Ex-Seventh-day Adventist Research

Posted on: October 15, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

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

The Survey: Some Questions and Answers

Posted on: September 5, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

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

Morality and Religion?

Posted on: May 21, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

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

Critical Thinking, the Intellect, and Religion

Posted on: May 1, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

Critical Thinking, the Intellect, and Religion   A personal story I have a friend, an atheist, who was raised by fundamentalist Christian parents. Over the past several years she has regaled me with many stories of her upbringing. She told me that her parents believed that everything written in the Bible was true exactly as written, that, of course, being one of the defining characteristics of Christian fundamentalism. She said her parents told her that a specific passage of the Bible implies that the value for pi is 3. Exactly 3. She argued that that is obviously false, that all math textbooks give it as something like 3.1416 (the digits actually extend many hundreds of places beyond 3.14159, so books tend to round up). Her parents claimed that all the math textbooks were wrong. She said that she could demonstrate right in front of them that pi was not exactly…

Read More

Ex-Adventists, you are not alone: the decline in religion in America and around the world

Posted on: March 27, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

The decline in religion in America and around the world A trend toward no religion As more and more Seventh-day Adventists turn themselves into ex-Seventh-day Adventists, it would be instructive to look at recent trends in church affiliation in the US and the world at large. In an earlier posting for this website called Leaving the Church, I referred to a Pew Poll for the year 2021. The Pew Research Center has been a major source for numbers on adherents (and non-adherents) to various religions in the US since 2007. Therefore, I will focus on the span from 2007 to 2021, the year of its most recent results. In 2007, self-identified Christians represented 78% of the US adult population. This had slipped to 63% by 2021. (In my earlier post, it was indicated as 64%, because the source I used there rounded differently.) This is drop of 15% percentage points,…

Read More

Leaving the Church: An Individual Story

Posted on: March 16, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

Leaving the Church: An Individual Story   Many leave their faith home Many people, for whatever set of reasons, leave their church. A substantial subset of those also leave their faith, that is, they become atheists or, at least, agnostics. Many who have abandoned their church no doubt wonder about the experiences of others who have quit. Such an individual may ask, Did they suffer the same feelings of oppression, doubt, and skepticism that I felt? And what of those who remain? Do they experience these feelings and suppress them? Or do they not experience them at all? How many who remain in the church are on the verge of leaving? How many are just paying lip service when they go through all the rituals and so forth? How many remain for fear of being stigmatized if they show signs of non-conformity to the group? What are the church leaders…

Read More

Leaving the church

Posted on: March 3, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

Leaving the church by Duane McClearn I have spent considerable time over the past many years pondering religious believers and religiosity, atheists and atheism, and, of particular relevance here, former believers, their reasons for leaving their faiths, and the consequences of doing so. My knowledge comes primarily from extensive reading and conducting surveys on these subjects. I came away with many messages from a survey that I conducted several years ago with Tom Arcaro (colleague on the current ex-Seventh-day Adventist project). Thousands of atheists wrote of their experiences, many of whom were recent converts away from Christianity of one denomination or another. A large number spoke of the emotional conflict they had within themselves trying to come to terms with the fact that they felt they were losing belief in their religion—many thought of themselves, at least in the beginning of the process, as traitors to the cause, to their…

Read More