One of my Parable posts got a little long, so I’m breaking this off. This will also give me something to refer back to when I do more end times novels. Which won’t be for quite some time now because we all need a break from them.
Here’s the thing. Persecuting Adventists wouldn’t really be as easy as all these End Times writers seem to think it will be.
First off, no one really knows who the Seventh Day Adventists are. Seventh Day Adventists claim to be one of if not the fastest growing Christian denominations, (where they get this statistic from is never cited) but that doesn’t change the fact that they are a minority.
According to Wikipedia, in 2014 the world wide church had 18,143,745 baptized members. That seems like a lot, until you realize that there are roughly 7 billion people on this planet. 18,143,745 is also an inflated number, for reasons we’ll get to shortly. The main thing you need to understand is that the first step the government would need to take would be to educate the public on who the hell they want you to shoot.
Then the government would need to find a way to identify all of the Adventists.
Sure, you could just burst into a church service and start arresting people, but how many of those there (especially teenagers, who are old enough to think but young enough to be under their parents thumb) are there by choice? How many are just visiting out of morbid curiosity? How many are there because they don’t want to disappoint family members? You could end up killing someone totally innocent. It could be argued that the government wouldn’t care, but the main thing is that this would not be the most effective way of going about it.
You could pull up the Adventist church directory, but this also presents a problem. I’ve discussed in a previous post how difficult it can be to actually get one’s name removed from said directory, and so a lot of us simply haven’t bothered. So if the police were to ever grab the church directory, they’d still find themselves with a long list of people, not all of whom are still Seventh Day Adventist. It would be a major headache to go through and figure out which names are the names of actual members.
If you checked the church directory, you’d also have to figure out which of the church members are shut ins who are unable to go to church, members who still believe SDA teachings but don’t go to church or live the Adventist lifestyle, and that’s before you even touch on the fact that a lot of ex-Adventists are still on the books. (I have also heard rumors that there are people listed in the church membership records who have been dead for a long time. This is not substantiated.)
Then you have the opposite problem, with people who do attend on a regular basis but, for whatever reason, haven’t been able to be baptized. This is not likely to be as much of an issue. The church loves to add names. But these people do exist and they would need to be addressed.
The main point of the post is this: keeping track of its members is such a headache that the Seventh Day Adventist church itself doesn’t even bother.
Seventh Day Adventists are such a minority that if the church itself cannot bother, why would the government?
A secular friend of mine pointed out that, if Adventists really believe that they are going to be persecuted, they shouldn’t be keeping track of their members at all. And she’s got a point. If Adventists honestly believe that they will be persecuted in their lifetime, why are they even keeping these lists? Why not use fake names? Write them in secret code? Do Adventists actually believe what they preach? If they did, why aren’t they taking steps to prevent their lists from being seized by the government?
And what about all those other people who choose to worship on Saturday who aren’t Seventh Day Adventists?
What about the Jews?
What about the Seventh Day Baptists?
What about other religions?
What about atheists?
According to Adventist theology, every single one of these groups is going to either join the Adventists or give in and go to church on Sunday. This is not likely how it would play out in real life.
Then what about the children? Teenagers? How old do teens need to be before they’re considered to be acting of their own free will? The 16 year old who lives with their parents isn’t going to have much choice about going to church each week. This can even be the case with 18 year olds, who aren’t able to be on their own yet but are technically adults. Part of the arrangement with said adult could be something like, “you go to church or you move out.” Which may or may not be doable for the average 18 year old. Are you going to punish them for what their parents are doing?
Every time you see the Adventists brag about the number of members they have, you immediately have to cut that number at least in half(according to an Adventist pastor who spoke at campmeeting). Almost no churches, at least that I know of, bother to cull their membership lists on a regular basis. The church likes the high numbers, but the high numbers don’t tell the whole story. They faithfully report how many are joining, but won’t bother to tell you how many are slipping out the backdoor.
For the record, this is something many Adventists are aware of. It’s kind of an open secret. Many Adventists lament that churches don’t cull their membership lists, but what would happen if they did? Would their number drop by half? More? Less?
I don’t pretend to know the answer, but I do wonder if the reason this isn’t done is because people are afraid of what they will find.
So there you have it. Go and get your name removed from the church’s books, because if you don’t, and the end times happen, you might wind up getting killed.
Just kidding, that won’t happen.