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Hi, my name is Alexander, and I am talking about a controversy that is growing among Christians.
Should a Christian be a Vegetarian? Does that make us spiritual and bring us closer to God?
Recently, the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church spoke about eating meat. The quote is, apparently: “Eating meat is part of a self-destructive trend.” He did not say that Christians should be vegetarians, but his comment did not encourage eating meat.
So, what do you believe?
You have probably noticed that we are surrounded by sincere believers, in many things, and some of them are angry.
We have different religions, We also have climate change activists, and we still have activists for and against COVID restrictions and vegetarians, and their polar opposites, carnivores.
When I buy groceries, there is always a section of vegetarian food, in the grocery store. Also, fast food places like to advertise their not-meat that tastes and looks just like meat, but it isn’t.
Vegan Vegetarianism is not just a choice, it’s a sincere belief. The most devout Vegan believers think the whole world should be like them. Some are working to change the whole world, and they expect to succeed.
We will all be vegetarians, someday; they believe.
Vegetarians have been part of human history, for thousands of years.
Vegan beliefs probably started in India, three or four thousand years ago, and that means the first vegetarians were probably Hindu. Vegetarian ideas were religious beliefs.
Jewish people had dietary or “Kosher” restrictions, in their worship of God. Also, the religion of Islam has “Halal” restrictions. Both groups, today, reject vegetarian not-meat which is imitation pork. They don’t eat pork, and they don’t even want imitation, although their religious diets are not vegetarian.
Among Christians, Seventh Day Adventists may be vegetarians. Since the founding of their movement, in 1863, the group has emphasized diet as a religious practice. Some choose to follow the Old Testament restrictions in the book of Leviticus, including no pork or shellfish.
Others follow partial vegetarian diets with animal products like milk and eggs, and some are strict Vegan Vegetarians.
Also, if you go to a restaurant, check the menu for the daily specials. Probably, the special on Friday is fish. That is from a Roman Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Friday. This helped avoid some types of meat, at least on Friday, and that has influenced restaurant menus.
Vegan beliefs circulated among the first Christians, and they are mentioned in the New Testament.
Some of the first Christians were vegetarians. We don’t know much about them, but they are mentioned in the Bible. The Apostle Paul talks about Christians who only ate vegetables and described them as being “weak.”
Some Christians were concerned that the meat sold in the markets had been sacrificed in temples to pagan gods, and such contaminated meat would somehow affect them spiritually. Possibly they just stopped eating all meat, instead of selecting meat by its source.
Whatever caused some Christians to be vegetarians, we have these words:
“One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables.” (Romans 14: 2)
This was a picture of life among the first Christians.
In contrast, when the early disciples thought they were seeing the ghost of Jesus, Luke writes that Jesus proved he was alive by eating boiled fish in their presence (Luke 24::41-43).
The false principle is the same everywhere: True believers must control what they eat, or drink, if they want to be correctly spiritual.
So, what is the religious truth about not eating meat?
First, believe. We are wired to believe. An Atheist is a believer.
Secondly, find the truth that will set you free. This is different from ideas that are just interesting and appealing.
We are warned, in the Bible, that some bad things will happen at the end of our time in history. Some people who follow “deceitful spirits and teachings of demons” will teach religious ideas that are dangerous. They will “forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods” (1 Timothy 4:1 and 3).
In other words, they will promote salvation through abstinence. ‘Don’t do this, and you will be saved.’
This is like a magician’s trick. What we believe will be switched to something that looks the same, but is completely different.
We will be taught that we find the truth in don’ts instead of dos. ‘Jesus saves’ changes to ‘abstinence saves.’
This was a big concern among the first Christians. There is a truth much higher than abstinence:
But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do. (1 Corinthians 8 v 8) … Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall (v 13).
The choice to not eat meat was based on a concern for a brother or sister’s spiritual welfare. For someone who ate meat, the sacrifice was not too great, if it kept someone from falling in their relationship with God. The truth higher than dietary rules was love for brothers and sisters.
- READ: Veganism