Vegan argument misses the point of Lent

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Amidst the insanity proposed by our current administration to eliminate the practical and scientific definition of woman and their myriad missteps and oversteps (they don’t really have the mandate they think they have), I sometimes miss the general tomfoolery that the left engages in on a more mundane level.

I came upon an amusing example of that when I read Gil Dexter’s attempt to conflate being vegan with being a good Christian from February 11th in this publication.

It’s always funny when a Leftist tries to bend Christianity to their side. They always get things wrong and completely miss the more important elements of the issue at hand due to their superficial understanding of the faith and their cynical attempt to use it for their own, often non-Christian purposes.

Mr. Dexter starts off by erroneously proclaiming that Christians abstain from “eating meat and dairy in remembrance of Jesus’ 40 days of reflection.” It is true that some traditions used to ban meat and dairy for all of Lent, but nowadays traditional denominations only abstain from meat on Fridays, not for all 40 days. Many newer denominations don’t observe Lent at all. However long or frequent the abstentions are, they are not done to merely remember “Jesus’ 40 days of reflection.”

What Mr. Dexter is referring to is that the number of days in Lent is taken from Jesus spending 40 days in the desert at the beginning of his public ministry. It wasn’t mere “reflection,” since, as God incarnate, he didn’t really need to think things through. Rather, it was a severe test of his humanity, to ensure it was disciplined for the rigorous spiritual task he was about to undertake, which culminated in him being tortured and executed in order to redeem humankind for its sins.

Jesus certainly didn’t intend his 40-day sojourn in the desert to prompt us to think about giving up meat entirely. He does say many times that fasting is a good and normal part of the spiritual life, but nowhere does he even imply that going vegan, or even merely vegetarian, is required or recommended.

Indeed, some of his most famous miracles involved multiplying fish for large crowds, and he was observed eating fish after his resurrection. Hardly the actions of a committed vegan.

Mr. Dexter is partially correct that Jesus delivered a “powerful message of compassion and love for all,” but not for all “living beings,” by which Mr. Dexter means animals. There’s no doubt Jesus had an affection for animals and may have even loved them in a sense, as to appreciate their inherent beauty and value since he himself created them.

God loves his creation, but Jesus’ message of compassion and love was aimed mainly at us humans. And his love for us was such that he was willing to give up his own life to save us from our sins. Since animals cannot sin by nature, this act of love was indeed reserved specifically for humanity.

And he asked us to follow him, to take up our own cross out of love for other men. This is sacrificial love, one we see when a parent sacrifices themselves for their children, or when a spouse sacrifices themselves for the care of their spouse. This is a truly beautiful thing and something only we homo sapiens are capable of doing with full knowledge and intent.

The point of Lent, therefore, and the sacrifices it entails are not to make us think about the plight of animals, but to focus us on truly loving our fellow man to the point where it hurts. To do this, we have to place the spiritual above the material, and part of that is to deny our own materiality by abstaining from meat on Fridays and fasting outright on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

One last point. Mr. Dexter says that there was a “nonviolent plant-based diet” in Genesis, but neglects to mention that that was before the fall of Adam and Eve. Once sin was introduced into the world, it became okay for men to eat meat. Kind of a funny thing and perhaps one of the only good things about Adam and Eve’s fall, but there we have it.

The Bible is replete with people eating meat after expulsion from the Garden of Eden. In fact, God had the Jews sacrifice animals in order to avoid worshipping them, as many pagan cultures, especially Egypt, did at the time, and what we’re starting to do again by exalting animals as paragons of innocence and love that we should treasure over and above humans.

It’s not “violence” to kill an animal for food. It’s not violence when a lion hunts down a gazelle. Violence is the intentional harm and killing of an innocent person or creature for selfish gain or pleasure. It is not selfish to eat, but it is selfish and sinful to abuse animals or children, or to abort them. (Ironically, many radical animal lovers who bemoan the plight of chickens and cows care not a lick about an innocent human in the womb, slaughtered barbarically for often purely selfish reasons. THAT is violence.)

So, yes, I’ll agree with Mr. Dexter that we should strive to be more like Jesus in this season of Lent. Love your enemies; be faithful to your marriage; treat your children with respect; abide by God’s laws; resist temptation to do evil; give alms to the poor; and don’t eat meat on Fridays.

If you want to abstain from meat and dairy entirely during Lent or forever, be my guest, but don’t tell me doing so has the same moral weight as loving our neighbor or seeking to do good rather than evil to ourselves and others.

Oh, and by the way, if we ever get back into the Garden of Eden by eliminating sin from all of human existence, I’ll be the first one to give up meat and dairy!

Trey Hoffman

Peachtree City, Ga.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Just to be clear, The apostles never taught Lent or abstinence from meat. They taught that if the Old Testament believers struggled with the eating meat it would be better that they refrained.

    Remember, Jesus lived under Mosaic law, which ceased at his crucifixion.

    • Well, if we’re going to be clear…

      – The Apostles didn’t teach Lent because it was already a common practice in 1st century Judaism. The Lenten observance, like all other rites and sacraments, were established by the actions of Christ and his Apostles. Lent was already widely observed throughout Christianity before being formalized at the Council of Nicaea.

      – The only struggle with eating meat would have been affording it. Meat was a luxury item in the Hellenic world, and part of fasting is the sacrifice of ones comfort.

      – Mosaic Law did not cease with the crucifixion. Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross only discharged the ordinances (aka dogma) of Mosaic law, but left intact God’s commandments.