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CVA Weekly Newsletter
February 8, Date

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Book Announcement
  3. Essay: On Certainty, part 2
  4. Comment on a Previous Essay
  5. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. Activist Feedback

Jen, Amy, and I (Steve Kaufman) distributed over 900 Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? booklets to the mostly young attendees at Winter Jam in Cleveland on January 29. Many people appreciated our presence and gladly took the booklets, despite the frigid weather.

Upcoming Outreach Opportunities:

2/17 OK Tulsa The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/18 TX Lubbock The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/18 MT Billings Women Of Faith One Day

2/19 CO Colorado Springs The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/23 NM Albuquerque The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/23-25 TX Arlington Joyce Meyers Conference 2012

2/24 AZ Phoenix The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/25 NV Henderson The Rock and Worship Road Show

2/25 CA San Jose Women of Faith One Day

2/25 TX Dallas Women of Faith One Day

2/26 MO Springfield The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/1 ID Boise The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/2 OR Portland The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/2-3 OK Tulsa Extraordinary Women Conference

3/3 WA Seattle The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/3 WA Spokane The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/3 NY Rochester Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!

3/3 LA Shreveport Women of Faith One Day

3/8-9 NC Charlotte Benny Hinn Miracle Crusade

3/9 CA San Diego The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/10 FL Tampa TABLE Bark in the Park

3/10 CA Sacramento The Rock and Worship Road Show

3/10 WI Milwaukee Women of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!

3/11 CA Fresno The Rock and Worship Road Show

6/23 VA Richmond TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival

3/15-17 NC Winston-Salem Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference

3/16-17 SC Greenville Extraordinary Women Conference

3/17 FL Miami Women of Faith One Day

3/17 PA Pittsburgh Women Of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls!

3/24 IN Indianapolis Women Of Faith Dream On For Teen Girls

3/24 NV Las Vegas Women Of Faith One Day Conference

3/30-31 MO Cape Girardeau Extraordinary Women Conference

3/31 TX Austin Women Of Faith Dream on For Teen Girls

3/31 KS Wichita Women Of Faith One Day

3/31 MD Baltimore Women Of Faith One Day

3/31 TX Austin TABLE Texas Veg Fest

4/22 CA San Diego TABLE EarthWorks' EarthFair 2012

4/22 MO St. Louis TABLE Earth Day Festival

4/28-29 CT Hartford TABLE Connecticut Vegetarian & Healthy

Living Festival

5/20 CA Van Nuys TABLE WorldFest 2012

2. Book Announcement

The vegan restaurant Soul Vegetarian has a new book or recipes for their tasty preparations. To learn more, go to http://soulvegtallahassee.com/

3. Essay: On Certainty, part 2

Can we have certainty? I think there are powerful empirical and logical grounds for saying no. Empirically, psychologists have found that unconscious and subconscious needs, desires, feelings, and thoughts influence what we come to believe is true. How can we know whether our convictions represent accurate interpretations of data or reflections of unconscious biases? For example, among the many psychological studies that demonstrate this point, participants heard a strong argument and a weak argument both for and against a position that they held. When later asked to recall the arguments made, overwhelmingly they remembered best the strong argument for their previously held position and the weak argument for the position with which they had disagreed.

The only way to have certainty is to have an objective frame-of-reference. In other words, we need to be outside ourselves, regarding ourselves objectively and dispassionately, unmoved by the biases that color our convictions. Unfortunately, we can’t have such a perspective. If we asked a person who said, “I know X is true,” the person might offer evidence, such as a personal experience or the experiences of others. However, we know that human perceptions are often inaccurate, and human interpretations of experiences are notoriously unreliable.

Another response to the question of how we know that X is true is to say that we accept X as true on faith. People are free to believe whatever they want, of course, but faith is hardly a solid ground for claiming certainty. Indeed, to an outside observer, a person who uses faith as a basis for claiming that something is true has not provided compelling evidence. A person can hold any belief, however fantastic, on the basis of faith.

I submit that certainty is a state of mind, and not necessarily a state of knowledge. It can be disquieting to live with uncertainty, particularly when it comes to the great existential questions mentioned last week. However, I would rather have greater truth – even if part of that truth is an understanding of the limits of human knowledge – than greater certainty.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. Comment on a Previous Essay

This paragraph: "Substitutionary atonement theory treats sin as a legal problem – humanity’s offense against God – rather than as a social problem. The theory does not regard sinfulness in terms of society’s institutions or events of human history (other than original sin). Consequently, the theory does not challenge unjust human institutions, making it easier for Christians to countenance injustice" is completely unjustified.

The basic premise of Christian (or Jewish living) is Love the Lord thy God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. First love God, then love everyone else. Obedience to God has always included being fair and just and kind to others. The Bible is FILLED with commands, e.g. the "10 commandments:" do not steal, commit adultery, murder, honor your mother and your father, etc., etc., etc. to these same commandments in the New Testament with further admonitions to not even THINK about committing these crimes against others, and further explanations about treating others with love (the greatest of these is love"). Disobeying God (sin) includes hurting other people (your "social" problem). My hurting others is not just a legal problem, it demonstrates lack of love for God through obedience and lack of the love of your neighbor, the second greatest commandment!

Also, as a conservative, vegetarian Christian I cannot condemn my friends who eat meat (though I discourage it at every opportunity) because it is clearly given the okay in the New Testament. I CAN, however, argue vehemently that it was not always so, see: the Garden of Eden. This state of ultimate peace and perfection prior to sin should be our model to pursue (to be perfectly achieved in heaven). It was perfect, so we should try to emulate it. One way is to not eat animals or do harm to others. Just as when God allowed a writ of divorcement for a time, they were told 'it was not always so," meaning the other way was better. Eating meat was not always so, referring to a more perfect time in the Garden of Eden, therefore it is a more perfect way to be. Therefore to be a vegetarian is not a "weaker brother" in a sense (though it's called that in the New Testament, but in reference to eating meat given to idols), but actually a stronger brother who is trying to behave more perfectly as man did before sin came to the Garden of Eden and began death and pain and animals themselves becoming carnivores. I, unfortunately have to feed my cats meat, but in the Garden of Eden they were herbivores because all creatures were at peace. That is the goal.

Lynda Austin


Ms. Austin makes the valid and important point that the Bible does not treat sin only as a legal problem. I argued that substitutionary atonement theory does treat sin in this way, and I find that problematic.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Learning to See the True Intent of Man’s Heart (Part III) 

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