Monday, June 17, 2013

International Date Line's Move Across Samoa Plays Havoc with Seventh-Day Adventists

Two years ago I wrote about the Independent State of Samoa's decision to move the international date line in order to be on the same day as Australia and New Zealand.   Samoa decided to skip a day for this change to be accomplished.  Little did I see that the move would cause local Seventh-Day Adventists, a brand of Christianity that rejects celebrating the Lord's Day and still observes a Saturday sabbath, to worship on Sunday since now that is the seventh-day in Samoa.  This move has caused some controversy among Adventists though the official church is trying to calm the situation down.

When I first read about the decision from Geography@About.com I was startled.  One of the cornerstones of Seventh-Day Adventist theology is that the corrupt Church wrongly changed the day of Christian worship from Saturday to Sunday (ignoring the mentions of celebrating on the Lord's Day in the Bible).  The logic of the Seventh-day decision not only undercuts its arguments but is unique in the church.  Hispanic countries' calendars have Monday as the first day and Sunday as the seventh day.  However, Hispanic Seventh-Day Adventist churches still have Saturday as the sabbath (This is because the overriding American cultural traits which dominate Adventism).  The date line move controversy could cause a split in Samoan Adventism if church leaders cannot reconcile the move.

Calendars can be a very tricky religious-political problem for Churches.  The Date of Easter controversy plagued early Christianity.  The Gregorian Calendar was adopted in Protestant countries bit-by-bit and the adoption of a slightly altered version of the Gregorian Calendar by some Orthodox Churches lead to a split between the mainstream and Old Calendarists.  Even Islam currently has calendar issues.  Ramadan's start date can be determined by at least three different means and it has become a political issue in the growing Sunni-Shia civil war.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Isn't it about time we let these silly superstitions go?

Religion has caused enough problems over the years, it's time to let them die and move on.