Essay: Is Eating Meat Sinful?
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Essay: Is Eating Meat Sinful?

Vegans and vegetarians are often accused of being judgmental. Some of us might be, but a lot of times I think this accusation is an assumption rather than the truth. To be sure, ethical vegans and vegetarians choose the diet because they regard unnecessary harm as morally wrong. This is a discernment, and it does not necessarily follow that they regard all meat-eaters are sinners.

I think James offers some helpful insight. He wrote, “Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin” (4:17). Our calling is to present facts, to speak the truth. The responsibility of faithful Christians is to see whether, in light of these facts, the choices they make accord with their values and beliefs.

There are some people whose life circumstances make it impossible to adopt a plant-based diet. For such people, in my opinion, eating animal products is not necessarily sinful. Since we don’t know others’ situations, it is not our place to judge whether or not they are sinning. However, those who know about the harmful effects of eating animals yet do so to for relatively trivial purposes such as pleasure or convenience, for them, their diet is sinful.

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