I’m a vegetarian. It’s sort of a new thing for me. I’ve abstained from meat since the beginning of February. It’s been surprisingly easy with the assortment of good vegetarian foods available, and my love affair with sweets. But a lot of people ask me why I’m a vegetarian, and so I thought I’d share a video that graphically portrays the essential reason behind it.
This is a video about a couple of guys who raised a baby lion, released it into the wild, and then sought it out a year later. Take a look:
For me, this video gives me a glimpse of how humans and animals have a potential to relate to one another. I believe that God’s original plan for creation was devoid of death, and hence devoid of meat-eating. Animosity entered the animal-human relationship, and carnivores were born, but that wasn’t they way it was supposed to be (Gen 1:29-30).
I believe that in the ultimate restoration of God’s creation this human-animal relationship will be restored to something like we see in the video above. Humanity will have dominion over the animals just as God has dominion over us: we will graciously rule through sacrificial love and service. Instead of exploiting animals as meat-making-machines without feelings or lives of value, we will treasure them as important parts of God’s creation.
Household pets can be good examples of proper human-animal relationships. Humans can rule over their pets in a loving affectionate way that demands sacrifice for the well-being of the pet. Pets are often considered parts of the family and the intimate tie that owners feel towards their cats and dogs is tangibly felt. Pet owners know that their pets have emotions–they feel anxiety, loyalty, hope, faith and love. I believe this is a reality for all animals, not just pets, and so I choose not to eat them.
My convictions are rooted in scripture, but I wouldn’t assert that vegetarianism is mandatory for all Christians. There are plenty of examples of meat-eating in the Bible. However, there are also plenty of examples that point us to the high worth of animals in God’s eyes. So for Christians who choose to eat meat, I think a serious look at our food-producing system is in order. We are detached from the birth, growth, and slaughter of the meat we (as a culture) eat. Some of us would be mortified to see the way the animals we eat are treated.
I’m still trying to figure all of this out. At first I didn’t eat eggs, but now I’m eating eggs from free-range chickens. Maybe next week I’ll change my mind again. This is an evolving experiment that is rooted in my desire to life a more gracious life. Being a vegetarian is a personal calling that helps me enter into a more holistic life of compassion. It is one way I can practice a heavenly lifestyle here on earth now.
For further reading:
A great book on vegetarianism for Christians: Webb, Stephen On God and Dogs
A Pastors journey into vegetarianism: http://gregboyd.blogspot.com/2008/02/why-im-vegetarian.html