“Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflect our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle and yes, Earth itself and every animal that moves on the face of the earth.” – Genesis 1:26-28
In the beginning…
God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature.
So, if God created all living life. Why do we as Christians partake in the pain and suffering of some of those beings by eating them? Surely a God who took the time to create all life wouldn’t be down with us eating some of them.
In Genesis we see God giving Adam the “seeds and plants of the earth”, so in a 21st Century world should we not go back to God’s original design for us? Humans began eating animals after the fall, and Jesus then came and died for our sins.
And God said, “I have given you every sort of seed-bearing plant on the Earth, and every kind fruit-bearing tree, given them to you for food. To all animal and birds, everything that moves and breathes, I give whatever grows out of the ground for food.”
I was lucky. I grew up in a christian household and within a family who know Jesus, but don’t necessarily follow him (a topic for another day perhaps). They are forever loving and supportive of the choices I make in life. I was vegetarian for 16 years and have been vegan 16 months. None have had to much to say on my lifestyle choices and some have even adopted some of them within their lives too. I am aware that not all vegans christian or otherwise are so lucky.
Vegan for God’s creatures
There’s a line in Hillsong United’s song ‘So will I’ that really resonates with me as a Christian vegan. ” And as you speak a hundred billion creatures catch your breathe, evolving in pursuit of what you said. If it all reveals your nature so will I.” For me creatures means all living beings on God’s earth, not just the human kind. Surely an agapeic God who created billions of creatures, not just the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve would not so to all that effort and give us the responsibility to care for them and then be okay with pain and suffering we case them on a daily basis.
It took Christians many years to realise we cannot love God and keep humans as slaves. It has taken even longer for Christians to realise that we cannot love God and also regard women as second-class citizens. Now is the time for Christians to realise that we cannot love God and hate the creators non human creatures. – Reverend Andrew Lindzey
One of the 10 commandments with four of the most powerful words in the world ever is ‘Thou shall not kill.” ‘There are no brackets after that or footnotes saying unless you walk on all fours, have fur, feathers,horns,beaks or gills.’ – Gary Yourofsky
So when did Christians decide to adapt the commandments to suit themselves and not God? Surely a God that breathed life into all beings (animals and humans a like) meant for us to love and care for one another and not abuse, hurt and kill animals for our own gratification.
The God I worship daily is a compassionate God. I find it hard to think that my God could breathe life into every living thing and take the time to imagine, create and give life to animals but turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering we create or worse – pay other people to cause to the living things he created human or otherwise.
“I will make for you a covenant on that day with the wild animals, the birds of the air, and the creeping things of the ground; and I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land; and I will make you lie down in safety.” —Hosea 2:18
In Hosea 2:18 God talks about a covenant between humans and animals. He talks about abolishing the bow and sword and war from the land. But we are at war. The sword was never set down and we have broken the covenant between God, us and the animals. Honouring God’s creation is paramount to humans being “created in God’s image”. We walk around like we own the animals. God never intended us to have ownership with the animals but just live in stewardship with them. Our responsibility was to love and care for them and we have seriously failed. We have seriously destroyed and bloodied the covenant God made between us, the animals and ultimately himself.
For God’s given Earth
The biggest cause of destruction to our environment is animal agriculture. We use 45% of the land to raise animal agriculture. That means cutting down trees. One’s God created an planted for us the gain oxygen for physical life. We clear 1-2 acres of forests every second to create more farm land to raise these animals for slaughter. That’s adding to habitat loss and species extinction. May I remind you of the last white rhino who died earlier this year due to human kind. 55% of water is commissioned for animals when humans are literally dying for a drink daily.
Also, animal agriculture is responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of pharmaceutical antibiotics are sold for livestock and we wonder why so many of our humankind cannot even get simple vaccinations for curable disease, such as malaria and tuberculosis.
Every day as a vegan I save 1,100 gallons of water that can be a drink for an impoverished child in a third world country, 45 pounds of grain can be given to a starving family, I save 30 sq ft of forests for wild animals, prevent 20lbs of CO2 from being emitted into the air and save the life of at least one of God’s animals. Go ahead. Tell me I cannot make a difference, because every day I’m proving I can and so are many others. So, why aren’t you?
Compassion for fellow humans
Veganism is not just about the animals. What about other humans? You know, those living in third world countries like Africa, Syria and Laos.
Around the world 1 billion people suffer from hunger daily. 30 million people die from starvation in a year. That’s 1 per second.
1lb of vegetables uses 25 gallons of water, whereas 1lb beef uses 5,214 gallons of water and there are God’s children all over the world going days without water. Wake up and think about that for a minute.
The western world pays billions of dollars, euros and pounds for the grain, maize that poorer countries sell to us and the majority of that is used to feed animals used for human consumption. The solution to a lot of world hunger is to stop over breeding animals for consumption and use the grains, seeds and maize used to feed animals to the people of God’s nations.
Another justification for Christians going vegan is to atrocious working conditions that fellow brothers and sisters must go through to bring you, said animal carcass on your plate, or to your supermarkets and grocery stores. Supply and demand for animal products is highly destructive to all God has created.
I first became more aware of my other compassionate reasoning for going vegan after watching Earthlings. Seeing the awful conditions of the animals was one thing but the working conditions of the people employed to work in these places made me weep.
But I realised I was no longer just crying for the animals. I wept for my fellow man. Men working long hard hours slaughtering animal after animal, often getting injured or having to no longer work due to injuries sustained on machinery and often being psychologically damaged too.
In addition to the chronic physical pains that workers experience, psychologists are becoming increasingly interested in exploring the psychological effects of working in a slaughterhouse.Workers who are responsible for killing animals routinely observe animals being cut and dismembered while still conscious, as well as being skinned and boiled alive. Hour after hour, day after day the workers interact with countless animals in various states of fear and pain.
A former kill floor manager gave the following account: “The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. . . . Pigs down on the kill floor have come up and nuzzled me like a puppy. Two minutes later I had to kill them-beat them to death with a pipe. I can’t care.“ – Sourced from foodispower.org
So, perhaps the next time you stupidly ask me or a fellow vegan, where do you get your protein?, or argue the same tired argument about “dominion over the animals” or comment how you’d ‘die without bacon’ or you ‘couldn’t live without meat’ spare a though for all your fellow brothers and sisters on the earth that you deny food too, send through daily mental torture in abattoirs and slaughterhouses and literally cause suffering and pain to. The cruelty to them needs to stop.
Veganism is just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other things we can do to live compassionate lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ. But Veganism is the future of God’s earth and his entire creation. Why not start your compassionate vegan journey today? Say NO to cruelty and begin now. Start saying YES to Compassion.
Considering Compassion? Useful links below
- Cruelty Free International
- The Vegan Society
- Happy Cow (for vegan and vegetarian restaurants on the go)
- Christian Vegetarian Association