In Reference to: Say No to Sanctified Animal Abuse
I address my concerns about the dominion model to Christian clergy as well. I have had similar discussions with them and have written to those who would use their religious status to endorse animal abuse. So your claim of anti-Semitism, is just part of the greater trend on your part to label and impugn my intentions.
As you are still name calling, for example ‘fanatical’, a meaningful discussion remains elusive. In addition you continue to ascribe motivations to my intentions: You state “by playing the “you are clergy so you must be polite to me” card” Both these behaviors on your part are disrespectful, rude and indicate that you are still unwilling to engage in a civil discussion. I will respond briefly just to address several issues which require clarification.
I am not playing. The values espoused by sanctified justifiable harm and slaughter violate my deepest beliefs on the nature of compassion.
On Gandhi: You are misinformed on the source of Gandhi’s Stayagraha campaign. He did not derive the message of non-violence from the Gita. Both this information and the conclusion drawn from it are inaccurate. It is not possible to derive a strategy of non-violence from a foundation which endorses violence. Gujarat, Gandhi’s home state has a significant Jain population. His mother was deeply religious and though born Hindu, she studied with Jain scholars and clergy. Gandhi was familiar with Jain teachings. He worked with a Jain scholar, Shrimad Rajchandra, to improve his knowledge on non-violence, so that he could use it as a tool to liberate India from British rule.
It was the concept of ahimsa that influenced Gandhi to pursue a campaign based on non-violence. It is ahimsa which subsequently also influenced the Hindu religion. The Hindus had the wisdom and courage to include ahimsa in their value system.
From the Gita Gandhi learned that it was his duty to campaign against the evil of colonialism
On the nature of of living beings: You equate the horrors and the cruelty inflicted on living beings to what you call idol worship. This equation indicates a profound lack of understanding of the nature of living beings. They are not made of stone or marble, they are capable of suffering and they feel pain and fear, just as they are capable of a full range of emotions. Jains do not worship the idols, as they are educated and not superstitious. Rather they use the idol as a reminder of the teachings of the Thritankar (great teacher) who is represented by the idol, just as a Jew would wear a star of david to remind him of his/her connection to the religion. Equating the infliction of terrible violence on a living being to paying reverence to teachings of non-violence with the aid of an idol indicates that compassion is not understood or valued on your part.
On preserving archaic values: For many individuals of all religious persuasions and even for those who no longer believe in religion, the abuse and slaughter of animals is intolerable. I receive testimonials from people who have left their birth religion, primarily Christian and Jewish, simply because of the failure to express and value true compassion for animals.
Here are some words I received from another individual who can no longer follow her birth religion because of its insensitive and antiquated view towards animals: “The Hebrew/Christian/Islamic religious documents (Bible, Torah, Quran) “created” thousands of years ago, were written at a time when the understanding/evolution of the concept of compassion, as well as a comprehension of the sentience, intelligence etc, of non-human animals, was very limited, although there were always individuals and even groups of people who had the capacity to see and understand suffering, no matter whether it was a person or an animal and some vague and contradictory attempts were made at it in those important religious documents.
To promote adherence today, to archaic and outdated concepts and practices, which may have had an acceptable purpose and rationale at the time (like kashruth, circumcision, halal slaughter and a prohibition of all forms of birth control) in spite of all that we know and understand now, about ourselves and the inner and physical lives of other creatures on the planet, is comparable to endorsing a belief in voodoo, ghosts, and Santa Claus.”
Those who work to end animal suffering understand, that it is not possible to build compassion on a foundation of violence, harm and slaughter. This just serves to preserve the status quo, which is abysmal.
Just as the technologies have changed, so that it is now possible to grow vegetables and fruit in greenhouses in inhospitable climates, so too the moral message of compassion to animals must change to reflect the technical improvement.
Your use of inappropriate hyperbole to state my position as follows is misleading and inaccurate: You state: “Instead, you attack us for not re-writing the Torah to suit your needs. You want us to thorw out God and make you god, substituting your gJainist gospel for the Torah. Well, that is not ever going to happen…”
It is not my needs that I am concerned about, but rather the needs of the animals whose lives are so disrespected by teachings which have been and continue to be so harmful to them. Jains do not proselytize, so I have no intention of explaining jain dharma to you, even as you relentlessly expound on Jewish teachings not directly related to animal abuse.
Based on the evidence I question whether sanctified allowable harm and slaughter can ever lead to meaningful compassion for animals? It is the model of ahimsa that I promote, not the Jain religion. The hindus had the wisdom and courage to include ahimsa in their value system. It is my hope that somehow the Semitic religions will find a way to do the same.