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Featured Vegetarianism/Veganism and You

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Renki, Jun 1, 2016.

  1. Renki

    Renki wayfarer to the Western Pure Land
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    Hi, everyone! I hope everyone's lives are going beautifully! Because the Bahá'í Holy Writings exhort us to be kind to animals, treating them with the utmost dignity and respect, and I the fact that I've been contemplating this for a few years, I'm now re-considering becoming a vegetarian.

    I would love to know where it is that you (or your religious tradition) stand(s) on the topic of vegetarianism and veganism. What does your religion say about it? What do you personally think about it? Are you considering or have you ever considered becoming a veg(etari)an? Are you now? If you are, how has your life been changed? How do you feel? Thanks a million for your wonderful responses! Blessings!
     
    #1 Renki, Jun 1, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
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  2. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta, Theosophy, Spiritualism
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    I am a vegetarian now as that is the teaching of my most respected spiritual teacher (of the Hindu tradition), it is no big deal but I slightly miss the meat eating culture. I feel the same with or without meat.
     
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  3. Laika

    Laika Well-Known Member
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    The Communist Manifesto treated animal welfare as "bourgeois socialism" (along with the temperance movement). I.e. Something trivial and generally to ignore because only the ruling class has the luxury to care about it.

    Some forms of vegetarianism may have got a Marxist analysis in terms of industrialisation of food production for profit leading to animal cruelty as part of the New Lefts influence on the environmental movement. Vegetarianism may have importance however in relation to public health to tackle obesity and reduced the intensive nature of nearing production as a source of inefficiency and greenhouse gas emissions but i would be surprised if it became a major issue for Marxism as a belief system. It conflicts with the "do what works" mentality as a restriction on freedom of action.

    (After checking Google) the USSR appears to have banned vegetarianism in 1929 as a bourgeois pseudoscience (as well as for religious associations with fasting and dietary rules) and shut down the Moscow vegetarian society. So there is obviously a strong history of anti vegatarianism here.
    Interestingly there is a record of a vegatarian Bolshevik in the Russian revolution and there was a dispute with Lenin on the matter (Alexander fydrovoich Ilyn-Zhenevsky) with Lenin joking it may clause a split in the party as Bolshevik vegetarians form there own faction.

    So yeah, we banned it. :D
     
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  4. Rival

    Rival Veteran Member
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    I am a vegan and no, my religion says nothing specifically about it.
     
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  5. Riverwolf

    Riverwolf Amateur Rambler / Proud Ergi
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    My religion says nothing on the matter.

    I think it's a good thing to work up to, but not something I can do right now. I tried it one time, and because of reasons we still don't understand, it almost killed me. Not so much because of respect, but because of factory farms being the primary cause of deforestation and other climate-related things.
     
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  6. vaguelyhumanoid

    vaguelyhumanoid Active Member

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    I'm 100% against industrial farming and anthropocentrism and also eat large quantities of meat every day. I'm on the SCD diet, which bans:

    • Sugars: lactose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, molasses, maltose, isomaltose, fructooligosaccharides, and any processed sugar
    • All canned vegetables
    • All grains: anything made from corn, wheat, wheat germ, barley, oats, rye, rice, buckwheat, soy, spelt, and amaranth
    • Some legumes: chickpeas, bean sprouts, soybeans, mung beans, fava beans, and garbanzo beans
    • Starchy vegetables: potatoes, yam, parsnips, seaweed products, agar, and carrageenan
    • Canned and processed meats
    • Dairy: milk, milk products, ice cream, whey powder, commercial yogurt, heavy cream, buttermilk, sour cream, and the following cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, processed cheeses, and cheese spreads
    • Canola oil, commercial mayonnaise, commercial ketchup, margarine, baking powder, and balsamic vinegar
    • Candy, chocolate, carob
    - as sourced from WebMD. One might note that this cuts out a vast swath of vegetarian/vegan staples, while leaving organic meats untouched. And it's literally saved my life when it comes to Crohn's Disease - I've suffered no symptoms for years now. I respect where ethically-motivated vegans & vegetarians are coming from, but it isn't for me. Tried to be vegetarian, lasted a couple weeks - and that was before I was diagnosed.

    P.S. It may be counterintuitive, but I would strongly encourage vegans & vegetarians to avoid processed soy products, as the soy industry is a massive cause of deforestation and habitat loss in South America. I would also avoid pleather if possible, because it's a petroleum product. Not trying to point fingers here tho, because it's impossibly to truly "consume ethically" under the current economic system.
     
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  7. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    I'm vegan because I agree with the scriptures cited: "be kind to animals, treating them with the utmost dignity and respect,"
     
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  8. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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    I was born into a vegetarian family so have never been on a meat-eating diet. That means I can't report how it feels to be on the different diets but based on what people say, everyone's experience is different. Some people feel less healthy with the change, some no change at all, and some people experience immensely positive health changes.

    Though the religion I grew up in preaches vegetarianism (including no eggs), my parents became veg before joining Hinduism and now my choice to be vegetarian feels completely disattached to any religious influence. I feel passionate about being kind to animals as I have a lot of affection and empathy for them.

    What my religion does say though, is that animals are souls just like we are and they are on the same spiritual journey that we are on. Harming an animal brings on bad karma since it causes suffering to them. Animals do not exist so that we can lord power over them and use them as we please. My religion also teaches that certain foods cause particular reactions in the body and to the mind. Eating meat is supposed to lead to passion, which includes violence. It is not recommended for someone who wishes to lead a deeply spiritual lifestyle.
     
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  9. Madhuri

    Madhuri RF Goddess
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  10. Vinayaka

    Vinayaka devotee
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    This body became a vegetarian 40 years ago after being a fairly heavy meat eater the first 20 years of its life. At first it was a vow of one month, a personal experiment to see if it had any effect. It did, so I have remained a vegetarian. Later, all kinds of reasons to support the personal decision came along, including the religious ones found in Hinduism.
     
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  11. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I am considering going pescatarian, then gradually vegetarian with the goal of one day becoming vegan.

    My religion has traditionally been very 'liberal' when it comes to diet for the laity. We do not have a defined 'diet' in the sense of kosher or halal that is mandatory for all Catholics. This is regarded as a decision for the conscience of the faithful which each must determine for him or herself.

    While many monastic orders such as those based on the Rule of St. Benedict as well as the Carthusians, Cistercians and Order of Minims have made either Pescatarianism, Vegetarianism or Veganism part of the vows taken by monks or friars; the laity have only ever been obligated to abstain from meat on Holy Days and particularly solemn seasons of the year such as Lent or Good Friday. So there is a clear difference in what is expected of monks/religious and lay persons when it comes to dieting.

    Nevertheless the most rigorous ascetic 'ideal' in dieting within my religion is the "black fast" and it is explicitly Vegan:


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Fast

    The Black Fast is a severe form of Catholic fasting...

    The details of the fast, as they were prior to the tenth century, are as follows:

    • No more than one meal per day was permitted
    • Flesh meat, eggs, butter, cheese and milk were forbidden
    • The meal was not allowed until after sunset
    • Alcohol was forbidden
    • During Holy Week, the meal consisted exclusively of bread, salt, herbs, and water
    Despite my discomfort with the severity of some of the austerities associated with this fast, I do admire the veganism.

    St. Francis di Paola (1416 – 1507) and his followers known as the 'Minim Fathers' observed this vegan fast ALL-YEAR round:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_of_Paola

    Saint Francis of Paola, O.M. (or: Francesco di Paola or Saint Francis the Fire Handler; 27 March 1416 – 2 April 1507) was an Italian mendicant friar and the founder of the Roman Catholic Order of Minims...

    The two major movements in this order were humility and non-violence. The word "Minim" refers to living as the smallest or least, or embracing humility, simplicity, and plainness. The call to non-violence and absence of cruelty was expressed through veganism, or not doing harm to any creature.[6]

    He followed a vegan diet, not only free from animal flesh, but also from all animal-derived foods, such as eggs and dairy products.[7] One of the vows of the order he founded was the abstinence from meat, fish, eggs, butter, cheese and milk.[8]

    There are some truly charming 'hagiographical fables' written by the disciples and later Minim followers of St. Francis which illustrate his 'vegan way of life'. See:


    There are several stories about his compassion for animals, and how he gave back life to animals that were killed to be eaten.[11] For example, a biographer writes: “Francis had a favorite trout that he called ‘Antonella.’ One day, one of the priests, who provided religious services, saw the trout swimming about in his pool. To him it was just a delicious dish, so he caught it and took it home, tossing it into the frying pan. Francis missed ‘Antonella’ and realized what had happened. He asked one of his followers to go to the priest to get it back. The priest, annoyed by this great concern for a mere fish, threw the cooked trout on the ground, shattering it into several pieces. The hermit sent by Francis gathered up the broken pieces in his hands and brought them back to Francis. Francis placed the pieces back in the pool and, looking up to Heaven and praying, said: ‘Antonella, in the name of Charity, return to life.’ The trout immediately became whole and swam joyously around his pool as if nothing had happened. The friars and the workers who witnessed this miracle were deeply impressed at the saint’s amazing powers.”

    St. Francis also raised his pet lamb, Martinello, from the dead after it had been eaten by workmen. “Being in need of food, the workmen caught and slaughtered Francis’ pet lamb, Martinello, roasting it in their lime kiln. They were eating when the Saint approached them, looking for his lamb. They told him they had eaten it, having no other food. He asked what they had done with the fleece and the bones. They told him they had thrown them into the furnace. Francis walked over to the furnace, looked into the fire and called ‘Martinello, come out!’ The lamb jumped out, completely untouched, bleating happily on seeing his master.”[12]

    St. Francis Paola called the animals by their names even after their lives had ended. He apparently believed they continued to exist after their deaths


    While the miracles themselves are obviously fanciful, I regard the morals inherent in these little fables about St. Francis to be very poignant.

     
    #11 Vouthon, Jun 2, 2016
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  12. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    Oh, this too...

    While it doesn't strictly refer to vegetarianism/veganism, I do admire St. Thomas More's powerfully expressed opposition to animal hunting/cruelty to animals.

    He wrote a Latin poem *from the perspective* of a slain rabbit in the early 1500s which I find very moving:


    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...nNAhVJAcAKHQifAEkQ6AEIJDAB#v=onepage&q&f=true


    "...Comments of a Rabbit Which, after eluding a weasel, fell into nets spread by hunters

    The weasel I did escape by darting through an opening off to one side,
    but - alas for me, miserable creature - then I rushed into the hunting nets of men.
    Now I cannot save my life or win quick death.
    They are saving me, alas, only to throw me to the ravening hounds.
    Now, while the hounds tear my body to pieces with their wicked teeth,
    a man looks on and smiles at the bloodshed. Insensate breed, more savage than any beast,
    to find cruel amusement in bitter slaughter..."



    And likewise his arguments against hunting animals in "Utopia":



    Saint Thomas More (1478-1535)

    English statesman, humanist and Roman Catholic Saint; Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII


    Extracts from Utopia:

    "...From thence the beasts be brought in, killed and clean washed by the hands of their bondsmen. For they permit not their free citizens to accustom themselves to the killing of beasts, through the use whereof they think clemency, the gentlest affection of our nature, by little and little to decay and perish.

    The Utopians feel that slaughtering our fellow creatures gradually destroys the sense of compassion, which is the finest sentiment of which our human nature is capable.

    What delight can there be, and not rather displeasure, in hearing the barking and howling of dogs? Or what greater pleasure is there to be felt when a dog followeth a hare than when a dog followeth a dog? For one thing is done in both, that is to say, running, if thou hast pleasure therein. But if the hope of slaughter and the expectation of tearing in pieces the beast doth please thee, thou shouldst rather be moved with pity to see an innocent hare murdered by a dog: the weak of the stronger, the fearful of the fierce, the innocent of the cruel and unmerciful. Therefore all this exercise of hunting, as a thing unworthy to be used of free men, the Utopians have rejected to their butchers, to the which craft . . . they appoint their bondmen. For they count hunting the lowest, the vilest and most abject part of butchery, and the other parts of it more profitable and more honest, as bringing much more commodity, in that they kill beasts only for necessity, whereas the hunter seeketh nothing but pleasure of the woeful beast's slaughter and murder. The which pleasure in beholding death they think doth rise in the very beasts, either of a cruel affection of mind or else to be changed in continuance of time into cruelty by long use of so cruel a pleasure..."
     
    #12 Vouthon, Jun 2, 2016
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  13. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    The seemingly popular notion that treating something with dignity and respect equates to not eating it is something that I find quite bothersome, honestly. There is perhaps no more sacred of an act than something being transformed into the very flesh of one's body. It's an epitome of connection and relatedness - a very literal estis, ergo sum. With disconnection from food production methods, that intimacy has gotten lost in much of my culture. And along with that intimacy, the importance of treating all things we kill to live with respect during their lives. I do not believe this should be about animals at all. To an animist, plants are people too, and there is no "ethical high ground" obtained by not eating animals. There is simply a loss of relationship there, and one that is ultimately unnecessary. I am honored to have Corn Spirit embedded in the carbon isotopes of "my" (is it really?) body, to have Cow Spirit within "my" bones.
     
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  14. BSM1

    BSM1 What? Me worry?

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    But...but...Jesus was a meat eater.
     
  15. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I understand your position and I agree with you regarding the impersonality of modern food production methods - however from a biological perspective plants are not "people" but animals do have brains and consciousness.

    So I personally admire people who have the "stomach" - literally - not to eat any living, sentient creature and to live, as far as possible, without harming any within due bounds.

    It is an entirely personal decision but I for one have the utmost respect and admiration for veggies/vegans who try to live their lives according to the principle of non-violence.

    And I should add that the animal that has been "eaten" and "devoured" may not agree with you regarding the sacredness of the act - though natural on account of the food chain - that led to its painful death, were it able to communicate its suffering in language....

    To this end there are sayings attributed to Jesus that circulated among vegetarian, Ebionite circles in Early Christianity and found there way into the Gospel of Thomas which argue that meat-eating - "eating what is dead" and "depending on a body" - is unenlightened:


    (11) Jesus said: This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away; and those who are dead are not alive, and those who are living will not die. In the days when you ate of what is dead, you made of it what is living. When you come into the light [of understanding], what will you do?

    (87) Jesus said: Wretched is the body which depends on a body, and wretched is the soul which depends on these two.


    From a commentary on this by Steven Davies:

    https://books.google.co.uk/books?id...NAhWhK8AKHVwCA_wQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q&f=false


    "...How does a body depend on a body? By eating it. A human body eats animal bodies for food. Therefore, a soul, we hear, is wretched if it depends on a carnivorous mode of life. This saying does not attack 'the body' itself, only a body that depends on meat for its sustenance. A vegetarian body is not one that depends on a body, so a soul dependent on it would not be wretched.

    The Gospel of Thomas contains at least one more saying that also comes from a vegetarian perspective, saying 11(c)...The reference to "when you ate dead things" is to the past and implies a changed present lifestyle wherein the people of the Gospel of Thomas no longer eat dead things. The process of digestion is what "you made them alive" means. Its reference to literal "dead things" consumed in the past contrasts with a future condition when an arrival into light will allow one, metaphorically, to 'eat living things'..."


    So it disagrees with the position you express in the above, and many Christians have in turn disagreed with this Thomasine/Ebionite/Nassene position expressed above, which goes to show the difference of personal opinion on this issue.

    Each to their own!
     
    #15 Vouthon, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  16. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein The Uncuckable
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    My thoughts exactly. Diet is ethically neutral, to me, as it's all the same.
    She's referring to the animist stance that all things are persons (in the philosophical sense), that plants are imbued with a consciousness of their own even if we don't understand it. And science is demonstrating that plants have consciousness. They have analogues to the nervous system, and plants have long been known to react to their environments and to communicate with each other. They even like certain forms of music (especially classical).

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-01-...may-forever-change-how-you-think-about-plants
     
  17. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    I understand your point that plants can respond to external stimuli through a vegetative cognate to a nervous system - but they do not posses brains that can produce actual consciousness like living animals or thought processes. Thus, from a strictly biological perspective they are not people.

    Now an animist is, of course, free to regard them as persons from a spiritual viewpoint but they are not persons in a biological or psychological sense under any scientifically/purely secular and logically recognised definition of personhood.

    Not all life is conscious life.
     
    #17 Vouthon, Jun 2, 2016
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  18. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein The Uncuckable
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    Did you even look at the article? Science is showing otherwise from what you think. Plants don't have a brain like we have, but they do have their own type of nervous system. Where is it set as a law that an organism must have a brain that is more similar to the human or mammalian brain to be able to facilitate consciousness (not "produce", because we don't know the exact relationship of consciousness and the brain)? That's a presumption and that's not how science works.

    "Plants are dynamic and highly sensitive organisms that actively and competitively forage for limited resources, both above and below ground; they accurately compute their circumstances, use sophisticated cost-benefit analysis, and take defined actions to mitigate and control diverse environmental insults.
    Plants are capable of a refined recognition of self and non-self and are territorial in behaviour.
    This new view sees plants as information processing organisms with complex communication throughout the individual plant.
    Plants are as sophisticated in behaviour as animals but their potential has been masked because it operates on time scales many orders of magnitude less than that operating in animals."
    http://www.linv.org/about-us/

    It was actually scientific findings, along with my own experiences, that led me to call myself an animist (it was really something I always was). It's not just a "spiritual viewpoint". There is no division of "mundane" and "spiritual" in animism. All things are viewed as spiritual in animism, as it's a holistic worldview.
     
  19. Vouthon

    Vouthon Dominus Deus tuus ignis consumens est
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    If you believe that plants are "people" and are in favour of "eating people" I would say that's morally reprehensible and worthy of life imprisonment.

    If Dolphins are ever accorded personhood status one day, it will certainly be illegal to eat them.

    One is not permitted under any humane legal system - even primitive ones - to murder, cannibalize or grievously harm "persons".

    Thankfully, no legal system recognises plants as "people" and nor should they.
     
    #19 Vouthon, Jun 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  20. Saint Frankenstein

    Saint Frankenstein The Uncuckable
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    I realize that the idea is hard to digest for many people (har har) but I strive for consistency in my worldview. Most people seem to be operating on a varying levels of cognitive dissonance. Again, I'm referring to personhood in terms of the philosophical concept, not legal definitions, which are arbitrary and all over the place. After all, humans certainly kill other human beings with the blessing of the law in various circumstances, so even that is not absolute under the law.

    It's simply recognizing that all lifeforms survive by consuming other lifeforms. I see no reason to believe that mammals, fish, reptiles, birds and insects are categorically "more alive" than plants, bacteria and fungi. The human body harbors billions of little living beings within itself, itself. They're all living organisms and all of them struggle to survive in the grand drama of life. But all have to survive by killing, consuming and taking the resources of other living organisms. That's just how it is. You can't escape it, unless you're dead (but even that's not a definite, lol). You can't escape it by being a vegan or a vegetarian. Your very existence is going to cause the death of other lifeforms, regardless. I choose to just accept it instead of viewing it as some awful thing, which leads to a sort of world-denying dualism, which is quite depressing.
     
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