For several years now, I've been toying with the idea of vegetarianism (and more recently, veganism). After reading Fast Food Nation and watching Food, Inc. and turning the last few pages of Eating Animals, those toying thoughts are cementing themselves into my brain and turning into actions. I'm learning more about the food industry as a whole and it makes me frustrated. I'm feeling inspired by people I know who are veg-heads like my good friend and my sister (who hasn't eaten meat since 4th grade!). I'm discussing the details of family meals with my husband as we decide how to raise our daughter and whether or not we want to feed her the antibiotic-and-hormone-filled, inhumanely killed animal products that are so hard to get away from in our culture. And I know it will be a challenge.
One of the recent conversations I had about this idea of not eating meat resulted in this comment from a woman I know & respect... she said she couldn't be a vegetarian because "God wants us to eat meat." Now, that one took me by surprise. Of all the things I expected to come up when talking to people about seriously considering a non-meat-eating lifestyle, (Where will you get your protein? What will you eat at thanksgiving? Won't you ever buy your daughter a happy meal?) beginning a discussion about what the Bible says was one I didn't see coming.
Now, pulling quotes from the Bible can be a dangerous game. I personally do not believe that this work of literature should be a literal rulebook of DOs and DON'Ts, but instead perhaps, as many of the stories it contains, a parable reminding us on the whole to live by that Golden Rule. There always seems to be a one-for-one in the Bible. A vegetarian can site Genesis 1:29, "Behold I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food" as the a vote for not eating meat; and in the same book, only a few chapters later, a fervent omnivore could retaliate with Genesis 9:3, "Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." And it's not just how we should eat that can be debated within these pages, it's everything from homosexuality to marriage to child-rearing to giving money to the church to how the world will end. And the debates can be funny or serious or thought-provoking.
So many things to consider when one is making a decision about food - it affects more aspects of our life than a first glance might lead us to believe.