I am a strong agnostic. Meaning I am not fully atheist as I truly think that atheism has a certain faith required to have that certainty. I just say I don't know if a god exists. I also say depending on your definition of god, I feel certain that that god doesn't exist, i.e. the Christian/Muslim/Jewish god. I suppose I leave open the possibility, however unlikely, that some sort of force exists. Something that we can't even fathom. It doesn't have to be self aware and certainly not as absurd as having a preference as to how we behave.
With that said, I came to be vegetarian in a spiritual sense, for lack of a better term, in that I felt and feel and great connection with the natural world and the universe as a whole. I look at existence being a great cosmological soup that no matter how different one thing is from another, we all break down to pure energy at the most fundamental level. And feel morality on how we treat each other extends to other creatures that are supposedly lower than us. I was hoping that some of you might share your thoughts on this. I'd love to hear how some of you answer the question "Why are you a vegetarian?" Thanks.
We are not far off in what we think about this. I too feel more agnostic. I don't feel that it's okay to eat cows and not other animals. I think they are all important. If I could I would see an end to the meat industry altogether.
I'm a vegetarian/mostly vegan because of factory farming. I eat hunted meat (I come across true hunted meat so infrequently though it's practically nonexistent in my diet) - I really have no problem with the food chain (I own snakes I feed mice to), and human hunted animals suffer a lot less than naturally hunted animals (like buffalo getting eaten alive etc). My problem is with the treatment of animals in factory farm - they are handled so cruelly and grow up in such disgusting and miserable environments, it's not fair to them, even if we are above them on the food chain, that doesn't justify the inhumane treatment of them in my eyes. You wouldn't want your cat treated the way animals are treated in factories - I don't see much of a difference between that an a pig or cow.
Thanks for the reply Danielle. I had a friend who was a vegetarian in the same way. His only meat consumption was through meat that was hunted or caught (fish). I always felt that this was reasonable compromise and a good way to protest against the disgusting process of factory farming. It's not my path but keep it up!
With that said, I actually still haven't eaten any meat since I became a vegetarian because there's really no hunted meat to speak of where I am. My friends joke around with me and try to get me to eat meat and I tell them to find me some hunted meat and they never do. I honestly am not sure if I'd like meat anymore if it were presented to me in this way - but in theory I don't have a moral problem with it.
I don't eat any fish because I have a problem with deep sea fishing and dolphins/sea turtles and the like, and like above, no one will go out and fish a fish the real way for me haha.
When in a discussion with meat eaters the argument sometimes comes up that humans have evolved since the beginning eating meat. So the implication is I am going against my nature by being vegetarian. My reply is two fold. I either say that evolution is evolution and being modern, moral creatures we now have a choice as how to live. Just as human slavery is now unjustifiable, so is animal slavery. The other argument in reply is that Native Americans so depended on the buffalo for survival that every kill was treated as reverance and holy, and they thanked the animal for giving up it's life so that many may eat and survive. Now days, we just order a Big Mac from McDonalds and thank God for it. -Sometimes that last one hits, sometimes it doesn't :) -
Here is an answer to the meat eaters as to wheather or not humans are herbivores or carnivores.
If you believe in evolution then you have to accept what science has discovered about the human body and how it has evolved. The idea that primitive man ate a diet of primarily of meat is completely flawed. At best early man was an omnivore with the greatest part of his diet being plant based.
Let’s look at comparative anatomy of herbivores and carnivores. There are many similarities like they both have eyes but there are very distinct differences. First off herbivores have no claws; Carnivores have claws, and long sharp teeth on the end of a long snout for ripping and tearing hide and flesh. Herbivores molars are not pointed but flat for grinding. Herbivores jaws have the ability to move sideways to aid in there mastication. Carnivores and omnivores have very little sideways jaw movement and swallow their food whole. Herbivores have pores in their skin to perspire through; Carnivores perspire through the tongue to cool down their bodies. Carnivores have evolved very acid saliva with no enzymes for digestion. Herbivores have alkaline saliva with ptyalin enzymes to help digest fruits and grains. Carnivores have very strong hydrochloric stomach acid to help digest flesh. Herbivores have evolved stomach acid twenty times weaker than carnivores. Carnivores have evolved a relative short digestive track to pass the material through quickly. Herbivores have evolved very long digestive tracks in order to aid in extracting nutrition from plants.
Now let’s look at human anatomy and see how the human has evolved. Humans have no claws, their teeth are flat and their jaws move sideways for grinding and chewing their food before swallowing. Humans have pores in their skin that they perspire through to cool themselves. Humans have evolved hydrochloric stomach acid twenty times weaker than carnivores. Humans have alkaline saliva with ptyalin enzymes for digesting fruits and grains. Humans have evolved a very long digestive tract like all other herbivores.
When you examine how the human anatomy has evolved it is obvious that we are herbivores. There is a lot of scientific evidence but one of the most notable is that humans will generally become ill or dye when eating uncooked flesh like a wild carnivore. Humans do not contain the stomach enzymes that kill harmful bacteria and parasites that carnivores do.
The idea that animal protein produced larger brains in humans is absurd as well as completely un-scientific. Humans do not digest animal proteins well, and animal based foods cause many detrimental health problems for humans. Second because humans are anatomical herbivores we thrive on plant proteins. In order to have evolved successfully with certain herbivore anatomical characteristics, it clearly shows that we evolved on a plant based diet. Dennis Renner
I actually was vegetarian before I was an atheist. In 1937 my father became a vegetarian because of a newer religion. Its roots were from a book called Oahspe that was written by John Ballou Newbrough. John achieved the highest level of the Masons. I have been told that is were he got his information for writing Oahspe. Much to the dismay of the Masons. I have no evidence that any of this history is true. John Ballou Newbrough claimed to have received the information from spirits who used him as a medium. The use of Masons sacred materials seems more plausible to me.
The book Oahspe does advocate a vegetarian diet, as well as a complete stand against war. It also accepted science up to a point. It still used a form of creationism. The followers of Jehovih, Oahspe’s main god called them selves Faithists. I have to say this and other scientific evidence is what drew me away from this religion. I am not a big fan on the idea of faith in any form.
I did stay with the vegetarian diet and later after reading John Robbins books on diet I became a vegan. I have been vegan for 16 years now. I immediately noticed an improvement in my health but changed my diet as a conscious effort to reduce my use of resources such as water and carbon products.
I think that the biggest lesson in life I have learned is self-discipline. When I come to the realization of facts like. “What we eat affects everyone and everything on the planet.” I apply this information to my life. To learn some thing just for the sake of learning but not applying it to your life to me seems illogical and irrational or maybe just selfish.
To me atheism just makes sense. I have studied many religions and philosophies and as a result science provides the most plausible explanations because they are based on the scientific method not super natural beliefs.
One of the major problems I see today with humanity is that it rejects science for religion. The other is that humanity is not self-disciplined. A good example is the global warming issue. It is now very clear that global warming is man made. It is also clear that the US, Europe and China are all leading contributors to this problem. Yet they are all pussy footing around and not really addressing the problem with any serious attempt to implement solutions. In fact the easiest to solve and largest contributor of green house gases is the production of animal based foods. Even though it is well know among scientists it is never given the serious attention it deserves. At this point we need to examine cause and effect. We need to remove the emotional, economical, greed based arguments from the debate and get on with applying real solutions. The effect of doing other wise is going to mean great suffering for humanity on a global scale.
My family’s rejection of religion helps us apply real solutions to the problems in life such as health issues. A vegan diet is a scientifically proven method to improve health and produces much less of an impact on the planet. That is our rational.
Well, that IS certainly a unique path to a vegan diet. I have only heard of a few religions that promote vegetarianism, some Buhhdists, Janes, and Seventh Day Adventists (although I'm not sure if all SDA's do). But I'm certain there are other small, less well known sects that do for a variety of reasons. Thanks for sharing Dennis, very interesting.
I'm raw vegan, and was vege for a while.. I stopped eating dairy first, then meat/fish, then cooked food. This was over about 4/5 years...
How I came to be where I am.. It's a mix of health and ethical reasons;
Being a hard-line atheist, realist, and health/raw foodie, for me It is a natural progression along the path I have chosen. Firstly I have seen the health benefits my change of diet has had, but also and more importantly I see all life as equal.
I feel that we as humans are inherently cruel and subject other life on this planet to such horrors, that have only been equaled by the holocaust. On top of that we consider ourselves intellectually and mentally superior to other life.. which I think is laughable! I disagree entirely with this idea, as a rule animals don't ***k each other over to the determent of their society. I think we are fortunate that animals are not more intelligent.. If they worked together, we'd be totally screwed.
My original reasons haven't changed as to why I became a vegetarian. The only thing that has changed is the more I learned about being a vegetarian the deeper that commitment got. The variety of reasons from abuses in factory farms, the growth hormones and antibiotic use in factory farmed animals, the abundant health benefits, and of course the reduced impact to the environment. No other single choice in ones life can make such a huge impact to the ecosystem and society as adopting a vegetarian diet.