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Life Arts    H4'ed 7/17/12

The Bible and Vegetarians

Message Suzana Megles
I copied a post re the Bible and Vegetarians in February of this
year (2012). As per usual, it landed on a very tall pile of other
saved articles.  But today I resurrected it.  Written by FRONTZGIRL,
I was disappointed I could not find any information re her on  the
internet.  However, her last paragraph tells us something about her. 
In part she wrote: 
   "   .....What a lot of non-vegetarians don't know is that, most of
us (vegetarians) aren't vegetarians just because we think it's wrong,
or just because we don't want to eat flesh. I mean, that's part of
it but it's mostly about the animal cruelty.  They are tortured,
boiled alive, skinned alive. (I believe she is referring to the cats
and dogs of China here). Their throats are slashed while they are still
fully conscious and they're just left there to die slowly and painfully. 
(This could also refer to a lot of farm animal slaughter world-wide.) 
So, that is why I, as a Catholic, choose not to eat meat.  Though eating
meat is not a sin, animal cruelty is......"  (Somehow, I don't think
the church leaders agree since I have never heard them speak on the
subject AT ALL.) Because of that,  they have lost a lot of my respect.
I especially appreciated this paragraph which shows that she is not a
gullible Catholic. I believe that all of us should always search for 
truth even though many times it is hard to find. So many are forgetting
that the church is ONLY perfect in her founder, Jesus Christ.  Everyone
else - including the church hierarchy can and do make mistakes.  Before
any  Catholic "jumps" on me - yes, I am aware of when the Pope speaks
"ex cathedra," but this is rare and only in matters of faith and morals. 
I also related to her in that she too like myself is "guilty" of making
some grammatical e rrors and mispellings which I corrected in the paragraph
I quoted.  For me, it is always the  message which is considerably more
important than the medium. I've read some beautifully written pieces,
but came away less than inspired and with nothing.       
Others must have also liked her post becuase in February it was noted
that it had been viewed 3885 times. Obviously, people are "hungry" for
explanations in this regard on vegetarianism.  S he develops her thoughts
using a question and answer format hoping to address the ones  so many
of us  ask.
Yes, she says -this is true and for those who rely on a literal
interpretation of Genesis, no animal ever died in the Garden of Eden. 
Therefore we know that Adam and Eve and all the animals were vegetarians.
She further notes that in this context, the phrase "dominion over the
animals" could not have referred to killing and eating them. I never
thought of this before but I believe the thought is powerful and makes
a lot of sense.  Also, since the Garden represented the highest ethical
ideal, it follows that vegetarianism is also the highest ethical ideal.
Another great deduction in my view - one which I will not soon forget.     
Yes, she says it does, and in particular - Leviticus of the Old Testament
gives very specific rules for how animals are to be slaughtered and
which animals can be eaten.
But she also notes that in Leviticus- slavery was permitted and it even
gave specific rules for how slaves were t o be treated. This always 
bothered me and I found that reading the Old Testament generally often
had me confused and disappointed. I decided then to stick with the New
Testament which never caused me to wonder just how inspired the Bible
really is.
Sadly, that  during the quest to abolish slavery in the US, those who
wanted slavery to remain used this as a justification for its continuance.
Again this rationale stupifies me.  I cannot envision a just and loving
God deciding that some people were inferior and could be used as slaves.
Re her attempt to understand these passages in the Bible which condones
both slavery and meat-eating, she notes that society can absorb only a
limited amount of changes at one time. She believes that they would  have
been too shocked to accept both the abolishment of slavery and the practice
of killing animals for food at the same time.  Therefore, she rationalizes,
by God giving specific rules for how slaves are to be treated and animals 
slaughtered- God made these practices considerably less barbaric and his
real intention was for people to one day realize that compassion should
be applied to all beings including slaves and animals.
Interesting idea but one which I find hard to accept. Somehow I
can't imagine God allowing cruelty to continue because he was
worried about how man would react to His decrees.  Do I have a
better explanation?  Sadly no.
While eating meat is natural in some species, she notes that even
though some things are "natural" to a species, they are often also
contrary to what is good for a group.  As an example, she uses the
chimpanzee, our closest relative who sometimes engages in practices
which are "natural" to them, but which are also very unpleasant for
the rest of the chimp family.  
It seems that the chimpanzee male sometimes rapes other females in
their tribe.  They also sometimes engage in organized warfare against
other tribes for territorial benefits.  And these same males can  in
a moment of rage pick up a nearby infant and crush his skull against
a rock. They also occasionally eat meat and sometimes even engage in
cannibalism - despite a plentiful supply of other food sources.  If
all this is true, I am greatly disappointed in them, but hope these
examples are very rare and that most chimp families are more loving
and caring.        
She next tackles two other topics - "Survival of the fittest' and the
question "Isn't hunting by humane means necessary to prevent deer over-
population?"  Neither of these topics grabbed my attention except that
I was glad that she wrote in regards to wherever there is a severe deer
over-population problem that employing a deer sterizization program
would help those communites using it.  This type of program has
successfully dealt with the situation. The primary problem is cost -
between $200 and $300 per deer and most communities are not willing
to expend this much money to curb deer over-population.  
Admitting that there are indeed dire human problems which need attention,
she feels that adopting a vegetarian lifestyle would probably help
some of the problems: 
1. A vegetarian diet is less expensive than one which includes meat -
leaving us with more money to spend on other important issues.  
2. A vegetarian diet directly helps reduce world hunger  If the land
used for growing food for livestock was instead used for growing crops
which are directly consumed by humans, than far more food would be
available for the hungry of the world.
Last week I received a call from Catholic Relief Services reminding me
of the hungry children in Sudan and the need for more funds to address
this need.  I'm sorry that I missed the opportunity to ask him if he and
other members of CRS were vegetarian.  I could have told him that I was 
doing my small part in alleviating world starvation by not eating meat
or dairy.  Could he and other CRS members say  the same?
Though all her questions and answers didn't directly involve the Bible,
I found most of her replies refreshing, compassionate, and honest. I
hope you did too.   
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I have been concerned about animal suffering ever since
I received my first puppy Peaches in 1975. She made me take a good look at the animal kingdom and I was shocked to see how badly we treat so many animals. At 77, I've been a vegan for the (more...)
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