Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: Daily Pilot HomeCollectionsGod

The God Squad: Eating meat isn't against the Bible

May 06, 2011|By Rabbi Marc Gellman

Question: I have the terrible suspicion that I'm a hypocrite. I'm an animal lover, but I eat meat. I don't eat the meat of young animals, like veal and lamb, but I do eat meat, fish and fowl, along with eggs. Is there anything in the Bible referring to the practice of eating meat, or to Christ's practice? Did he eat meat?

I'm aware that I'm seeking absolution for eating meat, but I do face a conflict. Although I would never hunt or fish, I eat animals that other people kill. Is killing and eating animals a crime in the eyes of God or Jesus? What would Jesus have said about this? P.S.: I contribute to many animal advocacy groups, especially to help farm animals and to ban dog racing, but this doesn't erase the guilt. — L., via snail mail from Boynton Beach, Fla.

Answer: Your morally sensitive e-mail touched my own hypocritical meat-eating heart (or should I say, stomach). I think every sensitive soul must realize that eating food that does not have to be killed first is spiritually and morally superior to killing animals for food.

Advertisement

We all should be eating as low down on the food chain as we can to reduce animal suffering, reduce factory farming of meat, prevent the leveling of the rain forests to plant grasslands for cheap beef, reduce the fat- and artery-clogging cholesterol in our bodies, and generally to honor God's creation by not killing it for lunch.

The Bible does indeed reinforce this vegetarian impulse of our higher souls. When God created Adam and Eve in Genesis, the only foods specified for their diet were fruits and vegetables: Genesis 1:29, "And God said: 'Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed--to you it shall be for food.'"

The biblical permission to eat meat doesn't come until God's covenant with Noah after the flood in Genesis chapter 9:3-6: "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man's brother I will require the life of man. 'Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.'" (NKJV)

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles
|
|
|