2012 Newsletters

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CVA Weekly Newsletter
June 27, 2012

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: Are Members of Some Species More Equal Than Others?
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  4. Book Notice

1. Activist Feedback
David and Judy, who leafleted at Women of Faith in Little Rock, AR this month, write:
We distributed close to 2/3 of a box of ‘Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? We arrived before they opened the doors to a big crowd milling around and so worked that group of women. A little while after the doors opened and the crowd filed in, the security folks came out and asked us to leave the steps and go down to the sidewalk. That was OK since then we could talk to the later arrivals before they climbed the steps.
We have handed out copies to several small church groups where we have presented talks (numbering from 10 to 60 attendees). Also, as septuagenarians we go to many medical appointments, so we leave a copy in each doctor’s office.  Please keep us informed of other opportunities in the Little Rock Arkansas area and thanks again for your wonderful ministry. 
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
The Christian Vegetarian Association (www.ChristianVeg.org) 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 [email protected] or Lorena at (770) 633-7415.
7/3-5         IN Independence         Heartbeat Festival 2012
7/5       IN Odon            Building 429 Christian Rock Concert
7/7       IL St. Charles          DecembeRadio in Concert
7/11-14   MN Willmar              Sonshine Festival
7/11-15   WI Oshkosh              LifeFest 2012
7/12          IN LaPorte              Building 429 @ LaPorte County Fair
7/13      OH Cleveland       Joel Olsteen Ministries
7/14-15   CO Olathe               Night Vision Festival
7/14          WI Oshkosh              Building 429 @ The County Fair
7/21-22   IL Schaumburg      Ignite Music Festival
7/21-22   SD Rapid City      Hills Alive 2012 FREE Christian Music Fest
7/28      OH Loveland        TABLE Heaven Fest
8/1-4         NH Gilford              HUGE *SoulFest
8/2-4         PA Hershey              Joyce Meyers Conference
8/3-4         OH Columbus        Women of Faith Celebrate What Matters
8/4       PA Phoenixville         TABLE Green Earth Festival
8/10-11   OK Oklahoma City        Women Of Faith Celebrate What Matters
8/17-18   WA Spokane              Women Of Faith Celebrate What Matters
8/20          DE Harrington      Casting Crowns @ Delaware State Fair
9/21-23   NC Hickory              "Momentum" The Conference Newsboys
11/17         NY Albany               TABLE NY's Capital Region Vegetarian Expo 

2. Essay: Are Members of Some Species More Equal Than Others?
Last week I suggested that the existence of subjective experience was evidence for a divine creative being. Why does subjective experience exist? Biologists would generally agree that feelings encourage behaviors that favor survival. Seeking to avoid pain and to experience pleasure ultimately increases the likelihood that an individual will survive and pass on genetic material to offspring. However, we can program inanimate computers to learn and adapt, and it would seem that living organisms could adapt to their environment and even make rational choices without having subjective experiences.
A biological explanation for subjective experience does not tell us how inanimate atoms can generate things with feelings, nor does it tell us which living things can have subjective experiences. Indeed, we can’t prove that other humans have subjective experiences, though it is reasonable to believe that they do. Why should we as individuals have subjective experience and other humans do not? Similarly, it is reasonable to think that other mammals have subjective experience, given their anatomical, physiological, and behavioral resemblances to humans.
What about all other vertebrates? Can fish, for example, feel pain? Fish do not have the same brain structures that light up on brain scans when humans feel pain. However, just as nature has independently devised many ways to use light to gain useful information about its environment (i.e., to see), if conscious experience is needed for creatures to learn and adapt to its environment, then there would be strong evolutionary pressures to develop the ability to feel pain. A problem is that, just as we have difficulty imaging what a fly sees with its compound eye that differs markedly from the human eye, it is hard for us to know whether the fish’s experience of a hook in their mouths is similar to what we would experience in a similar situation.
And what about other animals, such as insects, whose brains differ so much from our own? Can they feel pleasure and pain? I think we should give all creatures the benefit of the doubt and do our best not to cause distress. We should try to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16) in our dealings with all of God’s creation. I think it makes sense to focus our attention and our activism on those individuals who most clearly can experience pain and pleasure as we understand them, but we should be mindful of everyone.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D. 

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

Belief is Passive - Faith is Active

4. Book Notice
Kerry Walters, Vegetarianism: A Guide for the Perplexed. New York & London:  Continuum, 2012.
The author is William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy; Peace & Justice Studies Gettysburg College, Gettysburg PA 17325

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