Meat eating and the bible

United States
May 11, 2008 8:42am CST
This is something that someone else wrote. I did not write this, but I found it interesting. I found an entire article in my bookmarks. This is just one excerpt from it. There is a lot more (all dealing with questions raised from the Scripture against veganism.) I am wondering what other people's thoughts are on this (specifically those of you who follow the Scripture.) And no, this is not a religious debate! Thank you. “Jesus ate fish, so I refuse to not eat meat” This is true. In fact, there is no reason at all to argue against it. However, there is a vast difference between the life context of Jesus and that of persons living in the 21st century. Jesus of Nazareth lived the majority of his life in small villages wherein persons would raise crops and animals under their own supervision, later selling them at the local markets. People in 1st Century Judea often grew quite attached to their animals, as the allusion to a shepherd laying down his or her life for the flock shows (John 10). Because a family’s very livelihood often rested upon the profits from the sale of the family goats, pigs, cattle and fowl at the local market, people took extreme care to make sure that their animals were in good health. This was the only way to ensure that the highest profit could be attained. We live in a world vastly different from small villages in which farmers and shepherds oversaw the lives of each animal with great care. Instead, we live in a world were a greater profit can be raised when more animals are stuffed into a cage—despite how many may seem to “fit” or not. We live in a world far removed from one in which there was great care taken to make sure each animal was treated well and arrived at the market in the best condition possible. Instead, we live in a world in which an animal’s health is only an added and rarely-seen bonus, and in which profit is the main goal. Unfortunately, profit has been severed from the animal’s health, which was not the case in 1st century Judea. The extravagant and cruel practices that exist today were not used in the lifetime of Jesus. Many animals today die before ever reaching the slaughterhouse due to/as a result of extreme temperatures, stress-induced heart attacks, duress, obesity-related problems, and reactions to hormone injections, among other problems. These health problems simply were not a factor in the time of Jesus. Had they been present, it is logical that a man who taught peace and love would surely have said something about it. Unfortunately, he is not physically present to say something about it today when they are present. However, that does not make it less wrong. Our lifetime is simply not comparable to that of Jesus. A context in which animal cruelty was simply unheard of is not comparable to one in which it seems to be common practice. Animal cruelty was not rampant in the time of Jesus, so there is no reason to doubt that he ever ate fish as Scripture states. However, animal cruelty is quite prevalent today and there is great reason to doubt that an ethic of love and compassion is compatible with today’s animal treatment practices.
8 people like this
14 responses
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
12 May 08
In Bible days they killed lambs as a sacrifice at the alter..They slew animals in Bible days all the time...The prodigal son returned home and they slautherd a fatted calf to celebrate his return home....I know that we do not live like in the Bible days,but if you read the Bible their were animals killed all the time...
1 person likes this
• United States
12 May 08
You obviously did not read the article. You didn't respond to it appropriately at all. No one said animals were not slaughtered in the bible. No one said we should not be eating meat. The article was about the TREATMENT of the animals before slaughter and the lack of caring and compassion for the animals today, that was there during those times.
@slickcut (8141)
• United States
12 May 08
Sorry,i did read the article but i can see now the point you were making,AND YOU ARE RIGHT,they took better care of the animals back then...I think it is so cruel and heartless the way animals are treated these days..I am sorry I did not respond right..
• United States
12 May 08
LOL It's okay. Sorry if I came across as rude there. I have a tendency to sound like I am coping an attitude, but it's just part of my charm, I swear
@tessah (6621)
• United States
11 May 08
this is a very well thought out astute discussion, and i agree with you. altho im not in any rush to go vegan, or make any signs protesting turkey farms at thanksgiving.. i dont eat meat all that often simply because i prefer to eat something else most of the time, but sometimes the want of a good steak or burger hits, and i indulge accordingly. i do however, look for meats that are free-range, hormone free, organic, etc etc, just simply because it is healthier for me over those tortured animals full of chemicals.. you are what you eat afterall..
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
Yes, the person who wrote it is much more eloquent than I. If we are what we eat then I am happy to be a plant
1 person likes this
@tessah (6621)
• United States
12 May 08
lol well im an animal.. but i do try to make sure that where i get the meat i do get isnt the chemically treated hormone induced sickly crammed into pens too small fare.. and it has nothing to do with anything jesus mightve had on his menu.. i just like a good porterhouse on occasion lol
@tessah (6621)
• United States
12 May 08
oh, if you could minus my rating on my responses.. id apreciate it thanx
@jwfarrimond (4474)
13 May 08
I'd take issue with the statement that "A context in which animal cruelty was simply unheard of is not comparable to one in which it seems to be common practice. Animal cruelty was not rampant in the time of Jesus" There is probably some truth in the statement that a small peasant farmer would take good care of his animals as his own life and the life of his family depended on his herd or flock. However, at the same time tens of thousands of wild animals were shipped to Rome and many other places to be killed in the arena simply for the amusement of the crowd. It's the concept of animal rights that was unheard of,not the actual cruelty to animals which was common at all levels of society.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 May 08
That's a good point.
13 May 08
Thanks
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
11 May 08
This is true, there is a right way and a wrong way to prepare an animal for meat..But Jesus also kept Kosher, so he would not have eaten pig or shrimp, but he did eat fish and lamb..(Of course lamb, that was His last supper, the Passover Seder where they have lamb that they has sacrificed)
• United States
11 May 08
Are you religious? Do you follow the bible? If so, how do you feel about the way animals used for meat are treated today? Thanks..
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
I don't want to use the word, "religious" the root meaning bondage, I look at it like a relationship with the creator and His Son. I hate they way they treat animals, G♥d had given specific instructions of what to eat and how it is to be prepared and there is a Good reason for that, it is healthier and more humane than what people do today. Unfortunately, unless the majority of people protest, it won't change..
1 person likes this
@Pose123 (21662)
• Canada
11 May 08
Hi wooitsmolly, This is an excellent article, well thought out and very true. Jesus did eat fish, that is true according to the Bible. I am totally opposed to what is happening in the world today in regard to the way animals are treated. Profit, the bottom line, is what meat producers look at, so no thought is given to the welfare of the animal. I am sure that Jesus would not approve of how animals are being treated today. Blessings.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
I agree, Pose123. I think it is good to be against the way animals are treated in this world today. I wonder what you are doing to help the situation. I do not mean that in a rude way, I am genuinely curious how people's actions match with their beliefs in regards to this subject.
2 people like this
@Pose123 (21662)
• Canada
13 May 08
Hi again wooitsmolly, I'm Sorry to say that I still eat meat, and I know that doesn't seem right feeling as I do. I am however changing my diet to eat less and less meat, and I speak out against the way animals are treated whenever I have the opportunity. When I was growing up my family kept some chickens and sheep, and grew many of our own vegetables. We weren't farmers, it was just the way we lived, much simpler than today. It was always a top priority that these animals be treated well. Blessings.
1 person likes this
@Guardian208 (1095)
• United States
14 May 08
Don't take this as an endorsement of animal cruelty, but that article does not paint an accurate picture of first century animal care or even 21st century animal care. Yes those that took care of the herds in the 1st century took GREAT care of the herds. Livestock was a measure of wealth. They didn't have banks and investment accounts. When they accumulated wealth, they bought and sold animals. They were a commodity. They were not animal lovers. In fact, if they had a wayward sheep that would not stay with the herd they would break the sheep's leg so that it couldn't wander off. Consider the 23rd Psalm. "He MAKETH me to lie down in green pastures." It doesn't say 'he encourages me' or 'he leads me'. It says he maketh me. The reference is to this practice breaking the wayward sheep's leg. Also, it is NOT in the best interests of the ranchers to have animals die while in their care or in route to the slaughterhouse. Those animals can no longer be used for anything, especially not for food. Again, I am not condoning some of the practices that exist today. But I do want to make it clear that not everything in that article is accurate. Also, I spent some time on a cattle ranch when I was younger. I am not going to lie, some of the practices are not for the squeamish. Particularly how the treated the sick cows. It wasn't cruel really but imagine trying to get a 1000 pound cow to submit to treatment. There was one cow that had developed pink eye. This rancher spent a great deal of time and money to treat this animal. That is not to say that there is no abuse. I am sure that there is and your passion for this is what is needed to initiate change. Good for you. If you and others that are passionate about this continue to spread the word, things will in fact change. Keep up the good work.
1 person likes this
• United States
14 May 08
Thanks for pointing this out. I had never heard of the breaking the sheep's leg thing.. pretty sad. Also, I really appreciate the kind words
@bond0077 (375)
13 May 08
what is your question again? actually the bible said god gave man dominion over all earthly animals to take care of ,eat,and not abuse the privalidge!but he did say it was ok to slaughter the eatable ones!i think what u r talking about is not the killing but the way we get certain cows to be a certain way like for veal,or stick them with steriods etc..that is wrong!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 May 08
Yes, exactly. (I didn't write the article) The person was saying that the way animals are treated today is not right, no one said anything about not eating meat.
• Indonesia
11 May 08
well, Paul said something in the bible which impresses that we should not eat meat. most great personalities in the world, especially in spiritual world are likely vegetarian. a friend of mine, who is a muslim say that even Muhammad rarely ate meat. He ate meat only in the social meetings.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 May 08
I have tried many times to find information about meat eating in regards to the bible as I am faced quite often with, "well, God put animals on this earth FOR me to eat" and I find that hard to believe. I also cannot argue against it (besides from my Atheist viewpoint that the bible is unimportant) so I am trying to become more informed. I have started reading the bible myself, but that sure is a task. I have read so many different interpretations on this subject. The author of this article is very well-informed and I like his interpretations.
• United States
14 May 08
hmmm neva really thought of dat
1 person likes this
@rev1wendy (611)
• United States
14 May 08
Very well stated. I do agree with you. There is also the pollution in our lakes and streams that make eating fish much less healthy than it was in Christ's time. I do believe that animals were put here for our use, but not our abuse. I eat meat, it is my choice. My belief is that moderation is the key to health. Even as a vegan, if you eat mostly carrots and very little of anything else, it would not be healthy, right? You have to balance nutrients and minerals into a moderate diet irregardless of what your diet consists of. By the way, did you see my discussion on cutting myself? It was a chicken I was cleaning to bake. The butchers had broken it's ribs and I ended up with a nasty cut from it. (Okay, stop laughing!) I will continue to eat meat, but I am thankful for my faith in the Lord because I believe we all have to account for our actions on our judgement day. I cannot change the world or the people in it. I can only touch a very few lives in my time here. Yet God will sit in judgement of all who have sinned and committed crimes against Him and against life. I find comfort in that knowledge. Wendy
1 person likes this
@TravisE (445)
• United States
12 May 08
I agree that compassion is not compatible with modern animal production practices. I do not agree however with the trend of assuming that people of the past were somehow inherently more compassionate. The only reason there animals were given better physical treatment is because they had to be presented as living healthy creatures fit for consumption. Since the face of the animals has been removed in modern practice it allows for more hidden cruelty. But, the livestock farmers of old were in the business to make a living and to provide for their families. If they had access to refrigeration and modern slaughterhouses I am very much doubtful they would not have used them. Convenience has a way of corrupting the purest of hearts. Having raised animals to slaughter myself I can say that the sense of connection is much greater, and the concurrent feelings of connectedness which lead to compassion are more prevalent - It's no fun to watch Betty suffer before you cut her up and eat her. But, there is always the knowing that Betty will someday be burgers. Pre-modern man was not automatically more noble than modern man, they simply did not have as much convenient access to tools with which to f*ck things up.
1 person likes this
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
12 May 08
this is what ha happened when the BIG companies came in and took over the land of the small farmer or rancher. We would have a lot better type of animals if we kicked out the BIG companies and gave the land back to the little farmers and ranchers. My father in law raised hogs and would feed and them what they needed and when they got the right size we would take them to the sale barn to sale. Hehad well I wont say beautiful hogs but the sure were nice looking for he took time with them
1 person likes this
@AJ1952Chats (2338)
• Anderson, Indiana
11 May 08
I'm just your garden variety United Methodist where we love our cookouts and wienie roasts, a little (or a lot of) pizza at our youth meetings, and enjoy all sorts of goodies at our carry-ins. Many years ago, one of our members (who is now Assembly Of God but probably hasn't changed his tastes in food to this day) was on an outing with other adults at church (including my folks who witnessed this and got a kick out of it, so they told me, since I was back at the church with the rest of the kids and couldn't be there to see it for myself) where they went to a popular smorgasbord. Carl loved fried shrimp so much that he didn't eat much else but that the entire time they were there. Everybody else was going around and eating some of this and some of that, but Carl had a definite target, and he really piled his plates high. He was a tall guy but didn't weigh 1000 lbs. or anywhere close. Built more like an athlete! You'd have to wonder where he put it all. On my dad's side of the family, several of them went from being Disciples Of Christ members to Seventh Day Adventists back before I was born. Some of them remained meat-eaters but excluded pork, shrimp, and a few other kinds of meat. However, Aunt Jenny and Uncle D1ck went 100% vegetarian and raised their kids that way. Although Aunt Jenny never did, I believe that Uncle D1ck has occasionally eaten beef or fish in his later years. They had two kids, Carolyn & Jimmy. Carolyn, to this day, wouldn't even think of eating meat. Jimmy did eat hamburgers occasionally and, also, converted to his wife's faith when they got married. I remember hearing some story about him when he was dating another non-SDA when he was in his late teens or early twenties. He ate at her family's home one time and enjoyed some kind of ground meat dish but had no idea what it was--but, after he found out that pork was in it, his gag-reflex went wild, and he ended up having to run to the nearest bathroom to throw up. Carolyn married another SDA who did eat meat, but she and their kids didn't. I remember being at her place watching her prepare a can of Chunky Beef soup for Larry and making the remark that she didn't know how he could stand it--that it almost made her sick-to-her-stomach to prepare it for him. Anyway, I had no problem at all with eating most meat that's acceptable to eat here in the USA--though I don't eat deer, squirrel, raccoon, or possum. I've eaten and love duck meat, and I would, likely, like goose meat, too, though I haven't had any yet. But I wouldn't knowingly eat a Canada goose because they mate for life. No cats, dogs, or rats for me, though. I have no idea whether or not I've ever eaten horse meat--but certainly not when I've been aware of it. You've made a good point about the difference between the care and preparation of animals back in Jesus' time and in our time. I wonder if tax breaks would encourage more meat-processing companies to change their methods of preparation and more people raising livestock to be more considerate of the animals they're raising. It would be nice...
• Uganda
11 May 08
So, hi... The arguments are right and good... Thanks for sharing this information with us... me...!
1 person likes this