I have trouble when dealing with my fellow vegan/vegetarian, they say we should not eat animal because they want to live like us, killing an animal in order to eat them is an act of violence almost no difference like killing human too (of course no eat human), I wonder how to respond them accordingly and touch they heart with the gospel
This seems to fall directly under the ‘Morality’ category question we learnt about, and to a lesser extent the ‘Meaning’ category.
What is the purpose of human life?
How do you determine good and bad?
Would it be good to find common ground first and suggest that
- many Christians choose a vegan/vegetarian diet for both diet and for moral reasons
- when God created humanity in his image and placed them in Eden they were to be good stewards of creation
- the problem of suffering (both evil = active suffering and pain = passive suffering) is due to the fall of man
- yes we humans don’t like seeing animals in pain; there is something within us that has compassion on those suffering
Ask them why this means a lot to them; questions, as we know, are always the best for good conversation…
When you’ve established as much common ground as possible, try and ask some questions leading gradually back to the big question of the basis for Morality…?
Perhaps some questions to think about their assumptions
- animals ‘want’ to live as we do.
- animals being killed = human being killed
- animals worth seems to be similar to human worth
Question: Animals kill and eat each other all the time; lions kill cubs of other females in order to get them ready to mate again in order to propitiate their genes.
If humans are just animals how can we know objectivity what is ‘right’ behavior?
Sure we can see altruism and working together such as ant colonies; but how does a person pick which is ‘right’ and which is ‘wrong’.
To do this we have to make a value judgment.
To talk about value is to take a vantage point above science in order to make judgments about science.
“When we say that something is either right or wrong, we make a judgment of value that is over and above what we are describing.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
• One cannot get an ought from an is
“Science can tell you that if you add strychnine to someone’s drink, it will kill her, but science cannot tell you whether or not you ought to put strychnine into your grandmother’s tea in order to get your hands on her property.”– John Lennox
• Science is descriptive, not prescriptive
If you hold to the position that all of reality consists of material particles and their causal interactions, you rule out morality because moral facts are not part of the material processes. On the other hand, if you agree that judgments of value apply to the world, you have to give up the materialistic thesis and thereby open a door to the unseen world where God lives.
To quote John Njoroge from lecture 6.1
Objection 2: Hasn’t evolution taught us all that we need to know about morality?
Answer 1: If morality came about through evolution through survival, then morality is not objective.
“If . . . men were reared under precisely the same conditions
as hive-bees, there can hardly be a doubt that our unmarried females would, like the worker-bees, think it a sacred duty to kill their brothers, and mothers would strive to kill their fertile daughters; and no one would think of interfering.”9 – Charles Darwin
The moral law giver argument video from William Lane Craig is very good. If the conversation goes well and is friendly you could try and share this with them via text message or social media to really think later when the conversation finishes…?
Thanks @matthew.western for your concise response! I need to take time to read it all
No worries. I think if at all possible try to bypass any ‘vegan’ vs ‘non-vegan’ arguments. There are heaps of logical arguments and discussion about fallacies on the internet. We want to get underneath all that and find common ground to point to Christ and the good news of the Gospel.
Probably the first step is establishing that God exists. Actually a post that SeanO shared might be useful as well. We want to figure out where people are, and if we can move them one step further towards Christ that would be a success.
Be interested to hear how you get on (and also interested in other suggestions how to lead to conversation towards the ‘Meaning’ category as well)…
@matthew.westernone quick question does genesis explicitly or implicitly implying vegetarian? does human in the first place when only Adam and Eve does not eat meat?
I’m a young earth creationist; so would hold to the position that animal death was a part of the fall. Now of course the discussion immediately raises itself was that all animal death including insects, bacteria etc.
I think this article talking about so called ‘nephesh-cheyyah’ animals makes the distinction well enough for me.
In Genesis 9:3 after the flood God said animals were ok for food.
William Lane Craig who I believe holds to one of the old earth positions has written extensively about pre-fall animal death.
I read some of William Lane Craig’s articles after reading this page about animals having ‘sentience‘ characteristics; that is are self aware and avoid pain.
I think Craig’s argument is that they don’t feel ‘self aware’ pain but just an instinctual level.
This is why I would say that ‘nephesh-cheyyah’ animals death was not before the fall. It wasn’t part of the creation that God declared ‘good’.
Maybe in your discussion you can ask questions about the value of human life vs animal life, leading towards the ‘Meaning’ category question; and the implications of moral law needing an objective basis. I think trying to find common ground with people who choose to be vegan or vegetarians would be the first important step; and once you have established some common ground you can then start to ask questions about subjective morality. It might take a few conversations…
Hope that helps somewhat…