Veganism and atheism?

By on June 1, 2011

In this series, we ask vegans engaged in different kinds of activism a question, and post their responses, to show a diversity of perspectives on the same topic. This is not a forum for ‘professional experts’ and thought leaders, but a space for community voices. Join the discussion below in the comments.

Many vegans identify themselves as atheists. Do you believe that your veganism is the result of your atheism or vice-versa? Do you see them as being completely separate? How do they inform each other?

 

I became atheist in 2003. It wasn’t until a saw a video of factory farms and slaughterhouses that I stopped eating animal flesh in 2004, and made the logical step to go vegan in 2005.

Even though I was never very religious growing up (I went to a Catholic church on Christmas and Easter with my mom and sister while my dad stayed home), I think atheism helped me see that it was wrong to eat, wear, and otherwise exploit animals. As an atheist, it was easy for me to reject the supernatural belief in a species hierarchy and instead view the human species as merely one animal among many in the animal kingdom.

I see atheism and veganism as separate, but I definitely think a move to atheism across human society will help free minds of speciesism and affect a shift towards veganism.

Brandon Becker, co-founder of Animal Liberation Action, a grassroots anti-speciesist and abolitionist group working primarily in the Triangle region of North Carolina, U.S.

 

I became a vegan for the same reason I became an atheist. I was confronted with facts. Like most people in America, I was taught to worship a god and consume animal products. I went to a small K-12 Christian school and the summer after I graduated and ventured out into the real world, someone questioned me about inconsistencies in the Bible. My faith was shattered. It would have been easier to live in denial rather than change who I was, but there’s no integrity in ignorance.

Veganism was more intuitive. I stopped eating animals in the early 90s because I realized I was eating animals, but it was only relatively recently that I learned there’s unnecessary suffering and death in all animal products and I literally went vegan overnight. Veganism and atheism are results of critical thinking, and because of what I have learned, I always want to know more. I’ve done the restaurant scene in Portlandia, but I never ask about the chicken because I know he or she came from a slaughterhouse; I want to know about the person who picked the tomato.

It might be arrogant to deny the possibility that there is more to life and I admit that I have seen and experienced supernatural phenomena, but I don’t need a god. I don’t need animal products either. What I am certain of is that I have a limited amount of time on earth and while I am here, I want to cause the least amount of harm and help others reduce their own negative impacts. Unfortunately, telling someone their religion is bullshit is as unwelcome as telling someone their dietary and consumer habits cause vast amounts of suffering and death. Michael Pollan says veganism is an insult to your mother! Mine went vegan after I did, but I still haven’t told her I’m an atheist. Religion itself is oppressive but her personal belief in Jesus Christ isn’t hurting anyone, so I’m not going to ruin that for her. I don’t tell children there’s no Santa Claus.

Faith Gundran is an anti-oppression activist

 

My regard for animals does not derive from my regard towards any god or religion, or the lack thereof. My compassion and passion for things in life derives from the simple fact that I am not an asshole and that even though I don’t believe in heaven after I die, I still strive to be the most foremost person that I can be.

I became a vegan before I realized I was a free-thinker. Vegans and atheists believe in a lot of different things, but wow, how we believe is so much the same! We are both non-conformist. We go against what society has deemed “social norm,” and what they see is correct or acceptable. Vegans and atheists need hard facts. We don’t believe in things because someone tells us to. We need hard proof of new ideas presented to us. And even then, we are going to need some more convincing. Vegans and atheists also share strange ‘askews’ in the picture society has painted us to be. Just as all Atheists aren’t goth, dark depressed people, neither are vegans all granola-eating hippies living in the woods in yurts.

Vegans and atheists tend to have louder voices in the crowd. We have to have bigger voices to let our smaller message to the world to be heard. Every day we are further pushing the boundaries of the First Amendment, and it’s exciting.

A lot of vegans would disagree with me and say that their moral reasons for not choosing to harm animals is their religious view or is a religion itself. Theirs is a decision based on sinning-if-they-don’t, consequences if they hurt another. I don’t believe in deities and I don’t believe in the laws of karma, but I still care about animals. To me animals are fellow hitchhikers on the planet Earth, and my disbelief in deities sprouted from different sources to me. They derive from my own being and experiences.

Meggan Anderson is an actress and animal rights activist (www.meggananderson.com)

 

There’s no question that my general disdain for religion is rooted in the same type of critical thinking that gave birth to my commitment to veganism. I’d like to take this opportunity to specifically address the notions of both ethics – the philosophy of what’s right and wrong – and morality – the behaviors that one endeavors to engage in as an expression of their ethics. More specifically, I’d like to explore how these very concepts relate to both veganism and atheism.

One of the most common questions that religious people pose as an argument against atheism is “How does one define right and wrong or good and evil without the existence of god?” First off, the question is actually insulting to the entire human species. In fact, to imply that we can’t tell the difference between the two without the help of an invisible, supernatural friend is particularly ridiculous in light of the horrific acts that humans have brought upon each other and their nonhuman fellow earthlings in the name of their religious beliefs. Strangely, it takes conscious effort for humans to transcend the religious jargon spoon-fed to them from childhood. Without such effort, they never learn to critically think for themselves and accept what they are told as truth.

The answer to what is right and wrong is actually fairly simple. The lowest possible bar for what is right is to not knowingly cause a sentient being its maximum suffering. In other words, the easiest level of morality to achieve is simply not to torture anyone. In contrast, the simplest path to doing what is wrong is to cause a sentient being its maximum possible amount of suffering. In other words, the lowest bar for what is wrong is to torture someone. That was easy, right? And there wasn’t any need for god.

At some point growing up, I recognized that the stories and rituals surrounding the supernatural being that I was taught to worship as a Jew simply felt unnatural and contrived. I have been critically questioning religion in general ever since.

How does this relate to veganism? I think it’s obvious.

For the majority of my life I had no idea that the food I ate had any backstory whatsoever. I simply never thought about it. Just as religious parents feed stories and scripture to their children, my parents fed me animal products for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was simply the norm in my culture, just like believing in a supernatural being. When I met my wife, she showed me that in fact the food I was consuming did not appear magically, but actually came from somewhere. She showed me the truth about factory farming and I discovered that I was literally paying corporations to cause enormous amounts of suffering to billions of my nonhuman fellow earthlings.

I self-reflected. I chose to apply the most basic definition of morality to my life, and have since been committed to a vegan lifestyle. Simply put, without god or religion defining right from wrong, all I needed were facts to commit to the lowest possible bar of morality – not contributing to torture.

Avi Brown is a musician, entrepreneur, and tech geek based in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he resides with his wife and four rescued feline companions. He has been vegan for seven years.

 

I see close association with Judeo-Christian religions as a hindrance to becoming vegan.

Let’s say one starts to think honestly about the use of animals as products and food and starts wondering whether it is correct or ethical. Let’s say such a person is an observant Christian or Jew. Such a person is not going to find much sympathy in their religious home where scripture and teachings claim a deep respect for animals, all of God’s creatures, yet in the end the animals are food for the people and their skins become clothing. If you don’t agree, try convincing your rabbi or pastor that he or she ought to interpret their holy book differently and preach from the pulpit that eating a calf, sacrificed with a very sharp blade and a prayer, or that eating a ham or turkey as part of a Christmas celebration, are behaviors their flock should cease. Well, you’re going to get absolutely nowhere. Yes, there are Christian vegetarian societies and Jewish vegetarian groups but they are small splinter groups. Frank Hoffman from all-creatures.org has told us about countless religious people who can no longer find a home in their temple or church, who instead visit his collection of websites. They have to find their spiritual home online because there are just no brick-and-mortar churches or synagogues that denounce the use of animals as food and products adequately. Similarly Dr. Richard Schwartz has been trying to explain to Jewish congregations why vegetarianism, veganism, and environmentalism are true Jewish values. He should be speaking to huge audiences, yet most rabbis don’t give him the time of day.

So, if you are involved in Judaism or Christianity and start wondering whether to become vegan, you are going to have some serious choices. Many choose simply to walk away from their religions that sanction animal murder.

On the other hand, if organized religion was never important to you, or you are atheist and not yet vegan, then you have all the great literature, films, and enlightening speakers at your fingertips as unadulterated resources. Then you can simply think for yourself and not have to be concerned with a religious authority and arcane traditions from another era.

Peter Spiegel is an ophthalmologist and producer of the radio show Animals Today

 

My atheism is simply my personal rejection of the concept/notion/idea of God. Specifically, I strongly doubt there’s a supernatural being with magic powers living in the sky who created the universe, then wrote books about how he did it and why we must worship him. Why has he not produced a DVD or written an app yet?

Now, just to be clear, I also reject this new very vague God that countless people I’ve met seem to have invented on their own. Without fail they believe everything happens for a reason; they use poetic, beautiful, empowering – yet extremely ambiguous – New Age nonsense about how God is love, compassion and kindness. And I always ask them kindly, why does your God of love hate veal calves so much?

My personal road to both veganism and atheism resembles more of a multi-lane scenic highway winding through an awe-inspiring mountain range with both high peaks and low valleys. In other words, I do believe in mountains and I didn’t get to veganville and atheistown via a simple garden path that I decided to take a stroll down one afternoon. The road to both veganism and atheism began for me with questions when I was a child, questions regarding the most commonly held beliefs about the world in which everyone is indoctrinated as children. The more I questioned, the more the many supposed truths about the world did not seem plausible to me. After the questions came much critical thinking, self reflection and yes, spiritual experiences which had nothing to do with magic or the supernatural. I also had many wonderful years bonding with my boyhood canine black lab mix Cassius, and realized he was a person too.

The way to both animal rights and a disbelief in an almighty creator simply became an exercise in connecting the dots to facts, i.e., reality.

Empathy, intuition, secular, liberal, empirical principles and doubt made it rather easy for me personally to eventually find both of these destinations.

Having doubt is a powerful and important tool for functioning properly. Many of us believe that doubt is somehow a negative way to get from one place to another, but we often fail to realize it’s immense power to transform us for the better. There’s an energy and strength in doubt that comes from questioning and investigating stories that don’t seem to make any sense, stories we are told over and over, for instance how God created the world in six days, or that nonhumans don’t feel pain and that their lives don’t matter as much as a human’s.

Doubt possesses a kind of depth to it that faith totally lacks. What I mean by faith here is the belief in a proposition about the world without any evidence to back it up. This is something that seems to be dangerously utilized over and over in all religious beliefs. The same type of thought pattern exists in the unfounded beliefs humans have regarding other animals. Cultivating doubt in one’s life leads to the essential process of thinking things through rationally to the end of an idea.

There are countless ways both atheism and living vegan inform each other and there are important parallels with both for me too.

The first is that one can live a perfectly happy, healthy, fulfilling life without eating animals or without ever believing in a supernatural being who listens to one’s prayers and cares who we might sleep with.

The second parallel is that neither veganism nor atheism is part of a belief system. To live vegan or as an atheist, no dogma whatsoever can be embraced. Rather, both veganism and atheism are rejections of irrational, sometimes very dangerous and harmful belief systems themselves. In this context religion and speciesism are nearly identical twins. There’s nothing about living vegan one has to believe in to realize it’s wrong to kill someone for the mere taste of his or her flesh. There’s nothing an atheist has to believe in to go through their normal day without including Allah in their thoughts.

The third parallel really shows how being an atheist and living vegan are two peas in the same pod. This can be noticed in our daily interactions where we seem able to criticize a person’s belief on any subject we want, except…two. We can’t criticize someone’s personal beliefs about God, or their complicity in exploiting or killing non-human animals for pleasure. Which, of course, includes eating them. The fact is that it remains absolutely taboo in nearly every area of society to question someone’s religious faith or to criticize their omnivorous behavior. Those who do are accused of being self-righteous, insensitive, rude, or un-American. Both of these subjects remain completely off-limits for criticism, and this has terrible consequences.

Another parallel is that the evidence people claim for believing in certain religious doctrines or in believing that it’s okay to enslave or kill non-humans is either false, dishonest or doesn’t actually exist. The belief that Jesus is coming back to destroy anyone who has not accepted him, or that animals were put here on earth by Yahweh for humans to use as they see fit, lacks any proof or scientific evidence. However, both of these ludicrous beliefs control and destroy the lives of billions.

An unthinking, irrational phenomenon takes place in supposed thinking people when they order a plate of ribs or sit in a mosque, church or synagogue. Overwhelmingly they’re accepting either with blind faith, self-deception, or wishful thinking without ever really examining the nuances of what they’re doing. Do they really believe that God has a plan for them, or that no animals were harmed in the process of getting their dinner? What makes all of this possible (besides a claim to tradition) is that most people are in denial or desperately want to believe the myths they are telling themselves.

There is also a parallel in that all theists are atheists when it comes to accepting another religion’s God, and all meat eaters behave like vegans when it comes to not eating certain animals. Ask any Christian if they believe in Zeus or Krishna and you’ll find a militant non-believer standing in front of you. Ask any compassionate person eating organic lamb if they would be at all interested in trying a filet of Labradoodle and you’ll be thought of as disgusting and heartless.

The world is not going to become a more peaceful, loving place for animals or humans if we simply learn to respect the unjustified beliefs of others. The horrible atrocities that occur every day in slaughterhouses have more in common than we would ever want to admit with the feeling of absolute certainty that a religious man has about going to paradise after he flies a plane full of people into a building full of people. Both horrors are made possible by the astonishing power of unreason and both are inspired by unjustifiable beliefs.

If we’re ever going to see an end to these kinds of mindless acts of mass violence, we’ll all need to start building a world where the concept of going vegan or becoming an atheist is no longer needed.

Philip Steir

Vegan Sanctuary blog, www.mcdman.com/steir.html

 

Comments

  1. Kezia
    June 1, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    “I wish more people cared about Earth as much as they cared about who they believe created it.”

    http://socalfeminist.tumblr.com/post/5336678122

  2. Philip Steir
    June 1, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Believe what you will even if it seems nearly impossible…….. but yes I actually had to edit my long winded commentary from above. So, regard these comments here below as a few footnotes to my words above and that all of this are my opinions only. And….. you may skip all of this below if you have something important to do.
    First I want to thank Gary for providing this forum for vegans to share our thoughts and of course…. our feelings.
    I really enjoyed reading all of the contributers here. Avi rocked it…like a classic album. Faith (great name)…brilliant writing.
    OK…this is for me to clear a few things up. I just want to point out that in no way does my atheism include a denial of spirituality or in the possibilities of having a spiritual experience. There is no other way or word we have that explains those peak, profound, ecstatic, awe filled, moments in life where we feel connected to everyone and everything. Drugs or alcohol don’t count here. Although it comes with major baggage, there seems to be no other word that explains what it feels like to be moved by the mystery of life or what it is… to notice when we feel alive.
    Religions have high jacked the word “spiritual” in the same way the animal welfarists and butchers have high jacked the word “humane.”

    It seems to me that most people tend to unfortunately separate spirituality from psychology to the point where there is nothing real or of substance left in the subject anymore. We also tend to relate spirituality to either merely just positive states of mind or something magical… when in fact there is a much deeper and fuller range to this subject just like life itself. I for instance have a daily yoga practice that after years of “practice” I can attest to the fact that doing real spiritual work is to engage the real world of pain, stiffness, insecurities, neurosis, suffering, forgiveness, humility, compassion, overcoming habitual patterns, emotions and of course fear. Whew…But just like in our everyday life this is the work we have to do. We humans spend much of our life eluding and doing our best to bypass our own human experience and it’s that evasion itself that ends up taking up all of our energy and causing so much of our suffering.
    To me spirituality is simply when we engage in our lives deeply and compassionately rather than doing our best to avoid it all.
    I think that part of the result in this type of spiritual work… that comes with this kind of engaging in life deeply and compassionately is that it opens that door to becoming vegan. The process of both spirituality and becoming vegan is just stripping away all of the defenses we employ against dealing with reality and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable and to see others in that light as well. When we become vulnerable to our own lives I think we take the lives of others more seriously as well. How we live our lives and how we choose to focus our attention from moment to moment does not require that we believe in any unjustifiable beliefs or claim to know things that no human can ever possibly know….at this moment.
    Being an atheist allows me to be open minded about the world I live in rather than someone who is certain about their religious beliefs.
    I’m an athiest…not agnostic. I’m not agnostic about God or reincarnation in the same way you’re not agnostic about Zeus, unicorns or agnostic about whether animals feel pain and want not to be killed.

    The other point I wanted to make is that science does bring us closer to the answers we’re searching for. Not merely the narrow version of science of men in white lab coats obsessed with test tubes etc…(and certainly not vivisection) but think of Einstein who searching for truth using only his creativity… changed the way we understand our universe yet he never ventured into a laboratory and no…he did not believe in a personal God. Or Darwin who through an idea he came to by observing reality discovered the truth that humans are no different, in the big scheme of things, than all the other animals. Would you go to a dentist that claimed to be a biblical dentist? Would you fly with an airline who claim they designed their planes based on the way Muhammad rose to heaven? Why would you then look to answers about anything important using religious dogma or myth? The way we will answer every question we have about the world, why we’re here and about who we are is through looking for facts not in wishful thinking or using faith. Science will also be how we prove that non human animals deserve to be liberated from human oppression because they are no different than us. These important answers will never come to us through believing in ancient myths or making up new ones or in following a certain religion. The beautiful thing is….the answers to every question we have are out there even if we have not discovered them yet.
    Veganly yours…

  3. Meggan Anderson
    June 1, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I <3 the quote from Philip along the lines of "Veganism and atheism aren't apart of a belief system, they are the rejection of belief systems themselves!"

  4. Peter Keller
    June 1, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    There are some religions that can be compatible with veganism, such as many of the nature-venerating indigenous religions found across the world, but most formal organized religions, especially the Western monotheistic ones, are not, as they emphasize anthropocentrism, such as the idea of Dominionism within Christianity.

  5. Neel Parekh
    June 1, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    A conversation between Peter Singer and Richard Dawkins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYYNY2oKVWU

  6. Peter Keller
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    The difference between religion and veganism:
    Religion tries to convince people to believe what they can’t see.
    Veganism tries to convince people to see what they can’t believe.

  7. Peter Keller
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    The difference between religion and veganism:
    Religion tries to convince people to believe what they can’t see.
    Veganism tries to convince people to see what they can’t believe.

  8. Armaiti
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Actually, I am not an atheist. I believe in God and am a practicing member of Zoroastrianism – a little known faith which originated in Ancient Persia and teaches good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. It also embraces reverence for life and protecting our planet. I have lived a vegan lifestyle for about 12 years now, and although I came to this lifestyle through self-education and my innate love for animals, I don’t see my faith in a creator as contradicting my veganism in any way. To the contrary, they support one another. In fact, I have given talks at Zoroastrian conferences around the US and in London on Vegetarianism and Zoroastrianism.

  9. Armaiti
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Actually, I am not an atheist. I believe in God and am a practicing member of Zoroastrianism – a little known faith which originated in Ancient Persia and teaches good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. It also embraces reverence for life and protecting our planet. I have lived a vegan lifestyle for about 12 years now, and although I came to this lifestyle through self-education and my innate love for animals, I don’t see my faith in a creator as contradicting my veganism in any way. To the contrary, they support one another. In fact, I have given talks at Zoroastrian conferences around the US and in London on Vegetarianism and Zoroastrianism.

  10. jean
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Wow, this was very interesting because I just got back from a vegan immersion cooking class, and I mentioned to a friend of mine how refreshing and surprising it was that everyone was agnostic or an atheist.

  11. jean
    June 2, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    Wow, this was very interesting because I just got back from a vegan immersion cooking class, and I mentioned to a friend of mine how refreshing and surprising it was that everyone was agnostic or an atheist.

  12. Stephanie Gray
    June 3, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I have been a vegan for over 16 years and while I am not an atheist, I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I would say that my sense of the spiritual suffuses and influences my choice to be vegan.

    It is my experience and thus, my belief, that all life is animated by spirit, an ineffable, unfathomable essence that is in fact what makes a being animate.
    My notion is somewhat inchoate, but I think I would say that all living things are manifestations of and part of God. Thus, when we are loving and kind to any living being, we are honoring their spirit.
    I would not be so convinced that we are “spirits in the material world” (apologies to Sting), had I not had first-hand experience of unequivocal contact by beings that had left their bodies, or died, to use the vernacular.
    I will not describe these experiences here, as the skeptics will not be persuaded and those who have had similar experiences need no persuading. Suffice it to say that I too would not believe these things had they not happened to me. Two of the four “supernatural” experiences involved cats, and two involved humans.
    These experiences have convinced me that we all survive death and bolstered my belief that we all come from the same source, are all part of the same family and all want to live in the way that we have physically evolved to live. This fits well with my vegan life, as I believe it is more ethical not to deprive other beings of the lives that they were born to live.

  13. Stephanie Gray
    June 3, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    I have been a vegan for over 16 years and while I am not an atheist, I do not subscribe to any organized religion. I would say that my sense of the spiritual suffuses and influences my choice to be vegan.

    It is my experience and thus, my belief, that all life is animated by spirit, an ineffable, unfathomable essence that is in fact what makes a being animate.
    My notion is somewhat inchoate, but I think I would say that all living things are manifestations of and part of God. Thus, when we are loving and kind to any living being, we are honoring their spirit.
    I would not be so convinced that we are “spirits in the material world” (apologies to Sting), had I not had first-hand experience of unequivocal contact by beings that had left their bodies, or died, to use the vernacular.
    I will not describe these experiences here, as the skeptics will not be persuaded and those who have had similar experiences need no persuading. Suffice it to say that I too would not believe these things had they not happened to me. Two of the four “supernatural” experiences involved cats, and two involved humans.
    These experiences have convinced me that we all survive death and bolstered my belief that we all come from the same source, are all part of the same family and all want to live in the way that we have physically evolved to live. This fits well with my vegan life, as I believe it is more ethical not to deprive other beings of the lives that they were born to live.

  14. Trishden
    June 3, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    My choice to become atheist was far before my choice to become vegan…but both stem from the same aspect of my life…intellect and thinking/learning/evolving as a person. I feel that both are the most sensible and intelligent ways of living and thinking. It was difficult to be “out” about both aspects of my life, as both tend to bring on criticism and attacks on my morality and intellect by those who are not one or both things. It has been a rough time, but I wouldn’t go back for anything…unless I had pure and logical and tangible proof that my ways and my thinking were illogical and wrong. I respect that others have their ways that may be different from mine though. I just happen to disagree and live differently. I hope for the same respect, but that is rarely the case. Unfortunately.
    ps…I have been searching for what seems like forever, to meet vegan Atheists! HAHAHAHA!!! Aside from me, my husband and a few of our friends. It is rare to meet them…perhaps they are hiding HAHAHA!!! I don’t blame them LOL! ♥

  15. Trishden
    June 3, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    My choice to become atheist was far before my choice to become vegan…but both stem from the same aspect of my life…intellect and thinking/learning/evolving as a person. I feel that both are the most sensible and intelligent ways of living and thinking. It was difficult to be “out” about both aspects of my life, as both tend to bring on criticism and attacks on my morality and intellect by those who are not one or both things. It has been a rough time, but I wouldn’t go back for anything…unless I had pure and logical and tangible proof that my ways and my thinking were illogical and wrong. I respect that others have their ways that may be different from mine though. I just happen to disagree and live differently. I hope for the same respect, but that is rarely the case. Unfortunately.
    ps…I have been searching for what seems like forever, to meet vegan Atheists! HAHAHAHA!!! Aside from me, my husband and a few of our friends. It is rare to meet them…perhaps they are hiding HAHAHA!!! I don’t blame them LOL! ♥

  16. Tracy Lewis
    June 4, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    avi brown is correct…the lowest bar of morality is torturing a sentient being. Well, a human baby waiting to be born is also a sentient being ( definition of sentient: alive, flesh and blood).
    Abortion actually goes beyond torture…we’re talking extermination here. Animals don’t abort their babies and we humans would do well to follow in their footsteps. P.S. The world didn’t appear magically either, but actually came from a Creator.
    Just sayin’

  17. Tracy Lewis
    June 4, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    avi brown is correct…the lowest bar of morality is torturing a sentient being. Well, a human baby waiting to be born is also a sentient being ( definition of sentient: alive, flesh and blood).
    Abortion actually goes beyond torture…we’re talking extermination here. Animals don’t abort their babies and we humans would do well to follow in their footsteps. P.S. The world didn’t appear magically either, but actually came from a Creator.
    Just sayin’

  18. Philip Steir
    June 7, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    @tracy,
    The main problem with this issue tends to be a religious one with the beliefs that a fertilized ovum has a soul and not because that being is sentient. The issue often over looked by religious people is that the fertilized ovum ,which is by the way , is not a baby, cannot live without the woman’s body. There is no analogy really that can be compared to this issue as one being is inside another being. The truth is that no one has the right to control an autonomous persons or animal’s body. It would be a violation and a horrible intrusion for the state or whoever to control a woman’s right to an abortion as it is her body. This is indeed a part of her private decision (right to privacy) about her own healthcare. This is also similar to why it’s wrong to force a non human animal to be pregnant against her will to provide milk for others.
    Question….to you Tracy since you invoked God here. When a woman has a miscarriage and many are past the first trimester… is God performing an abortion?

  19. Philip Steir
    June 7, 2011

    Leave a Reply

    @tracy,
    The main problem with this issue tends to be a religious one with the beliefs that a fertilized ovum has a soul and not because that being is sentient. The issue often over looked by religious people is that the fertilized ovum ,which is by the way , is not a baby, cannot live without the woman’s body. There is no analogy really that can be compared to this issue as one being is inside another being. The truth is that no one has the right to control an autonomous persons or animal’s body. It would be a violation and a horrible intrusion for the state or whoever to control a woman’s right to an abortion as it is her body. This is indeed a part of her private decision (right to privacy) about her own healthcare. This is also similar to why it’s wrong to force a non human animal to be pregnant against her will to provide milk for others.
    Question….to you Tracy since you invoked God here. When a woman has a miscarriage and many are past the first trimester… is God performing an abortion?

  20. Curran Beard
    June 20, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    Jewish psychologist mother and agnostic (raised Jewish) quantum physicist dad. Was raised open-minded & observed the high holy days. At one point my father thought we should attend Unitarian Sunday school to broaden our scope. I was expelled after a few weeks for continuously sparring with the teacher’s ideas. “God made the rose & the Devil made the thorns.” No! If God hadnt made the thorns, everyone would pick all the roses and there wouldnt be any roses anymore. I was 6.
    The bible was written in the Iron Age when the majority were illiterate and the Earth was still flat. The New Testament was compiled by the Romans from hundreds or even thousands of scrolls (alas, there are no witnesses). Those not used were ordered destroyed. They translated it without rules or oversight by a 3rd party. It was transcribed and altered repeatedly over time by padres and their popes who were of a different thought and opinion than that of the previous.
    I went to a strictly plant-based diet for health reasons 34 years ago … but after you are free of animals in your body, your sensitivity to their plight goes way up not being complicit in their suffering and slaughter anymore. This is a common theme for those that do it for health reasons only. Only when I started to feel a tremendous compassion for animals did I start to call myself vegan. Those that gave me the most flack for ststing the case for animals were the devoutly religious. Atheists were open to what I had to say with much more frequency. I still light the candles on a holy day and make holiday meals ~ my grandmother’s recipes, altered to render them cruelty-free. Atheism is consistent with veganism because nothing is sugar-coated and handed down form barbaric times. I am free … so too will the animals become in time when mankind puts away the myths and fables from his infancy that he has outgrown.

  21. Curran Beard
    June 20, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    Jewish psychologist mother and agnostic (raised Jewish) quantum physicist dad. Was raised open-minded & observed the high holy days. At one point my father thought we should attend Unitarian Sunday school to broaden our scope. I was expelled after a few weeks for continuously sparring with the teacher’s ideas. “God made the rose & the Devil made the thorns.” No! If God hadnt made the thorns, everyone would pick all the roses and there wouldnt be any roses anymore. I was 6.
    The bible was written in the Iron Age when the majority were illiterate and the Earth was still flat. The New Testament was compiled by the Romans from hundreds or even thousands of scrolls (alas, there are no witnesses). Those not used were ordered destroyed. They translated it without rules or oversight by a 3rd party. It was transcribed and altered repeatedly over time by padres and their popes who were of a different thought and opinion than that of the previous.
    I went to a strictly plant-based diet for health reasons 34 years ago … but after you are free of animals in your body, your sensitivity to their plight goes way up not being complicit in their suffering and slaughter anymore. This is a common theme for those that do it for health reasons only. Only when I started to feel a tremendous compassion for animals did I start to call myself vegan. Those that gave me the most flack for ststing the case for animals were the devoutly religious. Atheists were open to what I had to say with much more frequency. I still light the candles on a holy day and make holiday meals ~ my grandmother’s recipes, altered to render them cruelty-free. Atheism is consistent with veganism because nothing is sugar-coated and handed down form barbaric times. I am free … so too will the animals become in time when mankind puts away the myths and fables from his infancy that he has outgrown.

  22. Laura
    November 27, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I think that this sort of peeking behind the curtain effect that atheism has on a lot of people is true for vegans (i’m thinking more specifically people that “deconvert” to atheism and people that take up veganism, not life-long atheists or born-vegans.)

  23. Laura
    November 27, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I think that this sort of peeking behind the curtain effect that atheism has on a lot of people is true for vegans (i’m thinking more specifically people that “deconvert” to atheism and people that take up veganism, not life-long atheists or born-vegans.)

  24. Andrew
    December 25, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I visited New Zealand in 1977 and saw crates containing young calves on roadside verges. I asked my wife (NZ dairy farmers daughter what they were and was told they were “Bobby calves”. I had to ask what a Bobby calf was and it had taken me 29 years to realise all the boy calves had to die so we could drink Milk !!! Despite being raised in an English rural dairy farming community such is the love of suppressing unpalatable truths in our society. Sadly, it was another 6 years before I became vegetarian (the abattoir film effect again) and another twelve before I launched myself on a vegan diet (bitter sweet moment of being dumped by my meat eating partner).

    As an atheist/vegan plus even more differentiating a simplicity lover I find myself very marginalised within the small community I live. This week i.e.Xmas that marginalisation becomes almost impossible to bear.

  25. Andrew
    December 25, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I visited New Zealand in 1977 and saw crates containing young calves on roadside verges. I asked my wife (NZ dairy farmers daughter what they were and was told they were “Bobby calves”. I had to ask what a Bobby calf was and it had taken me 29 years to realise all the boy calves had to die so we could drink Milk !!! Despite being raised in an English rural dairy farming community such is the love of suppressing unpalatable truths in our society. Sadly, it was another 6 years before I became vegetarian (the abattoir film effect again) and another twelve before I launched myself on a vegan diet (bitter sweet moment of being dumped by my meat eating partner).

    As an atheist/vegan plus even more differentiating a simplicity lover I find myself very marginalised within the small community I live. This week i.e.Xmas that marginalisation becomes almost impossible to bear.

  26. T.T. Aliens
    March 16, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    I am a devoted vegan and I have for the longest time considered myself atheist. I wouldn’t say absolutely the two are connected. I’ve spoken with atheist that have no problem with the murder of animals for food.
    According to the ancient writings of The Essene the people whom lived during the time of Jesus , Jesus was beaten and crucified for not eating meat and rebuking the Pharisees for lusting after meat like the Hebrews did after leaving Egypt. It’s all written in The Gospel of the Holy Twelve which is believed to be the original new testament changed by the Emperor of Rome before he would accept the new religion. Basicly the new religion had to meet his approval before he would accept therefore it was believed to have been changed for him. If you’re a devout vegan/animal rights individual I think probably would find the whole story interesting. Jesus the Animal Rights vegan.

    http://reluctant-messenger.com/essene/gospel_intro.htm

  27. Deng Celeste
    December 18, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegetarian because of religious reason otherwise I have no reason to care for animals. since animals is also God’s children I care for them. If there is no God who is in full of control everything, then what is the value of morals ? If everything happen by chance then there is no point of right and wrong since no controlling entity supervise it ..nature are running in chaos. So let us leave everything on chance and stop arguing about this, chances are things will be different from our point of view where killing animals is right and being vegan is wrong when the nature change its course !

  28. Deng Celeste
    December 18, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegetarian because of religious reason otherwise I have no reason to care for animals. since animals is also God’s children I care for them. If there is no God who is in full of control everything, then what is the value of morals ? If everything happen by chance then there is no point of right and wrong since no controlling entity is enforcing it, and thus nature are running in chaos. So let us leave everything to chance and stop arguing about this, chances are things will be different from our point of view where killing animals is right and being vegan is wrong when natures change its course !

  29. Mila
    June 7, 2016

    Leave a Reply

    I am a vegan and a Christian.

  30. Heather
    November 5, 2016

    Leave a Reply

    This is very interesting! I’m a “new” vegan and will answer agnostic if I’m asked… but I’m actually atheist. Such a tough thing for people to accept and I’m not one to start such a hot topic …especially with people who just wouldn’t understand, which is perfectly fine with me. Anyway, it is interesting to find that I am not alone in my thinking! And becoming vegan has been the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done.

Leave a Reply


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*