Greetings Mr. Williams,
I enjoyed your well-written and thoughtfully-considered article "Probe Answers Our E-Mail: Eating Animals."
I urge you, therefore, to consider the Christian vegetarian position, developed in scholarly literature and now, finally, summarized on the Internet (www.ChristianVeg.com).
Like your own perspective, vegetarian Christians do not typically equate human and animal life and shun exploitation in order to be the best stewards we can be of the Creation God has made. Take a look for yourself and tell me what you think!
Some "food" for thought: you stated, "God provided a food chain involving plants and animals for man." But much modern research in nutrition is showing animal protein to be hardly necessary for the proper development of humans. In fact, an animal-free (vegan) diet is shown to be optimum (for human performance, growth, etc.). It certainly avoids many risks related to cancer and especially heart disease (which it virtually eliminates)--the two biggest killers of North Americans!!!
Consider the facts for your self--I am genuinely interested in your perspective in light of this knowledge. As a starting point from this perspective, from an "outside" (i.e. nonvegetarian) source, see the American Dietetic Association at http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/index.html
Thanks for your time and consideration. I am looking forward to your response!
P.S. Relevant titles are listed on the bibliography on the website. See especially Is God a Vegetarian? by Richard Alan Young (student of Luke Timothy Johnson). And works by Stephen H. Webb, such as On God and Dogs: A Christian Theology of Compassion for Animals another title forthcoming from Oxford University Press this October.
Thank you for your recent E Mail concerning my article on "Eating Animals."
I appreciate very much your contacting me, and I will make a note of your resources at ChristianVeg.com. I will be happy to refer your efforts to people who struggle with this issue, and I will explore your information myself as my dialogue with users continues.
I think there are many unanswered questions about this. For example, the human digestive system which parallels the herbivores (long) and not the carnivores (short) is an argument for your position. I have often pondered this.
On the other hand, if we take the Bible at its word, and recognizing the nutrition, disease, and environmental factors, etc., which you mentioned, I still do not think we can develop an exclusive doctrine of vegetarianism based on the Scriptures. The fact that God gives explicit instructions about which animals could and could not be eaten in the Hebrew community would indicate some meat eating is allowed.
I also turn to the New Testament and discover that Jesus celebrated Passover and ate portions of the slain lamb.
Further, there are passages in the New Testament (Peter's vision in Acts 10, or Romans 14, for example) which indicate that this is a matter of conscience, indicating that some may choose to eat meat, and others who do not. But one is not supposed to judge the other, because God has sanctified both.
I will look forward to reviewing your material.
Jimmy Williams, Founder
I find your correspondence with the Christian vegetarian to be so interesting. . . It's got to be the best dialogue I've seen on this topic in almost all of my 30+ years. I just wanted to add that I don't think the choice to eat or not eat meat is one of just conscience. See, I quit meat (long before becoming a Christian) and had several problems physically/medically. I'm anemic, and not eating meat seemed to complicate the matter. I tried vitamins, eating more beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables (especially spinach) and still couldn't raise my iron level to where it needed to be. . . The only thing that worked (and had I been honest with myself I would have heeded the strong cravings) was a 6-8 ounce piece of beef liver prior to my monthly cycle. I've since taken to eating meat again (although I'm still more a veggie eater) and I've been a lot healthier for it. I say all of this to say, that I and many others are not wired for life without flesh. The Lord's intricate work will never be fully figured out as it regards the body (although we've seen some of the best medical advances known to man and that's a good thing). . . Nothing could take the place of meat in my life. I'm not sure why this happened or why it's still a necessity, but I would love to be meatless, I just wouldn't be as healthy. I hope this all makes sense. I'm looking forward to the next installment regarding vegetarianism. Thanks and keep up the good work.
Well, your comment IS the next installment! <smile> As a lover of chicken and cheeseburgers, I freely admit to a pro-meat-eating bias. . . but even with my personal preferences aside, I think your experience adds an important element to the discussion. Vegetarianism can cause problems for women of childbearing age that men do not face, and this needs to be considered as we seek to be wise stewards of the bodies God gave us to use for His glory.
Thanks for writing!
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
Further information about Probe's materials and ministry may be obtained by contacting us at:
2001 W. Plano Parkway, Suite 2000
Plano TX 75075