Romans 13:8-14; On Monotheism
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Romans 13:8-14; On Monotheism 

This passage includes Paul teaching, “The commandments . . . are summed up in this sentence, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
It has always been tempting for people to envision their gods as having complex personalities with multiple emotional states and competing desires that, not coincidentally, reflect their own competing emotions and desires. Consequently, humans have tended to create their God or gods in their own image. A monotheistic faith that describes God as having multiple personality characteristics permits humans to conjure up whatever image of God suits the situation. For example, when at war, they can envision God as angry, vengeful, and warlike. When at peace, they can see God as loving, caring, and peaceful. Therefore, a monotheistic God with multiple personality traits is essentially the same as a polytheistic faith in which each god has a single attribute.
Paul portrays God in a monotheistic framework, with love being the fundamental characteristic of God. This accords with Jesus’ own teaching (Matthew 22:39, and elsewhere) and with 1 John 4:8, which reads, “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.” This brings us to obvious questions: If God is love, would God approve of killing God’s creatures unnecessarily? Is it not a particularly egregious offense to systematically abuse God’s creatures prior to killing them, in order to reduce the cost of their flesh, eggs, and secretions? I think that, if we are to take the idea of a monotheistic faith seriously, we must reject violence and abuse against God’s innocent creatures. 

Go on to: Romans 14:1-12 Are Vegetarians “Weak in Faith”?
Return to: Reflection on the Lectionary, Table of Contents 

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