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Is it Christian to be Vegan?
Are Vegans Morally Superior to Non-Vegan Christians?
How do you know when someone is a vegan? The same way you know someone is a Christian; they'll tell you! For better or worse, Christians and vegans share certain behaviors regarding their philosophical lifestyles. Although these are not mutually exclusive philosophies, some vegans protest that eating meat is murder. But if meat is murder, should Christians be vegans?
In the beginning...
According to the Bible, God made mankind to live in a lush garden, plentiful in good food. Everything had been made for man so that when man was made he would have all that was necessary readily available.Note that the reference to vegetables in the Bible includes fruits, there is no distinguishing between the two as we do today. The book of Genesis tells that God had given mankind only the fruits of the trees for food (Gen 1:29).
This would seem like score 1 for the vegans, but not so fast!
After the great flood, there was no vegetation immediately available for Noah, his three sons, and their wives. Due to necessity, God had then declared meat on the menu! Of course, this came with a strict dietary guideline of only certain animals that were considered clean could be eaten (acceptable for human consumption) and they had to be prepared in certain ways. There are no scriptures that seem to indicate animal products such as milk or honey are prohibited. This article will not cover the importance of clean versus unclean animals because of the great importance thereof deserves it's own dedicated article.
According to the New Testament, in Acts chapter 10 God had declared all meat acceptable to eat. This was a message in an analogy to the Jews who followed Christ to tell them to preach the Gospel even to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Even so, the point was still made that we could enjoy delicious bacon and lobster without the guilt of sin!
Consistency with God's law
Now, before the vegans get too triggered, lets consider if this is what God intended for mankind. The Bible displays a consistent narrative of God being merciful, slow to anger, detesting violence, and promoting peace in all ways when it does not compromise His word. How then does this fit with his tolerance of eating meat?
Due to the fallen state of mankind (corruption), God has tolerated many things he had not approved of for man and for various reasons. The ancient Hebrews insisted that God appoint a king for them despite God being reluctant and warning against giving such authority to a corruptible person. He offered to save Sodom if Lot could find just a handful of righteous within the inhabitants of the wicked city. He declared meat a viable dietary option after the flood through necessity, but this was not His original intention. Will meat always be on the menu?
Isaiah 65:25 describes how God will recreate the earth in a new kingdom ruled by Christ. Removing violence and corruption, He also will declare all flesh, including animals, to eat only vegetation. We will once again eat only vegetables and no longer devour the flesh of God's creation.
The Bottom Line
What then does this mean? Is it acceptable to eat meat as Christians or should we cooperate with vegans and refrain from delicious murder meat?
Well, that depends on you. It is not a sin to eat meat, but we were never intended to do so and will one day only consume vegetables. Making peace with those not yet saved is definitely the most appropriate approach. Refraining from eating meat may show respect for God's creation, though eating meat is not a sin. It's not clear how many brownie points being a vegetarian might get you but it wouldn't hurt to try for the high score.
So, take up and eat! We are all future vegetarians one way or the other.