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Update Newsletters
27 October 2010 Issue

1. Activist Feedback

2. Kindle Technical Assistance Needed

3. Essay: The Path to Truth

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

1. Activist Feedback

Leslie writes:

Veg Fest Tampa and Orlando both went really well! There were lots of good responses. I have three people listed on the sign-up sheets who want to start tabling on their own in the Orlando area, and a total of five pages of people who signed up for newsletters and to volunteer. I had many volunteers this time, Dolly, Eric, Carol, Bruce, Diane, Santos, Susan, and Drew. They all handed out a lot of literature and could help win others over to vegan thinking. It makes a great difference.

I am also happy that I can contribute the volunteer donations from CVA to a very worthy cause. Florida Voices for Animals will be having a ThanksVegan dinner on Thanksgiving Day. They have come out a little short of funds after the event for the last couple of years.

Robin Lane writes:

On Saturday we ran a stall outside Westminster Cathedral promoting veganism, giving away hundreds of leaflets. We also distributed vegan recipe sheets and gave away several recipe booklets and copies of `The Vegan`. We had our usual free fruit fare and had some really interesting conversations with passers-by and Catholics visiting the church.

2. Kindle Technical Assistance Needed

Does anyone know how to convert a Word or PDF file into Digital Text Platform (DTP)? Vegetarian Advocates Press would like to make some of its books available for publication by Kindle. Please contact cva@christianveg.org  if you might be able to help.

3. Essay: The Path to Truth

All, or nearly all, of us crave answers to the great existential questions of life: Where did I come from? What am I supposed to do with my life? What happens to me when I die? All religions offer answers to these questions, and, perhaps because the evidence in support of those answers is far from conclusive, people often resist questions or criticism that might undermine their religion’s answers. Indeed, it seems that people often declare the greatest certainty about those beliefs for which they have the least evidence. Interestingly, those beliefs about which they express certainty almost always have implications that are in their own best interests, such as validation of their lifestyles, claims that their ethnic groups are superior, or guarantees of eternal happiness.

Sometimes people appeal to texts that their religions regard as sacred, but it is difficult if not impossible to discern which texts are truly inspired by God. In nearly all cultures, people believe what they been taught by the people they love and trust. They generally accept as true their culture’s stories, which are sometimes transmitted orally and sometimes transmitted as written texts. Yet these stories are not mutually compatible and can’t all be completely true.

Often people appeal to personal experiences, such as dreams or a sense that God is speaking to them. A difficulty is that we know that this approach also yields divergent and incompatible views. People often believe what they want to believe, and since we can’t feel ourselves coming to believe certain things it can be tempting to attribute our beliefs to external sources of truth and wisdom. Therefore, while experiences might give people a sense that God is transmitting absolutely true knowledge, that sense of certainty is a psychological phenomenon and not necessary related to the truth.

How, then, can we arrive at truth? I suggest that, paradoxically, if we are dedicated to truth, one truth we might need to accept is that there is uncertainty about any and all answers to the great existential questions. Perhaps by acknowledging our limitations with humility, we can become more open to new knowledge and less quick to denounce those with whom we disagree. Such an approach can help us grow in wisdom and become more kind and compassionate.

How should we live, if there is uncertainty? Interestingly, nearly every religion has some formulation of the Golden Rule. Next week, I will reflect on different ways that we might express and apply the Golden Rule, and I will provide reasons for including nonhuman beings among the “others” to whom we as faithful Christians should give consideration.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Daniel, God’s Man in the Field (Part XIV)
http://www.all-creatures.org/sermons97/s8oct89.html .

Your question and comments are welcome

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