1. Activist Feedback
Nelli, who leafleted with Jen at Winter Jam in Cleveland, writes:
Winter jam was huge. Jen and I arrived at 3:30 and it was already
mobbed. I got heckled a bit with "I love animals, I love to eat them."
Also I got into three discussions with people telling me that God said to
eat meat, and God said to sacrifice an animal, and I was asked whether God
changes?So I told them I didn't think God changed, but that I thought Jesus
would choose to be kind and compassionate, and God would not be against
this.Also a few people told me they were vegetarian so I gave them
postcards for the Cleveland VegFest.A lot of people remembered us from last
year and didn't want the booklets, and the frigid temperature didn't help
with distribution.We passed out almost two full boxes [1200 booklets].
If you are donating for hours, then I had 3 hours, which I would like to be donated to CARA.
Note: The CVA donates $20/hr to the veg. or animal advocacy group of each volunteer’s choice. See last week’s e-newsletter for a list of upcoming events, and contact Lorena at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
2. Revised CVA Booklet
I am pleased to announce that a revised edition of our 8-page color booklet “Joyful, Compassionate Living” has been printed. There have been many small changes, each designed to make the booklet more concise and more effective at communicating the core CVA message that a plant-based diet is an effective, important way to serve humans, nonhumans, and God. It can be viewed at www.christianveg.org/honoring.htm.
3. On Faith, part 3
Last week, I discussed how subjective experiences (including thoughts, feelings, and perceptions) suggest a metaphysical (spiritual, non-physical) component of the universe. This indicates that there are metaphysical “forces” in the universe, and Christians would identify the source of these forces as God. We have little information on why such metaphysical forces would be created, but I think it is reasonable to posit that the creator of these forces cares about them.
This hypothesis offers an explanation (which is by no means definitive) of the problem of evil. How can there be natural evil (such as killer storms and earthquakes) as well as human evil if a good God created the universe? Perhaps the universe was created good but things went awry. But, if that were the case, then it would appear that either God is now powerless to prevent evil or that God is not good. If God plays no role in worldly affairs, then it would appear that religion would seem to be a rather pointless exercise. If the former – if God were not good – then we might perform rituals for God or pray to God out of fear, but there were be little reason to love or respect God.
I think another options might exists. Perhaps God desires the well-being of those beings who have subjective experience, but (for reasons we don’t fully understand) God cannot enforce this desire on the world. God remains active in the universe in that God cares, but God does not intervene physically and alter outcomes. When a plane crashes, the innocent and guilty perish together, but God grieves for the innocent as well as the guilty. If this were the case, out of appreciation for the subjective lives we have been given by God, we should serve God. And, just as we subjectively desire well-being, we should try to help others lead worthwhile lives that are full, happy, and free of pain and suffering.
These thoughts are necessarily tentative, because I think we have little definitive evidence when it comes to the nature of God. What would be the consequences of rejecting the hypothesis that God cares about creation and that we should serve God by serving creation’s sentient beings? I will consider this question in the next essay.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman