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Vegetarian Christians

re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Melodee » 03 Oct 2005, 19:56

From Athas:
Another question that just came to my mind concerning that: there is such a lot of unhealthy food out there (take-away food, chocolate etc.) - if we are supposed to take care of ourselves, shouldn't we stay away from all that stuff then? And wouldn't it be better to be a vegetarian then?


I think that in the New Testament we have some pretty good direction about not making food choice a test of faith -- consider Peter ;) Just as I don't judge people's Christianity on what car they drive or whether they drink or not, I think this has to be left to individual consciences.
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Re: re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Summer » 03 Oct 2005, 22:51

hana wrote:p.s. no offense, summer, if you like tofu hotdogs ;)


I don't like them at all! Also, run away if anyone mentions tofu turkey. Eww!

There are Chinese restaurants that use tofu and gluten to make very delicious food that looks and tastes exactly like meat! It's amazing.
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re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby hana » 04 Oct 2005, 00:26

Stanley
vegetofu? tofumite?
if the children's sandwich had involved tofu, i daresay the response would not have been so negative.
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re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Authur » 06 Oct 2005, 00:47

just read this thread, someone mentioned tofu turky. Reminds me of a gilmore girls episode, the korean family had made tofurky, tofu turky for their tanksgiving meal ;). just seemed related
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re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Alan » 06 Oct 2005, 11:28

One of the things that really fills me with awe and wonder is that Jesus died for everyone - without any sub-clauses or codiciles or exclusion statements in the deal.

Many of us turn from certain paths of behaviour when we take Christ into our herat but those are personal issues generated by the love of God over which we have almost no control. But when Jesus died for my sins He did not mention anything about me eating meat. If it didn't bother Him then I couldn't care less what other people think of my dietry habbits.

Sometimes I fear that some of us ( I do firmly include myself ) are trying to make a model of Christianity that is too restrictive. What foolish things we are. Fortunately God is smarter.
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby ainulindale » 03 May 2009, 04:18

pedestrian73 wrote:My question is: Is it wrong for a Christian to be vegetarian since God has given us meat to eat or is it okay? The best scripture I can think of that I believe that we have that choice is Romans 14.

Any opinions or ideas? Thanks. :)


I don't feel it's wrong for a Christian to be vegetarian...but recently i was reading about the animal sacrifice in the old testament being a foreshadowing of the blood of Christ. So in that sense, I guess communion is a necessary dose of flesh and blood, and it is downright wrong not to take the meat of Christ :)

But concerning eating animals, i think there's a significant difference between a. intensive meat production as an industry and b. fishing, hunting, and small farms. Is the difference significant to God?
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Bluegoat » 03 May 2009, 11:44

I think that as the op and the pp mentioned, there can be downfalls to Christian vegetarianism, such as becoming a kind of glutton or being a bad guest when eating with other people. I don't buy the argument that Christians are morally obliged to be vegetarians because Adam and Eve were or anything like that.

I also don't think that a diet including sensible and sustainable amounts of meat, properly sourced, is less healthy than a vegetarian diet.

However, many people have a hard time fining meat that is ethically raised, by Christian standards. As well, most Westerners eat way more meat than is sustainable environmentally or just in a way that everyone can get what they need. So I think Christians should seek out ethically and sustainably produced meat and other animal products, and not eat too much of it. - No battery hen eggs thank-you!

As well, vegetarianism can be a very good spiritual discipline.

For the record, I like tofu, but not those fake hot-dogs.
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby friendofbill » 03 May 2009, 15:53

I'm no vegetarian, though for health reasons I limit my meat intake somewhat, avoiding red meat and preferring fish. Jesus ate fish, so I presume it's okay for me to eat fish too.

Besides, vegetarian diets depend a lot on soy, and soy has its drawbacks, particularly for men -- it alters the hormone balances in the body in favor of estrogen. And other good sources of protein are hard to find.

I see no indication of vegetarianism in the bible: I am sure there were no tofu lambs for Passover or tofu fish swimming inthe Sea of Galilee. Seems to me the decision on one's diet is not a spiritual decision but a simple matter of health choices.

Speaking as a carnivore,
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby JRosemary » 03 May 2009, 17:26

friendofbill wrote:I see no indication of vegetarianism in the bible: I am sure there were no tofu lambs for Passover or tofu fish swimming inthe Sea of Galilee. Seems to me the decision on one's diet is not a spiritual decision but a simple matter of health choices.


The Torah is quite explicit about vegetarianism--as someone else mentioned, God did not permit the general eating of meat until after the flood, although He did allow (or at least accept) animal sacrifice before that time. He gave permission as part of a general covenant with humanity (before His covenant with Abraham) in the parsha Noach, at Genesis 9:1-4:

God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, "Be fertile and increase, and fill the earth. The fear and the dread of you shall be upon all the beasts of the earth and upon all the birds of the sky--everything with which the earth is astir--and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hand. Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat; as with the green grasses. I give you all these. You must not, however, eat flesh with it's life blood in it.

Blood, in the Hebrew Bible, is associated with the life-force of living creatures. Because it is forbidden here, and again later, Jews who keep kosher kasher meat before eating it, using salt and other methods to drain the meat of any blood.

The Covenant at Sinai between God and the people Israel is largely concerned with food. The basic rules are found in the Torah and expounded upon in the Oral Law (contained in the Talmud.) Pork and shellfish are outright forbidden to Jews, as are various sections of meat. Blood, again, must be drained. And, of course, you can't mix meat and dairy. Moreover, there are certain ethical standards of treatment for the animals that must be met. (Therefore free-roaming, 'organic' farms and such are popular for kosher meat.) Hiring practices and working conditions should also be just--if there turns out to be a problem in these areas in a kosher plant (as there did last year), rabbis start calling for boycotts.

For many Jews, keeping kosher is a powerful way of reminding ourselves, day in and day out, of God's presence in the world. And, to me, becoming a vegetarian seemed a natural outgrowth of keeping kosher. In fact, some Jews consider vegetarianism--or, if you're really hard-core, veganism--to be the 'truest' form of keeping kosher. (And, in general, we tend to annoy everyone else. :tongue: )

The only post-Noah mention of vegetarianism in the Hebrew Bible (or, at least, the only one I can think of off-hand) is Daniel--although this seems to be Daniel's way of avoiding non-kosher meat, rather than an explicit call to vegetarianism. (Like many Conservative Jews, Daniel was ok with eating at non-kosher restaurants and banquets as long as he ordered a vegetarian selection. :cool: ) At any event, see Daniel 1: 8-18.

Arthur wrote:just read this thread, someone mentioned tofu turky. Reminds me of a gilmore girls episode, the korean family had made tofurky, tofu turky for their tanksgiving meal ;). just seemed related


I've had tofu turkey for Thanksgiving! It's really good--although I'm now at the point where I no longer demand that my tofu immitate animal flesh. :toothy-grin:
Last edited by JRosemary on 10 May 2009, 01:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Michael » 08 May 2009, 14:52

I would take it one step further an be vegan if I could. Only for health reasons. I eat meat occasionally because It's hard for me to get the protein I need without overdoing soy. In my opinion some people overdo soy (much of which is genetically modified).
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Bluegoat » 10 May 2009, 10:34

Michael wrote:I would take it one step further an be vegan if I could. Only for health reasons. I eat meat occasionally because It's hard for me to get the protein I need without overdoing soy. In my opinion some people overdo soy (much of which is genetically modified).


Yes, soy is a difficulty, too much is not good for you. Most cultures with a history of vegetarianism don't eat nearly so much soy as modern Western vegetarians. But I think that generally people overestimate their protein requirements, or underestimate the amount they get from non-meat sources.
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby ainulindale » 25 May 2009, 20:59

Bluegoat wrote:
Michael wrote:I would take it one step further an be vegan if I could. Only for health reasons. I eat meat occasionally because It's hard for me to get the protein I need without overdoing soy. In my opinion some people overdo soy (much of which is genetically modified).


Yes, soy is a difficulty, too much is not good for you. Most cultures with a history of vegetarianism don't eat nearly so much soy as modern Western vegetarians. But I think that generally people overestimate their protein requirements, or underestimate the amount they get from non-meat sources.


I recently read about the "thrive diet" which is vegan and seems to not include any soy. Anyone tried this? I've made a few of the recipes (delicious!) but haven't gone beyond that.

JRosemary wrote: I give you all these. You must not, however, eat flesh with it's life blood in it.

Blood, in the Hebrew Bible, is associated with the life-force of living creatures. Because it is forbidden here, and again later, Jews who keep kosher kasher meat before eating it, using salt and other methods to drain the meat of any blood.

:


I'm interested in the part about the consumption of blood being forbidden as it relates to Christianity. From what I've read, I have a fuzzy idea about all this and would appreciate someone making it clear. So, is Christ in a sense like the passover lamb, whose blood is used as protection, and is he also like a perfect offering, whose blood is used to cleanse us?
And then in the last supper, when he says "this is my blood...," on the surface (where i too often dwell) that seems to sort of fly in the face of that rule about drinking blood, so i just need help understanding this...
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby JRosemary » 26 May 2009, 01:07

ainulindale wrote:And then in the last supper, when he says "this is my blood...," on the surface (where i too often dwell) that seems to sort of fly in the face of that rule about drinking blood, so i just need help understanding this...


I think you bring up a good point. The prohibition against ingesting blood in Judaism is ancient, well-grounded and extremely powerful. That being the case, it's hard to imagine a nice Jewish boy ordering his disciples to drink his blood--even if he meant it symbolically rather than literally. And even if Jesus was capable of such a radical departure from Judaism, how could his nice Jewish disciples have been anything other than horrified at the thought of it?

I'm not denying that Communion is a powerful, life-giving experience for Christians and I don't mean to criticize it in the least. What would be problematic in one religion needn't be in another. But it is astonishing to think of its origins in a Jewish setting.

It's an intriguing problem for scholars... :??:
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Re: Vegetarian Christians

Postby Amy » 01 Jun 2009, 18:23

I don't have much to add, seems like it's mostly been said already.

There is nothing wrong with either eating or not eating meat. You can be a vegetarian or even vegan without consuming mass quantities of soy. Food should not become a god.

The big issue I see is not whether a person makes an individual choice about food for him/herself or his/her family (I am responsible for my kids' eating habits, for example). The problem I see is when it becomes:
1. Joyless (no pleasure in preparing and eating the food)
2. All-consuming (you are so busy concentrating particularly on what you can't or believe you can't/shouldn't eat that you do little else with your time)
3. A way to pass judgment on others

I have known several people who fall into the last trap, referring to vegetarians as "better" than meat-eaters. It's annoying, but I believe those people will eventually gravitate towards others who share that view or will drive friends away and realize their error. But sadder still are people who do the first two things. What a terrible way to live. It's almost like food becomes not only an obsession but a fear. This can happen whether one's dietary choices are vegetarian, low-carb, gluten-free, or any number of other things. (I realize that some things are a matter of allergies/sensitivities/intolerance, rather than choice. However, I met one woman who claimed that eliminating a particular food did far more than it possibly could have, along with a judgment that people who eat said food are "addicted" to it.)
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