Monday, January 3, 2011

"It's the Devil's work!"

Watched a bit of the 2011 Generation of Youth for Christ conference on 3ABN, one of the SDA church's TV channels last Saturday. Okay, wasn't watching it as such but the TV was on while I was reading some satanic epic fantasy sci-fi stuff. A few things that were said did catch my attention though. One fellow stood up and said something to the tune of, "once Jesus comes into your heart, you stop believing in Evolution". One of the panel speakers took that up immediately, recounting his own experiences, and how his conversion led him to immediately cease to accept evolution. He does not mention whether he went through any process of scientific enquiry and logical deduction to get to that decision, and I'll refrain from speculating on whether he did.

But this enlightened me on the nature of the denialist's arguments against evolution, cosmic origins and pretty much all of established science. It's not based on their skewed parody science, or any form of reasoning, but simply upon a preconceived idea that immediately blocks the mind against any form of evidence that might appear to the contrary.

Later that evening, the president of the General Conference of Seventh Day Adventists (I still haven't gotten the hang of his name) came on. Once again I didn't pay attention to much of it save for one particular bit. He quoted something from the Adventist's lucky charm, Ellen G. White, from her book on education if I remember right. It said something about science being constrained to being unable to provide anything contrary to the word of God. But what of when it does contradict scripture, as it so obviously and glaringly does? This question is not adressed.

But I have a feeling what the answer would be. The crux of the above arguments is simple: if it does not agree with what we teach, it must be the Devil's work. Never mind all these things the scientists give you as "proof" or "facts" or whatever - they are all at the thrall of Satan. This is something that's been a recurring theme of debates with my Adventist buddies, characterised by appeals to motive and the like. It's not unique to Adventists either, with one series of dinosaur-woo videos terming evolution "Satan's most successful lie".

The implications of this are great. This belief serves as justification for every half-truth, untruth and downright lie the anti-evolution crowd has ever spouted, for if you have decided, without evidence, that something is a lie, then whatever is its opposite is justifiable in your mind as the truth.

There's another reason why opposing evolution regardless of the evidence is such an important thing for Adventists. The Seventh-Day Adventist movement is based upon the pretext that Saturday, the seventh day, is the day of rest decreed by the Lord. It's what sets them apart, makes them special when compared to the rest of the world. This, of course, hinges upon a very literal reading of Genesis, for if God did not create the world in six days, he had no reason to rest on the seventh and hence the Church's entire raison d'etre vanishes in a whiff of smoke(It's even part of their dogma, as espoused in their sixth Fundamental Belief, Creation). This, I believe, is a major weakness in the church's belief system. Reason would have it that if some evidence came up challenging your beliefs, it would be a wiser choice to alter your beliefs to accommodate that evidence, rather than dismissing that evidence offhand. Or even worse, making up all sorts of questionable claims to try to justify your stubborn adherence to disproven beliefs.

A further indictment on the Church's stand is that they really don't need a literal six day creation to continue worshipping as they do. But that's something I'd rather leave them to duke out among themselves.

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