The concept of veganism and people going vegan has become quite popular in the contemporary world. And with the evolution of that relatively new lifestyle, evolved many questions. In this article, we’re going to discuss the Christian point of view on veganism and clarify the multiple misconceptions associated with the term.
But first, what does “veganism” mean?
Veganism is a philosophy and a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of animals, humans and the environment.
Well, that’s a very noble cause, isn’t it! Then, why do we need to clarify anything about it?
The truth is that some vegans, in fact many of them, are people who just don’t want to eat meat. The majority of vegans out there today are just normal everyday people who just happen to omit certain foodstuffs out of their diet, they don’t care about animal welfare or the prosperity of our planet.
Even so, there are some people who do…
Yes, but those who do are in a much deeper trouble.
To illustrate, veganism believers try to paint an alluring picture that can’t be attained. That picture is simply a “utopian community where animals and humans live happily, and the earth is sustained so that we can enjoy living in a man-made heaven (which is Earth) if we abide to the vegan lifestyle”. This utopian dream is just too far from reality! The bible, which always urges us to be logical and rational and opposes the idea of daydreaming, teaches us that “Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field.” in Gensis 3:18 and in John 16:33 “In this world you will have trouble”. So, there will always be poverty, sickness,.. Etc. So, from the Christian point of view we do live in a fallen world and definitely not a world of rainbows and butterflies that veganism imagines.
So, the Chirstian point of view calls for being brutal towards animals because simply it’s a fallen world?
The Holy bible forbids cruelty to animals as psalm 145:9 tells us that “The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made” and Proverbs 12:10 declares that “A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast”.
But butchering animals just melts many people’s hearts, shouldn’t we apply what’s in the bible (to be merciful towards animals) and what veganism also calls for?
To answer that question we have to clarify that yes we should be merciful to animals yet the value of a human outweighs that of an animal, period. “God created man in His own image.” as mentioned in Genesis 1:27. God didn’t create animals on his own image, nor did He give His only son so that animals can live forever. Animals should be treated gently. However, they can’t be compared to man by any means.
In addition to that, it’s worth mentioning that those who call for “animal rights” and get their hearts broken when seeing animals killed, don’t shed a tear when their fellow human beings in deprived countries die out of famine!
Therefore, since animals should be treated gently, why do we have to eat them?
Saint Peter’s vision that is told in acts chapter 10 perfectly answers that “And saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again”. So simply put, If God has commanded you to do a thing, it is not impure or wrong.
But often times Christians fast, so at the end it’s the same what veganism calls for.
St. John Chrysostom expressed that “we do not place our hope in (bodily) fasting alone. It is neither a good nor a necessity in and of itself. It is observed with benefit for acquiring purity of heart and body, so that by deadening the sting of the flesh, man acquires peace of spirit. But fasting sometimes even becomes perilous for the soul if it is observed out of its proper time. We have to strive so that the virtues that make up true goodness be acquired through fasting, and not put the virtues to work solely for fasting. Thus, the benefit of humbling the flesh joined by healing abstinence from food comes with our acquisition through it of love, in which consists unchanging and constant goodness”. Therefore, we mustn’t place all our hopes in bodily fasting solely.