My religion teaches that animals were given to man by God, as companions and as a food source, etc. I've been trying to reconcile this belief with what I know about veganism and animal cruelty before I make a decision about going vegan. So I'm curious, where do you feel animals fit in in the plan of life or whatever? I feel like they can't be equal to humans because they murder each other constantly, are less intelligent etc but maybe you feel differently?
Just for some back story, I personally was raised religious (Christian) but no longer subscribe to that faith (and omnivorous too, which I obviously no longer subscribe to either haha). I think religions can be wonderful communities, but it is vital to understand that those certain set of rules and theories about the world, are not universal. One religion says their is this God and this is what happens after you die and this is how mankind began. Another religion says something different, and so on. I’m not educated enough on all the religions to go deeper into the differences, but I think it’s really important to acknowledge that they exist.
I live by my own faith and spirituality. While I sway towards Buddhist tendencies and ideals, I do not worship any one figure or man I let my moral compass guide me by following what I think is right and will prevent harm or pain to the world. Though differences exist across different schools of religion, one commonality seems to exist throughout, and that is that the one ‘golden rule’ is “treat others as you wish to be treated”. Most religions agree upon this; that we should be kind to one another and not cause unnecessary suffering.
I myself would not like to be treated the way we treat animals. To have my mother technically raped (I know some people don’t like associating it with that phrase, but it is what happens to those animals, to be very forcefully impregnated without consent), for me to be torn from her the day I am born to either be killed so humans can eat my body, or raised for the same fate as my mother, continually impregnated so humans can steal the milk that my body creates to grow and feed my baby (just like any other female mammal, including humans). I would not like to be held captive, exploited, force fed or starved, injected with hormones, to live in a cage barely bigger than my body, to eat away at my own flesh out of anxiety, fear, psychosis or starvation. To be thrown into a giant grinding machine because I was born male and rendered useless to the egg industry, or be burned alive to remove my fur and provide access to my insides for humans to make a profit from.
These are not things I would like done to myself, therefore I shall not do them to others.
From what I was taught of God, he is supposed to be a man of kindness and goodness, who created Earth and cares for all creatures he created. The Bible is finicky, as people like to pick and choose quotations that are relevant to the point they want to make. For example,
- Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19
- When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be unclean until evening. Everything also on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be unclean, and everything on which she sits shall be unclean. Leviticus 15: 19-20
- When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. Deuteronomy 25:11-12
- Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves. Numbers 31:17-18
- You may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. Leviticus 25:44-46 NLTSlaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Ephesians 6:5 NLT
- Whosoever … hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God. For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookback, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken … He shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries. Leviticus 21:17-23 KJV
and, a personal favourite:
- “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” 1 Timothy 2:12
I don’t mean to try and put down your faith or religion (you may not even be Christian, I was just using my own as an example), I do not have an issue with religions as a whole, but I don’t think they should be blindly followed, especially at the detriment of other living beings. Some bible verses call for genocide, slavery, abuse, homophobia and sexism etc, which are just not things I support.
I think it’s wonderful that you have strong faith and find comfort in that, but I would encourage you to extend your views beyond what is taught to you about this man/woman/God.
I was taught (and believe) that animals and humans and plants and everything existing in our galaxy was created by the big bang. Therefore I don’t believe anyone put animals here ‘for us’, but rather ‘with us’.
We are built to support and co-exist with one another, not exploit and destroy those we deem below us. Humans have existed for only the tiniest fraction of time, and created devastating, irreversible destruction. We have wiped out thousands of entire species, purely by our own selfish, greedy actions. Our eco-system is collapsing because we have exploited it beyond repair.
Humans are biologically and anatomically designed to eat a herbivorous diet (or even fruigivorous depending on what you read), which supports and replenishes our environment. We are not meant to forcefully breed, fill with hormones, encage, murder, skin, clean, cook, process and package our fellow earthlings. To me, that is not nature or kindness.
Moreover, the United Nations has directly explained that a vegan diet is crucial for us to adopt, in the hopes of saving our planet against the worst of poverty and Climate Change. These are both things I value as very important. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/jun/02/un-report-meat-free-diet
There are in fact many Christian vegans, and vegans across all religions. One passage from the bible that particularly supports eating cruelty-free is:
“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’”
That quote directly supports plant-based living.
I found a bunch of resources that combine Christianity and Veganism (again, you didn’t specify which God you’re talking about so I apologise if I have wronly assumed that!!) and show how the two can/do coexist harmoniously :)
I hope this was somewhat helpful!! Your faith can definitely include a cruelty-free diet :) Live by what you believe is right and will create a happy and healthy future for all those on our planet.