“Signs of the Times are Everywhere” Non-comment about Palestine from SDA leadership Some of the more progressive still-Adventists in my life have expressed dismay at the milquetoast stand taken by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on Palestine. Here’s the statement, issued on October 7, 2023. So far as I can find through casual web searching, there’s been no update in the six or so weeks since then. The inability of a church that would have once identified as a social justice movement to now articulate anything other than a ‘thoughts and prayers for both sides’ kind of statement in the face of one of the most consequential international events of recent memory may come as a shock, but should not come as a surprise. Relevant survey data Questions 35 and 36 ask respondents to draw the connection between Seventh-day Adventist eschatology (belief that the world will end) and Adventist…Read More
Using AI as a research analysis tool for social science data As evidenced by some recent posts, we are using ChatGTP-4 as a research analysis tool, especially for the narrative responses to many of our survey questions. Our methodological approach on the task of pulling out the main themes is to read through each comment, taking notes on themes which emerge and then run the data through ChatGTP using the following prompt: In a survey, participants were asked “[question]” Please group the following responses into a maximum of 5 themes with: A summary for each theme. 3 representative participant quotes for each theme. The total number of responses to each theme, regardless of whether multiple themes were mentioned in the same response. Use of AI and of ChatGPT in particular is increasing at an almost exponential level both inside and beyond academia. We would be remiss in our responsibility to…Read More
Ex-Seventh-day Adventist Research Duane McClearn The beginning of a literature review The research team investigating those who have already disaffiliated from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, are in the process of doing so, or are considering doing so, has several goals. Among other things, we want to understand what factors lead to a desire to disaffiliate, how the process takes place, what stresses (emotional, relationship, financial) the process incurs, and what the psychological consequences of having been a member and then becoming disaffiliated are. As part of our review of relevant literature, we have gathered together a substantial list of references that hit on these themes. Research on the topic of ex-affiliation has been relatively far-ranging, although most has confined itself to the Christian experience. Certain fundamentalist Christian groups have been highlighted to a degree, such as the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. A glaring omission has been…Read More
Q16: Which of the following describe(s) your situation, whether currently or at some point in the past?
Below are the data from Q16 in our survey. Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. Q16: Which of the following describe(s) your situation, whether currently or at some point in the past? (check all that apply) ChatGPT-4 analysis 9-22-23 Individuals’ Experiences and Perspectives Regarding Adventist Rules and Beliefs Executive Summary: This report synthesizes diverse experiences and perspectives on adherence to Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) rules and beliefs. Numerous themes emerged, portraying a shift from past concealment to contemporary openness regarding Adventist values. 1. Evolution from Concealment to Openness: 1.1 Past Concealment: Many individuals previously concealed aspects of their lives that were in conflict with Adventist rules. Example: “These are things I did in the past when I was much younger. I’m not hiding anything now.” 1.2 Acceptance of Present Self: A shift towards acceptance and openness about divergent lifestyles is noted. Example: “I am…Read More
Q15 Which of the following best describes how you present as a non-Adventist to the Adventists in your life?
Below are the data from Q15 in our survey. Please reach out if you have any questions or comments. Q15 Which of the following best describes how you present as a non-Adventist to the Adventists in your life? Themes generated on 9-22-23 using ChatGPT-4 Theme 1: Concealment of Belief Transition Summary: Participants exhibited a trend of concealing their transition away from SDA beliefs, predominantly to maintain harmony within familial and social relationships and to avoid potential confrontations and judgments. Representative Quotes: “I would never hurt my elderly parents. To them, I’m an Adventist who is private and doesn’t attend church.” “I keep it to myself. I don’t want to upset my parents.” “My fundamentalist in-laws would freak out, so they are in the dark.” Number of Responses: 23 Theme 2: Social Strains and Altered Relationships Summary: The experiences of several participants underscore the social strains and alterations in relationships…Read More
All quantitative surveys results Notes: Our research team is renewing its focus on the data we collected and you can expect regular updates in the coming weeks and months regarding our Ex-SDA survey. Qualitative data will be presented soon. We are using ChatGPT4 for our preliminary analysis. All quantitative data One primary goal of this research was to learn about the views of those somewhere on the “leaving/left’ SDA journey and then to share these data with the public. Our promise to those taking the survey was that (within ethical boundaries) we would share the results. Below we give access to all quantitative data from the survey(s). By clicking here you can see all of the quantitative data in frequencies form. These are the data from all 1011 respondents. Here are all the quantitative data from the Portuguese language version. Here we compare the quantitative data from the English…Read More
The Survey: Some Questions and Answers Our research team made an internet survey available to interested former Seventh-day Adventists and current members strongly considering leaving the denomination. Well over a thousand respondents from around the world filled out the survey. Below is a quick glance at our methods and results. Q: What was the major reason for our survey? A: Actually, the survey had two major purposes. One was to give the respondents an opportunity to voice their experiences within, and concerns about, the Adventist Church. In this sense, we hoped it would act as a service to the many former Adventists who feel burdened, emotionally or otherwise, by their time associated with the church. A second purpose was the research one. Among other things, we wanted to gain insight into the reasons that members leave a fundamentalist Christian denomination (the Seventh-day Adventists, in specific), the characteristics of those who…Read More
We’re back! After a long hiatus over the summer the research team is back and beginning to pour through the massive data set represented by the 1200+ responses to our survey. Political views To get things started, here is a glimpse at the results from Q33, “To what extent did your experience as an Adventist impact your political views?” Below are the aggregate responses. As you can see, most (62%) indicated that their experience as an Adventist impacted their political views at least a little, with over 26% indicating “a lot” or “a great deal.” Narrative responses But what of the narrative responses? Using ChatGPT1 to summarize the 303 responses, here are the results listed as the seven top themes and accompanies by representative quotations. The themes are ordered based on the number of comments fitting in to each theme. Theme 1: Growing Awareness and Change in Political Beliefs This…Read More
Surveys will be closed on June 1 Closing soon The data collection phase of our ex-SDA project is coming to an end on June 1. To date we have 983 respondents for the English version, 143 in the Portuguese version, and 6 having completed the Polish version making for 1132 total respondents. THANK YOU to everyone who has taken the survey and who have encouraged our efforts. More analysis and comment coming soon. Please encourage anyone in our target population who would like to have their voice heard to complete the survey ASAP. Here again are the links: English version Portuguese version Polish versionRead More
Morality and Religion? A moral life Many is the time that I have read or heard it said by religious people that a belief in God is necessary to lead a moral life. If they are Christians, they may very well add that adherence to Christianity per se is necessary to be moral, or at least to enter heaven when the time comes. Without belief in God and religious rules as a guide, what would prevent a non-believer from giving in to every base and disgusting urge? Wouldn’t every atheist be a murderer and rapist? Without God, why not? Or so the thinking goes. Noted evangelist Benny Hinn said, “Do you know that every unbeliever is filled with a demon spirit?” Conservative Christian commentator and author Bill O’Reilly noted that when a society ceases living a religious life, “under God,” it will degenerate into anarchy and crime. Jewish author…Read More