I am a vegetarian (not a Vegan; I eat some fish). There are many reasons that I am a vegetarian, one being that I have suffered two heart attacks and need to live and eat as healthy as possible. But I also find good Christian and biblical arguments to support the vegetarian lifestyle. Here are a few points to consider:
1. Man was originally created to thrive on a non-meat diet. Meat eating involves death, and prior to the Fall there was no death.
2. After the flood meat eating was allowed because all the vegetation had been destroyed. But this was not the ideal diet for man.
3. The Levitical laws give explicit guidelines for what animals could be eaten and how they were to be killed and cooked. (Leviticus 11) During the time of the Law, animal sacrifices were made and portions of the meat were consumed by the people. But again, this was not the ideal diet and life under the Law was not the ideal spiritual condition for man.
4. God in His grace provided a rememdy for sin so that man could be restored to perfection and live eternally in an ideal spiritual condition. Since Christ was the final and complete sacrifice for sin (the spotless Lamb), then animals no longer have to be sacrificially slaughtered. Through faith in Him and the redemption of baptism, we can begin to be restored to the ideal spiritual state that Adam and Eve enjoyed prior to the Fall.
5. In this age of Grace killing animals is not necessary for our atonement, and eating meat is not necessary for our survival. We can (and I would argue should) try as much as possible to return to the lifestyle and diet of man in his pre-fallen state.
6. The eating of meat has moral and social ramifications as well as physical ramifications. The amount of feed and grain that it takes to feed one cow could sustain a thousand people, while the beef that the cow will provide might feed a hundred or so. (I can't give the exact stats on this, but I have read them and it is very interesting. I'm sure you can find these stats easily on line.) The point is that meat eating can be a selfish indulgence that actually contributes to the starvation of millions of people around the world. As Christians, we should consider our all of our actions and the effect that they have on our fellow man.
7. Although animals are not created in the image of God like human beings, they still deserve compassion and respect. Animals feel pain and suffer, and they should not have to do so unnecessarily. As Christians, we should never abuse animals or cause them to suffer simply to satisfy our indulgences. Chickens, cattle, and pigs often exist in tortuous conditions for the duration of their lives and are then killed in a merciless and painful manner. Even if we choose to eat meat, we should abhor and oppose the cruel and unnecessary treatment of these creatures. Let's remember that they are creatures, and therefore they point to the Creator.
8. As Christians we should promote peace and refrain from killing. I do not consider hunting or meat eating to be murder. I think that's ridiculous. But I do know that since I have become a vegetarian I have been less easily agitated and felt more at peace with myself. I think that a vegetarian lifestyle will help to promote peace in society, although I would never advocate the legislation of such a diet. It's a personal choice that I encourage others to make themsleves.
OK, those are just a few brief points. I am not a Vegan, because quite frankly I think there is a demonic element to the Vegan movement. Peter Singer is a big Vegan proponent, and his rabid pro-abortion views are down right scary. I think Vegans sometimes respect animal life more than human life, and I can never get down with that. (DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to be a political topic or a debate about abortion. If you want to discuss abortion please go to another thread. I only mentioned abortion because it relates to the Vegan views of Peter Singer. I am certainly glad to discuss abortion, but I have been warned not to do so on a "non-political" thread and I do not want ot make that mistake again. Thank you for understanding.)
Oh yeah, some may wonder why I eat fish. Well, Jesus ate fish so I won't try to be holier than Him. Also, fish (no shellfish or catfish) is very good for one's health if it is properly prepared. And fish are not treated cruelly like the cattle, chickens, and pigs that are raised for massive consumption.
My Priest told me that according to Church Tradtion Jesus did in fact eat meat other than fish. So I am aware that Orthodoxy does not compel one to be a vegetarian. These are my own personal opinions, and I think they in no way contradict Orthodox teaching. We must also remember that animals in Jesus' day were raised and slaughtered in a humane fashion. I don't think Our Lord would condone how these creatures are being unecessarily brutalized today.
Let me know what you guys think.