The COP18 Climate Negotiations in Doha resulted in an extremely weak agreement. It becomes more and more evident that the politicians constantly fail to solve the climate crisis – the leaders of the developed countries are out of touch with reality, they are more interested in short-term profit than in saving lives. Since they are the worst polluters and have the most money, this is blocking the whole process.
Christians cannot sit and wait for these slow negotiations to come somewhere, we have to take the initiative. And many churches are indeed talking a lot about climate action and some are even making plans concerning how to reduce their own emissions. This is great, of course. However, my experience that both the church and society as a whole is talking very little about one of the most effective climate actions: becoming vegetarian or vegan.
As the video clip above shows, the current Western meat consumption is wasting resources and destroys the environment. 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy production. There is nothing as effective, simple and cheap to save the climate than becoming vegetarian or vegan. This is why the UN is calling for “a global shift towards a vegan diet”, something that would also increase our health and, of course, create better lives for God’s beautiful animals.
Still, many Christians who know this continue to eat meat every day, often pointing to Rom 14:2: “One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” Of course, this is a bad excuse: climate change didn’t exist in Paul’s time, and he is discussing vegetarianism on ritual grounds, not environmental. Let’s pretend that all the meat in your country was poisonous. Would you continue to eat it with referrence to Rom 14:2? Of course not. In the real world, meat is indeed poisonous – for the planet.
If you don’t want to become vegetarian or vegan immediately, at least start to have a meat-free day every weak and scale up after that. Tell your friends and church members about how harmful meat is for the environment, spread the youtube clips above and ask your church to become meat- and diary-free. And last but not least, pray for a tremendous global outpouring of God’s Spirit that will draw us closer to the heart of the Father and His love for His creation. Time is running out, the planet is getting warmer and warmer. We need a radical vegetarian church revolution, and we need it now.
Uh…did not Jesus feed the multitudes with bread and fish?
He even showed the disciples where to cast their nets for fish.
Isn’t it becoming a bit legalistic to eat only vegetables?
Thanks for your comment!
As mentioned above, climate change did not exist in Jesus’ time, nor did industrial meat production, overfishing etc. If all fish were toxic, would we point to the fact that Jesus fed people with fish as an argument for eating toxic fish and die? Of course not. Now, today meat – especially beef and pork but also chicken and fish – are toxic for the planet.
Is it legalistic not to eat dogs and cats? Because no one does in the Western world, and if someone dares to do it s/he will recieve some furious protests. It’s not more legalistic to stop eating meat than to refuse to put poison in people’s drinking water. Both destroys the environment, and thus should be avoided by Christians.
Personally I don’t think in Jesus’ time that the pollution was any better.
As for eating dogs and cats, yeah I I do know of Christians in Northeast India who regularly consume them! They quite enjoy their food and it does not bother their conscience in any way!
With children around me, I do refrain from imposing on them to go vegetarian only, though I do encourage a bigger dose of vegetables and fruits.
Thanks for your answer!
In fact, pollution was almost non-existent in Jesus’ time. Farming was totally organic, no chemicals were used, and the livestock population were much smaller, thus producing less methane. The environmental problems we see today, with climate change as the biggest one, are products of the industrial revolution in the 19th century.
Dogs and cats are eaten in Asia, yes, but not in the Western world. My point is that if you do not view yourself as a legalist for not eating dogs and cats, you shouldn’t view yourself as a legalist if you stop eating cows and pigs. Not putting poison in people’s drinking water is not legalism, it’s environmental care. Not eating meat and teaching kids to do the same is not legalism, it’s environmental care.
God bless you!
Just curious, if pollution were non-existent in Jesus’ time then why did He have so many sick people to heal? They all should have been healthy and happy people living in a ‘clean’ world.
Diseases and injuries are produced by many other things than pollution. 2000 years ago most people lived in extreme poverty, war was usual in the Roman Empire (which included Israel, were uprisings were usual) and medecine was very underdeveloped. This is why everyone weren’t healthy and happy. Factories, chemicals and industrialism didn’t exist, and thus no pollution. Today however, we have these things, and thus need to decrease environmental degradation as much as possible. Becoming vegetarian is a good way of doing this.
Where did you get your source of information that everyone was in extreme poverty 2000 years ago? I don’t quite agree with historians these days – I don’t really know if the findings that they have is the truth.
I still caution against becoming vegetarian because that is exactly what these people would want others to be trapped into believing that it is the ‘healthier’ lifestyle.
I did not say that everyone were poor but that most were. As Hans Rosling shows above, all countries were poor countries in the beginning of the 19th century. In Ancient times, Roman GDP per capita was between 400 and 800 dollars, dependent on what region: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_regions_by_past_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita A clear third world country by modern standards.
I really recommend you to become vegetarian. It won’t hurt you, but it will have huge impacts for the better for the environment. Few things are so effective in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions than becoming vegetarian.
If you are talking about pollution and better care for the environment, I do agree. But if you are saying that eating meat is toxic, I don’t quite agree. There have been a lot of efforts done to produce better quality animals for food.
As for going vegetarian, it is likely that those who produce vegetables will take the opportunity of demand to hike up prices. My way of living is to buy meat and vegetables that are the most economical and nutritious. By eating only vegetables, I lose the flexibility of maintaining my budget. Vegetables are also very seasonal, and supplies can be very low in times of natural disasters. Further, I have heard cases of strict vegetarians who contracted stomach cancer. It will not harm me to go vegetarian, but it is not practical.
Sorry if I was unclear, I didn’t mean that meat is toxic in the literal sense. Based on my discussion about how it worsens climate change, I meant that just as we wouldn’t eat meat if it was toxic, we shouldn’t eat it since it is “toxic” for the planet, i.e. fuels climate change.
Vegetables are generally cheaper than meat, so you shouldn’t worry about prices. I don’t know hos often your country is stricken by natural disasters, but I have never experienced sudden price changes, ever. Furthermore, your health will increse if you go veg. That vegetarian food gives stomach cancer is a disputed statement that is hard to prove, see http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2011/08/04/do-vegetarians-have-increased-risk-of-stomach-cancer What we do know however is that red meat gives cancer, http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/excessive-meateating-kills-45000-each-year-2110289.html So of these two options, vegetarian diet decreases risk for cancer the most.
God bless you!
and I’m sorry to jump on your conservation which is on well I was searching about the same thing too. and I find my self in this. now please tell me Michael, is it a sin to eat meat by your understanding? I
Holy Spirit in me is my health, what I eat or don’t eat is not going to make any healthier! But for the health of the unbelievers around me, I can eat whatever is deemed by their conscience as ‘healthy’.
In my city, we are very dependent on imports for vegetables because of the lack of farmland. When in rainy season, the supplies decrease and prices go up. In this recent typhoon that hit Philippines, the supplies of bananas got hit. Lack of edible vegetables is also caused by many farmers using pesticides in their crops. I suppose that is why people grow organic, but they charge much higher prices.
You may also want to consider what Curry Blake says about cancer – a demon that feeds on the flesh.
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I have decided to become vegan and a charismatic Christian pastor is concerned that I am going to be led astray by the New Age movement.
I do not find anything in scripture that justifies the extreme cruelty to animals found in factory farms. Also I saw the film Cowspiracy and learned about the environmental impact of the cattle and dairy industry. Also I find that my ability to digest animal based fat has decreased.
Hi Natasha! God bless you, keep caring for creation. Obviously, as long as you don’t engage in the new age movement, you’re not gonna be led astray by the new age movement. It doesn’t matter what you eat. Rom 14:3 makes it clear that we shouldn’t judge each other based on what we eat, so I think the pastor is doing a mistake here. His argument is basically like saying that if you eat meat, you may be led astray by the satanist movement, since they also eat meat!
As mentioned above, not many realize how different the modern industrialized foor production is from the local, organic agricultural society Jesus lived in, and so they don’t realize that our extreme meat eating is destroying the planet. I’m happy that your eyes have been opened concerning this though and I wish you all the best in your journey with the Lord.
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