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CVA Weekly Newsletter
April 25, 2012

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. More Feedback on Guided by the Faith of Christ
  3. Essay: Does Religion Encourage Good or Evil?
  4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback
Star leafleted Rick Hershey, who leafleted at Winter Jam in Wichita, KS , writes:

This was a worthwhile venue to leaflet.  I handed out 1225 CVA booklets at the Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita.  20% of the booklets went to adults and 80% to kids in this large and receptive crowd.  One woman said that she had received the booklet from me at the Women of Faith event in Kansas City last November.
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
The Christian Vegetarian Association is looking for volunteers to leaflet at the upcoming events with our “Would Jesus Eat Meat Today?” booklets to spread the word about vegetarianism as good stewardship of all of God’s Creation. Volunteers have a great opportunity to earn $18.00 per hour (up to 2 hours) per person to be donated to their favorite Animal Advocacy or Veg Group. For more information please contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com or Lorena at (770) 633-7415.
5/3                   MN Minneapolis                     Leeland Christian Rock Concert
5/3                   TN Jefferson City                   La Crae Christian Rock Concert
5/4-5                IL Greenville                           AgapeFest-Multi time Opps!
5/4-5                GA Barnesville                       RUSH Weekend 2012
5/4-5                PA Pittsburgh                                     Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
5/4-5                CO Denver                              Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
5/5                   NC Charlotte                          Women of Faith Dream On Conference for Teen
5/5                   GA Valdosta                           Need To Breathe Christian Rock Concert
5/5                   CA Glendale                           Resourcing the Movement Christian Conference
5/6                   VA Williamsburg                    Newsboys Christian Rock Concert
5/11                 IA Council Bluffs                   Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
5/12                 CA Valencia                           Newsboys Hallelujah Jubilee
5/17                 WA Tacoma                            Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference
5/19                 CA San Diego                         Women of Faith "One Day" Conference
5/19                 SC Myrtle Beach                    Beach Blast -Third Day
5/20                 CA Van Nuys                                     TABLE WorldFest 2012
5/31-6/2           MN Minneapolis                     Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference
6/23                 VA Richmond                                    TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival
6/21-24            NC Pittsboro                           TABLE Wild Goose Festival

2. More Feedback on Guided by the Faith of Christ
Pamela Hime writes:  
I need to add my highest praise for Mr. Kaufman’s book: Guided by the Faith of Christ.  I have been literally starved for such honest reasoning – being able to follow Christ’s example without being swallowed by the “darkness” of “religion” and its many absurdities.  I have marked many statements that resonate and make me feel less alone in my struggles with religion.  Reading Trish’s words helps even more so.  I can’t thank everyone at CVA enough for easing my constant angst.  Also, I’m thankful for Judy Carmen’s website through which I stumbled onto CVA; and I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much because of what the word “Christian” has become associated with in my experience.  I was tormented because I love and follow Christ’s teachings but could not embrace being “Christian” or any of the other religions I’ve tried to feel part of.  There aren’t words to describe my relief.  I sorely needed some context that I wasn’t able to find on my own.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!  Peace.

3. Essay: Does Religion Encourage Good or Evil?

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg opined, "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil – that takes religion.” I think there is truth to his statement, with qualifications.
I agree that religiosity per se does not seem to predict whether a person will do good or evil. The power of self-delusion, particularly when reinforced by similarly deluded people, can be so strong that God-fearing people have often done terrible things to other individuals and convinced themselves that they are acting righteously on behalf of God.
While some of the most compassionate and ethical people I know are atheists, I do think that religion has inspired many people to acts of kindness and justice. Indeed, the early leaders of many progressive movements, including the anti-slavery movement and the animal-welfare movement, were clergy and other religious people who claimed a religious foundation for their activism.
What does it take for good people to do evil? I think it requires an unreflective, uncritical acceptance of dubious beliefs. Sometimes these beliefs directly benefit believers, and sometimes they benefit those who have convinced believers. Sometimes those beliefs are religious in that they include notions about the divine, and sometimes they are secular but have religious elements. A most obvious example of the latter would be Nazism, which called for sacrifice and violence in service to the destiny of a certain “race” of people and their sacred nation. Other examples include past and/or present efforts to restrict intimate relationships between people of different “races” or people of the same gender, evidently on the grounds that such relationships are “impure” and violate the “natural order” of things.
We are always good at identifying the sins of others, but we have much greater difficulty recognizing our own sins. Thus it is that most people would recoil at my claim that denial of basic rights to animals is another example of evil perpetrated by otherwise decent people.
I don’t see faith as a problem – it seems that blind faith often leads to trouble. Is the notion of “rational faith” a contradiction of terms?  I’ll explore this question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Chasing Compassionate People Away From Church

Your question and comments are welcome

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