My Christian vegan friends ask me from time to time, how my Christian conscience allows me to eat animal products, since in their view, Jesus was a vegan. Well, my answer is simple. I don’t believe Jesus was a vegan and I’ll explain why I have this personal opinion below (and then why it really doesn’t matter in the end), but first, I want to say that I support the strict vegan lifestyle choice for those who can do it the right way and the healthy way, like my friend Tim Van Orden.
I tried (more than once) going vegan and it just didn’t work for me. My physiology really struggles with it and my personal health requires some animal products. Because I feel strongly against the modern day farming practices, I would go vegan if I could, just to vote with my shopping cart, so I support that choice and if you are called to that lifestyle, I say go for it as long as your physiology agrees with it.
I also appreciate the passion that hard core vegans have for their cause. They have lots of really good points and sound concepts and as a result of talking to many of them, I have changed the way I eat animal products in many ways. First, I eat WAY less than I used to. I only eat them when my body is craving it, instead of every time I want to, like I did in the past. Second, I eat only grass fed or wild red meat from local sustainable farms, free range organic fowl, wild fish (preferably from Alaska), raw milk products from grass fed cows and organic free range eggs.
What I find curious however, is the vehement judgement and condemnation I see from some vegans toward omnivores. The foul language, insults, toxic hatred and even threats are coming from a place I just don’t understand. I feel really sorry for them and I hope they can resolve their issues before their anger takes an irreversible toll on their health.
As a Christian, I strive to follow the teachings of Christ and when He told us to judge no one and love everyone, I take that seriously, so I still love the “militant” vegans and hope they can find a way to replace their aggression with peace – especially the kind of peace “Which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) like I have found in Christ.
Speaking of Christ (A.K.A. Jesus), I believe he supported and even promoted the eating of animal products. I also believe however, that man was originally created as raw vegans. Sin, the flood, etc. changed things drastically though and as a result, God gave mankind specific instructions (in dozens of verses) on how we should kill animals, sacrifice them, eat meat, cook meat, etc. in the Old Testament. God even killed the first animals Himself, to make clothes for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). Genesis 9:1-4 seems pretty clear to me on whether we are supposed to eat meat or not. This passage also indicates that mankind had remained vegan up until this point.
Then in the New Testament, Jesus supported and even promoted fishing (John 21:6), personally fed fish to thousands (Matthew 14:18-21) and actually ate fish Himself (Luke 24: 41-43). These are only a few of the many verses on eating animal products in the New Testament and if I were to list all the verses referencing God’s instructions on meat in the Old Testament, this post would be ridiculously long.
As a Christian, I base my faith on scripture and accept the whole Bible and every verse in it as God breathed and God inspired. Otherwise my faith has no real foundation. Some vegans suspect that ancient texts were left out of the Bible by accident or through sinister intentions, or that translations were altered and edited and therefore we don’t really have a valid scripture today like we think we do. They think that all the verses I mentioned above were mistranslated or that other manuscripts that support their cause should have been included in the Bible in place of the ones that are in there now.
Based on 1 Timothy 3:16, I do not believe that God would allow Satan to twist His word and cause certain manuscripts to be edited, dropped, unused, mis-translated and/or swapped in order to land upon the final version we have today. That would make it no different than any other religion’s text. I either have to take the Bible as a whole, or not at all. I can’t pick and choose my verses based on what I think should be there, or my faith has no real base.
I have to believe that the Bible we have now is the Bible we are intended to be reading and that God is victorious over man and Satan in keeping it the way He wants it. Otherwise, I would have to assume the following:
1. God isn’t powerful enough to preserve His Word as the version He intended for us to read.
2. God isn’t wise enough to figure out how to preserve His Word.
3. God has enough wisdom and power to preserve His Word, but doesn’t care enough anymore to preserve it.
4. God had both the wisdom and power to preserve His Word, but purposely decided to mislead us by allowing man/Satan to change it.
5. God wasn’t smart enough to anticipate that man/Satan would change His Word.
So, based on scripture and my belief in it, I conclude without a shadow of doubt that:
Some people ask, “If Jesus is God and God is all about love and peace, then how can He allow killing of any animals?” I agree that God is a loving and compassionate God. I also believe that His ways are higher than ours and that we aren’t able to understand them. In the Bible, God struck down thousands of people and animals in numerous passages through wars, plagues, and even through his own angels. In the end times, He will do that again. His judgement is just, and everything He does is done to perfect His kingdom, no matter how we define and judge His actions with our small limited minds.
In the coming millennial kingdom, I believe scripture indicates that there will be no more killing and the humans inhabiting the earth at that time will once again be vegans and will all be given the physiology to thrive as vegans, so there will be no more debate. Until then however, I appreciate healthy candor and respect differing opinions on the topic.
The bottom line is that some Christian vegans really want Jesus to be a vegan because it would validate their position in many ways. Most Christian omnivores don’t really care whether He was or wasn’t. I don’t really care either, because frankly, it doesn’t matter. What really does matter is believing in Him and putting our faith in Him because He truly is the only way.
None of us can be sustainable enough, good enough, righteous enough, or virtuous enough to save ourselves. Jesus let His own blood be shed and God allowed His only begotten Son to die in order to save us and create an easy way to salvation without the need for any other sacrifices. Believing in Him and accepting His free gift of salvation seems too easy for some and too simple for most, but that’s all it takes and that’s all that really matters.
So why am I talking about this in a fitness blog? To make the point that physical fitness and great health is good, but what really matters is your insides. Not just your organs – which is also important – but your soul. Jesus does more than just saves souls. He brings peace, unconditional love and true joy that is beyond explanation. I really feel like I have it all – the physical fitness, the great health and the fulfilled soul. This is why I am completely content every day no matter what I have and no matter what is going on. I want this amazing experience for everyone else on the planet too, so I can’t help but talk about it.