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CVA Weekly Newsletter
April 2, 2014

  1. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  2. On Science and Religion, part 2
  3. The April-May Peaceable Table Is Now Online

1. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Do Religious Leaders Really Believe in the Works of God? 

2. On Science and Religion, part 2
Many people regard science and religion as involving distinct spheres, but I am doubtful. People of faith routinely use scientific reasoning to defend their religions. To believe something solely on the basis of faith is, thankfully, fully legal in the United States, but it is not reasonable. Why not believe in the Tooth Fairy, if faith alone suffices?
When religious people try to defend their faith, they tend to use similar approaches to those of scientists. For example, they often use case reports, such as reports of miracles. Then, they often defend the validity of the source of those reports. For example, in The Case for Christ, Lee Sobel argues that there are good reasons to conclude that the Gospel accounts are accurate. While some might dispute Sobel’s arguments, their form is scientific.
Another scientific defense of religious beliefs is to argue that the religion’s sacred text(s) have accurately predicted future events, just as scientific theories aim to predict the outcome of future experiments. Consistency with observations is another feature of scientific proof, and many defenders of religion often maintain that their sacred stories and texts accurately reflect archaeological, geological, or other evidence.
It seems to me that, frequently, science and religion often differ not in method but in community. The scientific community tends to be skeptical, and there is a premium on making novel observations that often conflict with popular theories or prior observations. In contrast, religious communities tend to reinforce each other’s belief, and many religious communities discourage challenges to core tenets and creeds. This can make it difficult to challenge views about humanity’s relationship to nonhumans, and indeed many animal advocates have had difficulty finding churches that will let them voice concerns about animal issues, much less embrace nonviolence towards nonhumans.
Can religion’s scientific underpinnings be a means by which we can encourage our churches to address animal issues? I’ll explore this question next week.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

3. The April-May Peaceable Table Is Now Online
Contents include:
* We get a Glimpse of the Peaceable Kingdom by watching this video of rollicking fun among two good friends--a Labrador dog and an elephant.
* How does it sound to have a meal featuring garlic mashed potatoes, with chocolate mousse for dessert? Check out these mouth-watering Recipes!
* Do you remember the review of Unlikely Friendships by Jennifer Holland, describing pairs of animals from different species who become close friends?  Here is a Review of a new book by Holland of the same sort, entitled Unlikely Loves.  You will want to read and savor the photos and narratives in this beautiful volume.
* Our April-May Pilgrimage column features the well-known pediatrician Benjamin Spock, whose sensitive manual Baby and Child Care has been guiding generations of parents since it first appeared in 1946.  At age 88 Spock became a vegan, and he incorporated his vegan principles into the seventh edition of his famous child-care manual.
To see this issue, go to http://www.vegetarianfriends.net/issue103.html.
Recently Quaker Animal Kinship advertised on Google for two weeks, and we were gratified to get a high volume of clicks to Peaceable Table. But our funds are limited. We hope you will help with a donation, either via PayPal or by check. For the latter method, see the short section at the end of the issue.
Peace and refreshment to all beings,
Gracia Fay Ellwood, Editor

Your question and comments are welcome

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