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)