Animal Rights Effort
Christian Animal Rights Effort
P.O. Box 1573, Stn. B
London, Ontario N6A 5M3
E-mail <[email protected]>
This page was established 16 January 1998, and updated 09 February 2003.
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I was not surprised that today's Christians did not show very much compassion towards animals. In recent years there has been an influx of theology from TV evangelists, who seem to have sold their souls in exchange for a theology other than the one revealed by Jesus. This theology of the TV evangelists is what some call "prosperity theology". This theology is more concerned with mammon/money then it is with the life changing message of Jesus Christ. There is not a week that goes by that you can not find on the television some preacher telling you how Jesus wants you to be financially well off. This theology of course is nonsense.
This prosperity theology is new, for throughout the history of Christianity, though there have been other problems, most people have been taught the evils associated with the desire for money rather than a quest for truth in Christ. When we make money the goal of our religion, rather than the mind of Christ, then compassion goes out the window, and greed takes its place.
Along with the "prosperity theology" there is another distortion of the gospel being preached over our televisions and radios, that theology is one of a "them and us mentality". They teach that only they and their denomination is going to heaven. This theology stems from a very fearful position and not one of faith in God. I call this "selfishness theology, or me theology". I feel that due to this teaching there is amongst Christians today a feeling of coldness and artificialness that I did not sense 20 years ago. Jesus did not teach us be this way, rather he said, to be in the world but not of the world. We are all children of God and scripture tells us that God will work all things out in the fullness of time.
When we combine the "prosperity theology" with the "selfishness or me theology" we can see why it would be easy for Christians to not only forget animals, but to end up using them in the most terrible ways: i.e. food and sport. I hope that through "Christian Animal Rights Effort" I can help reintroduce a more compassionate understanding of Jesus' message, one that includes the love of God's animals.
I feel that it is a tragedy that Secular Groups are today leading the way in Animal Rights, when in the past, (the 1800s), it had been Christians. To me, it is only the next logical step from conversion. If we have really been converted to the love of God, then how can we not reach out to the very creatures He made?
In His Love,
"Woe to those who stretch themselves upon their couches and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall. They shall be the first to be exiled." (Amos 6:4-7)
According to a Coptic fragment; the Acts of Thomas; the History of John; and the writings of the Early Church Father Irenaeus; Jesus did not serve fish to the masses, but rather, he served only bread.
Christian Animal Rights Effort
"He [God] then who at the first was displeased with the slaughtering of animals, not wishing them to be slain, did not ordain sacrifices as desiring them; nor from the beginning did He require them." (St. Peter the Apostle, 1st Bishop of Rome: Clementine Homilies)
What is C.A.R.E.
C.A.R.E. is a Christian ministry designed to liberate animals from suffering by recognizing and promoting their rights amongst believers in Christ. C.A.R.E.'s mission is to inform other Christians of the following two teachings of God.
(1) Humans and animals are equal and mankind has no advantage over the beasts. (Eccles. 3:19)
(2) All professing Christians are to be vegetarians. In accordance with this teaching, Saint Paul says: "I will never eat meat any more, for I will not be the cause of my brothers' downfall." "The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall." (1st Cor. 8:13 & Romans 14:21 NEB & TEV)
Adam and Eve
In the beginning, God instructed Adam and Eve to eat only seeds and fruit..."I have given you all plants that bear seed everywhere on earth, and every tree bearing fruit which yields seed: they shall be your food..." (Genesis 1:29, 30) "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat, except for the fruit from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil". (Genesis 2:16, 17)
Even the animals at this time were vegetarians..."And to the animals on earth, and to all the birds under the heavens, and to everything that creeps over the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for food: and it was so. And God saw everything that He had made and it was good." (Genesis 1:30)
After the Fall
The uninformed Christian believes that after the fall, the original vegetarian diet was done away with. These Christians believe that because of the fall we are now allowed to eat meat, however, according to scripture this is not the case. Rather, the Bible says that a fruit diet will not be enough to sustain us. Because of the curse, there may not always be enough fruit for food, thus, God has added to our diet, wild plants..."Because of what you have done, the ground will be under a curse. You will have to eat wild plants. You will have to work hard and sweat to make the soil produce anything..." (Genesis 3:18,19)
Noah and the Flood
It was only after the flood that animals were allowed to be eaten. As soon as Noah had left the ark, he sacrificed many animals to God (Gen. 8:20). Keep in mind that God did not tell Noah to do this. Evidently, Noah's sacrifice was based on his own beliefs and were not founded on the word of God, as were neither the sacrifices of Cain and Able. Once God noticed Noah's sacrifice, "...the Lord said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil..." (Gen. 8:21).
The Evil Urge
Obviously, though God had wiped out all the real evil people from the face of the earth, within the heart of Noah remained the evil urge/Yetzer haRa, a result of the fall, which manifested in a lust for flesh meats. Since the souls of humans had not yet evolved to the point of compassion towards animals, God gave allowances to Noah that he may eat animals as well as the herbs. This allowance only meant that God would not out right stop humans from eating meat, it did not mean that God intended meat eating to be an ongoing diet for humanity.
Another reason for the change from a strict vegetarian diet after the flood, was that the waters had destroyed all of the earth's vegetation and therefore, there was no alternative at the time. If we consider that Noah and his descendants still had a lust for flesh and that there was no other food available at the time, then we can conclude that a meat diet was only temporary. Proof for this is the ongoing condemnation, by God, through His Prophets, of animal sacrifice and meat eating. Obviously, the Prophets knew that, by their time, the temporary allowance for flesh eating was over.
Moses and the Law
Moses, long before the time of the Prophets, also knew that the meat diet was temporary and that the intended laws of God included a vegetarian diet. However, mankind's heart had become so black as a result of the fall, that, during his time, Moses could not have introduced vegetarianism to the Hebrews, for they would not have listened to him and would have turned from God altogether. Therefore, Moses, in accordance with God's plan, allowed animal sacrifice and meat eating. As a compromise, however, and to help guide mankind back to a life of compassion, God had Moses institute a very strict set of rules for the killing of and sacrificing of animals.
St. Peter Tells Us the Following
"Moses, that faithful and wise steward, perceived that the vice of sacrificing to idols had been deeply ingrained into the people from their association with the Egyptians, and that the root of this evil could not be extracted from them, he allowed them indeed to sacrifice, but permitted it to be done only to God, that by any means he might cut off one half of the deeply ingrained evil, leaving the other half to be corrected by another, and at a future time." (Recognitions of Clement) This last line refers to Jesus, when he came to abolish animal sacrifice. Jesus was successful, for today the temple lies in ruin and no sacrifices take place. Jesus said the following: "I came to destroy the sacrifices, and if ye cease not from sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you." (Gospel of the Ebionites)
It was only during this time of darkness, (from the flood, up to about 700 BC), that God allowed humans to eat meat. That is why we find certain passages, such as Leviticus 11:3-22 and Deuteronomy 14:4-9 telling the Hebrews which animals they could eat and which ones they could not. These dietary laws, along with the strict slaughtering procedures, were designed to wean mankind from meat altogether and were never intended to serve as an example for all times.
Prophets and Priests
When the time was right, God spoke out against animal sacrifice and flesh eating through His prophets. These Prophets began coming to earth around the 700s BC. Not only did God send Prophets, such as Isaiah & Hosea, to the Hebrews during this time, but God also sent Prophets to the gentile nations as well. We find arriving not too long afterwards, Pythagoras (570-500BC); as well as Mahavira (born 599BC), founder of the Jain religion; and Buddha (563-483BC), founder of the Buddhist religion. All these Prophets spoke out against the harming of and or eating of Animals.
Please, any Fundamentalist or Charismatic type Christians reading this brochure, do not be misguided by pastors who tell you that other religions are of the devil, for this is absolutely not true!!! When the Bible speaks ill of a religion, it is due to some abominable behaviour of its adherents, such as sacrificing children to a fire god or similar atrocities. Religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism do nothing of the sort. In fact, in some ways, these religions have acted more humanely than we Christians.
Rather then being demonic, St. Clement of Rome, friend of the Apostle Peter tells us in the Clementine writings that the Hindu Brahmans worship the same God that the Christians do: "There are likewise amongst the Bactrians, in the Indian countries, immense multitudes of Brahmans, who also, themselves, from the traditions of their ancestors, and peaceful customs and laws, neither commit murder nor adultery, nor worship idols, nor are ever drunk, never do anything maliciously, but always fear God." (Anti-Nicene Fathers Vol. 8 page 187)
God has no Delight in Sacrifices
There can be no doubt that God wanted humanity to elevate itself above such barbaric practices, for the Prophet Hosea says: "They love sacrifice, they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the Lord has no delight in them." (Hosea 8:13) Referring to animal sacrifices, God Himself says through His Prophet Isaiah: "...I will hide my eyes from you: yea, when you make your prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood...put away the evil of your doings from my eyes; cease to do evil." (Isaiah 1:11-16)
Jesus and the Ebionites
Though there were many sects of Judaism at the time of Jesus, these groups can be divided into two camps. First of all there were the Temple and Priestly centered groups; ie., the groups that believed in animal sacrifice, such as the Sadducees and Pharisees. The other camp was made up of more spiritually minded Jews who followed the teachings of the Prophets, who in turn spoke out against animal sacrifice. These latter and pro-prophet groups would include a number of unknown small sects, as well as the more famous Essenes.
Ebionites Pre-Date Catholic Church
Out of these pro-Prophet groups came Jesus, the ultimate Prophet and Messiah of God, along with his followers, the Ebionites/Nazarenes, eventually to be hunted down and killed. They would soon be replaced by a group known as the Christians, who were started by Paul.
The Ebionites/Nazarenes made up the first century church and pre-date the Roman Catholic, Coptic and Eastern Orthodox Churches by almost 300 years. This fact is attested to by history as found in the writings of the Early Church Fathers and the New Testament. (for further information read our booklet: "Jesus was a Vegetarian") The precedence of the Ebionite/Nazarene church serves to show that the doctrine of vegetarianism was a part of the original teachings of Jesus/Yoshuah and should be re-established in our churches today.
Jesus and St. Stephen
According to both Jesus and St. Stephen, the Jewish Sanhedrin during Jesus' time was corrupt. The Jewish authorities, the Sanhedrin in particular, were made up of mostly Sadducees. They, along with the Pharisees were pro-Priestly and anti-Prophet and therefore, favoured animal sacrifice. Jesus and St. Stephen, on the other hand, were of the pro-Prophet lineage and thus, opposed animal sacrifice. Jesus says to the Jewish authorities of his day: "Thus by your own tradition, handed down among you, you make God's word null and void." (Mark 7:13 NEB) Also, Jesus says: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." (John 8:44 KJV)
St. Stephen, talking to the Jewish authorities, says: "You stubborn and stiff-necked people, still heathen and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are always actively resisting the Holy Spirit. As your forefathers [were], so you [are and so you do]! [Exodus 33:3,5; Num. 27:14; Isa. 63:10; Jer. 6:10; 9:26]" "Which of the prophets did your forefathers not persecute?" (Acts 7:51 & 52 TAB)
St. Paul and 1st Timothy 4:1-5
St. Paul was a late comer to Ebionism/Nazarenism and somewhat slow at adhering to Jesus' teachings. In fact, at first Paul hunted down Ebionites/Nazarenes and killed them. The Bible tells us that Paul had a hand in the death of St. Stephen. Paul, however, had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. Unfortunately, as mentioned, at first Paul did not adhere to the rules set down by Jesus and James. Paul is found disagreeing with James on issues of circumcision and dietary rules throughout the New Testament.
As indicated in the beginning of this brochure, Paul eventually does become a vegetarian, however, he does so reluctantly. Since most scholars agree that it was Paul who wrote 1st Timothy or at least one of his followers, then the anti-vegetarian passage in 1st Timothy can be ignored!!! For obviously, this book was written before Paul decided to become a vegetarian as stated in Romans 14:21 and 1st Corinthians 8:13. Further to this we have a non-biblical source which quotes Paul as saying: "Jesus commanded me not to eat meat and not to drink wine, but only bread, water, and fruits so that I will be found pure when he wants to talk to me" (Toldot Jeschu, Ms. Vindobona; ed Samuel Drauss, Berlin 1902, p. 113)
Early Church Fathers
According to the writings of the Early Church Fathers; Jesus, his brother James, the Apostle Peter, and the other disciples were vegetarians. We read also in the "Gospel of the Ebionites, that Jesus would not eat the Passover meal, which of course contained meat.
St. James, the brother of Jesus, was, according to "Hegesipppus", "holy from his mother's womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh."
St. Peter wrote in the "Clementine Homilies": "I live on bread alone, with olives, and seldom even with pot-herbs; and my dress is what you see, a tunic with a pallium: and having these, I require nothing more."
Further, one ancient church writing containing the teachings of St. Peter, states: "The unnatural eating of flesh meats is as polluting as the heathen worship of devils, with its sacrifices and its impure feasts, through participation in it man becomes a fellow eater with devils."
We should also note, that "Clement of Alexander" said: "The apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, and vegetables, without flesh."
The apostle Thomas was also a vegetarian as we see when we read the following from the "Acts of Thomas": "That which he [Thomas] eateth is bread and salt, and his drink is water from evening unto evening,..." Other apostles are recorded as having also been vegetarians. In fact, the evidence reveals that all the early Christians were vegetarians. Paul, as said earlier, was of course reluctant at first, but finally came around.
St Basilius the Great claimed: "The body which is burdened with meat is afflicted with diseases. A moderate way of living makes the body healthier and stronger and cuts off the root of evil. The stream of meat meals darkens the light of the spirit. One can hardly have virtue if one enjoys meat meals and feasts."
St. Gregory of Nazianzen says: "The debauchery in meat meals is an infamous injustice."
Modern Vegetarian Christians
More and more individual Christians are taking a stand for the rights of animals. Anyone, Christian or otherwise, who has ever owned a pet and taken the time to play with it, will know that animals are no different than us. They have feelings, they think and most of all, they always offer us undying and unconditional love.
Let us Christians join with so many of the other world religions in denouncing meat eating as a barbaric practice. Let us begin the 21st century where our Ebionite forefathers left off two thousand years ago. Let us live as Christians should live, in an Edenic world free of animal suffering and terror.
Christian Animal Rights Effort
If we believe that Jesus came to reconcile God's creation to God, and if we believe that by so doing, Christ is bringing creation back to its original state prior to the fall, then, it only makes sense that a Christian try to live the same way that Adam and Eve did. Does this include Nudity? Well, that's a whole other pamphlet, though Jesus did say in the Gospel of Thomas: "When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take your garments and put them under your feet like little children and tread upon them, they [you] will see the child of the living. And you will not be afraid." (The Gnostic Scriptures trans. by Bentley Layton). Personally, we at C.A.R.E., like to keep our clothes on, however, we do not want them made out of animal products.
This is the purpose of C.A.R.E.; to reach Christians with the truth of what they believe. We want to ask all Christians to study their Bibles and Church history, search their hearts and ask themselves if they think killing animals, for fun (hunting), for furs and leather, for entertainment (dog fighting, cock fighting and related activities), or for food, unless absolutely necessary is something they think Jesus would really want them to do.
In closing, the Bible tells us that animals have a soul (Gen. 1:20) and that they possess also a spirit, (Eccles. 3:19). The original Hebrew word used in this second passage is Ruach and according to 'Strong's Complete Dictionary of Bible Words', Ruach/Ruwach is used to represent spirit, "but only of a rational being." If we add this to the fact that God said; "He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrifices a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck;" then we must conclude that, according to GOD, the killing of animals is wrong and St. Paul's anti-vegetarian passage in 1st Timothy 4:1-5 must, most definitely, be ignored.
Information Compiled by: Rev. M. W. Shaw M.Div. <[email protected]>
The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of His Original Teachings by John Davidson
The Forgotten Beginnings of Creation and Christianity by Carl Anders Skriver
The Holy Bible Translations Used: New English Bible (NEB); Today's English Version (TEV); King James Version (KJV); The Amplified Bible (TAB).
Ante-Nicene Fathers, edited by the Rev. Alexander Roberts, D.D. and James Donaldson, LL.D., Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids Michigan.
The Vegetarianism of Jesus Christ, by Dr. Charles P. Vaclavik, Kaweah publications
Dover: New Testament A Pictorial Archive from 19th cent. sources
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