>Christian Reasons for Vegetarianism: Part II

Posted: 08/10/2009 in Christian living, environment, food

>Thank you for reading the much belated Part II. As most of you know, bloggers often apologize for not writing more often. Tonight, I write to with (likely) many mistakes and am sipping a cup of coffee to keep me going.

In other news: Stargate

The Subject at Hand

In my previous blog, I mentioned arguments that I do not intend to use and to find persuasive towards vegetarianism from a Christian conscience. I mentioned that despite the weakness of those arguments, there are things that Christians believe that I think will guide us towards vegetarianism if we prayerfully examine our consciences towards that end. Here they are.

The Principle of Fasting

Fasting is something that all Christian believe in one way or another. It is most famously found in the Gospels in which Jesus fasts for forty days and is tempted by the Devil. Traditionally, fasting from food for a short amount of time gives us more time to pray. Also, it teaches us to discipline our bodies so that we better resist temptation. After all, if one can resist the natural desire for food, than one can learn to resist other desires as well.

Of course, it is worth noting that food need not be what we fast from. After all, I remember during lent one year I gave up facebook. Nor does it have to be all kinds of food, but perhaps a specific kind. Fasting is flexible. The duration of it and what kind it may be is left to the individual conscience of the believer.

Freedom from Greed in order to be Generous

No Christian I know denies the special admonitions to help the poor, yet still Christians fail to give even the paltry 10%. Understandibly, this is because we are in financial straits ourselves and are habituated to self-preservation first. But equally, we too easily fall into the pattern of the world around us.

Part of what prevents us from giving is our natural greed. Greed, very broadly spoken, is giving ourselves some kind of non-essential luxury when that money might be better used to provide life-sustaining essentials to another human being. So I do not need new video-game, pair of shoes, Blue Ray player, or expensive book. That money is better spent either in my church nearby or sent to a World Vision child across the oceans.

With the idea of Christian charity comes the idea of solidarity with the poor. Can every Christian, take up his cross, sell all he has, and live in a semi-homeless state like Jesus and the apostles did? It turns out not all of us are cut out to be Franciscan Monks. Nonetheless, all Christians need to be aware of, understand, and keep in mind the world’s poor. Again, we must remember the poor near us and the poor across the ocean.

Environmental Concerns

The Christian Environmental conscience is, sadly, weak. Nonetheless it is there. More and more Christians are beginning to understand that the earth is a creation to be cared for, and not a resource to be plundered. Some may object that I have stepped into the world of new-age religion at this point, but how seriously ought we to take the idea that earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it? It seems that if we recognize God’s creative purpose for the world and his ownership of it, than we have a good reason to think that care for the earth is important.

This point is especially strong depending on your view of eschatology or “end-times.” Many Christians believe that the “end” is restoration of the present world. In other words, when God re-creates through a liberation from the effects of sin, not a cataclysmic “reset button” in which God smites the entire planet. Yet even if Christians expect this world to be destroyed by sin first, that is no reason for Christian to stand by and watch it happen.

Onward and onward

If you’ve read this long, you’re awesome. Thanks for sticking with it. In part III, I will show how these Christian beliefs, when combined with environmental and economic realities, point us in the direction of vegetarianism.

Thanks for reading.

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