064 Christianity, Veganism and Easter
With Easter just behind us, many vegans have to navigate this carnist holiday with Christian family members who may use their religious beliefs to excuse eating animals. The princesses talk about ways to approach these conversations, particularly if you are Christian yourself.
A special thanks to listeners Danielle and Becky who contributed invaluable perspective and information to this conversation!
In This Episode
Even though Nichole and Callie are both atheists, they know not all of our listeners are so they wanted to have an episode to give some tips and advice for dealing with conversations about veganism and Christianity. For those of us that are atheist or agnostic, this information can still be helpful in your conversations with friends or family that are believers!
Easter is a surprisingly speciesist holiday – between consuming actual animals (roasts, hams, eggs, dairy-filled candies), there’s a lot of carnist imagery around Easter: cute bunnies and chicks are used to represent new life, but are also the shapes of candies consumed by children. Eggs are colored, hidden, and treated like disposable objects. Many people get bunnies or chicks as pets for children, to then be soon neglected once the kids lose interest and the animals grow out of their baby-cuteness. For a holiday built on the celebration of life, many vegans may look around and see only death.
Christians want to live like Christ; loving, compassionate and kind. Kindness to animals is a great show of compassion – giving a voice to those who can speak for themselves (in a language that we can understand) – so therefore perhaps the most Christ-like thing a human being can do.
The other side of this, is the question: Do you think God would punish you for NOT eating animals? Many Christians say that God put animals here for us to consume, but (we hope!) few would actually believe that God demands animal consumption. There is certainly no scripture that says that man must eat animals.
The bible details a vegan diet in the Garden of Eden, which would lead us to assume that that is the ideal way to eat. A Jewish-vegan perspective expands on this: that a vegan diet is the diet that we were supposed to eat; that animal consumption was part of our “fall” from grace, and that we should aim to eat like we did before the fall.
Since Nichole and Callie are atheist, they didn’t feel comfortable digging too much into scripture; fortunately listeners Becky and Danielle were able to do so for us, adding many interesting insights to the conversation, particularly around “dominion” and it’s heavily debated true meaning.
For many, religion represents hope. It gives them a sense of control and stability in a wild, unpredictable, and sometimes scary world. Veganism can also be a source of hope. Veganism allows you to make a difference three or more times a day. It allows you to live by your ethics and be constantly aware of your values and in a perpetual state of re-committal, much like faith. If more Christians could see the parallels between veganism and faith, they might be able to find some of the same joy and comfort in it.
Links and Information
- Florida’s Largest Beef-Packing Facility to Shut Doors (VegNews)
- Barcelona: “A Friend of Vegan and Vegetarian Culture” (VegNews)
- Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries (NY Times)
Christian Vegan Resources
- Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA): provides great resources for having these conversations, including analysis of specific passages, easy-to-read brochures, bible study dieas, and more!
- Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy by Matthew Scully: Scully uses science, logic and his faith to counter typical arguments to veganism from a Christian perspective.