What Does the Bible Say about Vegetarianism?
- Wednesday, August 06, 2014
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at email@example.com.
What does the Bible say about the vegan or vegetarian lifestyle? It seems that In Genesis 1 there is evidence that God intended for us to be vegetarians. Is there other evidence? I know as a Texan this might be a tough one for you but I would love to have your Biblical teaching perspective.
I have become vegetarian in the last two months. I can no longer stand the thought of eating anything which is slaughtered. I have seen the atrocities of the slaughterhouses of cow, pig, chicken and for the life of me I can't believe a God would say that is okay to eat a creature he created.
The slaughtering process for the most part is inhumane. And the treatment of the poor animals is barbaric. My conscious will not let me eat any of it anymore. So, I am not sure I agree with that it's all right for us as Christians.
Dear Tom and Audrey,
Have you ever eaten pigeon? You may be surprised, but, they taste quite good. Young pigeons are called squabs. They are a delicacy in many places--like our pigeon coop. My brother Ronnie and I began with one male and one female. Three years later we had over fifty. We had rollers, tumblers, muff tumblers, fantails and numerous just plain old pigeons. One of our fantails came in third in a local pigeon contest. That was the closest we came to winning a contest; but competing was fun!
The day came to do them all in. Ronnie and I were tired of the upkeep; and besides, dad made us pay for the grain and we were broke. So, the day before school began for the fall semester mom started boiling water for defeathering. Ron and I got a trash can and started ringing necks. We ate squab for the next six months. Ron and I often looked at the cooked squabs on our plates and tried to guess which ones we were eating. Mom thought we were barbaric. But, you know, boys will be boys!
As one who loves to eat Texas Bar-B-Q without pangs of conscience, the idea of vegan and vegetarian diets seem mighty strange to me. When I was growing up, mom and dad filled a special freezer with half a cow of butchered meat every year. (She also stocked it with Twinkies and Fried Pies for desert in our school lunches.) We ate a lot of steak when I was growing up. Imagine my surprise when a recent angiogram revealed that my arteries were the size of “tree trunks” (doctor’s words). I had a 16 oz slice of prime rib to celebrate.
Now, Tom and Audrey, let’s get down to business. I believe that God's original intention was for us to be vegetarians. In Genesis before the fall into sin, God gave Adam and Eve the responsibility of caring for the Earth. He specifically He gave them plants and vegetables to eat.
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 of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day (Genesis 1:27-31).
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