- Activist Feedback
- Essay: Are Members of Some Species More Equal Than Others?
- This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
- Book Notice
1. Activist Feedback
David and Judy, who leafleted at
Women of Faith in Little Rock, AR this month, write:
distributed close to 2/3 of a box of ‘Would Jesus Eat Meat Today? We
arrived before they opened the doors to a big crowd milling around and
so worked that group of women. A little while after the doors opened
and the crowd filed in, the security folks came out and asked us to
leave the steps and go down to the sidewalk. That was OK since then we
could talk to the later arrivals before they climbed the steps.
We have handed out copies to several small church groups where we have
presented talks (numbering from 10 to 60 attendees). Also, as
septuagenarians we go to many medical appointments, so we leave a copy
in each doctor’s office. Please keep us informed of other
opportunities in the Little Rock Arkansas area and thanks again for
your wonderful ministry.
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
The Christian Vegetarian Association (www.ChristianVeg.org)
is looking for volunteers to leaflet at the upcoming events with our
“Would Jesus Eat Meat Today?” booklets to spread the word about
vegetarianism as good stewardship of all of God’s Creation. Volunteers
have a great opportunity to earn $18.00 per hour (up to 2 hours) per
person to be donated to their favorite Animal Advocacy or Veg Group.
For more information please contact Paris at
firstname.lastname@example.org or Lorena at (770) 633-7415.
7/3-5 IN Independence
Heartbeat Festival 2012
Building 429 Christian Rock Concert
IL St. Charles
DecembeRadio in Concert
7/11-14 MN Willmar
7/11-15 WI Oshkosh
Building 429 @ LaPorte County Fair
OH Cleveland Joel Olsteen
7/14-15 CO Olathe
Night Vision Festival
Building 429 @ The County Fair
7/21-22 IL Schaumburg
Ignite Music Festival
7/21-22 SD Rapid City
Hills Alive 2012 FREE Christian Music Fest
OH Loveland TABLE Heaven
Joyce Meyers Conference
OH Columbus Women of Faith
Celebrate What Matters
Green Earth Festival
8/10-11 OK Oklahoma City
Women Of Faith Celebrate What Matters
Women Of Faith Celebrate What Matters
DE Harrington Casting Crowns @ Delaware
9/21-23 NC Hickory
"Momentum" The Conference Newsboys
TABLE NY's Capital Region Vegetarian Expo
2. Essay: Are
Members of Some Species More Equal Than Others?
Last week I
suggested that the existence of subjective experience was evidence for
a divine creative being. Why does subjective experience exist?
Biologists would generally agree that feelings encourage behaviors
that favor survival. Seeking to avoid pain and to experience pleasure
ultimately increases the likelihood that an individual will survive
and pass on genetic material to offspring. However, we can program
inanimate computers to learn and adapt, and it would seem that living
organisms could adapt to their environment and even make rational
choices without having subjective experiences.
explanation for subjective experience does not tell us how inanimate
atoms can generate things with feelings, nor does it tell us which
living things can have subjective experiences. Indeed, we can’t prove
that other humans have subjective experiences, though it is reasonable
to believe that they do. Why should we as individuals have subjective
experience and other humans do not? Similarly, it is reasonable to
think that other mammals have subjective experience, given their
anatomical, physiological, and behavioral resemblances to humans.
What about all other vertebrates? Can fish, for example, feel
pain? Fish do not have the same brain structures that light up on
brain scans when humans feel pain. However, just as nature has
independently devised many ways to use light to gain useful
information about its environment (i.e., to see), if conscious
experience is needed for creatures to learn and adapt to its
environment, then there would be strong evolutionary pressures to
develop the ability to feel pain. A problem is that, just as we have
difficulty imaging what a fly sees with its compound eye that differs
markedly from the human eye, it is hard for us to know whether the
fish’s experience of a hook in their mouths is similar to what we
would experience in a similar situation.
And what about other
animals, such as insects, whose brains differ so much from our own?
Can they feel pleasure and pain? I think we should give all creatures
the benefit of the doubt and do our best not to cause distress. We
should try to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew
10:16) in our dealings with all of God’s creation. I think it makes
sense to focus our attention and our activism on those individuals who
most clearly can experience pain and pleasure as we understand them,
but we should be mindful of everyone.
Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.
3. This Week’s Sermon from Rev. Frank and Mary Hoffman
Belief is Passive - Faith is Active
4. Book Notice
Kerry Walters, Vegetarianism: A Guide for the
Perplexed. New York & London: Continuum, 2012.
The author is William Bittinger Professor of Philosophy; Peace &
Justice Studies Gettysburg College, Gettysburg PA 17325