Post-truth, Alternative Facts, and Willful Optimism

Hi Robert,
Indeed, I am an Adventist minister and we turn out to be a lot more diverse than you apparently have knowledge of. As for picking my poison, I’ll stick with the Gospel and optimism and hope you enjoy yours.


Hi Elmer,
I’m not particularly troubled with the idea that God lied. I reckon as the God of the Universe he can do anything he jolly well pleases. I’ll remain optimistic that he has our best interest in mind. Is that a "blink?"

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Wow, Sirje, and others…Did you read the column? My effort was not to drag everyone back into the nasty politics of the day. Sure, post-truth and alternative facts was the hook to get you into the column…which was about the Gospel and optimism.


… Really?


Yes. Really. And just for the fun of it, let me post now a poem. Perhaps we can fight about it, instead of politics?
Emily Dickinson

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune—without the words,
And never stops at all

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm

I’ve heard it in the chilliest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never in extremity,
it asked a crumb of me.”


NO. That was not a blink but a creative wink.

What prevented you from being “particularly troubled with the idea” that EGW could have lied instead of God?

Allow me to remind you how Professor Bass responded, "God gave me eyes to see things white and things black and things in between, and as long as I am normal I will not substitute the word of Mrs. White or anyone else for what my eyes tell me. If I do not use the senses with which I am equipped, I cease to function as a man.”


It isn’t exactly leaning toward optimism for you to write for a controversial journal a piece that contains additional controversy.

The political fire is already raging, if you have not noticed, and it doesn’t need another drop of fuel.

You came here to primarily talk about optimism, granted, but you definitely took the opportunity to call the president a liar. And to accuse everybody that voted for him to be comfortable with lying. (patently false) Right out of the gate.

In hockey terms, you dropped your gloves first.


Let me take a moment to both thank you for the thoughtful article, and encourage you in your pursuit of the optimism of which you write, even more so in light of the comments that do their best to discourage such optimism in general. Your contributions are always appreciated.


Ahhh, you did read the column. Again, however, your interest is not in discussing what I take to be my point, but a side issue. Nevertheless, I’ll bite (or wink or blink). “Lying” is an extremely complex concept. Just look at the number of synonyms for the word. Did Ellen herself lie? I can’t answer that directly since I don’t have direct access to her as a person; our accounts are all historical. I can certainly understand those (in this thread) and others who have come to the conclusion that she did lie and I do not feel compelled to argue with them in an effort to defend Mrs. White. I do have a good deal of admiration for her and the role she played in the work of bringing this Church into existence. I find, in our history, a lot of very inspiring stories and characters and she is central to it. I have looked into the charge of plagiarism and found it to be true. One is hard pressed, in my view, to say that she and others didn’t have any idea of what it was at that time. And if that is sufficient for you and others on this thread to reject her, then so be it. Like I said above, I feel no compelling need to defend her. This is my Church, it is my community, and like all other Churches, Religions, and communities, it has plenty of things that confuse me, disgust me, and make me want to leave. Instead, I lean toward optimism. As I tried to communicate in the column, I’m willfully optimistic.


Thanks Ken. :slight_smile: Much appreciated.

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Thanks Kristan, for pointing that out. My phrase, “willful optimism,” is written in light of the reality that I do routinely draw others and get drawn into discussions, debates, arguments, and fights. Call them what you wish. I used to play hockey when I was a kid so I get the metaphor. And through the years, I’ve had an internal debate as to whether or not we should all just get along or mix it up and hope for a good outcome. Being willfully optimistic for me means that I choose to be optimistic about how we fight when we fight. Spectrum isn’t a “controversial journal” in my view; it doesn’t bait people so that we can fight; at least I’ve never seen them that way even if others might. In my life as an academic and ethicist, I wade into difficult discussions, debates, and arguments on a daily basis; its what I do for a living. And I remain optimistic that we can find meaning and advance the notion of decent treatment of each other in the process. So, forgive me please if I have offended you or others in this thread in ways that would be counter to the Gospel. I’ll remain optimistic that we can have a decent conversation in the end.


You should have stuck to the poem to begin with then there wouldn’t have been any question what the article was about.


Say that with a strait face.

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What offended me is that you declared that people who voted Trump are comfortable with lies.

The republican party presented around 63 or so possible candidates. For me personally, the Donald came in ranked right at 63rd. I just might have voted for a moderate Democrat had that been an option. Bernie and Hillary, with their 157 years combined extreme experience represented a dismal failure on part of the DNC. I know the party has a lot more to offer than that!

America was choking on the social liberalism. Too much too fast. Overplayed hand. The presidency isn’t the only thing lost- look at the imbalance of power right now.

Dear Liberals; we don’t want anymore “drinks” from your firehose.

Thanks for your response, Mark. We are fellow hockey players (mostly the pond variety with my kids these days) and fellow commercial fishermen. 98% of your article resonated with me, just so you know.


The title and the article are a thinly veiled rant from another disappointed democrat no matter how many Biblical words you throw out there.


I don’t know you, Bud, and you don’t know me, so maybe you can avoid commenting about my politics and I’ll try assuming something of yours. I’m now 56 and this is the first time in my life I did not vote for the Republican candidate in a POTUS election, in part because Trump is not a Republican. But, I’ll repeat myself here…the column isn’t about politics.

i know this article isn’t about politics - i certainly believe in the value and necessity of willful optimism, no matter what - but i do have to say that donald trump is thee worst choice for POTUS i’ve seen in my life time…besides being canadian, my only solace and grounds for optimism with respect to america is my belief, in common with the “prediction professor”, that trump will be impeached

( ),

likely over his russian connections…

there’s a reason trump is refusing to release his tax returns, which some think show compromising involvement with the kremlin…and there’s definitely a reason why russia did so much to discredit hillary during the election - and no, that reason wasn’t trump’s obsequious calls for the kremlin to hunt up and release hillary’s deleted emails…more importantly, there’s likely also a reason why so many in trump’s entourage have nothing in common except trump and russia…is it curious, or is it curious, that michael flynn, trump’s disgraced national security adviser, sat next to vladimir putin in moscow during the 2015 commemoration anniversary of the government-run Russia Time TV, for which flynn was paid, in possible contravention of the constitution’s emoluments clause, and which he conveniently omitted filing with the pentagon…this, of course, would be the same michael flynn who, before the inauguration, and in possible contravention of the logan act, talked to russian officials five times on the day obama imposed sanctions on russia for its interference in america’s elections, and then lied about it to mike pence and other government officials, in possible violation against making false statements, a crime punishable with up to 5 yrs behind bars…does anyone for even one moment believe that flynn was acting on his own behest, that russia’s decision the very next day to not retaliate was coincidence, and that trump’s decision to sit for weeks on the knowledge of flynn’s dishonesty towards his own vice president, which trump initially lied about, was an innocent oversight…and what would have been flynn’s motive for being evasive with the FBI, if it wasn’t to protect himself and/or his boss from something…

whatever fire all of this smoke indicates - and at this point, the air in this room is simply not breathable anymore - the evident reality is that trump isn’t acting like a normal u.s. president in the face of substantial recent russian provocation…one explanation is that his wings are clipped: the russians have something on him, and he knows it…


Sadly, your belief that Obama had “100x more documented lies” is a perfect example of what living in an alternative fact bubble does to the thinking process. What on earth is your source for that factoid? I truly doubt it is reliable. Please show where you got such a piece of information.
[see the BBC video “No truth in journalism: Trump voters cast a wide net for news” ]

What I think you may also be saying is that Obama’s failures = lies (as in raising the debt despite not wanting to), while Trump’s outright lies = insight (as in “thousands of Muslims celebrating in NJ on 9/11”, and “I won more electoral votes than HW Bush”). The commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness”. Period. In other words, don’t bend the facts to fit the ‘greater truth’ as our new President does blatantly. Once we accept that process, we are in very deep trouble, regardless if our President is an strong leader. Proven factual information must not be dismissed as “slanted”.


Excellent article, pleasurable reading indeed. Intelligent, realistic, and balanced argumentation.

I believe that one of the main wrong things in Adventism has been the idea that it has to change the world. To those who still espouse such an idea I ask, “How has it been working so far?”

The “moralists” often take that position of becoming themselves a role model for everyone else. This cannot and will not help anyone. (Remember Pipim?..)
Very soon in my carrier I learned that meeting people where they are and helping them to find/develop their own identity, values, and beliefs is the only way one has to help them. Trying to change them is a lose/lose proposition. Helping them to be themselves is the only help they can use from others.

This quote is just a great piece of good thinking:

(For further discussion of this issue, those interested please go to the LOUNGE, where unlike here, we can post as many comments as possible. All articles are reposted there)

EDIT: I posted my comment before reading other comments from the professional commenters above. I am sorry that some of them bombarded you so insensitively even with some enraged comments. I read the whole article, and I think you did a good job in stimulating the thinking/critical process. Therefore, let the people dump their comments on you, both the optimistic and the pessimistic… Be strong to take both!.. :wink:

Also, Pastor Carr @mark_carr would you please come to the LOUNGE and engage in the conversation there. Here, at the OneGate, we basically cannot interact unless with you, but not among ourselves. Yes, it’s strange, I agree…


Truth is a challenge and a comfort. Christ demonstrated Truth, John proclaimed it, Paul explained it. Man has spent centuries to confuse it. Now it is branded, In these days of noise, it is well to recall Paul–“I know in Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able!!” Comfort ye My people with the Great I Am! Salvation is not corporate, but individual. Who am I? I am a child of the King of Kings. amen. tZ