The Fellowship of Life
Many thanks for the very kind review of Why Kill for Food? in your magazine. Since I am taken to task for including a chapter on Christianity in relation to vegetarianism may I have the opportunity of explaining why this was considered necessary?
The vast majority of the people in Britain, many millions, have been brought up as Christians. Although many are not churchgoers the picture of Christ is deeply implanted in their minds and impressions received at an early age are almost indelible. When first confronted by the principles of vegetarianism their automatic defence reaction is to remember that Christ ate meat and fish, so why should they worry?
After many years of experience in advocating vegetarianism I have found that orthodox Christian beliefs are the biggest and most formidable bastion against enlightened reform. The Church itself is more antagonistic than the orthodox medical profession.
One of our main preoccupations as propagandists must, therefore, be to break this traditional resistance. While the figurehead of Christianity is accepted as a flesh-eater, and therefore approving of the mass slaughter of sentient creatures, we cannot make much progress among Christians. I was careful to state that our way of life was not based on The Bible and that whether or not The Master was a vegetarian is irrelevant to our own vegetarianism - the chapter was given merely to show that the orthodox conception of Christianity is based on extremely shaky foundations.
We must remember that we are different in make-up and our interest can only be aroused for a particular subject if it comes to us along the line of our interest. Our propaganda would be unbalanced if it appealed only to scientific nutritionalists and the health-conscious - all aspects are of equal importance. Above all, we should realize that Man has a deeply religious nature, however, he may deny this to himself; even the declaration of atheism indicates deep religious thought - to neglect religious aspects would be a serious discrepancy, just as it would to cut out athletic achievements, a knowledge of vitamins, or moral considerations.
Geoffrey L. Rudd
The Vegetarian News - Summer 1957
(London Vegetarian Society journal)
Reproduced with the kind permission of The Vegetarian Society
Booklet: The Bible and Vegetarianism (1955)
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