I have decided to discuss a topic that seems to me easy, and not very important. On the other hand, I am not certain that any topic could be easy and not very important.
It is about vegetarianism, when people refuse to use animal meat for food. They list many reasons for that. Some of those people are part of nowadays louder and more radical organizations for protection of animals. Those that listened to the news in the past couple of years could hear how much trouble they caused for the poor fur traders and many others that used animal fur to protect themselves from the cold of Canadian winters. Even though the most extreme remembers of these organizations went far from what’s reasonable and normal, and started attributing human characteristics to the animals, I won’t be discussing them now.
Others support their refusal of eating meat with medical reasons. Since I am not qualified to discuss medical matters, I will not talk about them either. Although I have to admit I am starting to like their arguments more.
Third group of people- and they will be the subject of our discussion- is the group of people that base their vegetarianism on religious beliefs. That is a reason that requires a little deeper consideration.
My advice to the parents and others whose children or any other members of the family eat different food and refuse to sit with everyone else at the dinner table for “religious reasons” is to get concerned and to take that more seriously and to inquire who are the friends of their children and to make sure that their children are not lured into and seized by some oriental sect, Moon’s, or hare Krishna or who knows which cult. Those ideas of sinful meat eating are usually a sign that a child went astray in that direction. If that were the end of it, I wouldn’t be worried, but my experience has shown me that is not the end of it and those heartless and unscrupulous hunters of human souls go much further in the enslavement of the inexperienced and weak. Their ultimate goal is to master the soul of their unfortunate victim, so that he or she would be the slave in the jungle of the big city and collect money in any way possible for their distant and rich masters.
One can deduct from this an even more crucial question: how much do we care about religious upbringing of our children, how willing and able are we to fill their souls with the beliefs of our pious faith so that others would not fill them with their beliefs that are strange and bizarre to us?
Anyhow, there are no religious restrictions for using animal meat as food for us whose roots are in Judeo-Christian religious and cultural milieu. I don’t know if I need to explain that we are not talking about lent here. That is an absolutely different topic.
The very first page, the first chapter of the Holy Scriptures-the Bible tells us how God created “the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind.” (Genesis 1:21) And then “God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good” (Genesis 1:25) all that He made says in the Holy Scriptures.
If all that God made is good does it automatically mean that all is good for us as food? We are given the answer to that question just a few chapters further. After the flood, and after, by God’s order, Noah saved all the animals according to their kind, God told him that “the fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.” (Genesis 9:2) “Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything” (Genesis 9:3) God told them.
We would need a lot of time to go through all God’s regulations regarding this question. In the Leviticus we can find listed all the animals that are for food as well as the ones that are not for food.
The New Testament is even more liberal in regards to this matter. In the Old Testament we can find clean and unclean animals, the ones that we are allowed and not allowed to use. We learn from the example of St. Apostle Peter how God annulled that distinction between clean and unclean and how all that He made was good again. (Acts 10:10-16)
There is one more problem: and that is our inordinacy; I’m not going to use the more unfavourable phrase.”There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) as the Wiseman from the Old Testament said. If we went back to order and did things as our ancestors used to do, and followed the rules of lent, knowing when to eat meat and when not to take it we would not need medical exams and dieting. We would definitely be healthier. We lost the sense of order, Lenten days are the same as not Lenten, and Sundays are the same as Mondays. We realize that God is punishing our gluttony with various illnesses.
God summons us to tolerance. “The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them” (Romans 14:3) St. Apostle Paul teaches us. But what we need to clarify today is what St. Apostle Paul ensures us “that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.” (Romans 14:15)
I would like to end this with St. Apostle Paul’s call to all of us: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10-31)