Weekly Newsletter - October 1, 2014
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. CVA’s New Booklet
  2. Activist Feedback
  3. Essay: Who Has a Soul?
  4. Our Hen House Web Site
  5. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

1. CVA’s New Booklet

We are pleased to announce our new, revised, and improved booklet, which is called Compassionate Eating. At 8 pages, it’s shorter and more concise than the prior booklet, designed to appeal to contemporary readers who are less inclined to read a longer booklet than people were in years past. To see the booklet, go to honoring.htm and click the PDF.

We want to thank Four Feet Forward, which offered expertise in the design of the booklet, and the Humane Research Council, which worked with the CVA on marketing research.

We think we’ve got a potent tool to help change hearts and minds. Now we need you, our CVA members, to get help us distribute them at Christian events!

2. Activist Feedback

Charles, who tabled with Steve Kaufman at Veggie Fest in Naperville, IL, writes:

Things went well. Many Christians and non-Christianscame up to talk and take literature. Just about everyone who passed by smiled and said hello. Several Middle-Easternersseemed very interested and asked to take multiple copies of some of the booklets. It was very gratifyingto give helpful information to some vegetarian teenagers and their parents.

Upcoming Activist Opportunities

10/05 - TX, Dallas - MercyMe
10/11/12 - CA, San Francisco - World Veg Festival
10/18 - MN, Saint Paul - Matthew West
10/25 - CO, Denver  - Matthew West
10/25 - OH, Lima - Newboys
10-25/26 - MA, Boston - Vegetarian Food Festival
10/19 - TX, Dallas - Texas Veggie Far
11/01/02 - AZ, Tucson - VegFest Tucson
11/08 - WA, Seattle - David Crowder

3. Essay: Who Has a Soul?

People often regard the soul as a nonphysical entity that has potential to outlive our physical bodies. Skeptics have argued that there is no compelling physical evidence for the existence of the soul. However, I think it is unlikely that physical experiences, reports, or measurements will help us ascertain whether or not a nonphysical soul exists. Part of the problem is that we are physical entities, so for us to say something exists means that it exists physically, yet we posit the soul as a nonphysical entity. I assert that, if humans have souls (whatever the soul is), there is good reason to believe that nonhumans have souls as well.

The writer of Ecclesiastes seems to agree, writing:

I said in my heart with regard to the sons of men that God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth? (19-22)

This accords with Genesis, in which humans and animals have the same essence, nephesh. Yet, translators in Genesis have called nephesh “soul” (King James Version) or “being” (Revised Standard Version) for humans (2:7) and “creature” for animals (2:19, KJV and RSV). Evidently, one reason many Christians today believe that only humans have souls is related to the bias of translators.

I think there is very compelling evidence that humans evolved from other animals, a conclusion shared by many but not all Christians. An implication from evolutionary theory is that humans are among the members of the animal kingdom. If humans have souls and nonhumans do not, when in the course of evolution did the soul appear? I don’t see any reasonable answer to this question, suggesting that if humans have souls, nonhumans do likewise.

If having a soul does not seem to distinguish humans from nonhumans, on what other grounds might human exceptionalism and human favoritism be grounded? Many have pointed to the biblical passage that Adam was created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). I will consider this next week.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

4. Our Hen House Web Site

My name is Alessandra, and I work for the multimedia hub of animal advocacy known as Our Hen House.

Our Hen House, a NYC-based 501(c)(3) non-profit which was named the Indie Media Powerhouse by VegNews Magazine, is the hub of all things vegan and animal rights. The “indefatigably positive” podcast is hosted by Executive Director Jasmin Singer, and her partner, animal law professor Mariann Sullivan. You can find more information about these incredible women, and longtime activists, here. Our Hen House also publishes an online magazine with a new article published daily. We also have a brand new TV show that just launched, and is co-produced with Brooklyn Independent Media.

On our online magazine, we recently published an article entitled "The Church Potluck, Reimagined" about the author, Lauren Ng's, experiences as a vegan in her Christian community and how she's spread the word about animal rights to her fellow community members. Due to all the fabulous work you do in regards to spirituality and animals, we think you and your followers would be interested in the article, and would love it if you shared it.

Here is the URL to the article: The Church Potluck Reimagined

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

Rebellious Generation Against God

Previous 2014 Newsletters
See Newsletter Archives