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Many Vegans are Deeply Spiritual

 
Not all vegans are atheists! Many are deeply religious or spiritual, and unable to find guidance from organized religion.

Sandy Kirschberger (we were matched on a vegetarian dating website, VeggieConnection.com) emailed me from Simpsonville, SC in the fall of 2006:

"I wonder if it could be divine intervention that lead us to be communicating with each other because I have been praying for some time now for more understanding about the whole animal rights and religion thing. Maybe this book will help in that area.  I am sure that it will also arm me with some valuable information that I will be able to use while doing my KFC demos, especially since I am living in the 'Bible belt.' I have had a few people try and challenge me on the Christian aspect. I need to be prepared for future discussions."

I sent Sandy a copy of my 2003 book on religion and animal rights,  They Shall Not Hurt or Destroy. And she wrote:

"I had no idea the Bible... really supports a vegetarian and a humane treatment of animals lifestyle.

"With all of this known, I wonder why it is that no church or synogogue that I know of has forbidden killing animals for food. Could  it have something to do with the political ties that  I often  suspect that many of today's churches and synogogues may have with agribusiness and corporations? Which is one of the many reasons that I do not go to church anymore. It seems to all just be a big  business. Men in suits trying to sell something, like as if God is a car or a house.
 
"It is so interesting how you point out that the Bible seems to depict John the Baptist as a vegetarian and that Jesus seemed to be quite heavily influenced by him.

"As well as that, you have also pointed to a multitude of evidence that would almost clearly indicate that Jesus more than likely followed a vegatarian diet.

"I heard the quote,' mercy and not sacrifice' before, but I was not really quite sure what it meant. I had no idea that it was referring to animal sacrifices and burnt offerings and I also did not realize that part of the reason that Jesus knocked over the tables in the temple was to do with the selling of animals for slaughter, sacrifice and consumption.

"This really makes me think of some churches around here, one in particular, that I seen advertise, on the local TV, for some kind of wild game expo thing that they were doing, where people were to bring to the church birds that they hunted and killed and I guess they were planning on doing some kind of big cookout. This was a couple of years ago now, of course, I was so disgusted that I tried to call the church to say something but I never got an answer. There is so much unbelievable ignorance around here. It is actually very scary.

"You also point out the clear possiblity that Jesus may have been an Essene, who were strict vegetarians.

"As well as this, there is also the story of how Jesus told Simon, when they were on the lake to drop his net and he wound up bringing up a tremendous amount of fish. I however, did not realize that the fish wound up back in the lake. It seemed that this action may have been more of an example of how from that point on they would be catching men.

"It is also really fascinating how you explain the various different versions of the story of the fish and the loaves. Some versions indicate that only the bread was distributed and other accounts would indicate a more symbolic meaning behind the entire story. And of course, there is always the possiblity that fish was only added, as a symbol to enhance the miracle when making copies of the Bible.

"And I guess that so far from my reading of your book one of the most compelling evidences that Jesus may have been vegetarian is when you point out the story of the last supper and how the crucifixion took place on the same day and that this brings about several different arguments. One being, that it would make no sense that the crucifixion took place on the Sabbath, since jewish laws would forbid such a thing from taking place on that day, which would then indicate that the last supper was not a passover supper with lamb, as I and many others have been lead to believe. Still then leading to the possibility that Jesus may have been a vegetarian.

"My heart broke when you mentioned the extraordinary coincindence that Jesus died at the same time that countless innocent lambs were killed for the Passover supper, depicting the analogy of Jesus being the lamb of God, as with almost everything I had read so far in your book, I again had no idea of what that actually meant, however it makes perfect sense now and reading this actually left me speechless!

"I am also so happy that you covered I Timothy 4:1-3. This is the one verse that people just love to use to defend meat eating on a biblical level. As you say, the word 'meat' had several different meanings throughout the bible. The word 'flesh,' is the more accurate description as the word we have come to know as 'meat' today.  Therefore, all verses containing the word 'meat' must be used in the context that it was meant.

"I often noticed throughout the Bible myself the clear association with the animal world and it really makes perfect sense that the Bible does indeed have a message of compassion toward animals. Very sadly, however, this message does not get taught in todays western religious traditions. Even in the past, when I went to the different churches that I have attended ( I have attended many different sects within the christian religion, including, catholic, born again, and baptist) I don't think I once heard a single prayer for an animal.

"Do you think that the churches will ever come around to a more humane approach to animals? Just as they eventually did regarding slavery?

"I understand that the new pope denounced factory farming. I wonder, however, if he still eats meat.

"I think the hardest ones to convince would probably be these backward Baptist and born again christians that I unfortunately live around. Some still think that slavery is alright. At least that is what some man told me when I was doing a KFC demo once, he came over to tell me that I should not be trying to help the animals, that instead I should be protesting an abortion clinic. He told me that God does not care about animals and that I was just wasting my time and when I tried to explain to him that at one time slavery was considered alright, he told me that it is still alright according to God.

"It is these types of people that I believe will never see things differently, completely closed minded and like I said, incredibly ignorant.

"Anyway, I am really enjoying your book, as I am sure that you could tell. I hope this book will reach a lot of people because I know that it has the power to really change peoples lives.

"You mentioned that the karmic reaction to the torture and death of innocent animals would be things like abortion and war. I have heard this before.

"I do tend to believe in the power of karma and I think that it may even be consistent with the Bible-'you reap what you sow.' However, you would probably know about that more than I would.

"In regards to your comments in your letter about christians being the last to jump on the bandwagon of change. I could not agree more.

"I have come to be very scared of religous people. Once I attended a Baptist prayer meeting. It was a church that I walked into from off the street. It was just the pastor, myself and a parishoner. The pastor was taking prayer requests, so I prayed for world peace. They both looked at each other and then looked at me and said something to the effect, that I should not pray for world peace because it is not biblical. This was a church in Long Island, NY ( where I am originally from). It was around that point I realized how scary religous people really can be and now living here, it rings true.

 "Anyway, I'll write again as I continue along with your book. Please feel free to write to me whenever  you would like, and by the way, I agree that it would be nice to meet someday. I may go back to NY for a little while. Maybe that can work out good for you or maybe I can go to San Francisco one of these days.
 
"Peace-Sandy"

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