Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thoughts on Vegetarianism and God

This list will not, alas, demonstrate the thoughts of one who is well-versed in logic or whose great insight into matters really has a chance at shedding new light on situations. This is just a collage of sorts of various viewpoints on the matter and my corresponding thoughts.

With that said....
  1. If God's intent is to redeem a fallen world and if, as it states in Genesis, all creation was vegetarian in the beginning (meaning no death of beings capable of feeling pain or pleasure), then should not Christians hold a general interest in returning to this state, just as Christians are to be zealous in returning love, charity, and meaning (all of which were natural to creation initially) to a fallen world? Or is vegetarianism something seen as a lesser good- a thing that shall be rectified in heaven but is perfectly permissable on Earth? If so...
  2. Has God no mercy upon the lower animals? I can comprehend His loving humanity above all (because we, as far as reason can show, are imbued with a bit of God's nature [reason] which other animals lack; at least to the extent we have it), but I cannot quite see his gladly (gladly being the key word) giving the lives of countless of his other, lesser creations so that we may eat something that is more or less (in most situations) unnecessary. In short, I can't see God not caring for the lesser animals (after all, he made them, too), and if He cares for them, I can't see His considering their death an optimal thing.
  3. C.S. Lewis, in his book The Problem of Pain, dedicates a short chapter to non-human suffering. I have yet to finish it, so my observations thus far may be inaccurate of the piece as a whole; however, he seems to view animals as falling into two categories: in the first are the higher animals, such as dogs, cats, livestock, dolphins, etc., and these animals may be said to have a soul through their human caregivers and therefore might have eternal life; the second category- lower animals- lack this vicarious soul. I am curious as to whether or not he shall directly answer the question of consuming any of the higher (or lower) creatures; I suppose he shall answer in favor of doing so, for I see no indication that he practiced vegetarianism.
  4. On that great site of wisdom, Youtube, I saw a video not too long ago telling Christians to beware the demonic deception of the Animal Rights movement. Obviously, this upset me, for I have long struggled with my identity as a Christian vegetarian/vegan. Most Christians remain indifferent to the issue or state that meat is a God-granted privilege, to be truthful, I see both positions to be lacking (the first because I fancy that they are unwilling to change their statement should they decide that the ethical thing to do is abstain; the second, really, is likely in most people to only be a modification of the first, except they believe they have reached an ethical stance). If the issue obviously wasn't too big of a one in the history of Christianity and if the Bible does indicate many times over the killing of animals for sacrifice and consumption and the fact that false doctrines may arise in the Church and lead some astray, then it can be assumed that the Bible is either indifferent towards the matter (which would be strange, considering it is an ethical choice) or offer only the consumption of an omnivorous diet as God-pleasing, if natural, choice. Yet my conscious and reason tell me that this could not easily be so (Granted, I am fallible and able to be deceived).
  5. If only for health and environmental purposes, the Church, if it will not advocate a vegetarian diet (not force, mind you), should incorporate some of its tenets into its functions. For instance: many church functions I've attended (hosted by many different denominations of Christianity) offer food that is known to be quite unhealthy (hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn, pizza, ice cream, sausage, etc.). This in a country where so many are afflicted with illness due to poor choice in diet! Not only that, but the environmental toll of such unappreciated and generic meat is great and shall only serve to burden future generations (should they even come) with greater levels of pollution, famine, and poverty. The Church, to show love in all ways it can, should help promote health, not death; it should protect all, not exacerbate their future endangerment; it should help all to make wise decisions and perhaps assist church members and non-members to learn the true value of food and appreciate it as a gift from God.
That is all for now. I hope everyone is well.

1 comment:

Marvin the Martian said...

I think you're looking for logic and meaning where there isn't any. All things are mortal, all things die, and that's how God designed the universe to function. We are animals, and we are part of the food chain that God designed. The fact that humans are apex predators is happenstance, I think - eventually other predators may arise and depose humans from their apex position. I think the most that faithful people can do is to treat all living things with kindness, as much as possible. If we have to kill to live, then we must do so quickly, painlessly, and with gratitude toward the animals we kill so that we may live, and we should not waste their lives or their bodies in any way. Humans are omnivores by God's design, but we can certainly choose to nourish ourselves in a conscious, loving way. But we shouldn't try to fathom God's reasons for designing the system the way He did, only accept that it works as He intended. And we shouldn't ascribe any real weight to religious doctrine on what to eat, because all religions are made up by humans, not God, for the purpose of controlling other humans with what "God" supposedly wants them to do.

My advice would be to pray about it, and see what God tells you to do. If anything.