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12 March 2006 Issue

1. Matthew Scully

2. Book Announcement

3. Leafleting Feedback

4. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence:  Satanic Desire

1. Matthew Scully, a former speechwriter for President Bush and author of Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, has written an excellent editorial in the 2/19/06 Arizona Republic entitled A Sunless Hell: Confronting the cruel facts of factory-farmed meat.

2. Book Announcement
Animals, Ethics & Christianity by Matthew Priebe, © 2005. This 45-page book (plus footnotes) offers a brief review of the many ways humans abuse animals, it shows how this violates traditional, Bible-based Christian beliefs. Books are $3 plus $1 S&H each for up to three payable to Quo Vadis, PO Box 11423, San Bernardino, CA 92423. For larger orders, contact the publisher.

3. Leafleting Feedback
Gil Schwartz in Minneapolis/St. Paul writes: We got tons of leaflets out over these past few days. On Thursday, two volunteers leafleted at the P.O.D. concert and distributed over 250 CVA pamphlets. The attendees were very friendly and respectful. On Friday, two volunteers leafleted for about an hour and a half each at the Planet Wisdom Tour (where By The Tree was playing). They went through two boxes (equivalent of about 600 leaflets).

Apparently the demographic was perfect as it was hundreds of Christian youth, ages 12-18 or so. I highly recommend that you encourage others to leaflet at this tour/conference. Lastly, on Saturday, 3 volunteers passed out another 2 boxes at the Steven Curtis Chapman concert and they said it went fantastic.

Upcoming Events
CA 3/24 San Francisco Acquire the Fire Christian Rock Concert

CA 3/24 Irvine FishFest 2006 Christina Music Extravaganza!

LA 3/31-4/1 Shreveport/Bossier City Women of Faith Conference

Contact Paris at christian_vegetarian@yahoo.com if you can help.

Join the CVA Calendar Group: If you are interested in leafleting or tabling for the CVA in your area, or if your animal rights or vegetarian group is looking for ways to earn $’s for your group, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group.christian_vegetarian/. Read the home page, and then join. You will then be able to log in anytime to identify upcoming events in your area.

4. Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence:  Satanic Desire

[This series reflects my views and not "official" CVA positions. It is being archived at http://www.christianveg.com/violence.htm.]

Recall (see essay #2) that humans are mimetic creatures. We learn all our social skills, including language, by mimicking other people. Mimesis is not inherently bad; it’s the means by which we become human, social beings. However, nearly all people display acquisitive mimesis, which mimetic theory tells us leads to rivalries, resentments, and violence. Where did humankind go wrong?

The Bible describes how Adam and Eve were initially in dialogue with God. God was their model, and since God is perfectly loving and not acquisitive, there should have been no rivalry between them. God lovingly offered them paradise, and their only charge was to mimic God’s love for Creation by lovingly caring for the Garden. Unfortunately, they fell into acquisitive desire when they listened to the serpent, who tempted them to eat the forbidden fruit. Adam regarded what Eve was eating, and due to acquisitive mimetic desire he wanted to eat the fruit. Their disobedience fractured their relationship with God, because they had become rivals with God for power and control. Then, Adam tried to blame Eve (and God for giving him Eve), and Eve blamed the serpent. Acquisitive mimetic desire (i.e., wanting what other people want because the other people want it) invariably leads conflict and accusation, which eventually leads to murder. This was the tragedy of Cain and Abel. (See essays 9 & 10.)

Acquisitive mimetic desire, then, is satanic, and it inevitably leads to violence. While our acquisitive desires are actually mimetic, we like to think that we want things because of their inherent goodness (romantic desire) rather than as a consequence of slavish mimetic desire of what other people have. (See essay #3.) This makes it difficult for us to recognize our envy. Whenever our acquisitive desires are not satisfied, our self-esteem is hurt and we feel angry. We blame other people for our frustrations, failing to recognize that our own envy often underlies our hostile feelings. Resentments in communities gradually build until a scapegoat is found, who everyone blames for widespread hostile feelings.

How do we stop scapegoating innocent people? The answer is not to eradicate human mimetic desire. Girardian anthropology asserts that humans are created as mimetic creatures. We cannot eliminate mimesis, but we can consciously change the focus of our mimetic desires. When we focus our mimetic desires on what other people want, our desires are acquisitive, divisive, and satanic. When our focus is on God, we have what Girard calls “good mimesis.” Since God is loving and not acquisitive, God does not become our rival when we model God. Therefore, mimesis of God does not engender resentment or hostility.

How can we model God? The Bible offers a wonderful model in Jesus Christ. Choosing to follow Jesus Christ means dying to satanic, acquisitive mimetic desire (which is the kind of desire to which we were born as humans) and being born again, becoming a new creation in Christ. Human nature is to be aggressive and acquisitive, but born again Christians are meek and seek to serve rather than to be served. Jesus said, “the meek shall inherit the earth,” which we will explore next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

Your question and comments are welcome

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