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Thread: A Kingdom Ethic of Eating

  1. #1

    Default A Kingdom Ethic of Eating

    Since we've been talking about veganism from a biblical perspective, I wanted to share this excellent article I read yesterday. Please give it a chance and read the whole thing. (Bold added by me)

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    A Kingdom Ethic of Eating by Shlomy Goldman
    "He Has Compassion On All He Has Made” ~Psalm 145:9b

    When I was four I wanted to be a rabbit doctor. At eight I boycotted veal, and at ten I stopped eating cows and pigs. I didn’t know vegetarianism was even an option, but at sixteen I became friends with a vegan kid who introduced me to the horrors of factory farming—debeaking, tail docking, de-horning and castrating without anesthetic, egg hens crammed in filthy battery cages, their useless male chicks suffocated or ground up alive, cows manipulated to produce so much milk that their udders bleed with infection while their male calves are sent to cruel “veal crates,” intensive confinement of pigs, and gruesome slaughter of billions of animals every year. I couldn’t accept this anymore than I would if these conditions were imposed upon our family dog. In fact, the daily, standard routines imposed upon virtually all animals in our food system would be considered felonies if done to our pet cats and dogs. I also learned about industrial animal agriculture’s egregious consequences on the environment, the global poor, and public health.

    Needless to say, I went vegan. I intuitively understood that there was something deeply wrong with exploiting people, animals, and the environment, and with needlessly killing innocent creatures, simply because I had acquired a taste for them. Six years after going vegan, I became a follower of Jesus, even though Christianity was completely alien to my upbringing and mentality—but that’s another story. Over the years, as I’ve matured in my faith and biblical worldview, my vegan ethic and lifestyle have taken on a new and deeper dimension as I’ve come to understand the mercy and compassion that God has toward His creation…

    That humans, the pinnacle of creation, are uniquely created in the image of God has deep implications, namely that our intended identity is to be like God. An integral way this is fleshed out is in our dominion over creation. Christians in the Creation Care movement have rightfully affirmed that this “dominion” is not one of exploitative subjugation but rather of responsible stewardship, characterized by compassion, mercy, and a loving concern for its flourishing, just as God exercises His dominion over us. Let us not forget, “creation” not only refers to the environment, but also the animal kingdom—sentient beings fully capable of experiencing pleasure and pain. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that our use of animal products is the greatest cause of unspeakable animal suffering and deaths. We grossly pervert God’s creation by denying these creatures the lives He intended them to live.

    Due to the falleness of the age, God has allowed various concessions, such as slavery, divorce, and eating meat. Yet, concessions are not endorsements. The thing about the Bible that resonates with me is its prophetic relevance—its ability to speak to the longings of the human heart, and address the issues of any age, transforming individuals into the image of God, and moving all creation toward the Kingdom of God. In spite of concessions, God has communicated his loftiest ideals that we are to move towards. Prophesying about the Kingdom of Heaven, Isaiah tells us that animals and humans will harmoniously coexist; “they will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Is. 11:6-9).

    Some argue that we should care for animals because they’re just like us, while others presume we have the right to use animals as we see fit because they’re not like us. Both perspectives are flawed. Biologically, we may be like animals, but spiritually we are uniquely created in the image of God, which compels us to rise above our animal nature and live according to our spiritual nature. To suggest we can use animals because we’re above them is self-refuting; it calls us to operate from principles of animal behavior, denying the ethical and moral imperatives rooted in our spiritual nature, the very thing that sets us apart from the animal kingdom. That we are above animals gives all the more reason for us to care for them, to not live as slaves to the food chain and the amoral cycles of a fallen creation, but to resemble God, operating from a higher spiritual nature, one defined by love, one that calls for compassion over killing, for spiritual redemption over natural selection.

    A great barrier in our spiritual development is the disconnect between our beliefs and our daily living. Compassionate eating is a practical spiritual discipline, an empowering opportunity to incarnate biblical values into our daily lives, embracing our role as caretakers of creation and ministers of reconciliation. A move towards a healthy, plant-based diet is not asking people to adopt foreign values and concerns; rather, it’s an invitation to live in accordance with the beliefs and values most people already hold—biblical values such as peace and compassion, justice and mercy. Doing so not only bears witness to God and His Kingdom, but we as individuals are blessed with the inner peace and joy that comes from maintaining consistency between what we believe and how we live.

    The ordinariness of eating is the very reason why it has such extraordinary effects on the world. Because we do it so often, its ripple effects reach so far. In his article Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation, Calvin College philosophy professor, Dr. Matthew Haltmann writes: “The links between what we choose to eat as individuals, and the flourishing or languishing of God’s creation as a whole are much more direct than we often believe.” Aside from its many health benefits, a vegan diet not only saves the lives of countless animals, but it is the most effective thing we can do to reduce our environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere than all forms of transportation combined, in addition to being a leading cause of deforestation, pollution, and natural resource depletion. As it takes exponentially more land, grains, and water to produce animal foods rather than plant foods, a plant-based diet frees up immense amounts of resources for the poor and hungry of the world. People, animals, and the environment are three inter-connected parts of the whole created order. The flourishing or languishing of one inevitably affects the others. Biblically even, we know that the fall and redemption of creation is linked to the fall and redemption of humans. The Bible informs us that the fall of creation resulted from Adam’s fall from God, and that Jesus, the new Adam, reverses the curse, reconciling man to God, and in turn all creation. In Jesus, God has ordained “to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Col 1:19-20).

    We live between two poles—the Garden of Eden and the Kingdom of God. This is the story we find ourselves in. Christianity is based on the hope that Jesus’ death and resurrection are the catalysts for redemption and reconciliation, paradoxically restoring Eden, by redeeming the fallen creation, to realize the Kingdom. We’re to be ambassadors for Christ by living as citizens of His Kingdom here and now, peeling back the veil between this world and the next, pursuing God’s will on earth as it is in heaven, living testimonies of the World to Come. On an individual level, this involves sanctification, a process in which believers are being conformed to the likeness of Christ—the image of God. As the Holy Spirit continues this process in us and renews our minds, Jesus calls us to be active participants in this transformation—“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed” (Rom. 8:19).


    “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness
    Thereof. Oh, God, enlarge within us the
    Sense of fellowship with all living
    Things, our brethren the animals to
    Whom Thou gavest the earth as
    Their home in common with us.
    We remember with shame that
    In the past we have exercised the
    High dominion of man with ruthless
    Cruelty so that the voice of the earth,
    Which should have gone up to Thee in
    Song, has been a groan of travail.
    May we realize that they live not
    For us alone but for themselves and
    For Thee, and that they love the sweetness
    Of life even as we, and serve Thee in their
    Place better than we in ours.”

    ~prayer by St. Basil of Caesarea, fourth century church father
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson



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  3. #2

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    I've been reading you all debate this but I've chosen to stay out of it. Sometimes wonder just how much I can trust the language of the Bible to be congruent with the language of old. Words get changed. Tenor gets changed. And always in a manner consistent with changes in society and government. To that extent, I'm content to accept that I just don't know the answer to the question about whether Jesus was a vegetarian. I know that the Essenes were vegetarian, though. But was Jesus Essene? I dunno. As were many of the Saducees and Pharisees of the time vegetarians, too. Peter prereserved vegetarian teachings and Paul dumped it. The teachings of different apostles were effectively the foundations for their own religions. I think the Roman Catholics probably made short work of Peter's Ebionite vegetarians. One could go on and on with the topic. There are always more questions than answers. And, really, the latter thought here is reflective of the former given that the winners throught history tend to be its writers. That's what the word scripture means, for those who do not know. It just means history.
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 07-02-2017 at 10:30 PM.

  4. #3

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    Heck, my granny called nuts meat once the shell was cracked. Beans, too. I dunno.

  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Natural Citizen View Post
    I've been reading you all debate this but I've chosen to stay out of it. Sometimes wonder just how much I can trust the language of the Bible to be congruent with the language of old. Words get changed. Tenor gets changed. And always in a manner consistent with changes in society and government. To that extent, I'm content to accept that I just don't know the answer to the question about whether Jesus was a vegetarian. I know that the Essenes were vegetarian, though. But was Jesus Essene? I dunno. As were many of the Saducees and Pharisees of the time vegetarians, too. Peter represerved vegetarian teachings and Paul dumped it. I think the Roman Catholics probably made short work of Peter's Ebionite vegetrians. One could go on and on with the topic. There are always more questions than answers. And, really, the latter thought here is reflective of the former. The teachings of different apostles were effectively the foundations for their own religions.
    Thanks for your thoughts. I respect how you reserve judgment instead of coming to a conclusion either way. I think that's a wise thing to do, when we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle, plus misunderstandings due to words changing over time, as you said. Also the possibility that certain things are suppressed, for whatever reason.

    This article wasn't about whether Jesus ate meat or not, but as the author stated, we do know the heart of God… Merciful, compassionate, loving. Even caring about little sparrows and knowing every bird (Psalm 50:11.)

    This might be a controversial thing to say, but I think that one day many people are going to be surprised to find that we were wrong about how God feels about certain things.
    Last edited by lilymc; 07-02-2017 at 10:43 PM.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  6. #5

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    What I like about the article is that it emphasizes stewardship of creation. This is a very orthodox view! All the saints that do talk about how man interacts with nature do emphasize good stewardship, AFAIK.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RPEphesians 6:12 (KJV)//I sell stuff here go buy nao!

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    What I like about the article is that it emphasizes stewardship of creation. This is a very orthodox view! All the saints that do talk about how man interacts with nature do emphasize good stewardship, AFAIK.
    Same here. TBH, it's not something that I used to think much about before… But I've been thinking about it recently. I think that many people have got the whole concept of "dominion" wrong. This is something that I'd like to talk more about or maybe do a video about or something. I think it would be an interesting discussion.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  8. #7

    Default

    I stopped by RPF tonight, after being gone for a while… and a certain someone gave me 3 neg reps on old posts (like this one), for no apparent reason other than to be spiteful.

    To the little guy who did that… If you disagree with me on something, why not post a reply and start a conversation, instead of giving me 3 out-of-the-blue neg reps in a row? Or was I right, that you just did it to be spiteful, in a high schoolish sort of way? Lame, very lame.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson

  9. #8

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    Have some + rep....

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    Have some + rep....
    Thanks tod. You rock.
    “We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear.”

    — Robert Louis Stevenson






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