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Not Eating Meat

Hello, my name is X. I am 15 and live in Texas. Just so you know a little about where I'm coming from I'll explain a little. First off I live with my mom, 19 year old brother, and 7 year old sister. My dad lives a few streets away. My parents got divorced about a year and a half ago because ever since I can remember, my dad was a liar (still is) and abusive to my mom and my oldest brother who is 24 and has his own family now. I try to avoid my dad as much as possible and know that everything he says to me is probably a lie, which it usually is, even though he is a lot more under control now than he's ever been. Neither of my parents have steady boy/girl friends, although I wish they both would. My sister is evil and is very big for her age, or maybe I'm just small, but she can beat me up, and does when she gets angry at me, which is always. I'm a Christian with my whole heart, only I don't attend church because I have different beliefs from different denominations and there is no ONE church that fits them all, and also because no one else in my family is willing to take me. I am a punk kid very much so, and have very nice friends, but I have been hurt by my ex-friends and boyfriends very VERY VERY many times in the past. That's not my problem though. None of this is, just giving you a little background. Well anyhow, I have a friend I met a long time ago and we've kept in touch through the years. Well now he is 21 years old, and in college, and we talk almost every night online still. His name is Y. Ever since I met Y he was always interesting to me because he is very dedicated hardcore punk and vegan. (meaning he doesn't eat meat, or dairy, or eggs, or anything that involved an animal in anyway, not even honey, he won't buy any clothes made from animals, or any products tested on animals, and so forth.) Usually me and Y don't talk about the fact that I eat chicken (ONLY chicken for the past 4 years) and dairy and eggs and might have something made out of leather some place, and that he hates that. He knows what I do and I know what he does and we just leave it at that. Well earlier tonight we were online talking and the topic came up because I was telling him how we were discussing "Is killing 100% right, or 100% wrong, there is no in the middle." in my English class and everyone was saying it was totally wrong, except for animals and criminals, and I was telling them they were being hypocrites. And Y was like, "Well you are all murderers and rapists in my opinion." and I said, "Well technically at SOME point in your life you have eaten meat, so you are considered a murderer too, it doesn't just wash away, and I don't RAPE animals." and he said, "You rape a chicken when you eat an egg." Ouch, that really hit hard. In it's own little way, it's true. Maybe you don't see it, but I do and it hurt. Anyhow, Y is offline now, but I can't help but think about this. I was reading some websites about being Vegan and it seems SOOOOO difficult to someone who's not used to that. I wouldn't be able to buy the toothpaste I like, or eat Jello, or eat CHICKEN (I adore chicken) and I'd have to throw away my favorite shoes, and toss most of my makeup, and start going to the organic food stores that are way off in another town, and my family would have to convert as well to having to buy two kinds of food and such... and no more eating anything I want when we go out... yet I ask myself, "X, is it better to save those animals and the punishment they have to endure for no good reason?" and I keep realizing it is better for me to conform. But.... I need some advice here. I feel in my heart that God created each man and woman and animal equally, and that NONE of God's children should be treated like that, but yet it's such a big price to offer to him whenever I really don't have a problem with eating a chicken sandwich. I'm confused. -


Hi X

first of all, perhaps I could shed a little light just by telling you my own personal feelings on this. I’m sort of a vegetarian because, in my growing age, I have started to take care of my body more because I am no longer in the days of my youth when I felt my body was totally expendable. I have started seeing the signs of age and noticed how vegetarians seem to look younger. I am also living in a country where I do not trust the meat so much. The bible also says it is healthier not to eat meat (Daniel 1:11). Besides that, I also have this theory concerning the eating of an animal which has had a “bad” life. I heard of many people who have worked at a chicken farm and decided they never again want to eat a chicken. Just imagine you are a chicken stuck in a cubicle, in the darkness, your entire life, never being able to walk around, stretch your legs, enjoy the sun, talk with your pals outside and run around etc. I believe that eating such a suffered animal could transfer the suffering to you so that you might eventually get a disease or something. You are essentially paying a butcher who pays the distributor who pays the farmer to force the chicken to live such a life, so that you can eat it. You could be absorbing the bad Karma too, something like that. That is my quick speal for vegetarianism. On the other hand, this is a natural process. Animals in the animal kingdom eat each other. True, we don’t have to because our bodies enable us to be full vegetarians OR full meat eaters, but this is part of the process of life. An animal dies, its carcass lies in the grass, and the worms spring up to eat it. Otherwise, it sure would be stinky around here. Also, for example, wolves work to filter out the weakest of the sick of herds of grazing buffalo etc. They discovered that, after substantially thinning out the wolf population, that many herds became subject to all sorts of diseases and were dying off. They discovered that the wolf fulfilled a role of thinning out herds of weaker and sick cattle etc. This process keeps the herd healthier. Each species (well, let us exclude ourselves) works in harmony with nature and killing off one species could result in the overpopulation of another and the whole system starts to go out of balance. That is why scientists worry why frogs are starting to die in large numbers on the planet. Frogs are near the bottom of the food chain and are sensitive to changes and it is an indication for scientists that the entire system may start to be thrown out of balance due to our destroying this planet and that it will eventually hit us. As chief Seattle once said, “Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will they realise that money cannot be eaten.” But enough of all that. We are part of this system and I do not believe it is ethically wrong to eat an animal. The bible says it is okay for us to eat food. It is the suffering part that I think could be wrong. This is why I try to eat free range cattle. I think it is better to eat wild game hunted in the forest than to eat factory produced cattle.

That is my opinion on the matter. Now to your friend. To him (or for you), I would give the following lines from the bible:

1CO 10:23 "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is constructive. [24] Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.

1CO 10:25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, [26] for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it."

1CO 10:27 If some unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. [28] But if anyone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, both for the sake of the man who told you and for conscience' sake -- [29] the other man's conscience, I mean, not yours. For why should my freedom be judged by another's conscience? [30] If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?

1CO 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. [32] Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-- [33] even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. [1] Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

<That could be for you in your decision making. Now for your friend:>

JAS 4:11 Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. [12] There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?

<Or, as Christ said:>

MT 7:1 "Do not judge, or you too will be judged. [2] For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

MT 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? [4] How can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? [5] You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.

<and for you again>

1CO 8:1 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. [2] The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. [3] But the man who loves God is known by God.

1CO 8:4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that an idol is nothing at all in the world and that there is no God but one. [5] For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"), [6] yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

1CO 8:7 But not everyone knows this. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat such food they think of it as having been sacrificed to an idol, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. [8] But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

1CO 8:9 BE CAREFUL, HOWEVER, THAT THE EXERCISE OF YOUR FREEDOM DOES NOT BECOME A STUMBLING BLOCK TO THE WEAK. [10] For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? [11] So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. [12] When you sin against your brothers in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. [13] Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.

1CO 9:3 This is my defense to those who sit in judgment on me. [4] Don't we have the right to food and drink? [5] Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas? [6] Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?

1CO 9:12 But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.

1CO 9:15 But I have not used any of these rights. And I am not writing this in the hope that you will do such things for me. I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of this boast. [16] Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! [17] If I preach voluntarily, I have a reward; if not voluntarily, I am simply discharging the trust committed to me. [18] What then is my reward? Just this: that in preaching the gospel I may offer it free of charge, and so not make use of my rights in preaching it.

1CO 9:19 Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. [20] To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. [21] To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God's law but am under Christ's law), so as to win those not having the law. [22] To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all so that by all possible means I might save some. [23] I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.


< Therefore, I believe your friend is not right in judging you. If he has beliefs and convictions and acts according to them, it is his decision and he is answering to his own conscience. If he has such fine convictions, I think it is okay to “preach” to others, telling them about his feelings of sorrow let us say for the animals, but he should still respect others’ opinions. If he feels others will suffer judgement in the second life for certain actions they commit now, he may warn them (as we are commanded to) out of love for them, but it makes no sense to judge them for, “we all answer to our own actions”. I think a person who passes judgement in a certain way may be setting himself up over others and catering to his own pride rather than acting for the sincere betterment of others. This is selfish judgement and does not necessarily achieve any good. I find that, many times, young people get to a certain age and ‘discover’ that they have an opinion and become instantly judgmental and think they are experts. Age often (but unfortunately not always) wears down such characteristics.

For you though, if you feel that these actions, for which you are fully “justified”, may cause him to fall or cause him to become somehow more ‘turned off’ to the gospel, you may consider, for his sake, on curbing your actions. This is a decision you have to make and would reflect your love and service to Christ: a voluntary sacrifice on your part in serving the gospel and helping to spread the love of God and Christ to where it might not be yet.

If on the other hand you feel that it would not harm the gospel and that he is only judging you out of his own pride, I would tell him it is none of his business. Something like that.

Please feel free to ask any other questions and I hope I have addressed your question correctly.

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