Weekly Newsletter - July 15, 2015
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Thoughts on Free Will, part 2
  2. This Weekís Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
  3. The Next Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online

1. Thoughts on Free Will, part 2

If there is free will then, presumably, we could have chosen different for at least some of the decisions we have made. It is impossible to exactly reproduce past conditions, so it is speculative whether any given decision could have been otherwise. While we cannot know with certainty whether or not we have free will, we can nevertheless speculate intelligently.

Many decisions are made without reflections. Insofar as these decisions are concerned, there does not appear to have been free will at work. What about decisions about which we deliberate? We donít control either the thoughts or feelings that come into play in our minds. Further, the process by which we ultimately make decisions is based on such influences as instinctive feelings and desires, what people have taught us, and what we have learned in life Ė all things over which we donít exert control. Therefore, this mechanistic view of decision-making doesnít seem to involve free will.

Most of us have a sense of free will because we do not experience control over our decision-making processes. However, free will might be like vision. We donít feel an external process that forces us to see, but we cannot avoid seeing if our eyes are open, there is light, and our visual system is intact. So, this perspective suggests that we might not have free will. Next week, I will start to consider objections to this position.

Stephen R. Kaufman, MD

Please note: Past reflections of the Lectionary are now online at http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/an-tpr-reflections-on-lectionary.html. My thanks to Veda Stram for her work in making these available.

2. This Weekís Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman

Faithfully Living Godís Will

3. The Next Issue of Peaceable Table Is Online

Contents include:

  • The Editor's Corner Essay, "Linked Oppressions: Politics, Enclosing Land, and Breaking Horses" unpacks the implications for women, the poor, and animals in a society dinner scene in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
  • In one of the Unset Gems, Friend Francis, the Bishop of Rome, reminds us that all creatures are connected and must be treated with love and respect.
  • Young activists stormed a chick hatchery in Israel (see NewsNotes) and stopped the grinder into which the male chicks were thrown, defying police orders to leave. They were arrested and taken out.
  • Our Pioneer is Catharine Macaulay, England's first woman historian, who in her Essay on Education compares the oppression of women with that of animals.
  • Vegans with little time to cook will especially welcome the tasty "Easy Roasted Cabbage" in the Recipe column. Angie Cordeiro's "Chocolate Mousse Banana Cream Pie" takes more time, but is sure to be a great hit.

You can read this issue online here.

Archived 2015 Newsletters
See Newsletter Archives