Thursday, January 29, 2004

Why I am not a Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has always seemed to me to be a bit odd, but if someone does not enjoy or want to eat meat for personal reasons, that is fine with me. Still, I do believe most vegetarians have very poor theology. Pantheists certainly tend toward vegetarianism. It is not possible for anyone to legitimately use the Bible in defense of a meatless diet, but there are those that have little regard for truth and try to anyway.

Let's look at just a couple of biblical reasons why vegetarianism is not defendable from God's Word. We first find God allowing us to eat meat after the flood. We read in Gen. 9:2,3 "And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things."

So in Genesis God tells us that we may eat meat, and this includes land animals, birds and fish. There is so much more in the Old Testament that can be shown to prove that God gives us permission to kill and eat these creatures for food. Instead of going over all that let's move onto the New Testament instead.

Here again we find a great deal of evidence that Jesus and all the Christians ate meat, but for the sake of brevity let's only look at what Paul tells Timothy in his first epistle to Timothy.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. (I Tim. 4:1-3)

In all honesty, I do believe the Bible completely settles the argument in favour of the eating of meat, and as a man who enjoys both hunting and fishing, I am glad of that. But I would like to make a secondary argument for the consumption of meat. This argument is based on observation instead of Scripture, but I do believe it is an important one.

I enjoy wildlife, and as an observer of wild and domesticated animals, I have noticed a few interesting things that we should all be aware of. If you go to a farm and study the herbivores (mammals that only eat vegetables) you should notice something interesting. They all have eyes on the sides of their heads. This gives them a very wide-angle view of their surroundings. This is important for herbivores because they tend to be the food of the carnivores (meat eaters) that hunt them. They need to see a wide range so that they can catch the meat eaters approaching and try to escape.

If you observe carnivores you should notice that their eyes are in the front of their head. They look forward because peripheral vision is not nearly as important for them as it is for the herbivore. They are the hunters instead of the hunted.

The important thing to notice here is where God placed our eyes. We have eyes in the front of our head just like the carnivores. From this anatomical observation it is easily deduced that we are in some ways related to the meat eaters. That isn't to say I don't love broccoli, beans, celery, cabbage, lettuce and all kinds of other vegetables, I do, but God gave we humans eyes designed for hunting other animals.

I conclude from the above anatomical observations that the vegetarian crowd is wrong when they say I should not eat meat. Had God wanted me to be a strict vegetarian I would have eyes on side my head instead of in front of my head (and that would look silly). I do believe that this observation is pretty much a slam dunk argument against both the vegetarian and PETA people, but we do have another thing that we can look at: teeth.

Have you ever noticed a cow's teeth? Their teeth are like our molars (which are for eating veggies) but they do not have some of the teeth we have. We, as do other carnivores, have teeth designed to tear meat. That is what our eye-teeth are for. We have meat-eating teeth in our mouths and it is God who gave them to us.

Had God not wanted me to eat meat I don't think he would have given me teeth that are designed for munching on steaks. So again, the human anatomy tells us that we are built to be carnivores. It is true that we have teeth designed for consuming vegetables, as well as meat. This makes us omnivores. God gave the ability to eat both meat and vegetables.

God gave us the teeth for veggies and meat, and the eyes of a carnivore. We may conclude from all this, looking strictly at nature, completely apart from the definitive statements in Scripture that we are designed to eat both meat and vegetables alike.

I do believe that if God should move our eyes to the sides of our heads and remove the meat tearing teeth from our mouths, then and only then should we take vegetarian arguments seriously. Until that day comes I will enjoy the bounty that God has given to me and told me that I may eat.

Coram Deo,

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