- Activist Feedback
- Praise for Guided by the Faith of Christ
- Essay: On Faith
- This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Jon, who leafleted with Mikael and Darina at
the Rock and Worship show in Hoffman Estates, IL, writes:
is a huge venue, and in just a single hour, we each gave out over 380
booklets. Overall, we experienced a very receptive crowd and met a
total of about a dozen vegetarians. We received our share of negative
comments, but the overwhelming positive feeling of informing such a
quality crowd completely overshadows any snide remarks. Leafleting for
CVA, especially at concerts with plentiful young adults, proves time
and time again to be a most rewarding endeavor. Thank you CVA for
making it possible!
2. Praise for Guided by the Faith of
In general I found it well
researched, beautifully written, and extremely interesting.
Particularly interesting to me was a statement found on page 130 where
Stephen Kaufman writes:
"The critical component of my faith is
not that God exists, because God's existence alone would not guide my
life. Rather, the core of my faith relates to what I believe is God's
nature. I believe God's essence is love, and I am convinced that this
was also the faith of Christ. Such a faith encourages us to respond to
satanic desires and satanic activities with love and compassion."
As the paragraph continues, Steve writes "Our wounds often create
barriers to our expression of God's love. Jesus taught us how to
receive healing and to heal others."
[Guide by the Faith of
Christ: Seeking to Stop Violence and Scapegoating is available at
3. Essay: On Faith
All religions require elements of faith. Any metaphysical beliefs
are, by definition, not directly amenable to scientific study. This
does not reduce the importance or the relevance of religious faith.
After all, science offers little or no guidance about the great
existential questions: Where did I come from? What am I supposed to do
with my life? What happens to “me” – that stable sense of self that
has existed in my body (even as my body constantly changes) – when I
Atheists deny that there is any cosmic meaning to our
lives. Perhaps they are right, but psychologically many people find
such a view unsettling. Further, this stance fails to address the very
real mystery of how we came to exist. We know much about how living
beings come to exist through biological reproduction, but we have no
idea where our own, unique sense of being came from.
religious people express certainty about their relationship with God
and about their ultimate destiny after they die. I don’t see any firm
grounds for such certainty. Even if there were compelling evidence,
certainty seems unwarranted, since we know that the human mind can be
fallible and thus there is no way to know whether a person’s sense of
certainty reflects true knowledge or whether it is just a
manifestation of a fallible mind. Evidently, being surrounded by
people who share their convictions seems to augment a sense of
certainty, but mutual reinforcement of a belief does not necessarily
signal a greater likelihood that the belief is truth.
we should be willing to accept uncertainty when it comes to answers to
these existential questions. While we might crave certainty about
these matters, this attitude strikes me as most reasonable, most
intellectually honest, and, from a social perspective, most desirable.
Historically, people have tended to become most hostile when their
religious beliefs have been challenged. Even if they can live
peacefully among non-believers, rigid religious convictions can prompt
people to ignore their basic senses of justice and decency if they
believe that God favors policies that harm vulnerable individuals. As
Voltaire observed, “As long as people believe in absurdities they will
continue to commit atrocities.” Unshakeable religious convictions made
it easier for churches to defend racial segregation a half century ago
and to defend animal abuse today.
Next week, I will respond to
Steven Weinberg’s opinion, "With or without religion, good people can
behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil
– that takes religion.”
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
4. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Unconditional Love Angers Religious Leaders