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Why Are More Christians Not Vegans?
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Why Are More Christians Not Vegans?

Another blogger on this site, BobbieSue, recently wrote an interesting article titled Was Jesus A Vegan?, which inspired me to write this one. This is a topic I have often thought about in any case, the relation between religion and eating/using animals, so I thought I would put down my ideas about it. The question that often taxes me is: why are more Christians not vegan? It concerns me as I was brought up a Roman Catholic, although I no longer follow that faith (I don't think I need to explain why!!) I still maintain an interest in religion, theology and spirituality though, and I can't help but feel that these ideas are closely interlinked with the way we treat our planet and other species.

Most of the vegetarians and vegans (or veg*ns, an abbreviated generic term for both)  I know are atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, or pagans/Wiccans. I rarely meet a veg*n Christian, Jew or Muslim (the world's three major religions! Is that fact significant?) I am most interested in Christianity, since I was brought up a Christian and know more about that than about other religions. I can't understand why so many religious devouts can justify eating and using animals the way humans do, since I have always felt that compassion towards all living things would (or should) be one of the central tenets of any true religion.

I have however met one or two Quakers who are veg*n, and Iknow they run vegetarian guest-houses and retreat centres. But it is not a requirement of Quakerism that you give up meat. However I know that there exists a Christian Seventh Day Adventist sect called 2Eden, who are vegan, as they believe we should live off plant-based foods, as God originally designed it in the Bible, when he created Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. This is the relevant passage: "God said 'I have given you every plant-yielding seed and every tree with seed in its fruit for food'."( The Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, Verse 29.) This is very significant, as the Garden of Eden was paradise, the ideal state, where all creatures existed in harmony with humans, i.e. Adam and Eve. There was no sin, violence, killing, no evil in other words . It was only after Adam and Eve sinned, rebelled against God, and were cast out of Eden that they started killing and using animals for food. By a natural progression, their descendants started killing one another, other humans: Cain, son of Adam and Eve, was the first murderer.

Therefore, it logically follows that if humans want to create the ideal world (or as near to that as is possible, given that life is never perfect!) and move back to God and godly behaviour, they should be vegan and not kill any other creatures, human or animals. It always confounds me that more Christians do not see this!

Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)

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  1. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    Voted!
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  2. Veganara
    Veganara
    Thank you so much VH! I have just noticed you have posted another recipe so I am on my way over to look at that.
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  3. oooowow
    Yes, it confounds me, too. Many cite another passage from Genesis where it states that we are given dominion over animals as the reason..But, I think as you do...There are a lot of things that baffle me about "religious" people--contradictions and disconnects between what they believe and how they act or treat others, which is what drove me out of the church...
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      And me too, Oooowow! Yes, that is the religious justification: "God created animals for us to eat"!! As you say there is another passage in the Bible that states that God gave humans "dominion" over animals. Actually a vegan lady I know who has studied theology has read that part of the Bible in Hebrew, and says that the "dominion" word in the original is actually more akin to "caretaker" (rather than "master"!) As you say there are so many contradictions and disconnects with a lot of so-called religious people, and I have noticed that the fundamentalists usually selectively interpret the Bible, Koran, etc, based on their own personal biases and preferences! Thank you for the vote and comment. I read your last comment on BobbieSue's blog actually, fascinating! Is it the Dead Sea Scrolls you are referring to, when you say about the lost texts, the things we didn't know about Jesus' life?
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      1. oooowow
        There are more scrolls than just the Dead Sea scrolls...and there's been books published on those topics... what I find interesting about fundamentalists is that they claim a love and belief in Jesus but still follow Old Testament edicts...clearly after Jesus said ( according to the New Testament) that he had come because people weren't getting it...and even said he was simplifying it--love one another and do no harm etc etc...but clearly he came out and said...erase erase..you people are making people serve the laws rather than the laws serving man...but--it's like THAT got erased in the fundamentalists' Bibles.they totally ignore that little piece of scripture..LOL
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        1. Katapoet
          Katapoet
          While I disagree that the Old Testament should be basically erased, I think it should act as a guide to our behavior. We see what we are capable of, all the nasty parts, all the harmful ways we hurt each other, and should take from the New Testament, all the ways things are changed, and modified so as to make it easier to believe, and act according to what faith means. When I listen to what the Right says about dominion over the earth and animals, they have left out completely all the parts that Jesus said about caring for all people, not letting animals suffer, and being generous with wealth, and not hoarding it. Such is greed. I agree with you, Oooowow on the fundamentalist biblical take on Christianity. They seem to cherry pick what they want to pay attention to, ignoring everything else.
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      2. dianabart
        dianabart
        Yes.. I too studied that out only after I prayed to God, that my heart don't see 'dominion' as to hoard over and abuse, but that it means to love and care for.. as we have 'dominion' over our children, and the husband has 'dominion' over the family.. it means "a proper care taking order!" When it comes to the word of God our hearts must be "out of the flesh' and into the spirit! The spirit NEVER harms, but only LOVES!; Beacause God is a good, compassionate LOVING GOD! If what the 'carnal-human' mind inteprets to be of evil gains, then that is NOT God's intention- but just evil intentions of the heart! It's always a heart matter! Not that those that eat meat are evil, but if they crave flesh and blood, (as Cain did) then we need to re-evaluate our hearts! I always pray this prayer to get my heart aligned with Gods desires for my life.. Psalms 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if [there be any] wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." I also have the 'dead-sea scrolls' and Yes- Jesus was Vegan!! I love it! <3
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  4. BobbieSue
    BobbieSue
    Love it!! That is my thoughts exactly, but as I mentioned in my blog...I am not one to judge, so I don't push it. I also feel that if Christians were really concerned with giving their whole life to GOD, they would stop eating animals because I just do not feel like it is pleasing to GOD...in my own heart, that is. Now, I do not want to step out onto too many limbs, but I have heard that there were only suppose to be a specific number of souls to go back to heaven with GOD saved, in the end. I often wonder if that has anything to do with Vegans...ya know, like what if that is the one deciding factor that gives us clearance or sends us away?
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Now that is a really thought-provoking idea BobbieSue: that maybe only a certain number of souls can go to heaven in the end! So which ones could that be? Could it be the vegans? If God is the source and epitome of all goodness, He would not want us to be cruel to any living creatures, and the way humans treat them for food, etc, is so horrible, there is nothing godly about it! I am convinced of that. Your idea of vegans being the Chosen People (or maybe, the ones who have seen the light, who behave in the most ethical and "godly" way that they know how) really hits home with me, because veganism is not just about compassion for animals, but also for humans and the planet. It's a very holistic ideology! Please see my post Reasons To Be Vegan, if you haven't already, in which I lay out why I and so many others think that being vegan is the most ethical way to live.
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    2. oooowow
      I believe you are referring to the Jehovah Witness and perhaps the Mormons..If you read my comment on your post about Jesus, I believe what you cite above is just another example of man making rules to keep the masses in line through the use of fear and religion as a control....and I think it depends on your idea of God...If your God is small, judgemental and prone to eliteness and cliquish behavior, then perhaps there is only room in your heaven for that many...but my God has no boundaries and there is no hell...does not condemn and does not favor one over another...
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        Actually I agree with you Ooowow: why would God be so small-minded and favour some people over the other? I am sure it is as you say, an example of mind control by the religious leaders to keep people in line. But maybe if we do have souls (and I believe we do) we cannot cross over to the other side until our soul has reafched a sufficient level of enlightenment. This is apparently what the Hindus and Buddhists believe; that you will keep coming back, keep being reincarnated in earthly bodies until your soul has learned the lessons it needs to learn. Only then is it ready for the afterlife. Not sure I believe in reincarnation, but I do think maybe some souls get stuck in limbo sometimes!
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        1. oooowow
          I work with the dying and so my beliefs are colored by my experiences in that realm as well as my own experience of near-death that I won't talk about right now...but...there are some books which may be of interest to you that provides another view to what you mention.....Dr. Michael Newtonl, one of his books is "Journey of Souls:Case Studies of Life Between LIves." he has several Back in the 1950's, he was a resident and was working at hypnotizing and regressing people. (he wasn't a believer in reincarnation as I recall) and he stumbled on a technique that actually took people back to the time they live between lives--between the death of one life and birth into another...this became his life work..and overwhelmngly, people who did not know anyone else's stories reported many of the same things under hypnosis. this book is transcripts culled from 50 years of hypnotiziing people and investigating this...fascinating..BTW..I posted another blog...
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          1. Veganara
            Veganara
            Yes, that is fascinating. I have my own reasons for believing in souls and an afterlife, based on personal experience (not religious dogma). I will have a look at your latest blog now.
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      2. dianabart
        dianabart
        True that that number is not how many will end up in heaven but only a promised portion of it. Choosing to be vegan is a heart issue and yes it is part of the complete plan.. we will not use our carnal reasoning in heaven, nor will we desire to eat of 'flesh and blood!' .. believe me there is NO eating of animals- meat, eggs or animal milk in heaven.. we won't molest or steal from our animals.. we will only love them and all live in harmony.. as was in paradise before the fall of man. Again this is not a salvation message, but a compassion message! What God allows, and what God desires for us -are TWO totally different things. Knowing Gods true nature is Key: God is LOVE period; therefore, LOVE one another (including the animals) as God has LOVE us! <3 -Blessings all! :-)
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    3. dianabart
      dianabart
      In total agreement with ya there! I Must now read your blog on this matter! :-)
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  5. Veganara
    Veganara
    PS Do you all like the picture that goes with this blog? Naturally it is an illustration of Adam and Eve in Eden, but I like it because it shows Eve giving an apple to the snake, also illustrating kindness to animals, LOL!! Which is one of the major motivations for being vegan.
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  6. Akanksha
    Akanksha
    With my limited knowledge of Christianity ( I am a born Hindu but went to a catholic school), I agree. Basically, the aim of every religion is to maintain the harmony on the planet so Veganism becomes natural. I know Muslims 'sacrifice' goats on their festival, but religion does not ask them to do it everyday for food. This is one topic I am yet to study..but this is a thought provoking blog.
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  7. Caroline Jones
    Caroline Jones
    As a practicing Buddhist, I often wonder why more Buddhists aren't veg'n. After all, the first precept is all about non-harming.People go to great lengths to rationalize their meat habit.
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    1. Akanksha
      Akanksha
      I always thought all Buddhists were veg, how could they be otherwise...this is news! This is true, they will bring up facts from every corner of the world to justify the human 'need' of meat consumption.
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      1. Veganara
        Veganara
        You are so right Akanksha! I thought all Buddhists were veg*n as well, I am also very surprised to hear that Caroline! Thanks for the vote and comment btw. Yes, people do go to great lengths to rationalise their meat consumption, it seems to be a very deep-seated "need" (or compulsion). That reminds me of a great quote: I gather that the American footballer Arian Foster has recently gone vegan, and received a lot of criticism and opposition about it! In an interview he is quoted as saying: "People feel so strongly about meat and dairy. I wish they felt that strongly about peace." Very well said!!!
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        1. oooowow
          WOOHOO!!! to Arian Foster!!
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  8. LibbyTreats
    LibbyTreats
    Well written blog, Veganara!
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  9. Curiouser49
    My question is, Why don't more people who call themselves Christian, act like Christians - toward each other as well as animals? For them to evolve enough to deny themselves the instant gratification of eating their meat, they would have to actually follow Christianity on a daily basis. This does not only apply to Christians, it applies to people of all religions. As a Catholic, I try to study the mystics of my religion which is an area most Catholics ignore. When I talk of mystics; St. Theresa, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Francis, and St. John of the Cross, and many more - most people don't know what I am talking about. Religion is an ongoing study, not just an hour on Sunday. The ongoing study is how people of religion and spiritualism grow. I believe that vegans are at least a step above meat eaters because of their initial quest to live a compassionate life and the subsequent ongoing time and work they put into it. It is difficult to understand how anyone can participate in eating anything that is the object of confinement, torture and pain once they have the knowledge of how these animals live. It is truly a grave sin.
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  10. Curiouser49
    My question is, Why don't more people who call themselves Christian, act like Christians - toward each other as well as animals? For them to evolve enough to deny themselves the instant gratification of eating their meat, they would have to actually follow Christianity on a daily basis. This does not only apply to Christians, it applies to people of all religions. As a Catholic, I try to study the mystics of my religion which is an area most Catholics ignore. When I talk of mystics; St. Theresa, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Francis, and St. John of the Cross, and many more - most people don't know what I am talking about. Religion is an ongoing study, not just an hour on Sunday. The ongoing study is how people of religion and spiritualism grow. I believe that vegans are at least a step above meat eaters because of their initial quest to live a compassionate life and the subsequent ongoing time and work they put into it. It is difficult to understand how anyone can participate in eating anything that is the object of confinement, torture and pain once they have the knowledge of how these animals live. It is truly a grave sin.
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Thanks for your vote and comment Curiouser49, I agree wholeheartedly with all you say! I am really glad to hear that you are at least one practising Christian who is vegan! I am very interested in religion still, although as I say I am no longer a practising Catholic. It's so paradoxical really, when you consider the huge emphasis most Catholics put on sin and guilt, yet, as you say, they don't seem to see that they are committing one of the gravest sins of all by supporting an industry that causes so much death and suffering to other living creatures. I agree with you that studying the lives of the saints can be very inspirational and enlightening.
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  11. dianabart
    dianabart
    I Agree, I agree, I agree... as I posted this comment in my last post to you in case you missed it.. " I always feel sparked on this message.. It was God that "MADE" me a Vegan.. I asked HIM to break my heart for What breaks His.. and I became selfless in this area, and it was easy to sacrifice my 'taste buds' (flesh) and 'meatly desires for blood' HE changed everything about HOW I look at the world! Animals are part of HIS awesome creation to LOVE not to harm! He made us vegans in the beginning and we will be vegans in the end.. HE clearly states that upon HIS return the lion will graze with the lamb, and there shall be No more harm to one- another (this includes ALL creatures!) "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea." Isa 11:9! His heart is that we shall NO longer crave 'flesh and blood' for our fight is not against it, nor for it.. when His Knowledge covers the earth, as the waters' cover the seas.. we will finally see this epiphany come true! Our hearts will no longer crave the things of the flesh, and all that will dwell is LOVE and compassion for ALL God's Creatures! ~That's my story, it aligned my heart with scripture; therefore, I'm sticking to it! :-D" Also I love this point you made, "Therefore, it logically follows that if humans want to create the ideal world (or as near to that as is possible, given that life is never perfect!) and move back to God and godly behaviour, they should be vegan and not kill any other creatures, human or animals. It always confounds me that more Christians do not see this!" I believe it is because of conforming to the 'ideals and traditions' of the world.. and find scripture to 'justify' their reasoning.. again it's a matter of asking God to 'BREAK their HEART for what Breaks HIS!" and this does break His heart.. what He allows us to do will never be the same as What He desires for us to do. This is not a salvation issue, but this is a compassion issue.. We either LOVE animals or we don't it's really a conviction matter of the heart! I pray for the complete knowledge of Christ to fall upon mans heart in this matter, because it doesn't really matter what man does with Gods word, it won't change the fact that upon His return, we all are Veg*ns. I was just led by Christ now to make this spiritual realm shift! :-) You got my vote and tweet! :-D
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  12. Suezque
    I really have to agree with you. I have never understood why Christians don't have more consideration for animals' feeling and lives. I am a born again Christian and have just become "awake" to all of this and find it a total contradiction. I wish someone would have explained this to me when I was younger. I feel so awful for abusing animals all my life. I have just watched Forks over Knives and Food, Inc. I always new God created us to be caregivers of animals. That is what the term dominion in the Bible really means in the original language. Also,the Bible states that in the end of time and when the world goes back to being pure, we will not eat meat. So I feel this is God's plan all along and only after the fall did we start eating meat. It was not God's best for us. We didn't eat meat---we sinned and started to eat meat----we won't eat meat again. Why not start now and have God's best here and now!
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  13. Michele
    Not only does Genesis 1:29 say that HUMANS were vegan, but Genesis 1:30 says that ALL ANIMALS, including "carnivores" were vegan as well. All animals entered the ark with vegan Noah and all ate plants while on board. In addition, according to prophecy in the book of Isaiah chapter 11, lions will eat straw and other dangerous animals will no longer pose a safety threat towards humans. The earth will be restored to the beautiful paradise that Adam and Eve lost (Psalm 37:29) and they will live forever in peace upon it.
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  14. xVeganx
    xVeganx
    great read. voted! i fail to understand why any of the religious people even consider veganism. my article talks about how Hindus cause tremendous destruction in the name of God. do check it out.
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  15. pinkcaddy7
    So many great comments but I haven't had the time to read every one. On the idea of God being merciful and was Jesus a vegan/vegetarian??? Well, immediately after Adam and Eve sinned, they were given "skins" to cover themselves -- so I'm thinking He must've given the example of the requirement for "death" because of sin much as Jesus had to die for all the sins of the world. Also, it doesn't clearly say whether Jesus partook of the loaves and fishes but He didn't seem to have a problem with feeding the "5,000"... so if that's any help. Also, when the Israelites were leaving Egypt many were complaining because "at least in Egypt they had better food than manna". They were unsatisfied with the same thing over and over and I'm thinking that God literally rained down quail from heaven to satisfy their appetites. Just a thought.
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  16. vegprincess
    I am a Christian and vegetarian-going-vegan, and I have often wondered the same thing. It is a valid question, and although I'm not in a church right now I would love to ask some fellow believers the same question.
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