The Fellowship of Life
As Christmas approaches, an almost traditional feature of recent
years has been the appeal to our better nature by animal rights groups
to extend our goodwill towards other animals, specifically by not eating
them. As an aversion to violence and bloodshed belong to the very
essence of the Christian spirit, perhaps the Church should be leading
the way on this issue.
There is a very deep-seated injunction in the human heart not to
kill, as displayed quite practically by many of the eastern religions
for centuries, through diets that respect the fact that other animals
value their lives far beyond their utility to us.
True Christianity, with its qualities of love, pity, kindness and
compassion, cannot stop short of other species any more than it can be
rationed to a few close friends. The fact that non-human animals are
endowed with the same capacity for pain, pleasure and love of life as
ourselves is criteria enough that we should respect their interests.
Whilst I'm not assuming that the Church condones everything it
doesn't object to, or that a vegetarian priesthood would automatically
inspire a free-thinking society to change the habit of recent
generations overnight, it remains sad that peace on earth is currently
manifested by an escalation of our war against other species.
Jesus' sacrifice should have put an end to all that.
South Wales Echo
What a sad, misguided letter from J.M. Gilheany concerning animals at
Unfortunately, he totally misunderstands the concept of human/animal
relationships as far as the Scriptures and therefore Christianity is
concerned, and the emotive language and reasoning somehow suggests that
we are related or akin to animals, whereas, from a Christian point of
view, the Bible clearly states that Man was created in a unique way, and
that animals are a lower species than we are.
Furthermore, it is clear that certain animals are given for meat and
this view is supported by New Testament teaching. Mankind has been
eating meat of one sort or another since time began, not simply over
'recent generations'. Vegetarianism is not Scriptural, although I accept
many Christians prefer that lifestyle.
I agree that cruelty to animals should not be the characteristic of a
Christian, but let's get it into perspective. Some animals are given for
meat. You cannot water down Christian teaching to suggest otherwise.
South Wales Echo
The controversy which surrounds flesh eating within the Christian
tradition is about a far reaching principle of ethics, rather than a
quarrel over ambiguous scriptures which both condemn and condone it.
To close our hearts and minds to the injustice suffered by so-called
'meat animals' is to blunt our finer moral feeling and ignore the
fundamental spiritual teachings of Christ himself.
Even the most elementary experience of biology reveals that we are
indeed akin to the non-human animals with whom we share the world.
To the human soul there is a duty to be as loving in our stewardship
of other sentient animals as God was in creating them, for through their
well being and happiness can be observed the glory of God.
Scripture can, after all, be used to justify almost anything. A more
positive approach would be to draw attention to the fact that
vegetarianism benefits not only the health and spiritual peace of mind
of the practitioner, but also the other beings with whom we share life
The abattoir is an insult to the author of all life, and has no place
in any religion based on reason, compassion and love.
South Wales Echo
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