Veganism and spirituality?

By on May 27, 2011

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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 religious and/or spiritual. Do you believe that your veganism is the result of your faith or vice-versa? Do you see them as being completely separate? How do they inform each other?


 

To me, spirituality is simply the search for what is true and what is real. Beliefs are not only not required, they actually may stand in the way of true spirituality and, I’ve found, often do.

The best friend one can have on this search is a completely open mind and an extreme willingness to question anything and everything. So in this regard, my spirituality is definitely related to my veganism. Veganism came about with a willingness to question the norm, and to look at where food comes from without blinders. It hurts to see or think of an animal in pain, or to try and not think of their plight at all. It feels much better to love and respect them. And I’ve found the health benefits of the diet to be life-changing.

One of the best spiritual gifts that veganism has given me is showing me how I don’t feel good when I try to tell others what’s best for them. Plain and simple, it just doesn’t feel right. I think the reason for this is that, when I look deeply, I see that I don’t actually know what’s best for others or even what’s best for animals. It hasn’t felt good to me to act as if I do. Of course others may feel differently in terms of what they feel they know and what feels right to them, and that is perfect.

Eric Milano

Links recommended by Eric: The Work of Byron Katie, Satsang with Mooji, Adyashanti.org, and Benjamin Smythe

 

Back in 1975, fresh out of college, I embarked on a spiritual pilgrimage that brought me from New England to The Farm in Tennessee, which at that time was a spiritually-oriented hippie commune of nearly a thousand people who ate a completely plant-based diet for ethical reasons. I became a vegetarian there, and it was primarily due to the example of these people at The Farm, who were obviously healthy and who were concerned about both animal cruelty as well as the fact that eating animal foods causes world hunger.

I spent the next ten years or so living in several different Buddhist meditation centers, and became a vegan in 1980 out of concern for the cruelty to cows and hens. In 1984, I lived in Korea as a Zen monk, and lived in a monastery there that had been practicing vegan living for 650 years – the monks abstained from meat, dairy, eggs, wool, silk, and leather out of compassion for animals. I began to see clearly that veganism is essentially a contemporary iteration of the ancient Eastern spiritual principle of ahimsa which is non-violence. Ahimsa is a core principle in all religions, actually, and it is based on the universal wisdom of the Golden Rule and also of karma – that whatever we sow, we will reap: when we harm others, we harm ourselves, and when we enslave others, we enslave ourselves. Spirituality is about liberation, and thus always calls us to awaken to the interconnectedness of all life, and to practice kindness and respect for others. These are both pre-requisites for – and the natural results of – authentically realizing our essential nature as spiritual beings.

Donald Watson, in coining the term “vegan,” specified that the motivation in vegan living is to abstain from cruelty and exploitation to animals (and humans). This is ahimsa, and has always been my primary motivation, though I’ve also been motivated by the health, environmental, and spiritual purification reasons as well.

At its core, veganism is a spiritual movement, based on the ancient wisdom teaching of the interconnectedness of all life, and founded on the compassionate yearning within all of us to bless our world and to celebrate our lives creatively and joyfully on this magnificent Earth. I give thanks to everyone who has, is, or will live this message in daily life. By bringing this message, in whatever ways resonates for us, to our world, we help uplift human consciousness to the truth that compassion and joyful health are two sides of the same coin.

Dr. Will Tuttle

Author, The World Peace Diet

www.worldpeacediet.org

 

My initial venture into vegetarianism 27 years ago I would say was inspired more by political beliefs, however my later practice of veganism was definitely motivated by my spiritual practices. I feel that my spiritual beliefs and my practice of veganism go hand in hand, and are inseparable from each other. The two spiritual traditions I feel most closely aligned to are Buddhism and Native American Indian. Both practices hold in high esteem the idea of oneness with all of creation, and respect and honor for all life, and that is something I try to be conscious of each day, and especially with each meal.

In Buddhism, you take the vow to “save all beings,” a very lofty ideal! Having taken that vow, how could one then proceed to support the slaughter of animals for meat, or their enslavement and torture for dairy and eggs? As a true Buddhist, one that wants to end suffering for all beings, there is no better way to do that than by practicing veganism. Similarly, when I attend sweat lodges, we end each round by chanting “Mitakuye Oyasin” (All My Relations), a Lakota prayer to honor all your relations, including the rocks, trees, bears, geese, wolves, etc. Again, I feel that to truly honor your relations, you don’t eat or enslave them, but allow them to pursue their lives with joy and happiness.

Kevin Starbard

www.peacefulway.com

Sea Shepherd Philadelphia

 

I am not Christian, or Buddhist, or a Yogi or any other label. But I connect with many of the teachings in various religions: compassion and love for all, ahimsa, karma, service to others, raising consciousness, oneness, faith, the golden rule. These teachings go hand in hand with my veganism. They are not separate for me because my veganism and my spiritual beliefs are part of my whole being. But, I prefer not to wear labels. I see time and time again people get really defensive when their labels and attachments are challenged. Wars are raged on humans and animals every day because of labels.

Many people use the label of their religion as a reason to do harmful things to others. I had a woman tell me that I was wrong to oppose horse-drawn carriages because “horses, donkeys, and mules have been working for us since the beginning of time and carried baby Jesus on their backs.” I was shocked by this comment. I thought Christianity was based in the teachings I listed above. I naively thought that most people would agree that these horses are working against their will and do not want to be dressed up in fancy costumes and whipped into submission. Just because we’ve been doing something since the beginning of time doesn’t make it right and unchangeable. For her there was a cap on how much compassion she could spread. I don’t understand this.

I often read or hear people say that veganism itself is like a religion. I have such negative feelings about religion, so it’s hard for me to agree with that statement. But since I’m devoted to this way of life and all that it entails, I guess it is my religion. A religion of compassion and kindness for all beings, a desire to help all beings discover joy and bliss, a lifestyle devoid of hate and violence, and the hope for a better future for all creatures.

Christy Morgan, AKA The Blissful Chef (www.theblissfulchef.com), is a vegan chef, cooking instructor, and author of Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

 

The following comments are excerpted from the blog post “Paradise Recovered,” with permission of the producers of Bold Native:

I feel that living as a vegan is my natural extension of following the teachings of Jesus. As a Christian, how can I seek to alleviate suffering when I have just eaten a big piece of steak from a poor cow murdered in a slaughterhouse by unskilled workers desperate for income?

Denying myself and taking up the cross is the call for a Christ follower, and every time I say ‘no’ to meat, despite the ridicule and the nastiness of people, I say with my actions that suffering of any type is not acceptable. And this includes remembering the farm workers (most of whom have no health insurance and are illegal to boot) just as much as it does the animals who are abused.

It’s Easter, and I am reminded that Jesus was a Passover lamb that willingly sacrificed himself to satisfy the demand for justice for the things that we do to offend God and one another. Crucifixion was a brutal death, but some of what I have seen from videos of slaughterhouses equals that kind of brutality. I have often wondered how callous someone would have to be to actually crucify and beat someone beyond recognition. And yet, the industry demands that we create these kinds of workers to do this exact thing to animals. Why? For cheap burgers?

This isn’t the days when Farmer Brown took the pig out back because the family was hungry and had no other access to protein, or even when a pre-literate Jewish family hand raised a Passover lamb as a reminder that sin has consequences – in this case, the death of a prized possession. These are animals that have been genetically mutated, filled with chemicals and artificial hormones, forced to live in repulsive conditions, stripped of any natural defenses, beaten and abused, starved and dehydrated on trucks, and then skinned and gutted alive as they hang upside down.

This is changing the way I look at Easter. And I think that perhaps Jesus, through his crucifixion, lowered himself to the worst imaginable state…a state that many animals suffer. Jesus went willingly to his cross…these poor animals have no choice.

Andie Redwine, writer/producer of the award-winning independent film Paradise Recovered, a modern-day adaptation of the biblical Good Samaritan parable of faith, tolerance, and spiritual abuse.

 

I remember how sad and outraged I was when I first learned, at the age of three, that we kill animals for food. But I wasn’t in a good position to argue about the injustice I saw in this. So I went along with the programming I received from my family and from society, and ate what was put before me. But I can still remember thinking very highly of vegetarians because they make a special effort to help animals each day.

Many years went by before this issue again came to the fore. My ex-wife and I became members of the Humane Society of the US, and we occasionally received pictures that showed the typical living conditions of farmed animals in this country. I found it shocking and could hardly believe that this could occur in a modern, civilized society such as ours. I was also troubled by the tremendous waste of resources that’s involved in animal agriculture. So I gradually went vegetarian and a year later went vegan.

A few years into my new lifestyle, I began thinking about what my biggest benefit was in making the change. I had dropped 30 excess pounds and my cholesterol numbers had improved a lot; I no longer had lower back pain; and was completely rid of the sinus infections since dropping dairy.

But my biggest change, the one that meant the most to me, was in my relationship to a higher intelligence and my newfound sense of clarity regarding the idea of “Oneness” and connection to everyone and everything. I thought “Wow, I do have religion!”, and I stopped calling myself agnostic.

My spiritual growth was enhanced tremendously by my vegetarian and animal rights activism and by making some time available each morning for reflection/contemplation/meditation/prayer for farmed animals. Veganism has been a wonderful practice for me and has helped expand my world far beyond my own personal interests. I’ve learned firsthand that shifting toward a plant-based diet is a powerful, powerful way to love this planet and all those who share it.

Don Robertson

Volunteer chairperson for EarthSave Baltimore

 

My first thought is of that delightful George Bernard Shaw line, “A man of spiritual intensity does not eat corpses.” Amen! Yet I am surprised that you say that many vegans self-identify as spiritual or religious. I think I have found a higher proportion of committed atheists among vegans than in the general population. In fact my first few years of animal rights activism brought on a profound loss of faith. It was almost a cliché – as I learned the horror of the mass institutionalized animal cruelty that is at the framework of society, I asked if there could possibly be a loving God who would allow it.

Indeed, my animal rights activism, which propels my veganism, may make the belief in a God as presented by the classic religions difficult. Yet it makes faith of a different sort necessary. And that faith makes my activism possible, so I love the way you put it, that they “inform each other.”

I practice yoga daily and I study A Course in Miracles, a spiritual text that uses traditional Judeo-Christian terminology to present decidedly Eastern ideas. The main tenet is forgiveness. A Course in Miracles teaches that we do not sin, we make mistakes, we choose badly, and we can always choose again. We are a deeply flawed species; acting in cold self-interest is part of our nature. Yet another part of our nature, perhaps the truest part of our nature, is loving.

I think my activism is more compelling and I know I stay saner when I dispense with the idea that people who don’t yet feel how I do about animal suffering are bad, are the enemy – any more than I am a true enemy to those fighting the global water crisis if I take 15-minute showers. That more forgiving outlook comes from my spiritualism and is fundamental to my activism.

If we don’t believe that other people can change, as we continue to see ourselves change, how can we be activists? My spiritualism, the repetition of mantras such as “Forgiveness is my function,” reminds me that people aren’t good or bad, but instead all have the capacity to choose compassion. It keeps me on course as an activist. I would be useless without it.

Karen Dawn is author of Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, and founder the animal advocacy media watch site DawnWatch.com.

 

Values are, or at least should be, at the core of our beings. For some, religion is a matter of values and belief (and for others it is a matter of ancestry and tradition). Despite ancestry and tradition, I could not and would not choose to live any religious way of life that contradicted my values and beliefs. Thus, I find it quite wonderful that Judaism does genuinely support values that I deem most morally right and by which I choose to live my life, including my vegan values. More directly to answer the question, though, my veganism is not the result of my Judaism, nor is my Judaism the result of my veganism. They are both important in my life and fit together quite well, sharing certain teachings, and having no contradiction between them.

In Judaism, there is that which is considered law and that which is considered tradition. There certainly are traditions in Judaism that are not vegan, but those are mere traditions that do not go back to the origins of Judaism, are not required, and for the most part were actually adopted by Jews from their non-Jewish neighbors. That which is a part of religious Jewish requirement, however, not only does not require anything non-vegan, but much of it actually beautifully supports and sometimes teaches a vegan way of life. Even when the Torah speak of a “land flowing with milk and honey,” the milk of which it speaks is almond milk and the honey of which it speaks is date honey.

Food is culturally an important part of Jewish life. Most holidays have their traditional foods, and those that actually have their religious significance are, or easily can be, vegan – apples dipped in date honey at Rosh HaShanah, fall harvest vegetables at Sukkot, latkes and apple sauce at Chanukah, hamantashen at Purim, matzah, charoseth,, bitter herbs, green vegetables, etc. at Passover, falafel at Yom HaAtzmaut, etc.

All Jewish holidays are filled with positive messages that are quite congruent with being vegan. Passover, for example, is also known as the Festival of Freedom. While traditionally on their seder plates, some Jews use an egg to symbolize new life and growth and a shank bone to symbolize the blood that was used as a paint on ancient doorposts, these are not items referred to traditionally in the haggadah to actually be eaten or even required to be present. The symbolization, though, is important, and it is quite acceptable to use an avocado pit instead of an egg and beet instead of a shank bone, as they symbolize the same. At my seder, we use “The Haggadah for a New World,” which I wrote decades ago. It includes all the required and most traditional Passover readings but also incorporates other elements that are important for fully consciously celebrating such a Festival of Freedom.

My favorite day of the year is the ancient Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shvat. It is an age-old holiday that was the original Earth Day. It is to be celebrated by honoring the earth, taking care of the earth, and feasting on the fruits (and nuts) of the earth. The holiest of all holy days on the Jewish calendar is Yom Kippur. As I lead the children’s services at synagogue, each year some child asks the question of why there are many adults in synagogue without their belts and wearing fuzzy slippers or canvas sneakers instead of their dress shoes. It is a perfect opportunity to help the children learn the vegan message that is such a part of Yom Kippur.

On the holiest of holiest of all days of the year, when we are to be asking G-d for forgiveness for all of our sins, Judaism teaches that it would be considered the greatest sin to be wearing part of one of G-d’s beautiful creatures. It is thus prohibited on Yom Kippur to wear animal products such as leather. I help the children realize that if that is the holiest way to live on the holiest day of the year, then we can make our everyday lives more holy by living that way everyday of the year. Being vegan is the ideal in Judaism. In Eden, the world was vegan. When the Moshiach comes, the world will be vegan. While we may be permitted to not be vegan in these unholy times in between, there is no reason we can’t elevate our lives to be holier and be vegan everyday of our lives. As Jews, we can live fully by our values as VeJEWtarians.

www.VeJEWtarian.org is a chavurah for those who are both actively Jewish and vegetarian and consider both to be important parts of their lives.

Andy Mars, Ph.D., is director of www.KidsMakeADifference.org, which includes vegan camps, a vegan school, and the Veg Kids organization

 

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Comments

  1. Holly
    May 27, 2011

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    My veganism has been a spiritual journey of sorts, yet is clearly not the result of any organized religion. I used to blindly believe in God. The notion of an almighty creator watching over us was not questioned. There was even a sense of fear. Veganism entails questioning. It entails wanting to see and know what others do not. It entails the truth, when the masses refuse to accept or are apathetic. This premise begins to permeate other aspects of life- not just food choices. Vegans are commonly agnostic or atheist. The jury is out for now, whether I believe in God or not. But I do believe in kindness. And if indeed there is a God, She (I choose to make God a ‘she’!) is shaking her head in disbelief at the violence we are capable of.

  2. sandra
    May 27, 2011

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    Amen….bless all the animals and my vegan friends…amen

  3. Beth Hardesty
    May 27, 2011

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    The spirituality I’ve come to is not anyone else’s “organized religion” (though I was “raised” Catholic, which I never completely embraced, and certainly do not noow.) It is deeply personal and based upon the still, small voice within me – as well as the deep and pervasive all-encompassing love of all other animals that has always been a core part of me since birth. The purpose of my life is to do everything I can to be of service to other snimals. We are all the same divine light. All one must do is to look into the eyes of another animal – and know the light within themselves – to see the truth, and to know that we are ALL connected, intimately. In my opinion, “God” is neither sex and unnameable. We know God by seeing God in ourselves, in each other and everywhere — always waiting patiently and available.

  4. Philip Steir
    May 29, 2011

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    The contributors in the series here proves that vegans are incredibly insightful, thinking and deep feeling people. The perspectives here are so well articulated, so beautifully stated, so well furnished with honesty and real self inquiry that it would be difficult to read these comments and not come away fully appreciating the commitment in which each person has put into understanding themselves and caring passionately about others. I think each writer makes the point that who we are as people and what we do in our daily lives has more to do with our spiritual selves than nearly anything else. I find it so refreshing to read people’s words regarding spirituality in such grounded and meaningful ways. I value the way each writer stretches above and beyond the usually quite naive, narrow and unfortunately ambiguous definitions that usually accompany peoples comments about spirituality. Thank you. It must be all those veggies and focusing on compassion. Well, in this humble vegan atheists opinion it seems to me that people tend to usually separate spirituality from psychology to the point where there is nothing real left in it 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 it just like life itself. Like Karen I also have a daily yoga practice and I can attest to the fact that doing real spiritual work is to engage the real world of pain, stiffness, neurosis, suffering, forgiveness, humility, compassion, overcoming habitual patterns, emotions and of course fear. Just like our everyday life that 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 try our best to avoid it all. I think that part of the result that comes with this kind of engaging in life deeply and compassionately is 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 make claims that certain texts were written by the creator of the universe.
    Thank you all for taking the time to write this and of course I thank all of you for your veganism. I appreciate all of the comments written here too because they really do show a common thread that links being vegan with thinking and feeling deeply. Thank you.

  5. Janine Laura Bronson
    May 30, 2011

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    B.H.

    Greetings,

    It would seem to me to be missing quite a vital part of the equation, by limiting this focus on veganism and faith, without also adding the following term: neurtrality, into the mix.

    I am not saying here that veganism and/or ones belief system is either lacking in neutrality; nor does it represent the notion of our remaining neutral by adopting either the vegan lifestyle or any religious views in particular; but merely seek to offer this term here as a separate part of the whole triangle of these three terms, and perhaps combining all three, veganism, religion and neutrality, as a symbol to be applied universally, rather like a shield of sorts (possibly think of the double intersecting triangle, which I’ll explain a bit further on down) with the hopes of gaining acceptance and a better understanding, that one can identify with freely, no matter how extensive the individual’s critical thinking might, or might not be compared to another person’s point of view!

    The sense that a collective common held truth is sought on a spiritual level is quite clear: No matter who entertains these thoughts, an all encompassing oneness is symbolic of whatever higher power towards which one feels this closeness in identity, or lack of, while gravitating towards it.

    Indeed, in Judaism, considering symbolic Gematria (representations with numerology) three is quite a mystical number. Consider the Gematria of the word veganism which in Hebrew letters (stemming from the original word Teva which means nature) spelling out the word for vegan as Tivonut, whose vegan lifestyle, by the way, is described in the book of Genesis, and in the prophets, affirming we shall all become vegan, whose modern day word of Tivonut gives us the Gematria number of 3, and then equate that 3 to the numerology for the rather scientific value of the speed of light, represented in km/sec also resulting the Gematria value of Magen (shield) also 3, as in the Star of David, which is Magen David, a symbol for Judaism!

    Interestingly enough, Einstein who gave us the theory of relativity, and enlightened us with regard to understanding of how to measure this magical energy, was both Jewish and vegetarian.

    The symbolic letters on the Kosher Vegan label which include the three words Eat With Compassion, might beckon us to also wonder about the parallel between the neutrality of parve, from the laws of keeping Kosher, which is neither death nor life (regarding the two Kosher symbols that separate meat from milk) and the realization that it is probably the intention of Hashem for us all to be vegan in the first place, as per Reb Jason Van Leeuwen who advises us that Kashrut is a roadmap to vegetarianism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DE7hAXw7JPs

    Rabbi Simchah Roth takes it a step further in his long article calling upon religious Jews to become completely VEGAN.

    http://www.bmv.org.il/v/vegan.html‏

    A synonym for neutral, parve, and veganism, (even though parve is not exactly vegan but bear with me for this comparison, please) is that veganism can be a departure from the extremes, as well, just as parve is neutral, while striving for order in the middle as opposed to a chaotic world caused by the actions of the rather violent unscrupulous extremists.

    I believe that influencing people of all faiths (including those spiritual people who disapprove of labels and organized religion and therefore are more comfortable by being neutral in this regard when it comes to organized religions) and atheists or agnostics or believers in science to encourage adopting worldwide veganism, which involves being moderate and compassionate, considerate and all-inclusive of our fellow earthlings, the non-human animals, as well as the humans, with a conscience, so that we would naturally achieve cessation of wars resulting in planetary peace.

    In conclusion, may we all be shielded from adversity and become totally free! For peace in all regions, let’s all become vegans!!!

    Thanks for reading this. In heartfelt appreciation,

    B’Shalom-Peace-Salaam_aleiykum-Ahimsa-Love
    Blessings,
    Janine Laura Bronson

  6. Richard Schwartz
    May 30, 2011

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    As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, I believe that all spiritual people should be vegetarians (and preferably vegans), because animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic religious mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people and they are causing an epidemic of diseases i and contributing significantly to climate change and other environmental problems that threaten all of humanity. I believe it is essential that religious/spiritual communities address these issues in order to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

    For further information about Jewish teachings on vegetarianism, please see my over 140 articles and 25 podcasts and book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” at JewishVeg.com/schwartz and please see our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” at ASacedDuty.com.

  7. Sarah P
    May 30, 2011

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    For me, one had nothing to do with the other. I am a fully thinking individual who questions actions of myself and others that doesn’t seem right. From a young child I knew that we should treat animals with love and respect. When I found out what I was being fed…animals!!!…I immediately stopped eating it. I loved animals and I couldn’t believe this is what people were eating. It’s so bizarre. I was only 4 years old when I found out..probably about the normal age kids start realizing. I don’t understand why more kids don’t realize and refuse to eat it. I guess some try and don’t have enough free will to stop doing what they are told. I guess others aren’t intelligent enough to realize it’s not right to do that.
    I don’t like organized religion. I didn’t realize how wrong this was until I was about 12 years old. I realized it made people do things in an odd way. It’s like OCD and santa clause rolled up into one. People doing things repetitively to impress on someone who is made up. Religion is another way to get people to do what they are told. My parents weren’t church goers, but they did talk about god occasionally. I was sometimes told I would be going to hell for doing naughty things. I think that is a form of child abuse. If you watch the movie documentary Jesus Camp, you will see extreme child abuse. It’s allowed, I guess, because they are Christians.
    I have been told that I am spiritual. I guess different people have different opinions on this. I am very into nature and just live my life the right way, trying not to do harm to others. I am thankful for my life and what the earth has to offer. I never take that for granted. Everyday I practice positive thoughts and actions and it feels great. You don’t need any religion to force you to do it. I don’t think that is very spiritual anyway.
    I believe in spirits. Sometimes people ask me why I believe in spirits, but not a god, or religion. If people really thought about that, they would realize that they are all totally different things.
    Religion contradicts itself over and over, all of the things religious people spout off and the things in the bible.
    I also don’t like when people try to push religion on others. If they want to practice it, it’s their business, as long as they don’t hurt anyone…but don’t tell others they are bad if they don’t share your beliefs. Religions cause wars.

  8. Andy Mars, Ph.D.
    May 30, 2011

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    I have been quite pleased to see, and help as I can, even more Orthodox Jews becoming vegan. There is no contradiction between Judaism and Veganism, and, in fact, they fit together quite well. One of the six totally vegan Bnai Mitzvot I had the pleasure to attend in 2010, by the way, was the Bar Mitzvah of an Orthodox boy and his Rabbi spoke on his admiration for this young man and his convictions which were quite in-line with ideal Judaic teachings 🙂

  9. Andy Mars, Ph.D.
    May 30, 2011

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    I have been quite pleased to see, and help as I can, even more Orthodox Jews becoming vegan. There is no contradiction between Judaism and Veganism, and, in fact, they fit together quite well. One of the six totally vegan Bnai Mitzvot I had the pleasure to attend in 2010, by the way, was the Bar Mitzvah of an Orthodox boy and his Rabbi spoke on his admiration for this young man and his convictions which were quite in-line with ideal Judaic teachings 🙂

  10. Thadeus Fishman
    May 30, 2011

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    What is veganism, if it is not connected to one’s ethics, principles, morals and values? And what is religion or spirituality if not connected to all of that as well? Veganism is the connecting bridge where our hypocrisy is (finally) left behind. Since the beginning of recorded history, compassion and morals have been at the heart of the major religions. To be compassionate and of high morals, but to enslave animals and murder them for their flesh (when it is known we can thrive without doing so) is not compatable. We have arrived consciously to where our beliefs match our way of life. We have arrived.

  11. LAGoff
    May 30, 2011

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    I tend not to do anything “good”(i.e. inconvenient) without the foundation of my religion(Judaism). And I see killing animals for food and clothing today as “bad”(i.e. convenient in a short-term, selfish way), like not leaving leaving a note on a car you damaged because no one was around to see you do it.
    Therefore, without the Rock and the Book to stand on, my selfishness and lust would drive me back to killing animals.

  12. LAGoff
    May 30, 2011

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    I tend not to do anything “good”(i.e. inconvenient) without the foundation of my religion(Judaism). And I see killing animals for food and clothing today as “bad”(i.e. convenient in a short-term, selfish way), like not leaving leaving a note on a car you damaged because no one was around to see you do it.
    Therefore, without the Rock and the Book to stand on, my selfishness and lust would drive me back to killing animals.

  13. Stephanie Gray
    June 5, 2011

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    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. Stephanie Gray
    June 5, 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.

  15. Faith
    August 4, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegan and very much attracted to native spirituality, but there are so many animal products used in the rituals (leather, feathers etc) that I don’t know what to do. I have found some alternatives, but haven’t found a drum that is made with natural products that are not animal based, it’s very frustrating! Yes, veganism affects my beliefs…I won’t give up being vegan to have a great drum. lol

  16. Faith
    August 4, 2012

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegan and very much attracted to native spirituality, but there are so many animal products used in the rituals (leather, feathers etc) that I don’t know what to do. I have found some alternatives, but haven’t found a drum that is made with natural products that are not animal based, it’s very frustrating! Yes, veganism affects my beliefs…I won’t give up being vegan to have a great drum. lol

  17. Carrie A
    August 16, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegan and it began as a health thing for me until I watched Paul McCartney’s “If Slaughter Houses had Glass Walls”, that was enough for me to be sure I would never start eating meat or dairy again. I finally “got” the connection between spirituality and veganism and I still remember the thought that kept going through my mind… ultimate freedom. Freedom for me, for all. Truly heaven on earth so to say. What veganism does for your body, your mind, your spirit, your community, your effect on the world. You feel as though you reached the final destination, you “get it”, THIS is what spirituality is about, freedom for me and for you because we are one.

  18. Carrie A
    August 16, 2013

    Leave a Reply

    I am vegan and it began as a health thing for me until I watched Paul McCartney’s “If Slaughter Houses had Glass Walls”, that was enough for me to be sure I would never start eating meat or dairy again. I finally “got” the connection between spirituality and veganism and I still remember the thought that kept going through my mind… ultimate freedom. Freedom for me, for all. Truly heaven on earth so to say. What veganism does for your body, your mind, your spirit, your community, your effect on the world. You feel as though you reached the final destination, you “get it”, THIS is what spirituality is about, freedom for me and for you because we are one.

  19. disney mobile games
    March 28, 2014

    Leave a Reply

    I needed to thank you for this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of
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