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An Evangelical’s Response to Veganism

Warning* long post

I very seldom step on a religious soapbox but am certainly able to when called upon. Before I step up to this one, you should know a little about the “preacher”…. Just to know the perspective that I’m coming from. As I’ve mentioned before I am a Christian, but here’s the disclaimer…. I’m not at all religious. I do not belong to any particular religious denomination and I do not claim affiliation with any church. I don’t take issue with people who do go to church; it’s not a bad thing in my mind. It’s simply that church and religion serve a social function that I do not find I need. My Faith is very personal.

I am an evangelical Christian and I believe;

  • That through the first Adam, original sin entered the world and cursed the earth
  • That we have each sinned against God through sins against each other
  • That God is Perfect in every way and cannot co-exist with sin
  • That because of this, sin separates us from our Eternal God
  • That we are UNABLE to redeem ourselves through a “good life”
  • That only an unblemished, perfect “Man” could redeem and restore us to our Father
  • That Jesus Christ is that Man
  • The He was unjustly crucified, buried, and rose in BODY on the third day thereby conquering death and creating a way back to communion with God
  • That the Bible is the inspired, unerring, living Word of God
  • That Bible prophecy is God’s way of saying “You can trust Me, I wrote the end of the story, I know what’s coming.”

In a nutshell, that’s my Faith. The term “Evangelical Christian” may conjure up images of door-knocking, pamphlet littering, judgmental bigots breathing fire and damnation. That however, is not what I’m talking about. I do believe I’m mandated by my God to tell others about my faith. That can be done by simply living it out. Occasionally words may be needed. However, I find that people hear much more of what we do than what we say; wouldn’t you agree?

Now we will move on to the soapbox; Ethical Veganism (Or rather the reasons for it). As you know, I’ve been on a dietary journey since last June of conscious, healthy eating. If you’ve been following my blog you know that I set up my own guidelines and parameters (rules, if you will) to follow and learned along the way that there is a growing movement of people following closely the same guidelines that I do. They are known as Raw Foodists.  As I’ve traveled this road, my paradigm of what is healthy has shifted. I spend as much time studying nutrition as I do coming up with new recipes. This is causing me to think differently about food and consequently, my dietary guidelines are evolving as well. In early February, I decided to move from being a Raw Foodist, to temporarily being a 100% Raw Vegan. I wanted to see what the health effects would be to give up all animal products for a couple of months. My decision didn’t have any ethical foundation, any pure “compassion for the animals” motive or “green-friendly” agenda. It was simply health driven.

As I’ve explored more Vegan sites (in search of recipes), I have come across some information that I cannot ignore. A few weeks ago, someone on my Twitter account posted a link to a GRAPHIC video that utterly shocked me. Perhaps I’m just naive, perhaps it’s just something I never gave thought to, perhaps I just never wanted to give thought to it but suddenly I was faced with a reality I could not stomach.  The video exposes the graphic reality of what goes on behind the scenes to provide milk, eggs, and meat for us to eat. It details what these animals endure in there shortened existence for the sake of allowing you and I to go to the grocery store and pick up nice, clean, attractively packaged meat and dairy products to feed our families. I’m posting this link with a warning; do not watch this with small children. It is very graphic. Click here to watch http://meatvideo.com/.

Watching this video has literally rocked my world. It was unbelievable to me. I hoped it was just left-wing liberalism using propaganda to play on our emotions and further their agenda (whatever that is). Note to reader – can you guess which side of the political line I stand on? Okay… moving on. As I was saying, this rocked my world. I really needed to know the truth. It didn’t take long to find. Remember the verse “see and ye shall find…”? Well, I was seeking. I wasn’t able to sleep. I became physically ill for three days. I couldn’t look at meat or eggs or milk the same way. Suddenly, I wasn’t able to comfortably choose to be Vegan. I was faced with a moral dilemma.

This post is being written to address that dilemma and express why I believe it exists for all Evangelical Christians. Ignorance is bliss. If you want to remain blissfully ignorant, stop reading and take the blue pill. If you want to know the truth, follow me down the rabbit hole… watch the video and keep reading.

Okay…. So you’ve seen the video. You’ve seen the unspeakable horrors and find it shockingly hard to conceive. Need more evidence? Here are several other video links to watch.

So now what? As evangelical Christians, what does this have to do with our faith? How or why does it tie in? My simple answer is that it has everything to do with our faith. One of the first duties given to Man by our Creator was to “…replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” (Gen 1:26). Maybe some think that means the earth is at our disposal. I beg to differ. I would suggest that our Father God was laying on our shoulders the awesome responsibility of taking care of, being stewards of, (nurturing) the earth and all that is in it.

Let me pause here to move slightly off-topic and discuss the idea of speciesism. Wikipedia defines speciesism as the “assigning of different values or rights to beings on the basis of their species membership”. I had never even heard the term before becoming a raw vegan. It is often compared to racism within ethical vegan circles. As a believer in the Truth of the Bible and in a Creator God, as an Evangelical Christian, as one who believes that human beings are created in the image of God and charged by God to care for His creation (as a mother cares for a child), I cannot subscribe to the idea of equality between humans and animals. While I do believe that humans are not equal with other species, I do not believe that the Creator of all cares any less for the well being of all His creatures than He cares for me.

So, if we have been charged to care for the earth and all of God’s creatures, then the information confronting us regarding the brutal, horrible existence that animals are subjected to every single day of their short existence, must be addressed. The question is “How do we address it?” One simple answer is to become vegan. Stop eating the product and factory farms will stop producing it. It’s simple economics.

I realize I just lost half of you. And I know that most people are not willing (or able) to actually become vegan. But everyone can do something. If you are on this site it’s probably because you care about your health. Okay then, for your health, become vegetarian. In today’s world that’s a very doable thing for most people. If you just don’t want to give up meat but you can’t stand the idea of what goes on in these awful slaughterhouses, you can at least explore ways of purchasing your eggs, dairy, and meat products from local, sustainable, humane family farms. At least you will know that the animals were treated with some sort of dignity. That’s the least we could do as Christians to be stewards over the earth. I sincerely believe that God must be grieved at the inhumanity of our behavior. There are a host of scriptures I could ‘use’ to try and convince you that God really wants us to be vegetarians. However, I would be abusing scripture to do so and it wouldn’t work anyway. My goal with this blog is not to guilt you into action but to present my argument for why I believe it’s our God given responsibility to take action. What you do with that information is entirely up to you.

I actually started writing this blog about three weeks ago, shortly after I was reeling from the shock of watching the video. At first, I was afraid to tell my husband or anyone in my family. I was afraid of the ridicule I would face, the opposition. For about a week I was so depressed and overwhelmed I just cried and slept. As I said earlier, this really rocked my world. I couldn’t bring myself to buy meat and dairy products at the store and I eventually had to tell my husband. I showed him the video and to my surprise he was willing to compromise with me. He’s not willing to stop eating meat but he is willing to stop buying it at the grocery store and search for alternative, local, humane sources. That’s a HUGE deal for me.

I also talked to my daughter-in-law about this. She was a vegetarian from her early teens up until she had my granddaughter two years ago. I asked her if she knew about what went on at these factory farms. She was surprised to hear that I DIDN’T know. We talked about how she has coped with the information… how she deals with purchasing and consuming animal products. Her response was that she just tries not to think about it. She said that she tries to only buy free-range eggs, grass fed beef, ect. Our conversation left us both feeling very sad. It broke my heart that she is in a place where she doesn’t believe she can be vegan or even vegetarian anymore.

As a Christian, I make it my business to be a part of an organization that lends aide to Christian brothers and sisters around the globe who face horrible atrocities because of their faith. Here in America, we take our faith so for granted. In certain parts of the world, being a Christian means losing everything, sometimes even your life. I believe it’s my responsibility to my Christian family to do whatever little I can to help alleviate the suffering that they endure. That may mean sending money (we are a rich culture), or it sometimes means spreading the word so others know what’s going on, or it may mean getting involved in a more personal way. The point is, it’s my responsibility to do SOMETHING.

There are so many, many atrocities in this world to fight. Racism, child-pornography, sex-trafficking, abortion, drugs, hunger, bigotry, animal cruelty, child abuse, rape, environmental waste, and the lists go on and on. This post is a call to action. As a single human being, I cannot do everything about all of them, but I can do something about one. For me, deciding to become vegan is doable. As I said earlier, I had already decided to do this on a temporary basis so going from that to a more permanent vegan life is in some ways huge and in other ways easy. For now and into the foreseeable future, I will choose to be Vegan. Most of my family still thinks I’m on a temporary vegan diet until Easter. (That was my original plan). I’m still struggling with actually “coming out” as an ethical vegan. I guess this post should do the trick!

One thing I’m learning as I walk this dietary journey is that the road is continuing to take surprising twists and turns. I’m not where I thought I would be when I started and I’ve allowed myself the freedom to just follow the path to wherever it leads. Just when I start to think I’ve figured it out, I learn something new and my perimeters change again. Nothing is ever in stone but right now I choose to walk the road of Veganism for as long as I am rationally able. If circumstances change that cause me to walk down another road, I will deal with that when (or if) the time comes. For now, in THIS moment, at least, I am making a difference. Having said that, I need to say that I do not judge my husband for not becoming Vegan. I don’t judge my daughter-in-law either. God knows her tender love for animals. What each of us chooses to do with this information is completely personal. My job here is to get the information out… job complete.

Obviously, this post is primarily addressed to my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that many of you reading this are not Christian. I know we will disagree on many issues. That’s okay. The point really is that we can all do something to make our world a better place. We all share the same planet even if we don’t share the same Faith. We all have a responsibility to take care of it. JUST DO SOMETHING.

One last thought…. “Find something worth dying for and you will find something worth living for”. I wish I could take credit for that statement but I can’t. I heard someone say it years ago and I’ve tried to live by it. It has proven to be true.

Many blessings to you, whatever your Faith may be…

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7 responses to “An Evangelical’s Response to Veganism

  1. This is a beautiful post! I’m Buddhist, you’re Christian and we are both on a similar journey of twists and turns. I started eating vegan to feel better. I continue to eat vegan because I cannot ignore what I have learned about how animals are treated and produced in this country. Changing my diet helped me expand my concept of compassion — from human beings to all beings. Best to you on this journey!

  2. you are amazing and wonderful and awesome, Michelle! i got teary-eyed reading your post just now. you stand firm on your soapbox – tall and proud – and i’d like to say thank you for your post! by bringing what you know to the attention of others you are doing something, my friend – and that is a noble action. you’re letting the world know about the horrible cruelty and violence non-human animals suffer every day. you write so well and i can tell this comes from a place deep within your heart. continue spreading the word as an ethical vegan and hold your head high! we’re with you, Michelle!

  3. You are inspiring. I’m a non-Christian ethical vegan and wish the movement – and the world – had more voices like yours.

    You may appreciate a friend’s words here –
    http://boldnative.com/2010/04/paradise-recovered/#more-880

    • Susan,
      Thank you for sharing the link. Andie is my new hero. It was so wonderful and brave of her to allow something as personal as that letter to be published. I would love to see the movie.
      Many blessings,
      Michelle

  4. Hi, great post. Nice to meet another Christian who isn’t part of a “sect” per say… I feel the same. Especially considering that the majority of people who claim to represent GOD don’t have any idea who HE is or what it means to BE a Christian.
    Once you learn what is involved in creating the product in the grocery store, which is the by product of massive suffering on a physical and energetic level, it is much easier to push the plate with a greasy hamburger on it away.
    Myself, I’ve always been an empath when animals are concerned, so it makes it much easier to “just say NO”.

    Mrs. G. “n_n”

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