Should Christians Be Vegan?
Are you the type of person who hears the word “vegan” and turns away with a scoff while rolling your eyes? I humbly admit that I used to respond the same way before I began learning more about the vegan lifestyle.
Like so many others, I thought that vegans were a bunch of hippies or yoga freaks with no sense of reality. Christianity and eating goes together like peanut butter and jelly (pun intended)! But the question we should ask ourselves is what “should” we be eating? The majority of non-vegan Christians I know use a common phrase, “Well, God gave us animals to eat!” However, after toying with the idea of switching to a vegan lifestyle and doing enormous amounts of research, I started to question the fact if God really does want and agree with His children eating animals, especially knowing what kind of affects it has on our health.
As I began to dive deeper into the topic of food, biblically speaking, I found that scripture and common sense go hand in hand. I discovered that there are several points that tie veganism directly to God’s Word.
Did you know that humans were not originally created to eat meat? A fully plant-based diet was the original fuel that God gave for our bodies to fully function on. Genesis 1:29-30 states, “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’”
God gave us dominion over all the earth (Genesis 1:28). But He also expects us to behave responsibly and to be accountable for the way we treat His creation. Cruelty to animals is inconsistent with a Christian world view. Proverbs 12:10 says, "A righteous man regards the life of his animal." To this extent, animal advocacy groups have a perfectly valid point.
But we must also consider that it was not until after the Flood that people began eating meat, Genesis 9:3. That’s roughly 1,600 years after the Fall! There are different theories as to why God changed the rules of eating. One is,The world’s flora was also of inferior quality to that which existed before the Flood. The world would now have seasons, with long unproductive winters. Man was also destined to spread out further – to colder areas of the globe. As a result, he would require meat to survive. But clearly, humans were and are able to perform work and live life while being sustained on a meatless diet before the flood and today now as well.
If God created the human body in the beginning to be fueled by a plant-based diet, we would expect plants to contain high levels of nutrients and low levels of toxic elements. And this is exactly what we see. The vegan diet strongly supports in a scientfic sense, a superior diet for health and wellness. And this is what we see when reading the biblical narrative of the original human diet. Vegans are simply choosing to only eat the good/healthy foods. There’s nothing unbiblical about that is there?
We also find that food affects our mood, mindset, ability to concentrate and much more. When we are feeling down and out or we are in a mental rut, then make poor dietary choices it brings us even more down and out. But if we choose to eat good, healthy food, we tend to be more upbeat and happier in our approach to life. God made us as holistic beings, mind, body, and spirit. They work together, each flows into the other. So when we treat our bodies right, our mind and spirit also benefit.
Aside from the practical reasons to treat our bodies right, God does mandate that we, as His children of must honor our temples. 1 Corinthians tells us that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and that we are to honor it with worthy actions . . . I'm pretty sure that means worthy food too!
While watching an episode of Duck Dynasty, some of the guys were making hamburgers and one of them made a burger that didn’t look so appetizing. When it was offered to Uncle Si, his response was right on. He said, “This body is my temple. I ain’t puttin’ that crap in this temple.” His remark was a reminder for me to always focus on the importance of my body and to treat it as though it is a palace. Veganism is a way that we can treat our body in such a way, honoring the King of the palace.
My last point is about Christianity’s long history of caring for animals. Prov. 12:10a, tells us that “a righteous man regards the life of his animals. Further, many accounts within Christian history back this idea. The Christian politician William Wilberforce was an early pioneer in the animal welfare movement and was always concerned about legislation that dealt with the fair treatment of animals. St. Francis of Assisi passionately loved animals and encouraged people to care for them in a kind manner as well. It is also believed that British theologian and apologist C.S. Lewis purposely ascribed significance to animals and speaking beasts in his beloved Narnia books in order to teach children to care for animals. In light of this, I believe veganism further aligns with Christian principles.
** I do need to make one thing clear: I see no biblical justification nor do I believe that consuming meat or animal products is sinful under the New Covenant. However, Paul had something to say about things being lawful but not beneficial; 1 Cor. 10:23. Personally, I feel that meat is one of these things. It’s definitely not sinful but it may not be the best for us. And I’ll be honest, there are situations where completely avoiding animal products is next to impossible, especially in our travels. However, we do give it our all, all the time. We strive to live this way, not because of some freaky hippie mentality or new millennial trend, but because we know it is a better way to live. We know it honors our bodies, keeps us healthier, and aids in preventing animal abuse.
So in the end, I find veganism to be biblical. Definitely more biblical than I had originally anticipated. In fact, I think it makes more sense for a Christian to be a vegan than for anyone else to be one. This is my personal conviction and decision, and I have no intention of forcing it on you or anyone else. I only ask that you ask yourself: is what I’m putting in my body good for me? And should I eat it?
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We're Robin & David, husband & wife, entrepreneurs, explorers & adventurers. We each sprung out of separate parts of the world (Malaysia & Arizona), disembarked together & formed an unbreakable marriage & family out of what once was a complex blend of jumble, whilst living as foreigners in Europe.