Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - May 14, 2020
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Excellent Commentary from Jonathan Safran Foer
  2. Justice part 3: Justification by works
  3. All-Creatures.org Ministry

1. Excellent Commentary

Jonathan Safran Foer, who has written the excellent book Eating Animals and some acclaimed fictional works, had an excellent comment in the Washington Post this week: Meat is not essential. Why are we killing for it?

2. Justice part 3: Justification by works

Among contemporary Christians, there are two leading theories about who gains access to heaven. One is that good behavior is rewarded by entry into heaven, and sinful behavior leads to condemnation into hell. I see problems with this theory, sometimes called “justification by works.”

As I see it, almost everyone falls along a spectrum between absolute evil and good. Even among the kindest people we know, egocentric desires sometimes encourage selfish behavior that harms others. Indeed, I know many people who are friendly and always glad to lend a helping hand yet hold racist, sexist, or speciesist views. Do such people merit eternal bliss in heaven? Similarly, there are many people who routinely exhibit dishonesty and hard-heartedness who nonetheless are kind to family, people of similar ethnicity, or occasional other individuals in need. Should such people suffer everlasting suffering in hell?

One proposed solution is to hold that confessing sins before death eradicates sins. I find this view unsatisfactory. If we believe that sin should be punished, this seems to be too easy. Also, those with the misfortune to be in a culture that is unaware of this “get out of jail free” option will be unfairly deprived of this opportunity.

Similarly, I am very skeptical of the theory that those guilty of sins, but not “eternal sin” spend time in purgatory prior to entry into heaven. Any amount of finite time in purgatory, even if it were a million years, would be irrelevant in relation to eternity.

Recognizing the human tendency to sin, many Christians belief that good behavior cannot earn heavenly rewards. They hold that one must have faith in Christ, which many believe is a divine gift. I will consider this next week. For those concerned that these reflections do not relate to animal issues, I beg your patience.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. All-Creatures.org Ministry

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