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Editorial by J.R. Hyland - from Nov/Dec 1997 Humane Religion Newsletter

The article about Albert Schweitzer on page 5 of this issue of Humane Religion tells the story of a man who escaped the conditioning of a world that usually succeeds in eroding the compassion and concern for all creatures which characterized so many young children.

The conditioning that desensitizes a child to the suffering of other creatures is carried out in a thousand subtle, and not-so-subtle, ways.  It goes on in the home, at play, and in school.  It comes about from peer pressure and from parental pressure.

The lies begin the first time children question the suffering of another creature.  They are told it doesn't hurt the cow when its flesh is seared with a branding iron.  That the pig does not feel the thick, iron ring forced through its tender snout.  That the neighbor's dog who lies chained outside all day does not suffer from the heat, the cold, or the loneliness.  That the bird who was formed to soar through the sky does not mind having its wings crippled and being forced to live in a cage.

And after children have been assured that it is "natural" to eat the flesh of other creatures - that God created them to be killed and eaten by man - they can be coaxed into the next phase of desensitization.  They can begin to take an active part in the cruelty and violence that characterizes a fallen world.

They are taught that killing other creatures is a recreational activity.  They are taken to the woods to maim or kill the small animals who live there and told it is a way of communing with nature - or with God.

They are taken fishing and told that it is a relaxing pastime.  And when the "catch" thrashes about, frantically trying to stay alive, they are told that fish cannot feel anything, although their suffering is obvious.

In the face of all evidence to the contrary, the child is taught to believe a lie.  This childhood conditioning produces adults who accept the abuse and slaughter of other creatures as an inescapable fact of life.  It is an acceptance built on a lie and it is the foundation on which desensitized men and women build a world of cruelty and violence that spares neither human nor animal beings.

It is a world that has "exchanged the truth of God for a lie."



[The] compassion in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.  Ancient ethics had not his depth, this strength of conviction, but beside it there now stands a new ethic - that of respect for all life, whose validity is more and more widely acknowledged.

Rev. Hyland's article is for all who love God. We need to keep in mind that He will judge us according to our deeds (eg. Mt. 16:27; 2 Cor. 5:10; and Rev. 2:23, 22:12). Their Creator (and ours) put them in our care.

Are we like Esau, the hunter, who sold his birthright? The writer of Hebrews warns us not to be immoral like Esau (see Hebrews 12:16,17).

It's not too late to change your actions with the leading and conviction of the Holy Spirit. May God give you a holy heart full of kindness and peace to all.

J. Fredericks, M.A., L.P.C.

Jan Fredericks is a Christian Educator and Licensed Counselor.


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God's Creatures Ministry is committed to spreading God's compassion to all He has made based on The Scriptures. Although we are a Christian Ministry, we encourage all to have their own animal welfare committee in their community. We extend our resources to those who would like to learn more or begin their own God's Creatures Ministry as an extension of us. God created us to have a vegetarian diet and commissioned us to protect His animals. Instead, we have exploited them for our entertainment, fashion, appetite and useless, torturous research. These creatures have the right to live as they were created to live. Because we live IN this world, but are not OF this world, we strive to bring God's mercy and justice to all. We live in God's Kingdom now where Jesus, The Sacrificial Lamb, The Prince of Peace, The Lion of Judah reigns. We look forward to that day when all of creation will be 'set free from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God' (Romans 8:21) where a little child will lead and guide God's creatures (see Isaiah 11:5-9).

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