Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - December 3, 2021
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Education, continued: Psychology
  2. All-Creatures.Org Ministry

1. Education, continued: Psychology

A basic understanding of human psychology is crucial to help people become effective and responsible citizens. Such knowledge helps us understand what motivates other people, which can often engender compassion. It also helps us discern our own motivations, which can lead to humility and an attitude of respectful openness to people whose views differ from our own.

I think the study of psychology will tend to reveal that, despite superficial differences in culture, humans have similar needs and desires. These include experiencing pleasure and avoiding physical pain and mental suffering. And, we have similar goals in life, which typically include finding meaning in our work and other activities and raising children so that they may flourish. Perhaps in part because of the human tendency to be tribal, we tend to accentuate the differences between us, but in truth our commonality is striking. A non-speciesist education would also acknowledge that many nonhuman beings share many needs and desires with humans.

Among psychology’s most helpful insights is an appreciation for how our perceptions, upon which our opinions are based, reflect biases that derive from our culture and from our unique experiences. These foundational biases are reinforced by “confirmation bias,” in which we tend to recognize and internalize information that accords with our pre-existing beliefs, and we are far less attuned to information that contradicts those beliefs. An awareness of our biases can help reduce their influence on our interpretation of new information, and it should encourage us to seek the perspectives of other people who do not share our biases.

Such insights might alleviate the growing partisanship that seems to be tearing apart our sense of community in the United States and elsewhere. And, it might make more people open to seriously considering the rights of nonhuman creatures. Society-at-large has taken the self-serving position that animals are not worthy of serious moral consideration. This bias is taught to children, who naturally have an affinity for animals. To unlearn this bias, people must recognize that it is a culturally induced “mental virus” that they need to consciously resist.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.DS

2. From All-Creatures.Org Ministry

Here are our recent All-Creatures Newsletter, which we hope you like and share with others to help stop the exploitation and killing of animals.

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