Christianity and the Problem of Human ViolenceChristianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Part 149. Animal Issues (part 2 of 3)
from Guide to Kingdom Living

True Christian living requires us to live according to Kingdom standards which bring Heaven to earth.

Christianity and the Problem of Human Violence: Part 149. Animal Issues (part 2 of 3)

By Stephen R. Kaufman, M.D.

It is possible that Christianity offers a more solid basis for animal protectionism than either liberal or conservative orientations. Christians believe that all life comes from the Creator, who loves all of Creation. As children of God, we should honor and obey our Creator/parent. Honoring and obeying God is incompatible with unnecessary violence or destructiveness toward anything that God has made.

Those who seem insensitive or cruel toward animals are likely either be unaware of how industries treat animals today, or regard compassion as an optional attitude that one invokes when convenient. Because animal exploitation industries hide their crimes against God’s creatures, many people are not fully aware of the degree of suffering animals endure in order for humans to procure animal foods, skins, animal experimentation data, and other supposed “benefits” of animal exploitation. However, those who choose to remain unaware, such as those who reject animal welfare literature because “I don’t want to know,” are rejecting God’s creative goodness. Serving God faithfully requires mindfulness, and elective ignorance is no excuse.

Frequently, they justify their participation in animal cruelty by claiming that animal issues are irrelevant compared to human concerns. While those activities that help humans are laudable, simple lifestyle choices can easily and substantially reduce one’s complicity with respect to animal cruelty. It seems that those who elect not to take these easy steps have chosen to satisfy their personal desires (for foods, clothing, and other amenities derived from animals) over compassion. If I am correct, then they have compromised their commitment to God in order to gratify themselves. And, if this is their attitude toward animals, won’t this attitude easily transfer to fellow humans if social, political, or economic duress threatens their lifestyles? As Christian disciples, we must show love in all our relationships, and the Apostle Paul wrote, “And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:2). It is easy to seem loving and compassionate when one does not feel socially, politically, or materially threatened. However, when one is put to the test, without genuine love one’s prophetic powers, knowledge, and faith amount to nothing.

Because most forms of animal abuse have become institutionalized and mechanized, and because wealthy societies can afford more luxuries like meat and furs, it is likely that no society has ever caused more animal suffering and death than the U.S. does today. If animals could fully understand the magnitude of human abuse and the trivial reasons for most of it (e.g., taste preferences, fashion, entertainment), the animals would surely despise humankind, which leads me to wonder how God judges humankind, given how our society treats God’s own Creation.

Go on to: Part 150. Animal Issues, part 3
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