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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Are Jesus and Buddha Beggars Who Do Not Reject Animal Flesh? A Refutation of Stephen Webb's Claim. By Dr. Chapman Chen




 

Summary: Theologian Prof. Stephen Webb (2001) contends that Jesus and His disciples, just like Buddha's, would accept meat offered to them, as beggars can't be choosers and Jesus wouldn't want to offend people. This is unfair to both Jesus and Buddha. For the Vegan Christ, who died for animal liberation (Mark 11:15-18; Akers 2020), would not place courtesy and convenience above compassion, and His vegan disciples instinctively would presume that "eat whatever set before you" (Luke 10:8) excludes flesh; and Buddha specifically instructed His disciples to remove meat from any alms given to them (Mahaparinirvana Sutra Vol. 4, Section 4). Jesus stresses that he desires compassion rather than sacrifice (Matthew 9:13); likewise, Buddha warns that eating flesh will extinguish the compassionate seed and meat-eaters will fall into Hell (Lankavata Sutra, Vol. 8, Section 16). Ironically, Webb co-founded the Christian Vegetarian Association in 1999, but was kicked out in 2006 when he was found out to be a fake vegetarian.

 

 

1. "Eat whatever is Set before you," says Jesus

 

US theologian Prof. Stephen Webb (2001:133) claims that when Jesus ate at a wealthy host's home and served with meat, He probably would not reject it lest that the feelings of the host would be hurt and His fellowship hampered. Webb supports this claim with Jesus' advising His disciples to "eat whatever is set before" them, when they "enter a town and it welcomes" them (Luke 10:8 NLT). Webb even implicates Buddha by surmising that Jesus would act like some Buddhist monks "who do not fix meat for themselves but do not turn it down when it is placed in their begging bowls" (Webb 2001:133). But this is unfair to both Jesus and Buddha for the following reasons.

 

2. Jesus and His Disciples were Vegan

 

Firstly, we have previously established that Jesus is vegan because he's compassionate (Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the New Testament Gospels; Matthew 9:13 NASB; Panarion 30. 18.9; Matthew 19:18 KJV; Chen 2024b, 2022b) (Note 1). Now, does Webb mean to say that Jesus the Vegan Christ will place courtesy above compassion and value fellowship expansion more than mercifulness?

 

And Jesus' disciples, who were all strictly vegan (Homilies 7.4, 7.8; Eusebius, Proof of the Gospel 3.5), must have been familiar with their Master's vegan principle. Veganism was already taken for granted for them. In their mind, "eat whatever is set before you" naturally ruled out or precluded animal flesh.

 

3. Eat Vegan but Don't be Fuzzy!

 

Secondly, Jesus was already a celebrity. He was greeted by tens of thousands of fans when He entered Jerusalem triumphantly (Matthew 21:1–11, Mark 11:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, John 12:12–19. His veganism must have been well-known to His contemporaries, though it was subsequently suppressed by Pauline Christianity in collusion with the Roman Empire (Chen 2024a). People out of respect for Him, would not offer Him or His disciples animal flesh to eat. Therefore, here, Jesus was simply telling His disciples to be grateful for the hospitality of their hosts and not to be too fussy about whether the food offered to them was delicious or not, while presuming that the food offered was vegan.

 

4. No Trace of Animal Flesh Allowed by Buddha

 

Concerning Buddha, He specifically instructed His disciples to not only remove meat from any food offered by their almsgivers but also clean their utensils of any flavour of meat (Dharmakshema n.d., Mahaparinirvana Sutra Vol. 4).

 

Now let's compare Jesus and Buddha in terms of meatism.

 

5. Compassion and Non-violence

 

Jesus says, "I desire compassion, rather than sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13 NASB); Buddha asserts, "Those who eat meat will have their compassionate seeds extinguished" (Bodhiruci n.d., Lankavata Sutra, Vol. 8, Section 16). Jesus repeats the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" (Matthew 19:18 KJV) (Note 2); Buddha warns that those who kill sentient beings will go to Raurava, i.e., Hell (Lankavata Sutra, Vol. 8, Section 16).

 

6. Martyrs for Animal Rescue

 

Jesus died for the cause of animal liberation. Prior to the Last Supper, Jesus, in emptying the Temple of animals about to be slaughtered for sacrifice, and in calling the Temple-turned-butcher-shop "a den of thieves", debunked the business fraud of animal sacrifice and disrupted the chief priests' and scribes' lucrative revenue stream, who immediately afterwards conspired to destroy Him (Mark 11:15-18), eventually leading to His arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection on Easter (cf. Akers 2000). Similarly, a previous incarnation of Buddha, in order to rescue a dove from a hungry eagle, and to save the eagle from starvation, cut flesh from His own body to feed the eagle (Lankavata Sutra, Vol. 8, Section 16). Another previous incarnation of Buddha, Prince Sattva offered his own body to a starving tigress as food in order to save her own curbs from being eaten by her out of desperation (Aryasura n.d.).   

 

7. Prediction of False Prophets to Come

 

Jesus warns His followers that "false prophets" (like Paul the anti-vegan? [Chen 2022a]) will come to them "in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit [meat-eating?] you will recognize them" (Matt. 7:15 NIV), that these false prophets will lead people astray in His name (Mark 13:5-7, 13:21-23). Comparably, Buddha predicts that after He enters Nirvana, some time in the future, some monks will frame Him up for eating flesh and permitting His followers to eat flesh (Lankavata Sutra, Vol. 8, Section 16).

 

8. Stephen Webb as a Fake Vegetarian & an Anti-Vegan

 

Stephen H. Webb (March 13, 1961 – March 5, 2016) was a US theologian and philosopher of religion. He taught at Wabash College as Professor of Religion and Philosophy from 1988 to 2012. Webb was known for his scholarship and journalism on animals, vegetarianism, and diet. He co-founded the Christian Vegetarian Association, but was removed from his position as co-chairman in 2006 after writing several articles in which he admitted to eating meat occasionally, while promoting vegetarianism.

 

Stephen Webb ostensibly advocates Christian vegetarianism, only to conclude that it is "an impossible diet" (Beliefnet 2003), and that veganism is for the rich elites only (Webb 2011a, 2011b). Webb even goes so far as to claim that Jesus would frequent McDxxxxd's if He's still around in a physical form (Webb 2011a)! McDxxxxd's, of course, notoriously sells junk meat supplied by hellish factory farms and exploits its own workers (Foodnotbombs n.d.).

 

9. Conclusion

 

To sum up, neither Jesus nor Buddha would place courtesy and convenience above compassion and mercy. They and their disciples might be poor and dependent on alms, but they would not trade their vegan principle for anything. Both of them foresaw that after their ascension, false prophets would appear and frame them up for eating flesh and permitting flesh-eating. But thanks to Paul the anti-vegan apostate (Chen 2024a, 2022a), Jesus has been wronged much more seriously than Buddha. Far more people now misbelieve that Jesus was non-vegan than those who mistakenly think that Buddha ate flesh. Stephen Webb the fake vegetarian Christian appears to be the one of the false prophets who try to blaspheme Christ and Buddha in this regard at the same time.

 

Notes

1. Jesus warns against meat-eating:- “Be on guard, so that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh" (Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the New Testament Gospels). And He admonishes the Pharisees, quoting Hosea 6:6, "Go and learn what this means: I desire compassion rather than sacrifice" (Matthew 9:13 NASB). In the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus condemns animal sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem:- “I have come to abolish the sacrifices, and if you cease not from sacrificing, my wrath will not cease from you” (Panarion 30.16.5). Jesus also rejected the Passover meal :“I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you” (The Gospel of the Ebionites 22.4). When Epiphanius questions a Jewish Christian as to why he was a vegan, the Jewish Christian responds simply: "Christ revealed it to me" (Panarion 30. 18.9).

 

2. As put by Reuben Alcalay (1981), one of the greatest contemporary linguists cum author of The Complete Hebrew-English Dictionary, the 6th Commandment "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13 KJV; Matthew 19:18 KJV) means "any kind of killing whatsoever." The original Hebrew, he points out, is לֹא תִּרְצָח Lo tirtzakh, which requires us to stop ourselves from killing any sentient beings altogether.

 

 

References

 

Aryasura (n.d.) "The Story of the Tigress", Jātakamālā or Garland of Birth Storieshttps://ancient-buddhist-texts.net/English-Texts/Garland-of-Birth-Stories/01-The-Story-of-the-Tigress.htm


Beliefnet (2003). "No Hamburger in Heaven." May issue. https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/2003/05/no-hamburger-in-heaven.aspx

 

Bodhiruci (Trans.) (n.d.). Lankavata Sutra [《入楞伽經》] (Chinese translation), Vol. 8, Section 16. Retrieved from https://cbetaonline.dila.edu.tw/zh/T0671_008

 

Chen, Chapman (2024a). "Pauline Christianity is a Bloody Black-Magic Sacrificial Cult. Go Vegan!" HKBNews, Apr. 2. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/pauline-christianity-is-a-bloody-black-magic-sacrificial-cult-go-vegan-by-dr-chapman-chen 

 

Chen, Chapman (2024b) "All those Fishy Stories about Jesus the Vegan Christ." HKBNews, Mar. 17. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/all-those-fishy-stories-about-jesus-the-vegan-christ-by-dr-chapman-chen-hkbnews

 

Chen, Chapman (2022a). "How St. Paul Perverted Jesus' Vegan Teachings." HKBNews, Dec. 31. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/how-st-paul-perverted-jesus-vegan-teachings-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews 

 

Chen, Chapman (2022b) "Jesus did NOT Eat Meat. Go Vegan!" HKBNews, 15 Mar. (https://www.hkbnews.net/post/jesus-did-not-eat-meat-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews )

 

Dharmakshema (Trans.) (n.d.). Mahaparinirvana Sutra [《大般涅槃經》] (Chinese translation), Vol. 4, Section 4. Retrieved from https://cbetaonline.dila.edu.tw/zh/T12n0374_p0386c08?q=%E7%95%B6%E4%BB%A5%E6%B0%B4%E6%B4%97&l=0386c08&near_word=&kwic_around=30

 

Foodnotbombs (n.d.). "What's Wrong with McDxxxxd's" http://foodnotbombs.net/mcdonalds.pdf

 

Webb, Stephen H. (2011a). “A Response to William T. Cavanaugh’s “Out to Lunch.” The Other Journal 19:20-24.   

 

Webb, Stephen H. (2011b). “Against the Gourmands: In Praise of Fast Food as a Form of Fasting.” The Other Journal 19: 2-13.

 

Webb, Stephen H. (2001). Good Eating. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press.

 

 

 

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