Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Veganism in Religion

Ever since I went vegetarian and then vegan, I've had many religious people ask me odd questions. Being a religious person myself, I understand the concern of changing your lifestyle and wondering if it is in line with what God would have you do. If you're not a religious person, none of this should really matter to you. But if you're like me, you'll just over-think everything, so I'm here to help anyone who wishes to know more about how religion and veganism DO intersect, specifically when it comes to my religion, the LDS Church (and the Bible/Christianity in general). 

First of all, if you are a different religion than Christian or LDS, I highly suggest referring to Gary Yourofsky's website where he gives amazing examples for every religion on how veganism is acceptable for ALL beliefs. You can check that out here:

Is being vegan a sin?

Absolutely NOT! lol. For one thing, when has it ever been a sin to abstain from something? People try and tell me that God created cows, chickens, and pigs, so it would be a sin not to eat them. Well, God also made grains, so should it be a sin if someone abstains from alcohol made from grain? Or what about people who can't eat gluten? Are they being sinful for abstaining? You see, it's all a very ridiculous assumption. 

Veganism in Christianity:

We can see the Bible's very first reference to veganism right on page one. The Garden of Eden was essentially a vegan paradise, and Adam and Eve were full vegans before the fall.

(Keep in mind, I am using verses from the King James Bible. But you are free to search the same verses in whichever version you prefer. They all express the same teachings.)


Genesis 1:28-30 states:

Adam and Eve lived a harmless existence while in the Garden of Eden. 
"28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

29 ¶And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so."

As we can see, the word "meat" is used often in the scriptures to describe food in general, and not just flesh. Also, many people are confused by the word "dominion" in verse 28. Some take it to mean that the animals are ours, so it is alright to enslave, kill, and eat them. However, Adam and Eve had "dominion" over all the animals in the garden and did not use or harm any of them. This tells us that God ordained human beings to be the wise spirits of the earth because we are his children, but that does not lessen God's love for the animals he created as well. 

Also in Genesis, it moves on the the story of Noah. When speaking to Noah in Genesis 9: 2-5, God said:

"2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.

3 Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man."

After the fall of Adam and Eve, people began using animals for food and clothing because at times, there was little to no choice. Overtime, animals have come to fear and dread human beings, just as verse 2 says. The people of old were not condemned for killing and eating the animals to stay alive. But as we can see in verse 5, we are purely responsible for any spirit we kill, human or animal. If we have no dire need to kill an animal, we simply should not do it. 

In both Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17 it states:

"Thou shalt not kill." 

Not anywhere do those verses say this is limited to humans. If there is an animal that feels pain as we do, has a family, thoughts and hopes as we do, it is pleasing to God to let it live. 

Some Christians may think back to the fact that animals were sometimes given as burnt offerings in the days before Jesus Christ's ultimate sacrifice, after which the sacrifices were done away. This was a form of tithing for those who could not survive without using animals for food and clothing, so again, such a thing is not condemned by God. Let us not forget,

Romans 6:23
"23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Death was the ultimate compensation for sin before Christ's ultimate sacrifice. Even Heavenly Father sacrificed his own son so that all of so would have a chance to live an eternal life in paradise with him again.

John 3:16
"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Now that Christ has provided that sacrifice, thankfully, there is no more need for animal sacrifice.

If we kill animals for no purpose but our own pleasure, or even if we pay people to do it for us, it does not please our Heavenly Father. After all, why would he delight in blood shed at all?

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all refused the king's meat and wine. 
One of the greatest examples of meat abstinence in the Bible occurs in the story of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted select men from Judah to learn the language and literature of Babylon. This would be a 3 year training course to qualify to serve in the King’s Palace. Those chosen were to partake of Babylonian royal food and wine. Daniel refused to drink the wine and eat the MEAT! Along with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they ate only pulses (foods that grow from a seed) and were found to be far healthier than any of the other youth who consumed the wine and MEAT!


There has been much speculation over time that Jesus Christ was even a vegetarian. Some would argue saying that Jesus ate fish, as it says he partook of some cooked fish that was offered to him after being resurrected. Some LDS people who go vegan are disheartened when they think that Jesus Christ, the most perfect and merciful human that ever lived, still ate meat. However, let us consider the time period in which Jesus lived. People had to use animal skins for clothing, supplies, and sandal leather. While they also were able to have a diet high in whole grains, vegetables, etc., weather and nature conditions were not always kind and no one could ever be sure that there would be enough to eat. Fish was eaten as the most common animal food, especially for lower class people. During the miracle of the loaves and fishes, some vegans wonder why Jesus chose fish as the secondary food to feed the people.

For one thing, he didn't kill any fish, as far as the record goes. He simply made them appear along with the bread. As mentioned before, this was a time period where animal products were usually necessary for survival, because obviously, they didn't have the convenience or luxury of things like grocery stores that we have today. The main point of the story, though, is the miracle. Not the foods that were used.

Romans 14:19-21 states:

"19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed arepure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thingwhereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak."

The animals that we slaughter for food, fabric, or heartless recreation are STILL heavenly creations. They are loved just as much by our Heavenly Father and savior Jesus Christ as we are. Many have the intelligence of small children. We have ALL the food options we could wish for besides animal products. Why then should they be enslaved, tortured, and killed in vain? I truly believe that Heavenly Father loves these innocent spirits and wants us to grant them LIFE. 

1st Corinthians 10:31 states:

"31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."

When Christ returns we will finally be at peace will all creatures. The world will be as it was for Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden again. They never killed or ate animals until after the fall. My thought on this wonderful future is "Why wait?" We should always be striving for the perfect state we had in Eden, and that we will have during the second coming. I love animals and never want to see them hurt or killed, so I choose to abstain from all animal products. Just as in Eden, the animals are my friends, not my food. I urge all of you to do the same. <3

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