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The Vegetarian Problem of Evil

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    Sooner28posted 3 years ago

    I don't know if anyone else has ever made this argument.  If so, I apologize for not affording the proper citation.  I thought of it recently and thought I would share.  I want to lay out a disclaimer that I am NOT a vegetarian (at least right now), so I couldn't accept this argument.  But, an atheistic vegetarian could very much use this argument.

    The traditional argument from evil (logical contradiction, not evidientiary) claims these two statements are contradictory.

    1.  God exists.

    2.  Evil exists. 

    The key to this is the claim that ANY evil exists at all is incompatible with the existence of God.

    To begin, I will preemptively accept the free will defense to ensure no one brings it up as an objection to what I am about to say.  At least for the sake of this argument, I accept free will and all the consequences thereof, and claim free will is an answer to this argument, at least on the human level.  However, this is where the vegetarian defense comes into play.

    The second claim can now be made more precise. 

    Evil exists that God cannot prevent, which is due to human free will.

    So, if it is outside of God's power to prevent the evil, there can be a co-existence of evil and God.

    However, vegetarians claim evil not based on the free will of humans does exist because she will accept the premise that animals should not be harmed for any reason.  This may sound a bit of a stretch, but stay try to stay with me.  Strict vegetarians do not believe in eating any sort of meat.  They will only eat greens, fruits, or grains.  Since they accept the premise that it is immoral for any animal to be harmed for any reason, this opens up a difficult problem, a state of evil in the world that God could have prevented.  Why could God have prevented it?  Because, many animals are driven by the instinct to KILL.  It is in their very DNA, and they cannot necessarily control what they do.  A lion eating a zebra is, in essence, without free will, and acts in a very deterministic way by God.   

    Vegetarians see this aspect of the world and accept it, but they would prefer it were different.  If God exists, and one espouses vegetarianism (or any belief system that preaches against the killing of animals), then it necessarily follows that natural evil exists and God does not.  Now, there does exist an evil that was in God's power to prevent, but he did not.

    The free will defense for human beings was used to escape the charge that God's existence and evil's existence were necessarily incompatible propositions; however, if animalian violence is an evil in the world that God could have prevented but did not, then there is a new argument from evil:

    God exists.

    Natural evil exists.

    These two propositions are incompatible for a vegetarian.  If God exists, this natural evil would not exist.  God could easily prevent it, but refuses to do so.

    In summation, it is logically impossible that both God and natural evil to exist.

    This is my first time putting this argument "on paper," so I apologize for anything that is unclear or inarticulately phrased.

    What is your opinion on this?

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      Peelander Gallyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Well this is definitely intriguing. God's gift of free will to man is used to explain away a lot of things, and there's nothing rational about a series of massive presuppositions like that, as your argument illustrates. I don't know of many Christian vegetarians, as they generally seem to agree that man rightfully holds dominion over everything (including woman lol), so I'd like to see someone who subscribes to these apparently mutually exclusive beliefs and doesn't find them contradictory respond.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Most of the time you won't meet them tongue.

        But if you do, they are a walking contradiction.

    2. nightwork4 profile image59
      nightwork4posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      first, you are going on the assumption that there is a god which in itself is silly. secondly, try living in norther Canada and not eat meat, go ahead. you can't have a garden, they only get 2 months of summer at best and even then the ground is cold. as for killing animals being wrong, what do you think would happen to all the vegetation on earth if we never killed animals and just let them continue to populate.

      1. A Thousand Words profile image81
        A Thousand Wordsposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I think if you had read the whole post, you'd realize that the poster is not himself a vegetarian.

        1. nightwork4 profile image59
          nightwork4posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          i'm not saying he is and i did read it all. i was asking a question that a vegan argued about with me on here before. she didn't have an answer and it seems no vegans do.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        Well, one argumentative strategy is called a reduction ad absurdum.  You assume you what you are trying to prove, and if a contradiction follows, then the initial claim you assumed to be true would be false, which in this case is that God exists.  I thought it was pretty obvious I wasn't a believer in any God, so I'm sorry if I wasn't clear.

        Second, I said at the beginning of the post that I am not a vegetarian, and this was an intellectual exercise.

    3. pennyofheaven profile image83
      pennyofheavenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      That is called the duality of our existence. Man has created concepts to describe our existence. Good and Evil, Ugly and beautiful, high and low, etc. So when we used the concept of good anything contrary to this usage we had to create a concept that described its opposite.

    4. twosheds1 profile image60
      twosheds1posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      The easy answer to this is that God doesn't exist. Once you accept that as truth, answering these questions becomes far easier. Indeed, they are only answerable when you accept that there are no gods.

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        Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

        This argument was using vegetarianism to argue against the existence of God.  Since i'm not a vegetarian I can't accept it, but I think most vegetarians probably should, and therefore give up their theism.

        1. pennyofheaven profile image83
          pennyofheavenposted 3 years ago in reply to this


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            Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

            What reasons do you disagree with?

            If you don't have a specific point of disagreement, there's no reason to respond.  Rationally, you would have to accept my arguments.

            However, if you disagree with my reasons, please explain which ones and why you disagree.

            1. pennyofheaven profile image83
              pennyofheavenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

              I thought it was quite humorous that you would use Vegetarianism as an argument against the existence of God.

              There are many vegetarians that do not believe in God.

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                Sooner28posted 3 years ago in reply to this

                Again, you didn't address the argument at all.

                1. pennyofheaven profile image83
                  pennyofheavenposted 3 years ago in reply to this

                  I did in an earlier post.

  2. kess profile image61
    kessposted 3 years ago

    Ignorance rule where knowledge does not...
    and the self importance of Ignorance is evil.
    Ignorance is worthless to all and especially itself  unless of course
    ...it is under the dominion of Knowledge.

    This is seen in the natural way of things...

    Now since man is the embodiment of knowledge in this world, what occurs when he relinquishes his position?

    Ignorance rules him and thus this world gets it nature.this is what is considered as "natural"

    The earth rebellious to the man, in that he must slave to the extent of his entire life to give him sustenance,  but yet  would easily bring forth thorn and brambles and poisonous fruits effortlessly.

    The animal rebellious to the man, in that they have created rules by which they can easily coexist, but will not accommodate the man in their circle. and would seek  every opportunity to cause him discomfort at every turn.

    The children being rebellious to their parents, and these breeds more rebelliousness through their offsprings.

    The women constantly seeking authority over their husbands first and men in general and teaching their daughters to do the same.

    Men subdividing themselves into kingdoms the seek to strengthen  specifically to subjugate and have dominion over his fellow men who are doing the same exact thing.

    All this occurs because men the embodiment of Knowledge in this earth, perceives himself and Ignorant and thus is the enemy towards this earth and more specifically himself.

    So though God is present in this earth, It continues as though God is absent and will continue so until man takes his rightful place and the Embodiment of God which is the embodiment of Knowledge.

    For all things are  United as ONE but appears disjointed and unrelated because of the Ignorance, that is in man and is man.

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      Peelander Gallyposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah... Don't think you're going to get anything else on this, OP.

    2. Hollie Thomas profile image61
      Hollie Thomasposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      This is a thought provoking post. I've been an on/off pescatarian/vegetarian since 2001. I've now kicked my fish and seafood habit, (again) I don't consume any meat/fish and only eggs which I know to be truly free range. (ie. i can see the hens) but I do eat vegetarian cheddar. Having said that, throughout the last eleven years, whatever phase i was in, I have bought, prepared and cooked meat for my children. (I do not believe that they should become mini me, they should make their  own decisions about what is ethically right and wrong.)I was in my thirties when I gave up meat, my forties when I gave up fish and seafood.

      On a personal level, I don't believe that people who eat fish/meat/dairy are evil- just that they are conditioned to eat what they do eat. Personal level number 2, I don't think that eating meat/fish/dairy is wrong- but the cruelty that is involved with rearing some factory farmed animals is wrong. Example, I don't believe that it's necessary to keep pregnant pigs in a permanent non erect position during pregnancy in pens so tiny that they cannot move, that is evil. Or to prevent battery hens from ever seeing the light of day, or getting any exercise. etc.

      I'm an atheist, so it's difficult for me to equate any of this to a God, it's outside of the way I rationalise, I can't relate.

      1. kess profile image61
        kessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        The responsibility in discovering self begins  with you and end with you,.. so therefore,
        You would go about classifying and defining yourself as this or as that,

        As long as the definition/classification is incomplete in , you would find yourself  in bondage to the definition itself. Thus you are limited not necessarily by what the definition is but by what it is not.

        Your bondage comes because the negative of a thing is always heavier than the positive, and it restrict and encloses you, thus your life become hard, for you will always be conscious of what you are not, in order to preserve what you are as per your own definition.

        If you pay attention, it is because of your label "Atheist", your freedom is restricted to even consider some of the ideas presented. Now since You  are the only one to make the label binding? Why are you restricting your own freedom is search if yourself?

        Have you not considered that your identity might not be within the box of atheism?
        If you are convinced that it lies within the box, I cant say anything else to you ....but I will ask why the restrictions?

        You would know you have found yourself, when your definition of self is complete...
        And its completion is seen when  the negative is that which allows you to establish and maintain your freedom.....

        And by such your freedom is absolute....

        1. Hollie Thomas profile image61
          Hollie Thomasposted 3 years ago in reply to this

          My freedom is absolute, I am free to choose what I believe as I'm free to choose what I eat. Why the restrictions, because as I have the choice.

          1. kess profile image61
            kessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            There is freedom that appears absolute within the a box....

            You can only know this when you are free from that box.

            The box is death.