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How do I reconcile veganism/animal rights with my faith?

jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

Note: If deep theological questions may push you towards a crisis of faith, then I wouldn't advise reading this. Please no haters or flame wars or mocking... I am just searching for answers to my own profound strugglings with the issue. I welcome answers from all religions and theological/ideological positions but am primarily seeking answers from those who are very familiar with the Bible(Torah, Haftorah, Brit Chadeshah) - so Christians, Jews, etc. Maybe even refer me to some pastors, scholars, or theologians you know of! Below are two paragraphs of introduction, and then some in depth theological/moral questions. Even if you don't have time to read through both questions, as the second one is rather lengthy, please AT LEAST read and reply to the first question marked CLOTHING, which is only 3 paragraphs long.

I was raised as a Protestant Christian. After watching a number of documentaries and reading a number of books - most notably Earthlings, Food Inc, Fast Food Nation, The Emotional Lives of Farm Animals, The Face on Your Plate, and The Food Revolution - I became a vegan and committed to the animal rights movement. I did so based on the things which I believed I had been taught by my religion: love, compassion, care for the lives of others, morality, a sense of right vs wrong, a conscience, a sense of personal responsibility for the effects of my actions.

And yet, these same traits of conscience, morality, and compassion which supposedly came about due to the Bible, have caused me to question and disagree with many of the things in the Bible. The ultimate paradox! I am now left with a feeling of utter confusion and bewilderment in regards to the conflict between my beliefs and ideology vs. my faith. I have found that the faith which now most closely resembles my beliefs is Jainism; yet, I cannot adopt it as a religion since I don't believe in it's theological theories about the origin of the world, the afterlife, karma, etc, and I cannot wrangle my mind into adopting their views on these matter as logical. So theologically, my beliefs on those issues are still Protestant, yet I cannot wrangle my mind into accepting the Bible's views on diet or animal rights or God's treatment of the animal kingdom throughout the Bible! So I am having a huge crisis of faith, where I believe my religion's theology on the path to redemption, the purpose of man, the afterlife, etc, yet I find many of the aspects of my religion morally repugnant, unethical, and utterly opposite to my ideology, beliefs, and conscience, reason, and logic. Is my own conscience wrong? God supposedly gave us the power of reason, rationality, questioning, and thought - then why would his scriptures not stand up to analysis by these powers of mind which he endowed us with? I have heard from various Christian vegans that the Bible actually supports veganism and animal rights, but I must be missing something because I can't seem to find that. I'm not asking for people to tell me to simply abandon my faith, I'm looking for someone to EXPLAIN to me the things I don't understand. Here are the things which bother me the most...


------ Why, after Adam and Eve fell, and became 'aware' of their nakedness, did God cloth them with the skin of animals? This would make God, rather than fallen man, the very first one in history to kill an animal, the very first one to commit an act of violence against another living being. Cain was not the first one to shed blood or cause the death of another living being, God was.

Why did he not make them clothing out of any of the multitudinous natural plant resources available - cotton, hemp, pineapple fiber, soybean/corn fiber, or the many other plant fiber clothings which have been used by various civilizations over thousands of years? Technically, he would not have had to do any work or processing to make these clothes; if he was capable of creating the universe by the 'word of his mouth' and all sentient beings from the 'dust of the ground', then he should have been perfectly capable of creating fully finished and functional clothing by speaking it into place or merely taking a plant and breathing on it. For that matter, if he was capable of creating the vastly complex human body, it would have been well within his power to create Goretex or any other technologically advanced clothing from scratch. Since science still cannot fully approximate the functions of the human body, even through advanced prosthetics, etc, then it stands to reason that He could have created clothing BETTER than anything humans are able to come up with. Why would he rely on something as utterly crude and primitive as animal skins? He could have created clothing that was its own biological entity, just as humans, animals, and plants are unique entities within the universe - he could have created breathable, waterproof, sunprotective, flexible, bodyhugging, comfortable, light, extremely durable clothing from scratch. He could have made it self healing if he wanted to, like human skin. He could have made it color-adaptable, like a chameleon's skin. He could have done anything, if he is the Creator. Why could he not CREATE clothing, rather than have to rape nature to make it? Further, why was man the only sentient being created whose body did not contain the capability to protect itself from the harsh environment outside the Garden of Eden. All the other sentient beings were created equipped with EVERYTHING they needed to survive. They didn't need clothing or protection, it was built in - tough hides, feathers, scales, fur, plate armor, your name it. It protected them from the cold, the sun, other animals, and whatever environment they lived in, whether water, mud, sawgrass marsh, jungle, etc. Why were humans made to even need clothing at all?

I think of the vegan slogan 'Wear your own skin' and wonder why God even came up with the horrifying idea of flaying a living being for clothing in the first place. It was HIS idea... and yet he is supposed to be perfect, holy, and capable of no evil. So how was this thought, this gory idea, even able to enter his head in the first place? In the original Hebrew of the old Testament (the Torah and Haftorah), no semantic distinction is made between an animal and a human; both are called 'living souls'. If God decided to go so far as to kill one living soul, what's the line that kept him from not just killing Eve, and giving her skin to Adam to wear? What made taking an innocent animal from the Garden of Eden and flaying it okay? How did he kill the animal - just walk into the Garden of Eden and strike it dead? What did he skin it with - his bare hands or the 'word of his mouth'? Or was he the first on to invent a skinning knife - uggh? It DOESN'T make sense to me.


------- The first murder of another human being was precipitated by a conflict over animal sacrifice. Abel, a shepherd, would slaughter all the 'firstlings' - the first newborn lamb crop of his flock - as an offering to God. This offering found respect with God, even though it says nowhere in Genesis that God had specifically asked for animal sacrifice - the account makes it out to be Abel's idea. Cain, who was a gardener/produce farmer, brought the 'fruit of the ground' as an offering to God - by which it is inferred to mean his first vegetable/plant crop. So, both of them were taking the first crop of their own farming endeavors, and offering them to God. Yet it says God had no respect for Cain and his offering. So right here we have the fact that without having explicitly made any commandments on the subject thus far, at least no commandment that is referenced in the Bible, God automatically shows preference for the bloodletting and death of animals as an acceptable offering when presented with the two options. In Jainism, plants are considered one-sensed beings


  • kandacekandace Raw Newbie

    jakkrabbit, I'm sure someone will have answers to you about how they reconcile these questions with Christianity as there are quite a lot of Christians on this board. I'd just also like to say, though, that it appears to me that you already know what you think but are afraid to follow your own conclusions because they do lead you to questioning your faith.


  • superfood2superfood2 Raw Newbie

    Faith has nothing to do with logic, but you can still maintain your faith but make logical conclusion/life decisions.

  • IsisDCIsisDC Raw Newbie

    ...I am so glad I am an Atheist! LOL!!!

  • Jakkrabbit,

    Questioning your faith is very painful indeed. My suggestion, from someone who had a similar experience (but over different issues in the Bible, though I see your points on it) is first to relax with your feeling of having the rug pulled out from underneath you. I know that sounds silly, but don't panic. Just experience whatever you are feeling right now: anger, disappointment, fear, whatever.

    It's okay, really. To question your faith is a good thing. If you only believe what you believed as a child because it's what you where told the faith really isn't yours. Your owning up to what you believe now. That happened to me in my early 30's. Maybe I'm a bit of a slow start? Anyways, it was one of the most painful experiences ever. But, I believe it was also one of the most valuable experiences too. I don't know if you have ever heard the expression "take the hit as a gift." I recently came across it in a book about dealing with emotionally hard times. Supposedly it comes from one of the martial arts traditions? Not sure which now, but the idea is that you should take the "hit" and use it to your advantage. You will learn valuable things from your pain.

    All I can really suggest to you is to keep asking questions. Read books, talk to people, whatever you need to do. Beliefnet.com as lots of interesting stuff about religions and lots of forums where you can "talk" with others who may be going through what you are going through. You will have to find your answers in the end.

    Not to get into deep theology but here are some thoughts to ponder (you have to decide the answers for yourself):

    Are you reading the bible as the unquestionable word of God, or as literature that was written by fallible men (most likely all the authors where men) who were just trying to make sense of their world and understand the great mysteries? Your "take" on the bible will significantly affect what you get out of reading it. Please remember most cultures (Hindus and Jains are exceptions) who are vegetarian. Most cultures long ago did eat meat, and it would be reflected in their literature. Back when the Hebrew scriptures where written, life was generally harsh and often short. Most people's biggest concern would be their offspring's survival over the welfare of another species survival. That's actually very natural, it's no difference than a tiger hunting to feed it's children in a sense. I'm not saying this to promote eating meat (I am a vegetarian by the way), just to give a possible explaination. I don't feel in one sense that I am more special than a tiger on an intellectual sense. But, nature gives me that maternal instinct (just like momma tiger has) that would sooner have me kill an animal with a bare hands IF it was needed to be done to feed MY child. Luckily, I have plenty of other food at the department store so the tigers are safe.

    Anyway- like you I started reading intently the Bible (I was raised conservative Nazarene) and became very upset and disallusioned with what I had always taken for graned. Though I am no longer Christian (I'm a Uniterian Universalist with Buddhist and Pagan leanings), I did come to peace with my Christian upbrings. And, I can value a lot of the Bible for what it means to ME. I see it as a very warts and all recording of Hebrew and Christian's religious journeys. I don't believe it to all be factual. There are some good values and stories, and some that are hard to read or even consider loving and just (imho). People do bad things, and try to justify it by saying God told me to do it (imo). I see it as very flawed (we all are right) people trying to figure things out.

    Anyways, that ended up being MY thoughts on the Bible. You must decide for yourself. There will be many other "takes" on your situation. Read them all and see if you can use any of the advice. I hope you find peace with your beliefs, where ever they lead you. Look at other religions, but don't swear off your current one too quick. You may still find something there worth keeping. Though Christianity has been involved in justifying bad things, it has also been used to encourage people to help people as well (involved in the civil rights movement, Mother Theresa, that type of stuff). So, as someone who ISN'T a Christian I still want to encourage you to not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Ps- I do hope I haven't offended our Christian readers here, that wasn't my intent.

  • eechoeecho Raw Newbie

    Ok, I just skimmed what you said but I think I understand what you're saying. But here's my advice: decide if you believe in God. God either exists or he doesn't. Whatever you believe no effect whatsoever on whether or not God exists. I don't mean that in a mean way, I mean that to say that the truth is already true before we start to think about it. The truth doesn't change, only our perception of it.

    So if you went through the big picture and decide "Ok, I believe in God", next decide if you believe in God's word. Again, whatever your personal beliefs are have no effect on whether or not the Bible is true. It is either from God or it isn't

    Part of the problem is trying to see things through our own eyes. If God exists, think of him like a painter who creates a painting. Let's just say its a painting of a tree. And this tree has purple leaves. We see the painting and say "hey, those leaves shouldn't be purple, they should be green!" But what are we comparing it to? Our own perception of things. If the painting is God's and not ours, then whatever he paints it as is the way it should be! Trying to think otherwise will only lead us to a lot of negativity.

    I am a Christian. More precisely, I believe in what Jesus taught which is written in the Bible. You should get more advice, but I urge you to try to filter your thoughts through scripture and not the other way around. I also think if you learn more about the history of the stories in the Old Testament and their contexts, it will give you a better understanding of what is going on. Remember, God created the animals, he probably loves them more than you do.

  • There's a bottom line to all this that I reached long ago and haven't strayed from since. I won't spoil it for you, but I will say that it's immensely liberating.

  • KittyKitty Raw Newbie

    I can agree completely with Eecho. Our perception compared to Gods is not even a comparison.

    Obviously you believe in a God. There is a scripture in the Bible, I can certainly look it up when I get home and give you the exact scripture...it explains how much God cares for even a sparrow that falls to the ground..not a single fallen sparrow goes unnoticed. Look at what God has done for creation and animals in general. It was his original purpose for all animals (and humans) to have sufficient food, water and vegetation and each and every animal was to be cared. He provided everything animals needed to live and enjoy life. God gave humans the option to begin eating meat after the flood of Noah. I doubt he had in mind destructable humans would create the factory farms and cruelty and be ruining the earth in the way we now see today. But God was and is not FORCING anyone to be a carnivore. If you do a bit more digging you will find scriptures ( I have read them personally and it helped me alot) around the books of Genesis and Exodus that clearly state cruelty to animals is unacceptable to God.

    Eecho summed it up best - God created millions of species of animals - mammals, birds, fish, insects...there are even hundreds of thousands different kinds of fish! He most definetly cares for the animals more than we humans.

  • If your open minded you will find in Jack Smiths work found at "Creditors In Commerce" in the audio section, that the Biblical texts were the Guide lines for commerce & banking for the world we live in or on. The bible information becomes clear when you look at it as how to conduct yourself in commerce. If you believe in anything that goes on in the PUBLIC as a truth your just fooling yourself. "The answers are in the PRIVATE!"

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    Raw Life - where do I find Creditors in Commerce? Are you saying it's on this website or a different one? BTW, I LOVE your profile pic... Is there a website that has more shirts like that? Please give me the URL!

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    Kitty - I know the verse about the sparrow. Which is why I don't understand why God would require animal sacrifice. Or why in a book overflowing with rules about our conduct towards each other, there's only about two I know of referencing our conduct towards animals - (I'm paraphrasing from memory here) that you shouldn't muzzle the ox who tramples the corn, and that the righteous man shows kindness to his animals.

    See, what I DO understand is the Garden of Eden. That makes sense. That fits with what the nature of God is said to be according to the Bible. I do NOT understand God being the one to initiate the death and explotation of animals - via the skins for Adam and Eve - or the mass murder of animals via his requirement of blood sacrifice, beginning as early as Cain and Abel. If cruelty to animals is unnacceptable to God, then why did he *require* animal sacrifice? What about binding the lambs with cords to the horns of the altar - isn't that in itseld causing unnecessary trauma and distress before the killing? And he laid out specific instructions for exactly how to build the altar and the tools like fleshhooks. Not only that, in his instructions to Moses on building the temple, which was a large tents in the wilderness, he specifically required the covering to be made from badger skins. The people of Israel had no other use for the badgers; they did not eat them as they were unclean, so killing these badgers benefited them in no way and they would have been hunted and slaughtered simply for their skin alone.

    I understand that God *allowed* people to eat meat as a necessity of survival in a fallen world, just as the other animals began eating each other. I do not believe it is wrong to eat meat in a survival/subsistence society where other forms of maintaining life are not possible, because the hunting of animals is a natural part of life, as they the animals also hunt, kill, and eat each other. Hunting for survival is natural. I don't need to hunt to survive because I live in a society where all the resources to live on a plant-based diet are available to me. But I do not condemn poor societies or societies living in inhospitable areas for their use of meat for survival just as the animals eat each other for survival.

    I don't see anywhere in the Bible that he *generally* forced anyone to be a carnivore, but during the first Passover in Eygpt, he REQUIRED them to kill and eat a lamb and paint its blood on their doorposts and mantle, and in the wilderness, he caused quail to fall dead from the sky. If he was capable of making manna - a food which had never before existed - and causing water to spring from a rock, then he was capable of creating a food to fall from the sky which provided all the protein and fat needed without striking multitudes of birds dead. Aside from this, there are numerous times in the Bible where animals were killed by God as punishment for other people's sins (the flood and Eygpt, for example) as well as when the Israelites were actually ORDERED by God to kill not only every man, woman, and CHILD, but every animal owned by another nation whom they were fighting as well. Back to the flood - if God wanted to rid the earth of man and start over, he didn't need a flood to do it. He could have stricken all the people dead, instead of annihilating every living animal and organism on the face of the planet. Again with Eygpt, there were other ways for an all-powerful deity to destroy Eygpt's economy besides striking multitudes of innocent animals dead.

    Back to the sparrow... I don't know the original literal Hebrew of this particular verse, so all I have to go on are the translations. Most versions of the Bible translate it as - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." or "Yet not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father's permission." If this translation is correct, it is disturbing. It does not imply God's care for the sparrow, but rather that it dies by his will/permission, which if one is to take this verse in the contect of God's view towards all animals, it would mean that animals only die by the will of the Father or with his permission, meaning that every animal slaughtered, every lab animal, every circus animal, every abused and tortured animal on the face of the planet dies because it is his will and he has given permission for them to die in that moment in that particular manner. The second way the verse is translated is "But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it." This again doesn't so much imply any care or compassion on the part of the Father, but rather his omniscience and omnipresence. He has knowledge of the sparrows death. I also have knowledge of the deaths in Haiti. These statements alone do not give any explanation as to the emotion underlying this knowledge. I sincerely hope that these translations are actually mistranslated and that the original Hebrew gives a much different, deeper, and far more compassionate meaning. But as of now, the verse about the sparrow is not very comforting to me, but especially with the first translation, is actually distressing.

    I want to understand God, as much as a mortal can. I want to understand the Bible. I am not trying to be blasphemous, or argumentative. I just find that the more I dig into the Bible, the less answers and more seriously troubling questions I find. I want to know what I'm missing, what I'm overlooking, what explanations there are which perhaps I am not aware of, in a cultural, historical, and theological sense. I appreciate the time that people take to help me hash through this.

  • I admit that I did not read the entirety of your posts closely... but I just want to suggest that you might be reading the Bible too literally. For example, the sacrifice of the lamb: the usual Christian interpretation of this is that is a prefiguring / foreshadowing of Christ's sacrifice. In other words, the sacrifice of the lamb signifies something beyond the action itself. Also, if the life of the lamb (or other animals) had no value, would it really be any kind of "sacrifice" to kill it?

    Regarding Genesis and the animal-skins for clothing question: you have to remember that the harmonious natural order that God created was BROKEN when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. Now they will have to WORK to get their food from the earth (agriculture), they no longer live peacefully with the animals, live in innocent nakedness. Now they are ashamed of their nakedness and have to be clothed. Again, this has significance beyond the obvious stated facts. It represents a relationship between humans and the rest of nature. God shows mercy by providing something to cover their nakedness; unfortunately this is animal skin, no God is not going to break the order of the newly created world to make some kind of weather-resistant fabric or even weave something from plant fibers; we humans have to figure out of that technology for ourselves, through our labor - that is our fate due to our own disobedience and break from God.

    OK, those are just my own rambling thoughts. None of that is to say that I don't think we should live the best way we can today, which I believe is a vegan lifestyle. My point is that the Bible has been around for a long time and has been studied and thought about by a lot of really smart people. Try reading some other interpretations of it before you renounce your religion or any of your beliefs (including veganism). It's not something that can be understood just like *that*, I personally think it is much deeper and more complex than that.

  • KittyKitty Raw Newbie

    jakkrabbit, can I get your email?

  • Jakkrabbit, I understand you. I am an Orthodox Jew and our whole lives are centered on eating meat. While I did not become vegan so much for animal rights reasons but rather more for health reasons, I can understand the biblical perspective and social pressure about eating meat. I have people asking me if I've asked a Rabbi if it was ok not to eat meat on Shabbat (Sabbath). The fact is is that I love it too. But I dont eat it because it's pumped full of antibiotics and hormones and isnt kosher for anyone as far as I'm concerned. Now Please I dont want to get into a whole discussion about humane treatment of animals in kosher slaughter or any comments that may be against Judaism and it's beliefs. I just choose not to eat it at this time and am taking it a day at a time. It's like any other addiction, it takes time. I have also been told that when the time comes for the Messiah to return we will go back to the time of Gan Eden (Garden of Eden) When they didnt eat meat. I'm not sure though. But it seems to me that the fact that we are allowed to eat meat at all is a punishment, much trouble came from it as well. But then we will have the pascal lamb and sacrifices to the 3rd Temple. I myself would eat from that if it was commanded to do so.

  • Your questions are so interesting to me as I am also a Christian and also love animals. The parts of the Bible which stick out to me recently are those ones that tell what the Garden of Eden was like (all animals and humans ate plants only) and what the millenial reign of Christ will be like (same thing... and "the lion will lay down with the lamb").

    I believe that God's intention for this world was not for animals to eat each other or for humans to eat animals. I believe that his plan was for us to live together in harmony. When I think about one day being able to pet a lion and snuggle with it... or a tiger... it amazes me.

    Although I don't like the fact that animals are killed for their meat and I absolutely hate seeing a lion kill a zebra on the Discovery Channel, I do understand why things are as they are. At least I understand what the Bible teaches about it all...

    Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. They disobeyed God. The penalty of their sin was death. Since God was merciful enough to allow them to live out their natural lives and that they not die immediately, He instituted animal sacrifice. I think that we have to understand that "someone" or "something" has to die for us to live. In the Old Testament, the sins of the believers were ATONED for by animal sacrifices- a continual reminder of God's justice and His mercy as well. ATONEMENT was something that needed repeated again and again... pointing forward to the perfect sacrifice for the sins of humankind- JESUS/God Himself. When Jesus died on the cross for our sin, He REDEEMED us once and for all. It never needs to be repeated. He died to pay the price for our sins. We will face physical death, but not spiritual death for eternity if we accept Jesus' sacrifice for us.

    So, if you are a Jewish Christian, there is no need to continue to offer animal sacrifices, because you realize that Jesus sacrificed Himself- the ultimate sacrifice.

    But in addition to all that, the world itself is in a fallen state. It is a sinful world! The Bible says that creation groans, but that it will "be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." Romans 8:21

    "But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness." 2 Peter 3:13

    That's what I look forward to.

  • jakkrabbit, i applaud you for asking the difficult questions. i too was raised christian and came to my own time of questioning/ searching last year. it was incredibly scary and painful to question the beliefs i had held so dear. i definitely echo sisterbecky's advice -- stay with these feelings, accept them, let them lead you where you need to go. continue thinking, reading, asking questions, talking to people of different beliefs. read some books on the history/ evolution of the scriptures -- bart ehrman and elaine pagels are some good authors to check out.

    having been raised in the christian faith, we've had the doctrine impressed on us (from a very impressionable age) that the bible is the infallible Word of God. it can be incredibly difficult to challenge such a deeply-rooted belief -- but if you can, stay open to other possibilities. try to explore the idea that the bible is a historical document written by fallible men, that the makeup of this canon was shaped by countless social/ political influences over the years. much of it represents a great tradition of oral history/ storytelling by a people keeping their history alive, and may not necessarily be intended to be taken strictly literally.

    i think you're asking great questions, and i don't have many good answers for you, i just want to encourage you in the path you're on. as scary as it feels, there's truly nothing to fear in questioning/ challenging your beliefs. "the truth will set you free." i know this sounds cheezy, but it helps when i visualize God/ truth holding onto me, never letting me go, guiding me on the journey toward understanding it as best as i can in this lifetime. asking honest questions, being a thoughtful/ thinking person, and honoring the valuable aspects of Christianity while staying open to other ideas, is the best thing i can do right now. working out what i believe may be a lifelong journey for me (perhaps for you as well) but it's well worth it. good luck, friend.

  • You can find Creditors in Commerce at "http://www.creditorsincommerce.com/resources.php" in the resources section you can find some of "Jack Smiths" work about how the Bible reflects commerce. You can also go to the "AUDIO" (mp3) section where Jack Smith was a guest speaker. His seminars if you can find them through the PRIVATE network are some of the best material for a breakdown of the Bible. You could have some trouble understanding what he is describing if you are new to commercial commerce and its rules.

    You can also find some of his "Jack Smith Quotes" in pdf form in a GOOGLE search.

    Not sure where we found the pic from, try doing a search for organic shirts with vegan in the tool bar.

    If you are still having problems finding Jack Smiths work then send an email address to me so gift you what I have if I still have it. =)

  • Ditto Isis - what is logical (being vegan / raw/ not chaining new born cows to a cement wall) doesn't always jive with religion...just stick with what seems right and makes sense...that is why I'm one of the many vegan athiests

  • I was raised in a fundamentalist religon. Growing up, I found a lot of what was taught nonsensical at best...offensive at worst.

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    Leafygreen - do you mind talking to me a bit? I was raised fundamentalist, but in a kind of fringe/splinter group which is what would be termed a cult. I'm trying to find my way now as an adult, and I have completely given up fundamentalism but I'm still pretty new at basing my beliefs on what seems right and makes sense rather than the hell-and-brimstone edicts of my parent's group. I've been incorporating practical aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and the teachings of Ghandi into my belief system since they make sense to me and align with my conscience. I don't believe in the mystical/spiritual expoundings of any of the above, but in regards to life conduct and outlook, thoughts and attitudes, and peace and harmony, the teachings of those religions+Ghandi has actually been helping my life a lot.

    I don't feel I can give up Protestant theology in my beliefs on the afterlife, etc, but I've been hearing a lot from people on this board and others about not interpreting the Bible as a literal document. I'm open to learning more about this, but a bit nervous since where I come anyone who didn't believe the Bible in it's entirety as direct words from the mouth of God was a hell-bound heretic. But I'd be open to at least looking at evidence pointing to portions of the Bible as allegorical rather than factual, or as interpreted through the filter of culture and era, rather than ghost-written by God.

    Thanks for everyone's understanding and tolerance for my struggle to find my way and grapple with the meaning of the universe. It's hard to come out of a cult that you're born into and have to discover the world all over again and rethink every thought, re-examine every belief.

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    sisterbecky - Thank you so much, your reply was so kind, thoughtful, wise, caring, and understanding. I've just signed up at belief.net, so I'll see what I find there; thanks for the link. When I came to the signup portion that asked what religion I am, I was at a loss! As I said in a reply to another commenter, I've been incorporating aspects of Jainism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and the teachings of Ghandi into my life, because they make sense to me and align with my conscience. Theologically though I still currently remain a Protestant. But then I saw this one little box I could check that said 'Progressive Christian' and so I Googled it, and lo and behold, it appears that at this moment in my life, that's what I am. It is said that Christianity is "characterized by willingness to question tradition, acceptance of human diversity with a strong emphasis on social justice or care for the poor and the oppressed (see Minority groups) and environmental stewardship of the Earth." Progressive Christians show deep respect for other faiths, and focus on human issues and environmentalism. I think this would encapsulate me quite well [and remember, if you're not vegan, you're not an environmentalist! :) ], even though I am still profoundly questioning God, the Bible, and the whole basis of my theology.

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    P.S. - the above comment was directed specifically to Kitty.

  • jakkrabbitjakkrabbit Raw Newbie

    Do you want to discuss theology/veganism through email?

    I have to admit I'm slightly leery because, while I appreciated your response, it didn't really address the complex questions I posted about, other than giving me the typical answer that God knows better than me and since he made the animals obviously he must care about them. Your biggest point was that God isn't forcing anyone to be a carnivore, yet this wasn't the issue raised in my post; my questions were specifically about forced animal sacrifice as well as the Biblical origin of animal exploitation. I'm not looking to be Bible-thumped, I'm just looking for honest answers to some very troubling questions. I appreciate your sentiments, but, if you'd like to talk I'd like to keep it to the comment section here for a little while longer, just so I can get a sense of where you're going and whether I feel comfortable giving you my email or not. First I'd like to see what your response to what I said about the sparrow verse, etc, is, and then maybe we can go from there?

  • jackrabbit-I would call the group I was raised in a cult too.It's very coincidental that recently I've been reading a lot of books on buddhism and taoism from the library and have a Ghandi book on my "wish list."

  • KoaselinoKoaselino Raw Newbie

    Read- THE POWER OF NOW, by: Eckhart Tolle or listen to this book on tape if you aren't a big reader. I think it will give you comfort with your faith and give you ideas about GOD that maybe you haven't considered. I questioned all organized religions and did A LOT of research through the years. It was a long process, but one that I learned so much from. When this book crossed my path, it changed my life. What he explains resonated deep into my core and made such perfect sense. He's not favoring any one religion nor talking about a different religion. It may sound cheesy..but he's sharing truth. He's am amazing spiritual teacher.

    Check it out!

    Even conscious eating is something he talks about!

  • I recommend Eckhart Tolle too. The Power of Now is incredible. I like listening to his books because he leaves gaps and speaks very slowly which helps utilize what he is discussing while listening.

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