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Conversations with a Vegan and a Vegetarian about Meat-eating, the Bible, and the Christian Worldview
Gary F. Zeolla
“You’re going to hell because you eat meat!”
“You’re 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.”
This article is continued from Conversations with a Vegan and a Vegetarian about Meat-eating, the Bible, and the Christian Worldview – Part One. In that first part, I presented my conversation with a vegan, who said the first two lines above. In this Part Two, I will represent my conversation with a vegetarian, who said the last two lines above. These are not direct quotes but reflect the essence of what they said to me.
My discussion with the vegetarian was too lengthy to publish in full. However, the reader should be able to get the gist of the vegetarian’s’ comments by my responses.
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 Vegetarian
Thank you for your email and for reading my newsletters. But the only way I can really respond to your comments is to ask you to read my books. In them I address each of your claims in detail.
Exchange #2 with the Vegetarian
This is where I get very frustrated when I get emails from people who disagree with me. As indicated in the article you read (3˝ Years of Extensive Writing), my books are rather lengthy, as I address each topic from every possible angle, including addressing contrary arguments. It is not possible for me to repeat all of that info in an email.
For instance, I recently received an email from a vegan who told me I was going to hell for eating meat. I engaged him in a lengthy discussion, wasting much time in the process. He also said something along the lines of “If you think eating an animal that has been farmed and killed is right then you have no concept of love.”
I address that idea at length in my book Creationist Diet: Second Edition and referred him to it. But like you, he refused to read that book. But I did address many other of his claims. I wanted to post our discussion on my site, but he did not give me the permission. I cannot take the time for another lengthy discussion with you now, but I might rework my comments from that discussion into an article, and that might address some of your concerns.
You say I need to “change from the inside.” I would say the same about you. You are the one operating from a faulty worldview; one that rejects the Bible and the God of the Bible. I demonstrate the futility nature of such a view in each of the books discussed in the “Extensive Writing” article.
Exchange #3 with the Vegetarian
To comment on just one of your points, as it is one that I meant to mention in my previous email. I believe the Bible is the Word of God, not because someone told me it is, but because of many years of study on the issue, studying the issue from all sides. Some of that research is reflected in my three volume Why These Books set, some is presented in my other books, like my Scripture Workbook: Second Edition, some on my Christian website.
The point is, if you have been reading my Christian newsletter for many years as you say, then you should know I am not a “just believe” kind of guy, and I resent that implication. Any and all of my beliefs are based on much research, considering all sides of the issues. That is why I have already addressed your comments in my writings, as they are nothing new to me. I have heard them all, considered them, and rejected them as being faulty, based on the Bible, yes, but also based on logical reasoning, evidence, and facts.
Take the issue of meat-eating, for instance. In my Creationist Diet book, I present the Scriptural support for it, but I also discuss the health aspects of a vegan diet versus a healthy omnivorous diet, and I consider vegan arguments like the treatment of animals, environmental issues, and many more.
In my God’s Sex Plan books, I present the Bible’s view on sex, but I also look at much extra-biblical data. And on it goes. I research both the Bible and extra-biblical information from all viewpoints. If you read my books, you would know that. As such, I kindly ask you not to make such false insinuations.
Exchange #4 with the Vegetarian
In regard to point 1, you say it is a “conflict of interest” to write books about religion, that “money and message should be completely separate.”
I am a writer. That is how I make a living. What is your occupation? Do you work for free? Why not? To say that anyone who writes religious books cannot make a living from their writing is absurd. How about someone who writes a political book? Is their argument invalidated because they make money off of it? Or a diet book? Or a book on relationships? Or a book promoting any other opinion on any other subject?
In regard to point 2, you are correct, I have a worldview from which I operate. But so do you. You are just as trapped within your paradigm as I am within mine. I explained that previously, but it went right over your head, I came to the Christian worldview from outside of it, having no religious leanings or a faith in God and the Bible. But after much research of many worldviews and considering all of the evidence pro and con, I came to the Christian faith.
But if the way you judged my character (jumping to a conclusion without considering all of the facts), is how you arrived at your worldview, then no wonder your worldview is so faulty. Further evidence of this is how you ignored everything I said in my previous email and have just replied with your prepared talking points. They might apply to others, but not to me. You would know that, if you were actually listening, but you are not.
Yes, it can be difficult to converse with someone from another paradigm. But again, and contrary to point 3, my arguments are not always “The Bible says so.” Again, as I tried to tell you, but it went right over your head, when I argue against veganism in my books, I do not only refer to the Bible but also to much scientific evidence. That is why the subtitle of my Creationist Diet book is A Comprehensive Guide to Bible and Science Based Nutrition.
The same goes for the other books I referred you to and that were discussed in the article that began this discussion. And again, I tried to explain that to you, but you are so stuck in your mindset, you are not even listening to my words, the very thing you are charging me with. That is why my books would reach people outside of the Christian paradigm, at least those who are not so stuck in their mindset that they refuse to read something they disagree with like you are.
In regard to point 4, “academic knowledge” is important when it comes to spirituality. It is how one worldview is differentiated from another and how one worldview can be demonstrated to be false and another true. Such as the Christian worldview being true, and your mindless view being false. You cannot depend on feelings, as feeling are fickle and cannot be trusted.
That relates to point 5, feelings are not a test for truth. They are not a test for what to eat or who to have sex with. Many people feel good about living on junk food, but that behavior is killing them. Many people feel good about sleeping around, but that behavior is also killing them. It is not “loving” to not warn such people about their self-destructive behaviors.
But in warning them, you better have a sound alternative. But just like the militant vegan who emailed me before, you are trying to guilt people into following a vegan diet, telling them they are not “loving” if they eat animals. But in doing so, you are guilting them into following a diet that does not work for the vast majority of people who follow it. It is not at all “loving” to guilt people into following a diet that will ruin their health.
I tried to tell that to the militant vegan, but he replied by saying I know nothing about nutrition. But if he and you would actually read my books, you would see there is much evidence for what I am saying about diet. The fact is, the vast majority of people who try a vegan diet do not thrive on it, and the vast majority of people who follow a vegan diet long-term are only able to do so by cheating on occasion. I document all of that my book, while giving a sound, science-based alternative. But you are too stuck in your belief system to even consider that you just might be wrong.
You say I should “be loving to all things whether other people, the flora and the fauna.” I assume you think you are doing that by following a vegan diet, that doing so is somehow helping the environment, people, and animals. But in fact, none of that is true.
Take world hunger for example. You probably think you are helping to solve it by following a vegan diet. But in fact, you are not helping to feed a single hungry person by eating a veggie burger rather than a hamburger.
The point, is, yes love is important, but it must be based on truth. And the truth is, your beliefs are wrong. Thus, to promote them is not loving but harmful.
As for Matthew 22:37-40 that you reference, it reads:
37Then Jesus said to him, “‘You will love [the] Lord your God with your whole heart [fig., your entire inner self] and with your whole soul and with your whole understanding.’ [Deut 6:5] 38This is [the] first and great commandment. 39But a second [one is] similar to it, ‘You will love your neighbor as yourself.’ [Lev 19:18] 40On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (ALT3).
Jesus is quoting from the Old Testament here, and by “the LORD your God,” He is referring to Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. This belies your claim before that Jesus was in conflict with Yahweh. Thus, by quoting these verses, you are proving your own claims wrong.
I present much further evidence in my books that there is no conflict between the Old Testament and the New Testament, especially that there is no conflict between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. And again, it is not loving to “your neighbor” to promote false ideas, like guilting people into following a vegan diet that will ruin their health.
That said, feelings, inner peace, and a relationship with God are very important That is why, if you would read say my God’s Sex Plan books, you would know I talk much about developing a relationship with God, and it is that relationship that enables people to live a godly life in accordance with God sex plan. And following God’s sex plan is in fact the most emotionally sound and satisfying way of life, as I demonstrate in those books, not by Bible quotes but by research.
You are also correct that people need to be changed from the inside out. That can only come about by faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for our sins. I discuss that idea much in all of my books. The inner change that occurs when God regenerates a believing soul changes that person’s whole viewpoint of life, bringing them inner joy and peace like they have never known before.
But the basis for that change is Jesus’ death for our sins, burial, and bodily resurrection from the dead. Those are real historical events and are the Gospel, and they changed the world and all those who believe. That is my prayer for you. That you would consider the evidence for the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, get delivered out of your false belief system and into a relationship with the one true God, the God of the Bible.
Exchange #5 with the Vegetarian
First, to mention a point I meant to make in my previous email, I have four websites. Between them are over 2,000 pages of freely available information on Christian topics, health and fitness, and politics. Those webpages are available free of charge to anyone who cares to read them.
In addition, all of my websites are free of the advertising that clutter most websites. I also have two free newsletters (a Christian one and a fitness one, one of which you apparently subscribe to. The most you will see in the newsletters or on the webpages is an occasional mention of one of my books or an advertising link to a product on Amazon, for which I get a commission.
If I was only trying to make money, I would remove all of that free info. In fact, I have had marketers tell me I am foolish to have so much info freely available, as people will just read the free stuff and not purchase my books, which is apparently what you have been doing with my Christian newsletter, reading it but not ordering any of my books.
Second, you first used the term “vegan,” not me. That I why I made the assumption you were a vegan not a vegetarian. But my comments would apply to a vegetarian diet as well, just not quite as strongly.
Third, if you actually read either of my books on nutrition (my other one is God-given Foods Eating Plan), you would know that I do not eat, nor do I advocate eating factory farm animal foods. For that matter, freely available on my fitness website is the following blurb about my Creationist Diet: Second Edition:
This Second Edition is 2-1/2 times as long and presents a different perspective on diet than the First Edition. The First Edition mostly advocated a vegan diet, while this Second Edition also advocates for a diet that includes animal foods. But, and this is very important, those animal foods are to be what are called “old-fashioned” meats, dairy, and eggs, not the “factory farm” products that most people eat. What is meant by these two terms and the incredible difference between them is explained in this book. In addition, this book covers a wide range of diet related topics to help the reader to understand how to live a healthier lifestyle according to God’s design.
You started this discussion by saying “I have received emails from you for years.” If that is true, then you would have read the above paragraph in Vol. XV, No. 3 of my freely available Christian newsletter. But apparently, you weren’t paying attention to what you read, as that “incredible difference” includes how animals are treated. The point is, your concerns about the mistreatment of animals in animal food production only apply to factory farm animal foods not to the “old-fashioned” animal foods I advocate consuming.
Third, in my book Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others? Volume Two, I present 17 non-Christian sources of information about Jesus from within a century of His death, showing that we in fact know much about His life from these extrabiblical sources.
Fourth, on your sarcastic comments on God’s sex plan, most people do not follow it, and that leads to much emotional distress. Of that there is no doubt. Many people have committed suicide or gone on shooting rampages due the emotional trauma caused by their sex lives being outside God’s design for humanity. Guilt over sex issues have also devastated many people and affected their relationship to God. That is why those books are so important. If that is not you, I am glad to hear it. But it is true of many people.
Fifth, on your comments about diet, many people are very confused about what constitutes a healthy diet. That leads to them throwing up their hands, giving up on eating healthy, and returning to eating junk food. Just as many people try to follow restrictive diets, like a vegan or even vegetarian diet, find it impossible to stick with, and again, go back to eating junk food. Either way, the guilt and frustration over not being able to follow such diets can cause undo emotional distress, which often leads to eating disorders.
This is made even worse when people like yourself and the vegan I talked to previously use guilt to try to get people to eat the way you think they should eat. Now, on top of beating themselves up for their lack of willpower, they have the distress of thinking they are going to hell as the vegan said or are “unloving” as you have said. All of that can be emotionally devastating.
I discuss this issue of emotional distress due to restrictive diets and the resulting eating disorders in my Creationist Diet book, relating my experience in that regard.
I have been discussing this very issue with someone else, though for him, it was a low-carb diet that he was trying to follow but found too restrictive. But he is finding the info in my books to be very beneficial and freeing, knowing he does not need to follow such a restrictive diet to be healthy or moral. Thus, my writings free people from guilt and give them proper direction, while you heap unnecessary guilt on people.
Sixth, on your comments on Calvinism, God uses means to fulfill His purposes, and that includes the preaching and defense of the Christian faith. For more, see the freely available to all section on the Calvinism on my Christian website. But my book on this subject is much more detailed and systematic in its presentation. That is why I wrote it. For that matter, that is why I wrote all of my books. I can go into much greater detail in a book than in a web article. That book is The LORD Has It Under Control.
Seventh, Jesus’ resurrection did not “undo” His sacrifice for our sins. It was proof that God accepted His as death payment of our sins. If He had stayed dead, there would have been no evidence that His death was any difference than any other.
Eighth, you most certainly can determine if a worldview view is true or not. You say you did that with a Jehovah’s Witness showing him that the Watchtower is not a reliable organization. That is using evidence to prove or disprove a basic tenant of a worldview.
However, the Bible can be demonstrated to be the Word of God and the resurrection of Jesus to be an historical event. I present evidence for both of these and the Christian worldview in general in the many freely available articles on my Christian website. You can begin with the following sections:
General Theology and Apologetics
Person and Work of Jesus Christ
But again, my books present much more info, especially the following:
Why Are These Books in the Bible and Not Others? Volume Two
Scripture Workbook: Second Edition
Ninth, a part of this demonstration is the logical nature of Christian doctrines and how they concur with reality, while other worldviews do not concur with reality. I can thus argue for the Christian faith without quoting a single Bible verse. You should have noticed that throughout our discussion I have never quoted a Bible verse. But to refer to a Bible passage, that is how Paul defended the faith at Athens (Acts 17:16-34). That passage is addressed in several articles in the first section above.
Finally, I have already wasted enough time on your comments just as I did with the vegan. Therefore, this will be the last time I respond to you. If you wish to respond to this email, fine. I will read it but will not respond. This discussion has to end sometime.
Exchange #6 with the Vegetarian
Thank you for your email. But I do not have time to respond, especially since it would take an article length email to do so. But I might respond later, and/or, I might rework my comments into an article or book. But it will be a while.
Vegetarian’s Comments on Vegan Discussion
The vegetarian responded to Part One of this article shortly after it was published and before this Part Two was published. Below is my response to him at that time.
I knew you would respond to this issue of Darkness to Light newsletter, and I knew you would make your second comment, that I always respond by saying. “The Bible says …”
I will respond to the latter point in two ways. First, in this particular discussion, the reliability and authority of the Bible was one of the major points under discussion, so I addressed that point. The reason can be seen the first article on my ministry’s Confession of Faith. It states:
1) The Holy Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original manuscripts, the complete revelation of His will for our salvation and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.
If I can prove to someone the first part of this article, then the second part follows logically. In other words, if in fact the Bible is the without error Word of God, then what “The Bible says” on ethical issues is the final say on the issue. In this case, the vegan kept saying the Bible was not without error, so I addressed that objection. I then pointed him to resources where I demonstrate the Bible is not just without error but is in fact the Word of God.
Second, if I had the time, I could have demonstrated to him that his claims were false without an appeal to the Bible. Thus, for instance, when he said that God would forgive sin without a sacrifice for sin, I could have said that if that were true, then there is no ultimate justice in the universe. I could do the same, give logical arguments, with any other Christian doctrine sumamrized on my Confession of Faith.
As for your first comment, true, not all vegans and vegetarians are so hardline as to say someone is going to hell for eating meat. But many do have a superior attitude, that they are somehow “better than” meat eaters. That air of superiority is where the idea of those of who eat meat are going to hell comes from. But you do not need to go to that extreme. Just that superior attitude is wrong, both Biblically and logically. That is seen in your last point, when you say “God is properly disappointed with me” for eating meat. You do not know the mind of God, because, well, you are not God.
I could respond logically by saying humans are at the top of the food chain, so it is perfectly natural for us to eat meat, just as it is natural for all other carnivores and omnivores (humans being the latter, a point I could also prove logically and do so in my books). Thus, God would not be “disappointed” with humans for doing what is natural for them to do. Of course, Biblically, there is no basis for your statement.
Now, I know you think you have a basis for that statement, by appealing to the mistreatment of animals in modern day food production. But, as I tried to explain to you before, that is only true for factory farms. And I agree with you completely in that regard, which is why I generally do not eat such animal foods. However, that is not the case with the “old-fashioned” animal foods I eat and that I encourage others to eat. In fact, much of the meat I eat is marked as being “Certified Humane Raised and Handled.”
Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) is the leading non-profit certification organization dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter.
The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices.
When you see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® label on a product you can be assured that the food products have come from facilities that meet precise, objective standards for farm animal treatment (CertifiedHumane.org).
Again, I explain the incredible difference between these two kinds of animal foods production in my books.
The vegetarian responded a second time, and I responded one last time to him.
I will just say as I said before, my belief that the Bible is the Word of God is not “just a choice.” I did not just wake up one day and say, “I think I will believe the Bible is the Word of God.” I came to that reasoned conclusion after several years of research on the evidence for and against that proposition. That evidence I present in my various writings, all of which you refuse to read.
On killing animals, again, it is normal for carnivores or omnivorous species to eat animals lower on the food chain. And the fact that my health and that of most every human being depends on doing so is further evidence it is normal and natural for humans to eat meat. And yes, once I came to the reasoned conclusion the Bible is the Word of God, that further confirmed what nature already teaches, that it is normal for humans to eat meat. That is several lines of evidence supporting the same position, whereas all you can give me is your feelings.
If you choose to not eat meat, that is your choice. But it is not a sign you have an “evolved mind.” That again is a demonstration of the arrogance vegetarians/ vegans display and which I find disconcerting. As such, no, I do not need to be “freed” from my reasoned belief system to become as arrogant as your belief system makes you.
We’re just going around in circles at this point, so this will be the last time I will respond to you. If you wish to pursue these issues, then check out the many books I have written in which I detail all of the claims I have made throughout our discussion.
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