Jesus and Isaac Bashevis Singer
"...the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who planned to settle accounts with his slaves. As he began the settlement, one was brought in who owed him ten thousand talents; but as he had nothing to pay, his master ordered him to be sold, as well as his wife and children and everything he had, and to pay. Then the slave fell down and implored him, 'Have patience with me and I will pay you everything.'
"So, in pity for that slave his master released him and canceled his debt. But as that slave was leaving he met one of his fellow slaves, who owed him a hundred denarii. Grabbing him by the throat, he said, 'Pay me what you owe!' Then his fellow slave fell down and implored him, 'Have patience with me and I will pay you.' But he refused, and went and threw him into prison until he should pay the debt.
"When his fellow slaves saw what was done they were greatly distressed and they went and told their master everything that had occurred. Then his master summoned him and said to him: 'You contemptible slave! I canceled all that debt for you because you begged me. Should not you have pity on your fellow slaves as I had pity on you?'...
"And so," Jesus concluded, "will my heavenly Father do to you, if each of you does not heartily forgive his brother."
Shouldn't Jesus' words in Matthew 18:23-35 above apply not just to forgiving others, but to mercy and compassion towards others as well?
In the preface to Steven Rosen's 1987 book, Food for the Spirit: Vegetarianism and the World Religions, Isaac Bashevis Singer writes:
"When a human kills an animal for food, he is neglecting his own hunger for justice. Man prays for mercy, but is unwilling to extend it to others. Why should man then expect mercy from God? It's unfair to expect something that you are not willing to give. It is inconsistent...
"I'm not against organized religion," says Isaac Bashevis Singer, "but I don't take part in it. Especially when they interpret their religious books as being in favor of meat-eating. Sometimes they say He wants sacrifice and the killing of animals. If this is true, then I would never be able to comply. But I think God is wiser and more merciful than that. And there are interpretations of religious scriptures which support this, saying that vegetarianism is a very high ideal."
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