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Conversations with a Vegan and a Vegetarian about Meat-eating, the Bible, and the Christian Worldview
By Gary F. Zeolla
“You’re going to hell because you eat meat!”
“You are an agent of Satan for telling people it is okay to eat meat.”
“You are unloving, because you eat animals.”
“Your God is unloving if He says it is okay to eat animals.”
The first two lines were said to me by a vegan. The second two lines were said to me by a vegetarian. These are not direct quotes but reflect the essence of what they said to me. Those comments led to extended discussion with each. Along with diet, we discussed many issues relating to the integrity of the Bible and of the Christian faith.
Unfortunately, when I asked the vegan permission to publish our full discussion, he emphatically denied permission. I did not bother to ask the vegetarian, as our discussion would have been too lengthy to publish in full. However, the reader should be able to get the gist of the vegan and the vegetarian’s comments by my responses.
I will present my conversation with the vegan in this Part One of this two-part article. I will present my conversation with the vegetarian in Part Two, to be published the first week of January 2020.
Note: A vegan diet excludes all animal foods of every sort, while a vegetarian diet excludes meat (beef), poultry, and fish, but it does not exclude dairy products, eggs, and honey.
Exchange #1 with the Vegan
This exchange began with the vegan emailing me the first two lines above. I replied by quoting to him the following two extended passages of Scripture.
15“But you will kill in [or, according to] all your desire, and will eat meat according to the blessing of the LORD your God, which He gave to you in every city; the unclean among you and the clean will eat it the same, as a gazelle or a deer. 16However, you* will not eat the blood; you* will pour it out on the ground as water. 17You will not be able to eat in your cities the tithe of your wheat, and of your wine, and of your olive oil, the firstborn of your herd and of your flock, and all [your] vows as many as you* shall vow, and your* thank-offerings, and the first-fruits of your* hands. 18But before the LORD your God you will eat them, in the place which the LORD your God shall choose, you and your son and your daughter your male bond-servant and your female bond-servant and the stranger within your* cities; and you will be delighted before the LORD your God, on all which you shall lay your hand.
19“Be taking heed to yourself [that] you do not forsake the Levite all the time, as many as you shall live upon the land. 20Now when the LORD your God shall enlarge your borders, just as He said to you, and you will say, ‘I will eat meat;’ when your soul should desire to eat meat, in all the desire of your soul, you will eat meat. 21But if the place be distant from you, which the LORD your God shall choose, [that] His name be called upon there, then you will kill from your herd and from your flock which God shall give you, [in] which manner I commanded you, and you will eat in your cities according to the desire of your soul. 22As the gazelle and the deer are eaten, thus will you eat it; the unclean among you and the clean will eat it in like manner. 23Take diligent heed [that] you do not eat blood, for the blood [is] the life of it; the life will not be consumed with the meat. 24You* will not eat [it]; you* will pour it out on the ground as water. 25You will not eat it, that it shall become well with you and with your sons after you, if you shall do the good and the pleasing before the LORD your God.
26“However, if holy [things] become to you [fig., if you have holy [things]], and your vows [or, vowed-offerings], having taken, you will come to the place which the LORD your God shall choose to have His name named upon there. 27And you will do [fig., sacrifice] your whole-burnt-offerings, you will offer the meat upon the altar of the LORD your God; but the blood of your sacrifices you will pour out at the base of the altar of the LORD your God, but the meat you will eat (ALT; blooding added).
Now be receiving the one being weak in the faith, not for disputes over opinions. 2One believes [it is permissible] to eat all [things], but the one being weak eats [only] vegetables. 3Stop letting the one eating despise [or, look down on] the one not eating; and stop letting the one not eating judge the one eating, for God [has] accepted him. 4Who are you, the one judging another’s household bondservant? To his own master he stands or falls; but he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. 5One indeed judges [or, considers] a day [to be] above [another] day, but another judges every day [to be alike]; be letting each be fully convinced in his own mind.
6The one honoring [or, observing] the day, to [the] Lord he honors [it]; and the one not honoring the day, to [the] Lord he does not honor [it]. And the one eating, to [the] Lord he eats, for he gives thanks to God; and the one not eating, to [the] Lord he does not eat, and he gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. 8For both if we live, to the Lord we live, and if we die, to the Lord we die. So both if we live and if we die, we are the Lord’s. 9Because for this [reason] Christ also died and rose and lives, so that He should exercise lordship over both dead [people] and living [people].
10But why do you judge your brother? [fig., fellow believer] Or also, why do you despise [or, look down on] your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11For it has been written, “[As] I live, says [the] Lord, every knee will bow to Me, and every tongue will confess to God.” [Isaiah 45:23, LXX; cp. Phil 2:10,11]
12So, consequently, each of us will give an account concerning himself to God. 13Therefore, let us no longer be judging one another, but rather, judge [or, determine] this, not to be putting a cause of tripping [or, hindrance] before your brother, or a stumbling block [or, an enticement to sin] (ALT3; blooding added).
In addition to these two extended Bible passages, see the many more passages I quote in Chapter Seven of my book God-given Foods Eating Plan. I also address arguments by those like yourself in that chapter. Do not bother me again until you pursue this resource and carefully consider these many these Bible verses.
Exchange #2 with the Vegan
The vegan responded to the Biblical quotes by saying there were “Satan’s words.” I responded as follows:
I sent you two very lengthy Biblical passages and referred you to a source with dozens more. Are you saying the Bible is “Satan’s words?” Did you even read those two passages? For extra-Biblical arguments by vegans, see Section Two of my Creationist Diet: Second Edition. Again, pursue these resources and prayerfully consider the dozens of Bible passages quoted in them before bothering me again. Otherwise, you are exposing yourself as someone who does not really care about God’s Word nor about sound reasoning.
Exchange #3 with the Vegan
The vegan responded with a rather lengthy email. I responded:
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your email. I say that as you confirm many assertions I make in the two books that I referred you to and in my many other writings.
First, you confirm that the only way someone can claim eating meat is wrong is by denying the reliability and authority of the Bible. As you correctly note, the Bible as it is written disavowals any such notion.
Second, you have confirmed that someone has to rely on some source of “authority” other than the Bible to make such a claim. In your case, it is to go by your “feelings” of what is right and wrong, rather than the objective teaching of the Scriptures. In that regard, let me say, I do not “know by my DNA” that eating meat is wrong, as you claim. That might be your feeling, but it is not mine, which is why developing truth from feelings is not reliable.
Third, you confirm that vegans do in fact misinterpret verses they claim support their belief. I say that, as I cover each one of the verses you refer to in detail in the chapter I referred you to in my Eating Plan book. I first cite the vegan’s interpretation then show that such interpretations completely miss the mark. Thus, you confirm that I was correct in my claims as to how vegans misuse those verses.
Fourth, you have confirmed that when I say vegans put what they eat or do not eat as being the most important thing in their lives, I am not exaggerating. Vegans really do define their existence through food. But, as I demonstrate in my two books, such is not at all a Biblical worldview.
Fifth, and related to the preceding, the worldview of vegans is far from the Biblical worldview. Your need to redefine basic Biblical terms like “Holy Spirit” and “righteousness” demonstrate this fact.
Moreover, your claim that the Bible has been corrupted is put forth by many whose beliefs conflict with the Bible, such as Mormons, New Agers, and many others same. The standard by which they decide which verses to trust and which have been corrupted is those verses that agree with their preconceived notions they say are reliable while, those that disagree with their preconceived notions they say have been corrupted.
This is seen in your saying, “I will NEVER worship a GOD who forgives sin through innocent Bloodshed. The true GOD can and does forgive through repentance alone.” You have already created God in your own image and will not accept anything that disagrees with that preconception.
However, the fact is, all of the actual evidence points to the texts of the Bible as we now have them as being extremely reliable, with no evidence whatsoever of any widespread corruption or even a limited distortion of the original texts. The texts were faithfully copied throughout the centuries. That is demonstrated in many ways, as I outline in my Book Differences Between Bible.
Then there is my three-volume set Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others?. In it, I demonstrate the reliability of all 66 books of the Bible, in regard to their authenticity, historicity, prophecy, science, and in other ways. Simply put, all 66 books are reliable in all of their words. The only reason to deny that is again one’s preconceived notions that disagree with what the Bible teaches.
You say you have read the Bible “many times.” I seriously doubt that, as why would someone spend so much time reading a book that they have no respect for? But even if you have, you have done so in order to pick out the few verses you like, while rejecting the vast majority of the verses you do not like, along with rejecting the overall teaching and worldview of the Bible. You have instead substituted your own worldview based on your “feelings” not on logic or historical facts.
I know you will not take the time to read all six of the books that I have referred you to, as you already have your mind made up. But those books show I have already studied all your claims in depth and have found them wanting, to say the least. Along with the six books I have referred you to, I have written many more on related topics that would also disprove your many misguided ideas. See Books by the Director of Darkness to Light and Books by the Director of Fitness for One and All.
Then there are my websites and newsletters that also address such topics:
Darkness to Light Christian Website
Free Darkness to Light Christian Newsletter
Fitness for One and All Website
Free FitTips for One and All Newsletter
I mention all of this by way of saying you picked the wrong person to troll with your claims, as you have not said anything I have no heard before, studied, and rejected as utter nonsense. But given that there are people like you who troll the Internet, trying to find gullible people to deceive confirms the great need there is for my writings. That is why I spent so much time researching and writing them. I can only pray people find my writings first, before people of your ilk get a hold of them and deceive them into your damnable beliefs.
I say the last line, as without a faith in Jesus’ death on the cross for your sins, you cannot be saved, as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus is “the Gospel.”
1Now I make known to you*, brothers [and sisters], the Gospel, which I myself proclaimed to you*, which also you* received, in which also you* have stood, 2through which also you* are saved, if you* hold fast to which word [or, that word which] I myself proclaimed to you*, unless you* believed thoughtlessly [or, without reason].
3For I handed down [or, delivered] to you* first what also I received, that Christ died on behalf of our sins according to the Scriptures 4and that He was buried and that He had been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures 5and that He appeared to Cephas [i.e., Peter], then to the twelve. 6Afterwards, He appeared to over five hundred brothers [and sisters] at once, of whom the greater part remain until now, but some also fell asleep [fig., have died]. 7Afterwards, He appeared to James, then to all the apostles (1 Corinthians 15:1-7, ALT3).
Exchange #4 with the Vegan
The vegan responded with several comments, including saying I may “ABSOLUTELY NOT” post his comments. I responded:
Comments of general interest sent to the director via email from the Contact Information page will be published, edited, and commented upon as the director deems appropriate. Published e-mails will only include the commenter’s first name or initials, unless otherwise requested. E-mail addresses, last names, and other personally identifiable information will not be posted without prior permission. If you do not want your comments published, write “Confidential” in the Subject field, and your request will be honored.
Otherwise on your comments, you have provided no evidence whatsoever that the Bible has experienced widespread corruption as you claim. But then, from what you say, you did not come to that conclusion by way of evidence but by way of your feelings. You prayed and had an experience. That is not a sound epistemology, as I tried to explain to you before.
To use another example, a Mormon will tell you he “prayed about” the Book of Mormon, and God gave him a “burning in the bosom” that that it is true. Since his feeling is just as strong as your feeling, then why should I believe yours and not his?
That is a pertinent question, as Mormons also claim the Bible has been corrupted. But which passages they say are corrupted and which are reliable differ from the ones that you make such claims for. Thus again, whose feelings should I believe, yours or theirs?
The answer is, I should believe neither, as there is no evidence supporting such claims. There is no evidence supporting the Book of Mormon, such as there being no archeological evidence supporting its historical narratives, while there is much archeological evidence supporting the historical narratives of the Bible, as I demonstrate in my Scripture Workbook: Volume Two. Similarly, there is no evidence whatsoever supporting your or the Mormon’s claim of the Bible being corrupted. In fact, the evidence proves the exact opposite.
I again pointed you to my book Differences Between Bible Versions. In it, I explain the science of textual criticism and the fact that we can be assured of the reliability of the New Testament (NT) texts. You are correct that the original manuscripts do not exist. The same is true of every document from antiquity. But historians do not consider every ancient writing “corrupted.” They compare the manuscripts that do exists to arrive at a reliable text.
Meanwhile, there is vastly more manuscript support for the NT than for any other ancient text. As such, an extremely reliable text can be developed, with any remaining differences being so minor that most of the time they do not even show up in translation, while the ones that are translatable do not change the meaning of the text in any consequential way.
Those are the facts that I explain in that book. Examples of the kind of textual variants that do exist can be seen in the following section of my Christian site: Textual Variants in The New Testament.
So yes, there are variants, but if you actually take the time to look them over, you will see what I said above is true—they are mostly very minor, nowhere near the vast corruption that would be needed for your claims to be true. Those webpages also show I am fully aware of textual variants and have worked with them extensively. Doing so has strengthen not weakened my belief in the integrity of the NT text.
That is the NT. I have plans to write another book on this subject that would also addresses the textual support for the Old Testament. Thus, once again, I have to thank you for confirming that such a book is sorely needed, with people like you trolling the Internet speeding your false ideas.
The point is, just dogmatically claiming something is true does not prove it is true. Whereas, I have pointed you to resources that demonstrate my claims using facts, evidence, and logic that prove beyond any doubt your claims are false. But of course, you will not pursue such resources, as it would disprove your unsubstantiated and unsubstantiable notions.
As for the Bible passages related to sex you mention that you say show the Bible is “crude” or “unloving,” I address all of those passages in my two-volume set God’s Sex Plan. Therefore, once again I have to thank you for confirming that I was correcting in addressing those passages in those books, although I did so because I have seen atheists use those passages to attack the Bible, but I guess other Bible-haters cite them as well.
And if you would actually take the time to read those books or any of my other writings, you would see that I do not “cherry pick” verses as you claim but address all verses that are relevant to a given subject, including ones that are cited against my views. But I address those objections by looking at the historical, cultural, and literary contexts of those passages, explaining what they mean in those contexts.
In fact, the reason my books tend to be on the long side is because I address all relevant material and possible objections to my views. That is how my planned one Sex Plan book expanded into two volumes, so that I could address all of the verses in the Bible in any way related to sex and cite scientific evidence supporting the Bible’s ethics as being the soundest.
My point is, you have not said a thing I have not heard before. However, your anger and dogmatism are a bit over the top and worse than most. In fact, I cannot help but notice how your anger and dogmatism grows with each email exchange. That makes sense, given that you only have feelings and dogmatism to support your views, so that is the only way you can responded when challenged on them.
Meanwhile, I have responded calmly, with evidence and logic, pointing you to extensive support for my views. That is because, my views are based on evidence and logic, not dogmatism and feelings.
But to really make you angry, I cannot not help but mention the deleterious health effects a vegan diet can cause for the vast majority people who try to follow such a restrictive diet. It might work for you, but that would be the rare exception, not the rule.
As I detail in my book Creationist Diet: Second Edition, the vast majority of people who try a vegan diet do not stick with it. That is because they find it too difficult to follow or because they develop health problems as a result. In fact, “failure to thrive” is very common among longtime vegans and vegetarians. And when that happens, they will wise up and begin to incorporate animal foods into their diets.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of people who claim to be vegetarians and vegans “cheat.” Such a practice is so common there is a term for it—“cheagan” (cheating vegan). But in this case, cheating is good, as it is only by cheating and eating a small amount of animal foods occasionally that a vegan diet can be followed long-term without adverse health effects.
That makes senses since the Bible is clear that God intends for human beings in this day and age to eat meat and other animal foods. Again, I demonstrate all of this in my two books on nutrition and Bible by citing every Bible verse that addresses diet and by citing scientific evidence supporting the type of eating plan advocated in the Bible. Again, that extensive nature of my writing and research is why both books are rather long.
But more to the point, while you are trolling the Internet screaming at people, saying they are damned for eating meat, not only are you deceiving them spiritually, but you are potentially scaring them into following an eating plan that could ruin their health.
Personally, that would bother me immensely. That is why I am so contentious in my writings to be both Biblically and scientifically sound in what I advocate, be it salvation, ethics, diet, or whatever the subject. And the fact that the Bible’s teachings in regard to ethics and diet are in fact scientifically sound and superior to all alternatives is yet another proof the Bible is in fact the reliable Word of God. Its words can be trusted in all areas of life, not just in spiritual matters but in practical matters like what to eat and how to conduct oneself sexually.
I will close my responses to your absurd claims with a few Scripture verses:
10But these indeed slander as many [things] as they do not know [or, understand] (Jude 1:10).
12But these, like irrational living creatures [guided by] natural instinct having been born for capture and destruction [fig., slaughter], speaking evil of [or, blaspheming in] [things] which they fail to understand (2Peter 2:12).
5But the end [or, goal] of the command is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, 6from which certain [ones], having strayed [or, deviated] from, were turned aside to futile discourse, 7desiring to be teachers of the Law, not perceiving neither what they are saying, nor concerning what they confidently assert (1Tim 1:5-7; ALT3).
Exchange #5 with the Vegan
The final email from the vegan was very strongly worded, with additional condemnations of me for eating meat and for telling others it was okay to eat meat. I responded:
I just posted an article on my fitness website that you need to read. It is an excerpt from my Creationist Diet book. It is A Vegan Diet: Should You Try It? This article is in response to your comment, “Just reading your comments on veganism shows you have absolutely no credentials or knowledge on health or diet. I laughed out-loud.”
This article provides documentation for my comments on veganism. The book provides even more such documentation. This evidence means you have committed the logical fallacy of the “false dilemma” when you say there are two only two reasons to eat meat: an “ancient book of the Jews” says it is okay and “lust” for meat.
There is a third, because people’s health requires it. And people’s health is no laughing matter, as people matter. That is because people are created in the image of God, something that animals are not. I discuss this point in further length in my book God’s Sex Plan: Volume One.
But that does not mean animals are to be treated in an inhumane manner. They are to be treated humanely, which they are while producing the kind of animal foods I advocate consuming. That point is addressed at length in my Creationist Diet book.
For the record, I have a B.S. in Nutrition Science (Penn State; ’83) and have been a top-ranked and multi-record holding powerlifter for decades. You can be sure, without my knowledge of nutrition and my meticulous attention to my eating plan, I would not have accomplished all that I have in powerlifting. If you would actually read my books, you would see this knowledge and experience reflected in my writings. But I must ask, what nutrition degree do you hold, and how many world records have you broken? I would guess, none and none.
Finally, the Bible is not just “ancient book of the Jews.” It is the Word of God, the final and divine authority for all truth, ethics, and morals. Without it, there is no basis for such. That is why you are wasting your time trolling the Internet, trying to scare Christians into not eating meat by telling them they are going to hell for doing so, at least those who know their Bibles.
17For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in [the] Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17).
8But food does not present [or, commend] us to God, for neither if we eat do we excel [or, are we better off]; nor if we do not eat do we fall short [or, are we inferior] (1 Corinthians 8:8)
9Stop being carried away by varied and strange teachings, for [it is] good [for] the heart to continue being established by grace, not by foods, in which the ones having been walking about [in] [fig., having been occupied with] were not benefited (Hebrews 13:9).
1Now the Spirit explicitly says that in latter times some will fall away [or, apostatize] from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2in hypocrisy [or, insincerity] of liars, having been seared in their own conscience, 3forbidding to be marrying, [commanding] to be keeping distant from foods which God created for receiving with thanksgiving by the [ones who are] faithful and have acknowledged the truth. 4Because every[thing] created by God [is] good, and nothing [is to be] rejected, [if] being received with thanksgiving. 5For it is sanctified through [the] word of God and prayer (1Timothy 4:1-5; ALT3).
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It was posted on this site November 1, 2019.
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