Saturday, May 24, 2008

Have Your Bible And Eat It Too

This is the text of an email I received from a person who knows very well that I am NOT a person of faith and my reply to it. She has sent me other, weirder ones. I may post the one about the Archangels.....

What I find most interesting is the link she provided to a Q&A, regarding the Bible's position on diet. To me, the question is silly, the answer is pointless. But read the last paragraph of the answer. Apparently, Christians are not supposed to make life-style choices for other Christians. I think that'd be news to a lot of Christians. (Also, the Bible scholar does a good job of blowing off the Old Testament in favor of the New. This is after he criticizes others for cherry-picking passages.)

Click here: Question & Answer


I came across this question and answer when I was looking up the section of the Bible stating that we are not supposed to eat meat. I know that your inquiring mind will be interested. I still don't understand why God allows us to slaughter animals for food. A question to ask when I meet Him. Love ya!

Dear ////,

In answer to your question, (Aren't you getting tired of me pontificating at you?) the Bible presents enough contradictions and ambiguities to confuse anyone on any number of subjects. So, even if I were a person of faith, I wouldn't be able to take it as 'gospel'. (Hah! Sometimes I crack myself up!)

Biologically, humans evolved to be omnivorous. It's true that we eat far more animal flesh than we need, (thus providing a good living for cardiologists) but our cells do require a full complement of essential amino acids in order for them function correctly. There's no culture I know of (not religion, mind you, but culture) that ever chose vegetarianism as their diet. In fact, vegans and vegetarians are able to sustain their dietary choices because of our modern, highly technological society. It's only in the last few hundred years that we've been able to enjoy such a vast variety of plant foods, particularly soy and other legumes which provide amino acids that other plant matter doesn't. (Where would vegetarians be without tofu?) Most vegans and vegetarians also have to take dietary supplements to remain healthy; to replace what they're not getting from animal proteins. This simply wasn't an option for people who lived in earlier times or who live today in poorer conditions than Western societies. To them, meat is precious; costly and difficult to obtain.

Of course, there are monks, yogis, ascetics and various religious sects throughout the world who sustain a largely vegetarian diet in fairly primitive conditions. They also sleep on bare pallets, kneel on stone floors to pray and wear hair shirts in order to chastise themselves. These are the articles of their faith. They suffer (from anemia, almost certainly) as a sacrifice to their God (or Gods).

Factory farming, a cruel practice, is slowly coming under scrutiny in developed countries. It is possible to raise animals for slaughter without causing them to live miserable lives or die in pain and terror. (Reference author Temple Grandin for specifics on humane abattoirs.) It will cost more. We'll have to pay it. And we'll have to get used to eating less meat and more vegetables. It's that simple. Too bad that 'simple' doesn't mean 'easy'.

- Hermana

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