Weekly Newsletter from Christian Vegetarian Association CVA - December 19, 2021
From Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

  1. Powerful New York Times Opinion Piece
  2. Education Continued - Cultural Anthropology
  3. All-Creatures.Org Ministry

1. Powerful New York Times Opinion Piece

Ezra Klein: Opinion | "We Will Look Back on This Age of Cruelty to Animals in Horror" - The New York Times

2. Education Continued - Cultural Anthropology

It is very difficult to recognize when we are being drawn into the vortex of the scapegoating process. Our tendency to mimic other people results in our hopes and fears receiving validation from our peers. The collective accusation – a hallmark of the scapegoating process – derives its power from the mimetic agreement that one or more individuals are responsible for our sense of dissatisfaction or anxiety. The accused are often scapegoats, who might not be totally innocent but their degree of responsibility for our woes is typically greatly exaggerated. A sense of peace and well-being that derives from the collective banishment or punishment of the scapegoat is not only unjust; it is also unstable. The true sources of dissatisfaction or anxiety remain, and the cultural acceptance of victimization leaves all individuals vulnerable.

The work of cultural anthropologists such as René Girard and others has elucidated the scapegoating process as well as other valuable lessons about human behavior. Studying other cultures can be particularly illuminating, because we are often blind to prejudices embedded in the ideologies that underly our culture. Other cultures can help us identify factors that promote justice and flourishing and factors that lead to injustice and suffering. Toward that end, it is profitable to see how different cultures address a range of questions and challenges such as:

  • What are the rites of passage from childhood to adulthood?
  • How do different cultures define “success”?
  • What is the balance between individualism and communalism, and how does this impact general well-being?
  • What are manifestations of tribalism in different cultures?
  • How do societies contain violence within their own communities?
  • How do societies protect themselves from violent neighbors?
  • What strategies for succession of power have succeeded, and what have failed?

As with many sacred texts, violence and community-building are central themes of the Bible. There are frequent comparisons between the ways of the ancient Hebrews and the ways of their neighbors, as well as the ways of Jesus’ followers and the ways of the larger community. The ancient sages understood the importance of cultural anthropology, and our modern study of this broad discipline can help us become more informed voters and more effective advocates of justice.

Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D. 

3. 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.

Newsletter Archives 2006-2021