Advocating for Animals: A Christian Perspective
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


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

Advocating for Animals: A Christian Perspective

As many Christians have argued, there is a strong biblical basis for animal protectionism. Indeed, as Norm Phelps once pointed out, the biblical case against mistreatment of animals is far stronger than the biblical case against human slavery.

In my opinion, the biblical case for abusing animals requires taking biblical passages and stories out of context. For example, advocates of meat-eating often note that God gave Noah permission to eat animals after the Flood. However, plant foods had been destroyed, and there were no other options. The passage does not encourage Noah to eat animals, and Noah is actually cursed for eating animals. Animals would henceforth fear rather than befriend him. More importantly, the passage does not encourage eating animals by subsequent humans and certainly does not endorse animal abuse.

If God were really so cruel as to endorse animal abuse, I might worship such a God out of fear but I would not genuinely love or respect such a God. Fortunately, we read from Genesis 1:29-30 and Isaiah 11:6-9 that the biblical idea is for humans and animals to all live peacefully with each other. Those people possessing common decency and compassion when it comes to animals need not reject the God of the Bible. Yet, an alien visitor to our earth would be surprised to discover is that most self-described Christians directly or indirectly sponsor animal abuse.

We animal protectionists often feel overwhelmed by a hard-hearted world that is deaf to our pleas for mercy toward animals. Our task is indeed a challenging one, but I think it helps to remember that, as Christians, our task is not to change the world. Rather, our task is to be faithful followers of Christ. That means following Jesusí way of love, compassion, and peace, regardless of the outcome. Of course, we should try to be as effective as possible, but whether our efforts succeed or fail is out of our hands. 

Go on to: Further Reflection on Genesis 3:16
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