Do We Really Have the Freedom to Choose?


Ah, yes, THE WICKED and their richly-deserved “just deserts.”

Just another category to manipulate with our discursive minds…to distract ourselves from…what?

No need to breathe and feel what we’re actually talking about, right?

Doctrines are logical categories.

Just the facts, ma’am.


(I realize that I’m covering both sides of this argument; I have my reasons.)

(Elmer Cupino) #157

This is commonly seen in family guidance clinics among children and siblings. I only wonder how much of unresolved neurosis influence how we create our gods.

(Allen Shepherd) #158

Harry thinks I’m a white supremicist. Even not worthy to be included among the humans. And that whites as a group are bad people, and no pride in their accomplishments are allowed. Pretty negative view.

I don’t hold blacks or him in that regard even though cheated by some. I know some that would.

I am unsure of the reason for your response.

(Sirje) #159

Well, I grew up hearing horror stories about the Russian and Nazi occupations of the country I was born in. My aunts, uncles, cousins stayed behind as my parents whisked me out of the country in a leaky fishing boat across the Baltic just before the “curtain made of iron” was drawn. My aunt, an Adventist in Estonia, wrote us letters in code so as not to be identified as having family on the other side of that curtain. She was required to spend weeks every summer working on a communal farm - for no pay, praying it would rain before sundown on Fridays. I guess that qualifies as ancestral slavery.

I do have had reasons to see those Ruskies burn; but I realize, as an adult, that they were as much slaves to a system that spoke about equality as long as the guys at the top of the pecking order got to ride around in limos draped in flags. Like George Orwell says in Animal Farm - all the pigs are equal, but “some are more equal then others”. We all have our stories.


Physiological, Allen. My solar plexus is still in a knot.

I’m going to go lie down and listen to some beautiful music and breathe.

Perhaps you could do the same. Feelings might come up. Allow them.

Peace, brother.

May all sheep and lambs graze safely evermore.

(George Tichy) #163

Claro, tudo bem! Exceto certos individuos postando bobagem aqui… LOL

I know the IPAE. Nice place in the mountains, close to Rio but far enough to be safe and have good, clean air. I have been there a few time visiting when our class traveled, etc.

You gotta go visit the place. But be careful in Rio…


Thank you Elmer. I felt that benediction wash over my whole being, releasing tension, freeing my diaphragm to reflexively take a deep breath at the end, and I felt your healing intent. Just what the doctor ordered!

Porges polyvagal theory gave us a powerful means of understanding how both bodily states and mental constructs dynamically interact with environmental triggers to precipitate maladaptive behaviors. Porges helped us understand how dynamic our biological systems are and gave us an explanation why a kind face and a soothing tone of voice can dramatically alter the entire organization of the human organism—that is, how being seen and understood can help shift people out of disorganized and fearful states.

We had long realized that psychopathological states rarely are static and tend to fluctuate greatly depending
on the safety of the en­vironment and the physiological state in which people find
themselves. The proposal that our physiological states are flexible, and depend on
both our relationship to our visceral experiences and the state of our relationships
promises to decrease our dependence on drug treatment alone to shift people into a
different psychological organization

  • “The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)” by Stephen W. Porges

(Allen Shepherd) #166

So am I. Amazing response


Well, we’re still friends…I don’t give up on people easily.

See, her son was also killed—burned in a car accident—and she was understandably defending against her own pain.

But thank you and Allen for normal feedback!


Ya think?

Naw…couldn’t be that… :wink:

(Harry Allen) #169

Thanks, @ajshep.

You said:

In response:

What makes you think I believe that all white people practice white supremacy?

Put another way, quote me: Find the statement, or statements, where I say, or otherwise indicate, this.

You said:

In response:

How do you know this?

You said:

In response:

How many are there, among the rest?

You said:

In response:

Quote. Me.

Find the statement, or statements, where I say, or otherwise indicate, this.

You said:

In response:

No such thing as “Black racism” exists.

Racism Is White Supremacy. It’s the only form of “race-ism” that, if you will, “leaps from the conceptual, into the practical.” It’s the only kind that all other people have to “steer around.”

If you’re white, you have to be either tremendously dishonest, self-absorbed, unobservant, deceitful, or all of the above to really say anything else. That Racism Is White Supremacy is an objectively uncontroversial statement. It may prick, a bit, to hear it on a gentle weekday afternoon among friends. But I’m not saying anything that is untrue. This is, to quote one of the white guys you said you were so crazy about, self-evident.

You said:

In response:

See Aamer Rahman’s comments, below:


(Harry Allen) #170

Thanks, @Cassie.

You said:

In response:

Please, Cassie: What is your source for this statement?


In heaven there will be no color line; for all will be as white as Christ himself. Let us thank God that we can be members of the royal family.

—Ellen White, The Gospel Herald, March 1, 1901, para. 20.

If anyone has evidence that this is spurious, or a misquote, I will be glad to stand corrected. Thanks.

(I would be thankful if it is spurious, actually.)


@harryallen. Nope. It’s real:

Talk given by Mrs. E. G. White to the church for the colored in Vicksburg, Sabbath, March 16, 1901:


I’ve walked the Civil War battlegrounds in Vicksburg, and that is the last thing I’d want to hear if I were in that audience.

I’ve commenced shaking all over…again…gonna take my leave for awhile…

(Frankmer7) #173

Just hypothetically… how would sheep safely graze forevermore if the Hitlers, Stalins, Maos, Putins, Idi Amins, Pol Pots, colonial slave traders, human sex traffickers, child abusers, religionists who perpetuated systems of oppression, etc., of this world were to populate the kingdom of God in the age to come?

The biblical message is saying that it is appointed for man once to die, and then the judgement. And, that judgement is good news for the abused, the oppressed, the powerless, and the weak, because it is saying that God won’t let that happen to them again. And that’s because no one will be there who remained unapologetically on that course during this present age, and the course of their own lives. IOW, evil has a shelf life.

This is what the overall message of Revelation is, God will vindicate those who are oppressed. The lake of fire may just be a symbol for the idea that evil will be no more… but that doesn’t take away from the reality that it, and all who refused to turn from such a course, will truly be no more. Then, sheep may safely graze for good!



(Harry Allen) #174

Thanks, @Cassie.

I asked you, “Why did your parents behave in this way?”

You said:

In response:

Based on your description of them, your parents appeared to have been very, even deeply troubled. But why did this lead to them picking on Black people?

Your roommate said that “they were afraid.” But of what were they afraid, and why?

I asked you, “Why did you speak this way?”

You said:

In response:

When do these attitudes “come out”?

Are the the things you express ideas that you may possibly deeply believe to be true?

Is your response of sorrow, and/or embarrassment, because you deeply believe them?

Or is it sorrow, and/or embarrassment, over the fact that you said them?

If you don’t believe them, why do you say them?

I asked you, “Where were you?”

You said:

In response:

Clearly, you were in a very, deeply troubled place, like your parents, and/or perhaps because of them.

I wonder what all of this has to do with racism, though.

In other words, what common experience did all of you, as family members, share, and why did this make you pre-disposed to mistreat non-white people?

Also, what wider, larger hypothesis might one then form, based on this, if any, about the existence of white supremacy?

I asked you, re: racism at your son’s school, “Why, if so, did you expect something else?”

You said:

In response:


But this sounds like you should expect the racism that you saw at the school.

You said:

In response:

I disagree, and strongly.

Christianity is amazing. Christ would have never piloted a slave ship, or run a plantation, or put on a hood, or lived in a segregated—officially or de facto—neighborhood.

Christianity isn’t rotten. But a lot of white people are. And many seem to trade the “kick” they would get from being Christian for the one they get from practicing racism.

What I share with you, on this issue, however, is this: I don’t call myself a “Christian,” either, or a “Seventh-day Adventist.”

When asked, I always say, “I’m trying to become one.”

You said:

In response:

I try to avoid talking about conceptual processes evidentially; e.g., what other people “think” or “comprehend.” (@ajshep does this continuously, and it’s a huge time-waster, though I strongly suspect that this is intentional on his part.)

But while I understand what I think you mean to convey, I think the problem is less that “this plague of racism is bigger than any one person can comprehend, far less solve,” and more, “Why quit doing what works?”

Put another way, what incentive does any white person have to eliminate racism? I simply don’t see one. Indeed, I think that this is what Black people have yet to develop.

You said:

In response:

As a person who aspires to Christian ideals, I have to believe that this is true, even as I say what I have said: I believe white supremacy is the chief form of sin in the known universe.

I said, “One of the people who has most inspired me on these matters says, ‘Anything people can do, people can stop doing.’ In John 8:11, Jesus says, ‘Go, and sin no more.’ I refuse to accept the conclusion that we are bound to this tacky, trashy, terroristic relationship between white and non-white people. I strongly suspect any white person so resigned of practicing racism.”

You said:

In response:

It has not been enough. I suspect most white people know this about themselves. Most, though, become indignant at that suggestion, however.

You said:

In response:

We agree completely.

You said:

In response:

Everyone should pray these words, perhaps, or some version of them.

You said:

In response:


You said:

In response:

I believe that he can, too, but, clearly, it is not yet time.


(Harry Allen) #175

Thanks, @Cassie.

You said:

In response:

Thank you.

It’s such an odd, isolated little statement. I’d be curious if there are any other places where EGW expressed similar views, or ones that illuminate the idea, more broadly.

That is, on one hand, it could mean what I suspect many would take it to mean: “We’ll all be white (Caucasian) in Heaven, because Christ is Caucasian.”

But she could also mean that the sin which creates racism will not exist in Heaven because all there will have Christ’s character. (This would also be more in line with other things she has said and written.)

If so, EGW is speaking via metaphor, and using the word “white” the way many people, including myself, use the term when we sing, for example, “Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Does any one else have any other ideas, or information, about this statement, and/or its meaning or context?

Thanks, again, @Cassie.



It wasn’t just black people, it was also Italians, Jews, Japanese, and to some extent gays. They were pretty much xenophobic across the board. (And we may even have some Jewish blood.)

Most real answer: I’m not sure. I’m not a psychologist, but I think maybe (?) it stemmed from self hatred that got projected outward onto scape goats (of which I was one). Fear of feeling their own bad feelings, then, perhaps.

Last/only time probably in the early 1980s, that I’m aware of. It was one time, one phrase. I never have used the N word as an epithet in my life. But my sons put the fear of God in me not to use any racial ‘nickname,’ ever, no matter how innocuous it might seem to the unenlighted mind (mine), in no uncertain terms. It is not “cutsie.” Lesson learned. Good for them.

Several years ago, I was reading and posting here on unconscious bias, similar material to this:

Studies of Unconscious Bias: Racism Not Always by Racists Most racism today is done by those who vow they are not racist.

Indeed, unless we intentionally go out of our way to learn about and become aware of our own bias, it is likely to spill out at the most inopportune time, like during a stressful traffic stop (in the case of a law enforcement officer) or during a medical emergency in the ER. As powell observed, “when there’s tension between conscious and unconscious drives, the unconscious usually wins.”

The good news is that it doesn’t have to. We just have to learn to become aware and be willing to acknowledge our own biases and then consciously override them. Denial and professed racial color-blindness only makes things worse.

Implicit racism, however, is not the opposite of explicit racism but a different, yet no less harmful, form of racism. Implicit racism, broadly defined, refers to an individual’s utilization of unconscious biases when making judgments about people from different racial and ethnic groups.

Unconscious Racism Revisited: Reflections on the Impact and Origins of "The Id, the Ego, and Equal Protection"

Charles R. Lawrence III
Professor of Law Georgetown University Law Center

Yes, it certainly has not been enough, on my part. Thank you Harry.

To all appearances, it would seem you’re right. I want to look through the eyes of faith, though.


You’re welcome, Harry.

Ellen White said we should put the best construction on the motives of others. I am not opposed to superimposing the metaphorical meaning on those words that you suggest, while simultaneously acknowledging that, to my mind, she possibly/probably didn’t supernaturally escape implicit racism.

Her heart was in the right place, but God wasn’t finished with her yet.

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.


Allen, that is how Black people feel when white people are insensitive.

Things that seem innocuous to us can deeply wound, anger, or insult, even though we don’t mean for them to; we’re just unconscious.

God isn’t finished with us yet.

We can become more conscious, by the ever-flowing Grace of God.

And don’t we want to?

It’s a choice.