anchored in the contextual reality of our lives or hazard becoming anachronistic.
When one ponders the historical reality and unhurried metamorphosis of social stratification and race relations in the American republic and in our church, we must not fail to join people of good will who rejoice in the emancipating symbolism this election has brought to oppressed peoples in the United States and all over the globe. To do otherwise is to admit our lack of connection to the suffering and pain in our world, which by definition renders us incapable of being agents of significant moral, emotional, and spiritual deliverance.
A big thank you to Knott for his clear vision in knowing the difference between being ideological and being human. My hope is that as people of God we will cultivate the capacity to feel what oppressed peoples feel, so our attempts to lead them to Christ may be genuinely transforming.
Thank you for the editorial “This Remarkable Moment.” It contains a biblical response and guidelines we should all adhere to.
During the election campaign I erroneously received a negative e-mail concerning President-elect Obama addressed to a long list of Seventh-day Adventists from a Caucasian Adventist.
I say erroneously because I am a 55-year old Black woman reared in the South, and surely this brother did not believe I would share his opinions. The sad thing is that it made me wonder how many others on the list also felt as he did. I was also saddened by some editorial comments I read from the North American Religious Liberty Association (NARLA). Some of our Adventist publications crossed the line and showed bias in presenting their “concerns” regarding Mr. Obama; although an attempt was made to appear as though they were doing otherwise.
The point in the editorial’s opening sentence is well taken: “I don’t usually turn to politicians for my inspiration.” Seventh-day Adventists’ primary inspiration should come from Christ. Before we make comments, statements, or send e-mails, I pray that we will think on Christ first.
Today I viewed the online video “Where is the Bride?”. Sadly, in answer to the question posed by the video I would have to answer, “Surely not in the pages of the Adventist Review!”
The recent Adventist Review Online article by Chuck Colson “O Come, All Ye Shoppers: The commercialization of Christmas” is simply the most recent reason that has caused me to hold this opinion. The very title of the article gives credibility to “Christmas” as a spiritual, Christian event; something I would expect any Adventist to know is not at all true. And the article further implies that the roots of Christmas consumerism took hold because Protestants did not make it a holy day.
Such a false teaching does not belong in the pages of an Adventist magazine. It is unfortunate that the “official” voice for Adventism appears to have so embraced Satan’s deception, instead of holding true to the wisdom shown by early Christians as outlined in Colson’s article. He wrote: “Congregationalists, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists viewed Christmas Day with suspicion, regarding it as a Roman Catholic invention with dubious origins. The emphasis on the Nativity, they believed, grew out of devotion to Mary. . . .
“A Presbyterian teacher described Christmas as being ‘like other days, in every way calm & temperate. People go about their daily business with the same Readiness.’” Methodists in the 1880s wrote: “We attach no holy significance to the day.”
These speak more honestly to truth as given to us by God and represent how we Adventists should deal with Christmas today.
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
Never Too Late
By definition, a Baby Boomer is someone born between l946 and l964. The editorial “School Days” (Nov. 8, 2007) quoted an ABC News report that “Boomers are . . . living well into their 80s and beyond.”
I was born in l948 and am not yet 60, so I was curious as to how any of us Boomers could possibly be in our 80s, much less beyond. Perhaps this is just another example of the inaccuracy of our national news media.
I was also glad to see the article “How Should Christians View Israel?” since I have questions about that after listening to some friends and to a local Baptist radio station. However, the article didn’t answer my questions. It seemed to assume I understood more than I do.
My understanding is that God rejected Israel as His chosen people, so now the Christian church has the privilege of teaching the world about Him. What I got from the article was that we need to be careful so we don’t offend the Jews. Point well taken. But how do I discuss this with those who believe what is happening with Israel now is a fulfillment of prophecy? Which of God’s promises to Israel were not conditional? I wish the article had gone into more depth.
There are other subjects I hear Christians discussing that I would like to see the Review cover, such as the effect Rick Warren’s teachings are having on our churches, and where the Emergent Church is heading.
I admit that I get behind on my Review reading, so perhaps more of these issues are covered than I realize.
I’m grateful for the Review. It helps keep me stay grounded and opens my eyes to better ways to view some issues.