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Comments by Stephen Augustine
23 Oct 2001
Maynard and Others,
I'm guessing that Culture, any culture, is so deeply embedded in all of us that our allegiances and preconditioning to this or that prevent us from coming to consensus on what Christian morality means much less how it would apply in every situation. I am reminded of Lawrence Kohlberg's stages of moral development (Psyc 101) (another approach to Transcendence?).
I do not believe that Christian Vegetarianism stands by itself, aloof, disconnected from the "bewildered Afghanis" as much as it is connected to the cows in slaughterhouses. It may, perhaps, be distracting to some to talk about the bewildered Afghanis, but I think that the connections are there and they are very, very strong. I was browsing the vegchristian archives (yahoo group) and noted a prior discussion on Girardian writing. There were some who noted that Rene Girard's writings were anthropocentric. Probably so. But isn't that precisely the point - we read his theories of mimetic violence and wonder why Girard did not expand this thinking to encompass non-humans.
For Vegetarian Christians shouldn't we expand our morality regarding the cows in the slaughterhouse to everyone? I perceive that the world will reject "Christian Vegetarianism" if they simply see us as yet some more folks with a "special agenda". It appears that the early Christians embraced peaceableness across the board. If we are to believe Keith Akers (and I do) - they (the Jewish Christians) were vegetarian pacifists. I think that nonviolence was a critical aspect of the message of Jesus and that it was supposed to come across to us loud and clear. We are to live the "great compassion" - all the time and everywhere - in the hope of making the prophetic vision of Isaiah a reality.
There are some good articles on the all-creatures site about the sanitizing of violence. Some of these articles clearly lead us to ask the question, "What levels of violence are we willing to reject, accept, condone, or participate in?" I think we should work on developing a consistent ethic of life, in the continuity of which we would place Christian Vegetarianism.
Is thinking this way a distraction or is it perhaps counterproductive? I would be very interested in hearing others' thoughts on this topic.
In Christ's Peace,
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