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…

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We’re back!

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

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…

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Surveys will be closed on June 1

Posted on: May 26, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: Uncategorized

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 version

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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…

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Guest post: Former Adventist Survey done in 2011

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

Former Adventist Survey done in 2011 [This is a guest post by Sandy Snelling Whetmore] During the summer of 2011, a closed Facebook group of former Adventists began thinking about the idea of a survey. New technology had allowed us to find others who had experienced similar journeys out of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and we had lots of questions for each other. We carried on long online discussions about our shared experiences, memories, doctrinal beliefs, and questions. Some of those threads went on for several days with new-found friends asking for clarification or objecting to statements they found inaccurate. The group was a source of encouragement, discovery, and acceptance. Several of us also participated in other similar groups where some of the same topics kept coming up. At one point, some of us landed on the idea of compiling specific questions that we thought would be helpful to explore…

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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…

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Comparing data from the survey

Posted on: April 28, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

[Updated 4-30-23] Comparing data from the survey: update on Portuguese version of the survey Some numbers Live now and being spread by our Brazilian colleagues for just over a week, the Portuguese version of our survey has 129 responses. Combined with the English language version (n=950) that makes a total of 10791 respondents to date. Although we expect many more respondents before we close the surveys on June 1st, the preliminary results are quite interesting. What I’ll present below are just a few glimpses of the quantitative data thus far, comparing results from both versions of the survey. At this point we can begin to present the ‘what’ but can only offer conjecture as to the ‘why’ behind these numbers. Please allow me to share some beginning thoughts about these data, starting with the demographic makeup of the respondents, and then onto even more interesting numbers including the ‘cult’ question,…

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Our survey is now live in Brazil, translated into Portuguese

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

Our survey is now live in Brazil, translated into Portuguese   Survey translated into Portuguese Our research team is excited to announce that our survey has been cloned and translated into Portuguese. This major contribution to our research effort was made possible through the work of André Kanasiro, editor and founding member of Zelota magazine. Thanks are due to senior staff at Spectrum Magazine1 for brokering this connection. Here is part of the conversation I had with André as we worked on the translation: Tom: Why you wanted to get the survey translated and live in Portuguese? André: I saw the news on the survey as told by Spectrum Magazine, and then I just knew we had to bring it to Brazil. Adventism in Brazil has massive evasion numbers (approximately 1.5 million people left the church from 2011 to 2020, while 2.2 million joined), and has a highly centralized, hierarchical…

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Alyssa’s story

Posted on: April 17, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

“Adventism only seems to reward certain people–affluent white cis men and those they deem worthy to be elevated.” -Alyssa Alyssa’s story The phrase ‘qualitative research data’ sounds impersonal and void of humanity, but what we as researchers know and respect is that each word shared is coming from a real person with a voice, a face, and a heart. As I read through the copious and generous comments written by each respondent I am humbled by the openness, awed by the passion, and saddened by some of the heartbreaking comments. After taking our survey one respondent felt a need to speak more about her experience with the Adventist church and sent us a direct email. Alyssa’s story is her’s to share and, with her permission and encouragement, we invite you to read her words, many of which -both in tone and content- are repeated by her fellow respondents. Please note…

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Respondent 666

Posted on: April 9, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

“As a social and as a personal force, religion has become a dependent variable. It does not originate; it reacts. It does not denounce; it adapts. It does not set forth new models of conduct and sensibility; it imitates. Its rhetoric is without deep appeal; the worship it organizes is without piety. It has become less a revitalization of the spirit in permanent tension with the world than a respectable distraction from the sourness of life.” -sociologist C. Wright Mills Respondent 666 The Mark of the Beast As we neared 600 respondents I joked with my collaborators that I wanted to feature the six hundred and sixty-sixth person who chose to complete our survey. This person of course would have no way of knowing they were the 666th respondent and there is absolutely no scientific significance to this number. That said, there are many layers of cultural richness around the…

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