Vegetarians, please don’t get excited; I am not in your tribe. You have not found an advocate for your
herbivorous cause in me. I am a card-carrying carnivore and love meat in all forms and flavors. But I am also not of the opinion that abstinence from meat is anything to be ashamed of. I am not a hater.
I respect and even admire your lifestyle choice. But it’s tricky. Your decision could be a hinderance to your spiritual life if you let it.
4 Awful Reasons to be a Vegetarian:
1. Adam and Eve ate no meat.
It is true that our first parents were also the first vegans. But then again they were also the first nudists. How far are you going to take this?
The reason A&E ate no meat is because before the Fall there was no Curse and thus there was no death. It’s exceedingly challenging to get a live cow to stand still long enough for you to carefully carve a portion off its rump.
But humans eating animals is not sinful, as long as you cook ‘em well! We know this because God explicitly permitted it in a zillion texts, one of which is Deut 12:15-16.
You may slaughter and eat meat within any of your towns, as much as you desire, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you. The unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and as of the deer. Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it out on the earth like water.
Also, Jesus was no fruitarian. He ate the passover meal for sure (Luke 22:8), and fish for breakfast (John 21:13), and God told Peter to rise, kill, and eat a host of nasty animals (Acts 10:13).
If you want to brush up on why the OT is no longer binding on NT believers, but still applicable, check out Bodily Fluids & Skin Diseases: Is Deuteronomy Relevant to Me?
2. Eating meat is un-spiritual or ungodly.
No. If you say that, you are the ungodly one. I’m not just using the “I’m the rubber you’re the glue” argument; 1 Tim 4:1-5 says that anyone who forbids the enjoyment of God’s tasty gifts is sinfully teaching “doctrines of demons.” Yikes. Put that in your Vegan pipe and smoke it.
I always knew dieting was demonic, now I know why! Why is abstinence evil if it’s for the purpose of making you more holy?
Because those who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim 4:3-5)
3. Killing Animals is Wrong.
Technically this objection would allow a meat-eater to get his fix from animals what died of natural causes, say a tumorous cow, or a geriatric sheep. Maybe even accidental roadkill. But what is more commonly implied is that animals need to be treated the same way humans are.
In this type of costermonger propaganda you may hear this objection phrased in this evocative manner: killing animals is evil. But Genesis 9:5-6 puts this in biblical perspective. People are different from animals because we are made in God’s image. If an ox gorges a man, the ox must be terminated (Exodus 21:28). But if a man kills an ox, he need only pay a fine for the goods he has bereft his neighbor of (Exodus 21:33-34).
4. Eating meat is bad for your health.
No, eating meat is bad for some people, and usually good for most people if prepared well, eaten in the correct portions, and part of a balanced diet (i.e. don’t pick the gherkins and lettuce off your Big Mac).
Anything and everything is bad for you in too high a dose. Overindulgence of anything is sin. Yes, lots of meat today is basically meat-flavored slabs of steroids. But then don’t call yourself a vegetarian, rather say you only eat healthy meat, free range chickens, or something that won’t take its revenge on your digestive system. That’s not fanatic, that’s just common sense.
(Footnote: If it is bad for you personally, then that’s a great reason to abstain. But don’t advocate that others run their bodies like you run yours.)
1 Acceptable Reason to be a Vegetarian:
If you prefer to eat stuff that was at no time something’s mommy, that’s fine. If you think that boycotting tuna will save the dolphins, great. If the thought of a slaughterhouse makes your stomach turn, join the club. You can either choose to soldier through it all for the sake of a bacon burger, or if that payoff isn’t worth it to you, just opt to just eat plants and fungus.
But remember this…
Do not look down on people who have less discerning tastes. As soon as you treat it like a reason you are superior to others, you have crossed a spiritual line.
If abstaining from meat would cause offense to someone (as short-term missionaries often discover) then you need to give up your preference for the sake of the gospel, just as you would do with any other foodstuff (Rom 14:20).
So, if your host spent 2 hours roasting a bunny in honor of your visit– as happened to me in Argentina– just get off your high horse, and eat it (the bunny, not the horse).
I don’t mean to rub it in, but I’m off to have some bacon & eggs for breakfast, though I hear macon is just as good (…not). As my hunter friend says, ‘Hey, if God didn’t want us to eat animals, why did He make them out of meat?!’