Today we are offering some heavier material, not to take a side but to pontificate and find out where you stand. Is one religion more suited for vegetarians and vegans? Does religion have a role at all?
Is Veganism a faith? Is it faith that drives compassion? Is it individual values, or is it as simple geography…in terms of where we were born? Is it the chicken or the egg… hopefully neither. However, the question often comes up as to where religions stands when it comes to lifestyle choices of the diet. How do vegans and vegetarians fit in this conversation; is there any connection at all?
Vegetarianism has a strong relationship with several religions of ancient India: Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism have foundations in leafy goodness. In Jainism, being a vegetarian is absolutely mandatory. In Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism it is advocated by some influential scriptures and religious authorities. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints followers would be nearly vegan based on Doctrine and Covenants 89.
In contrast, if you grew up with the Torah, then as a young Jew you would have observed kosher laws. These rules state that it is permissible to humanely slaughter kosher animals according to ritual (this includes cows, turkey, chickens, and some fish). The majority of animals are not considered kosher.
By comparison, in the Abrahamic religions of Islam, Christianity and Judaism vegetarianism is not promoted by mainstream authorities. Like any religious group there are small groups with their own lifestyle rituals. However, some Christian biblical scholars feel that man was vegetarian until after the great flood based on interpretations from genesis Chapter 9.
This author stakes no claim in this argument, but asks the reader to entertain the thought. Some vegetarian based groups have asserted that Jesus was in fact a vegetarian. Jesus has often been connected to the Nazarene Essenes in ancient texts. This Jewish religious group was famously vegetarian, and donned long hair since they had taken the vow of the Nazarene. Jesus coincidentally had long hair and ties to the group according to some. We are not endorsing a side, but it is good food for thought?
It is clear that one’s choice in faith can determine their likelihood for a vegan lifestyle based on some of the ancient religions based out of West Asia? However, do
vegans and vegetarians tend to lean to a particular religion because of their advocacy for animal rights? Ultimately, I believe it does come down to vegetarians, vegans, and people of all faiths just deciding that it is more about what it does to the animal versus what it is does for the individual.
Some even argue that being vegetarian or vegan is more than a lifestyle or philosophy. Some Veg advocates feel that veganism a religion. The majority of the population denies this though because religion as defined by Merriam-Webster is something that, “relates to or manifest faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity.” This is not something that is typically seen in the vegan lifestyle, at least at the beginning.
Although, some long time vegans proclaim that as their veganism deepens, they begin to realize that it is an original, disciplined, yet rewarding spiritual journey that transforms the participant as well society as a whole, as a religion is intended. Where do you stand on this issue?