"2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval...6 Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. "
I know you know when I went veggie, and the events that led to it, as I blogged about it at the time. But I thought I'd offer some insight into my feelings and reasoning about the issue.
I don't believe it's wrong to eat meat. Sure, Peter Singer's Animal Liberation is a very compelling book. But ultimately, I'm a Christian and I believe God gave us animals for consumption (amongst many other things, including companionship, and education). I don't preach vegetarianism at people and I don't believe everyone in the world must go veggie. Arguably, it could be detrimental to our eco system if they did!
Then why don't I eat meat? For me, I'd go as far as to say it would be a sin if I did. Bear with me here.
I have moral objections with the way we manufacture meat in the developed countries. The feedlots, mass producing meat by feeding them cheap corn they were never designed to eat, pumping them with antibiotics because they're living in their own filth, and basically treating them like they're not alive, they're simply assembly line items. I don't believe it's what God had in mind when he gave us permission to eat any meat.
Ok, so what then about humanely raised and butchered farm animals, or wild animals who are hunted? Not as bad at all, and if I was a meat eater, it's the way I'd go. However, I have to ask myself the question - would I personally be able to look the animal in the eye and kill it? Could I fire the gun, or slit the throat? No, I absolutely could not. Bottom line, meat doesn't just come from a package, and if I'm not willing to personally slaughter the animal, because it would convict me to do so, then I should not be eating it. Euphemistically wrapping it in plastic and sticking a nutritional information sticker on it doesn't change the fact that it lived and breathed and gave its life for this meal.
And it pangs my heart to think of that. I am a sensitive person, with a strong conscience. Some people feel comfortable with rearing and killing and cooking an animal and that's great. It would break my heart to watch the life pour out of one of God's creatures, at my own hands, just so I can add it to my menu. It hurts me to think about. So I shouldn't do it.
Ok, you have moral objections, but sin is too strong a word I hear you say. I'll respond with scripture:
14 I know and am convinced on the authority of the Lord Jesus that no food, in and of itself, is wrong to eat. But if someone believes it is wrong, then for that person it is wrong...
23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning.
So for me, with my convictions, I believe I'd doing the right thing by abstaining from meat. I don't believe it makes me any more holy or righteous than meat eaters with no conviction.
But I do believe God has a purpose for me, and that he made me the way I am for a reason. I am a sensitive soul, and I believe that he wants to nurture that in me, so he can use this "weakness" towards his glory. I can certainly think of some uses he can make of a person like me, with a strong passion to protect the beauty and sanctity of life. I'm not flawed, I'm not wrong. I'm created for a purpose as we all are. Let's allow some diversity and keep in mind:
3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t.
17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. 19 So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.