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CVA Weekly Newsletter
May 2, 2012

  1. Activist Feedback
  2. Essay: Is “Rational Faith” a Contradiction of Terms?
  3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Previous Newsletters

1. Activist Feedback
Michele writes:
Tabling for Savannah Earth Day went well. There was a nice turn-out. I handed out about one hundred booklets pieces of literature, and there was some nice discussion. I like these events where there is more time to talk.
A medical vegan table was there called Our Friends Heart-Beats For Life, and I am glad for the work they do, for it is so important. Yet, CVA is an important voice in the wilderness, because it helps others to be aware of the plight of animals and to be aware that becoming vegan is also for love of the Living God Our Parent, and all the other reasons.
I plan to continue to share at more health events.
Upcoming Activism Opportunities
5/11          IA Council Bluffs Acquire The Fire Youth Conference
5/12      CA Valencia        Newsboys Hallelujah Jubilee
5/13      AR Rogers               La Crae Christian Rock Concert
5/17      WA Tacoma               Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference
5/19      CA San Diego       Women of Faith "One Day" Conference
5/19      SC Myrtle Beach         Beach Blast -Third Day
5/20      CA Van Nuys        TABLE WorldFest 2012
5/26      NC Charlotte       JoyFest
5/31-6/2  MN Minneapolis          Joyce Meyers Ministries Conference
6/1       TX Dallas               The Good Life Tour
6/2       NE Omaha           HIP HOPE FEST Hope Center For Kids Event
6/9       NY Syracuse        Women of Faith ONE DAY Conference
6/9       CA Long Beach      Women of Faith ONE DAY Conference
6/14      AL Birmingham      McDonald's Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour 2012
6/16      AR Little Rock          Women of Faith ONE DAY
6/16-17   NY Rochester       Rock The Lakes News boys and more!
7/14      MN Minneapolis          TABLE Twin Cities Veg Fest
6/23      IL Hoffman Estates Women of Faith ONE DAY
6/23      NC Greensboro      Women of Faith ONE DAY
6/23      VA Richmond             TABLE Richmond Vegetarian Festival
6/21-24   NC Pittsboro       TABLE Wild Goose Festival

2. Essay: Is “Rational Faith” a Contradiction of Terms?
Many people think faith and rationality represent two different paths towards truth. Both have their limitations, however. Faith can readily mislead, particularly since it is appears to be heavily influenced by factors about which the believer is often unaware, include cultural influences, early childhood experiences, and unconscious fears and hopes. I doubt it is a coincidence that most people adopt the faith of their parents and those who don’t usually adopt another dominant faith system of their community. Similarly, most belief systems provide psychological comfort to believers when it comes to questions of whether they are living righteously or whether they will enjoy everlasting life.
Rationality also has its limits. Neither scientific investigation nor deductive or inductive logic tell us what we are supposed to do with our lives or what our ultimate destiny will be. However, rationality has the distinct advantage over uncritical faith in being less likely to lead to serious error. While science and rational inquiry are not immune to bias, outsiders can evaluate and critique the various forms of rational inquiry.
I think a faith that is open to critical analysis is psychologically healthy for the faith-holder and desirable for the larger community. Such a faith includes the ability to pass reality tests. If scientific evidence contradicts a faith position, then those who hold that faith position should be willing to reconsider their beliefs. This suggests that people should be willing to change or even abandon their faith if it proves untenable. We might be willing to defend what we believe to the point of death, but we should be ready to change our position if it no longer seems reasonable.
The problem is that people tend to be most dogmatic about those points of faith for which there is the least empirical evidence, such as the nature of the afterlife. I strongly suspect that this rigidity reflect the fear that beliefs we hold dear might not stand up to scrutiny. An illustration of why such scrutiny is crucial is that the uncritical belief that humans have the right to treat animals as humans see fit is a dubious belief at best, and it certainly leads to great tragedy for countless nonhuman beings.
I like how one theologian once said that she has a “51%-49% faith.” She acknowledged her lack of certainty about core faith statements, but she said that we have no choice but to decide what we believe and act accordingly. To choose to not take a position is to take a position – which usually amounts to the default position of the culture. In the case of animals, it usually translates into accepting animal abuse as acceptable. The 51%-49% faith is open to adjustments as needed, but it should not translate into a lack of conviction or a reluctance to act on behalf of truth as the believer sees it.
Next week I will reflect on what a distinctly Christian faith might look like.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

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

Chasing Compassionate People Away From Church (Part 2)

Your question and comments are welcome

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