Saturday, May 26, 2012

Meat Anyone?

The New York Times recently had a contest to write a short essay supporting the ethics of meat consumption.  The winner was Jay Bost, whose goal is a Ph.D. in tropical plant and soil science.  As a former vegan, his defense was rather anemic (lack of protein?).

Bost seems to come from a Darwinian framework:  “… death begets life on this planet and that all life (including us!) is really just solar energy temporarily stored in an impermanent form.”

Some brothers and sisters have strong convictions regarding eating vegetables exclusively, but we should not judge each other on such issues (Rom. 14:1-4, Col. 2:16).

Here was my entry to this contest:

Meat is a superb source of iron, B12 and protein.  Total vegans have a very difficult time finding B12 and face a serious risk of anemia. [1] 

If we follow the philosophy of omniculturalism, that is the view that all cultures contain the true and beautiful, then we can learn wisdom on this controversy. Most civilizations of the world have practiced eating meat or animal by-products (milk, eggs, lard etc.) since ancient times. [2]

In Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth, philosopher Mortimer Adler (d. 2001) concludes that we must find truth in one of these prominent faiths:  Judaism, Christianity or Islam. [3]  Adler was the co-author of How To Read A Book and the editor of the Great Books of the Western World (52 vols.).

Islam allows the eating of meat:

O you who have attained to faith!  Be true to your covenants!  Lawful to you is [the flesh of] every beast that feeds on plants, save what is mentioned to you [hereinafter]: but you are not allowed to hunt while you are in a state of pilgrimage.  Behold, God ordains in accordance with his will (Qur’an 5:1).

In all that has been revealed unto me, I do not find anything forbidden to eat, if one wants to eat thereof, unless it be carrion, or blood poured forth, or the flesh of swine for that, behold, is loathsome or a sinful offering over which any name other than God's has been invoked.  But if one is driven by necessity neither coveting it nor exceeding his immediate need then [know that], behold, thy Sustainer is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace (Qur’an 6:145). [4]

Christianity teaches that meat consumption is okay:

Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without any question of conscience.  The whole earth and all that is in it belongs to the Lord (1. Cor. 10:25, 26, Philips).

So they ate [fish and bread] and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.  Now those who had eaten were about four thousand …  (Mk. 8:8, 9, NKJV).

Judaism gives us the foundational reason for eating meat when God spoke to Noah after the Great Flood:

Every living creature - birds, animals, fish - will fall under your spell and be afraid of you.  You’re responsible for them.  All living creatures are yours for food; just as I gave you the plants, now I give you everything else.  Except for meat with its lifeblood still in it - don’t eat that (Gen. 9:2-4, Message).

So, according to the morality of the three major revealed religions, meat eating is ethical.

If something cataclysmic does happen in 2012 and the current economic system collapses, then as a last resort, Fido is our chow and Fluffy is our supper.

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
Will you be our snack tonight?
Could we smile as we eat thee?
Should I cook a lamb for three?

1) VitaminB12
2) Vegetarianism
3) Truth in Religion: The Plurality of Religions and the Unity of Truth by Mortimer Adler, (Simon and Schuster, 1992), pp. 104-109
4) quoted in “Is Vegetarianism Un-Islamic?” by Richard Foltz


Max Weismann said...

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Thank you,

Max Weismann

Ned - the Origins Activist (NOA) said...

Dogs, Snakes & Tigers ==> they're GRRRRRRRRReat!
OBAMA ate dog, snake & grasshopper: