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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Does Prof. David Clough Encourage us to Play God to Animals and Eat Free-range Animals? By Dr. Chapman Chen   

   



 

Summary: Prof. David Clough's major contribution to Vegan Theology is his arguing that by becoming flesh, God highlights the commonality amongst all creatures (Clough 2012:85,103), which means that humans and other animals are all siblings (Clough 2012:27). Clough, however, is self-contradictory. While conceding that animals also bear partial images of God (2012:102), he asserts that the human characteristic of bearing the image of God is a vocation to image God to other animals, which potentially will lead to the flourishing of those creatures (Clough 2012:166). But it is this precisely this kind of anthropocentric God complex that has led humans to misconceive that they can do whatever they want to other animals.

 

Moreover, Clough condemns factory farming only (2016:2, 16, 22), and suggests that we may consume animals' flesh, as long as they have enjoyed a free-range life (Clough 2016:18-19), for such use of them "respects their relationship to us as fellow creatures of God" (Clough 2016:2). Ironically, there's nothing respectful or brotherly or Christly about killing, or paying someone to kill, a fellow creature who does not want to die, whether they are factory-farmed or free-range! The Achilles heel of Clough's animal theology is his refusal to recognize Jesus as a compassionate Vegan Christ (Clough 2016:4-5), to challenge Paul the apostate's pro-meatism discourse, and to query the authenticity of anti-vegan bible verses.

 

 

1. Clough's Key Contribution to Vegan Theology

 

The key contribution to Vegan Theology made by University of Aberdeen Theology Professor cum Methodist Church preacher David Clough is his arguing that it is anthropocentric to assume humans to be God's principal purpose in creation (Clough 2012:22), that the real goal of creation is instead the participation of all creatures in fellowship with God (Clough 2012:23), and that God's becoming flesh highlights the commonality amongst all creatures (Clough 2012:85,103), which means that animals and humans are all sisters and brothers (Clough 2012:27).

 

1.1. An Humanocentric View of "Dominion"

 

John Calvin (1989) proposes that the "dominion" in Genesis 1:28 means that the purpose for which all sentient beings were created was to provide humanity with the comforts and necessities of life. Clough rightly and righteously calls this "anthropocentric" (Clough 2012:15, 22). Peter Singer (1975) would, of course, call it "speciesism".

 

1.2. The Real Goal of Creation

 

The viewpoint that the Lord's creation goal is to do good to all creation, in Clough's (2012:22) opinion, involves the same risks of "creaturely self-preoccupation as the human version of the claim", too.

 

Clough (2012:22) believes that seeing the goal of creation as glorifying God Himself is also problematic because it risks portraying God as "self-concerned and ungracious".

 

To achieve a balance between these two latter conceptions, Clough (2012:22-23) envisions that the goal of creation is for every creature to take part in the communal fellowship with God.

 

1.3. Humans and Other Animals are Fleshly Children of the Same Parent

 

God's fellowship with all creation is reinforced by Clough's idea that "the Word became flesh" means Yahuah "taking on the life-substance common to humans and other animals" (2012:84-85), therefore underlining "the commonality of all... creatures before God" (Clough 2012:103). In other words, "we exist in solidarity with all other creatures, sisters and brothers of a single parent" (Clough 2012:27).

 

Sounds very nice, very compassionate, very egalitarian eh? Clough, however, is self-contradictory. While criticizing John Calvin's humanocentric view of the purpose of creation, Clough (2012:75) still anthropocentrically believes that God values humans more than animals. Worse still, while conceding that animals also bear partial images of God (Clough 2012:102), he asserts that the human characteristic of bearing the image of God is a vocation to image God to other animals, which potentially will lead to the flourishing of those creatures (Clough 2012:166).

 

2. "Are you Not of More Value than They?"

 

While disapproving of John Calvin's anthropocentric view of the purpose of creation, Clough (2012:75) still humanocentrically claims that Jesus teaches that human life is more valuable than that of animals. The verses in Clough's mind in this regard include the following:-

 

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? (Matthew 6:26 NIV)

 

Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God... Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 NKJV)

 

He [Jesus] said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? 12 How much more valuable is a person than a sheep!" (Matthew 12:11-12 NIV)

 

Alexis-Baker (2012: 45), however, contends that these sayings of Jesus' are "not about affirming a hierarchy of God's creatures" but about challenging the hierarchical human value system in relation to God's creatures:- "You see that God cares for those whom you value so little. "

 

Similarly, Richard Bauckham (1998:42) suggests that God estimates animals more than human beings do. While human people would barely become aware of the decease of a 0.5 penny sparrow, God takes part in the decease of each one. Even after humans evaluate an animal's usefulness, like 2 coins for five sparrows, there is still "surplus value" not yet accounted for: theocentric value, i.e., Yahuah's value (Linzey 1998: xv). Human beings do not ascertain the value of animals. God does, and God's appraisal is not anthropocentric; God does not ascertain an animal's worth in accordance with its utility to humans. "This means animals do not exist exclusively for human use. An animal's life, and death, has ontological significance beyond human purposes," to borrow Ramirez's (2005) words.

 

3. Animals are at least Partly Made in the Image of God

 

Clough (2012:102) draws our attention to the ways different animals may bear at least partial images of God, implying that humans may not claim superiority and domination over all other creatures on the ground that only humans were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Some of the examples given by Clough (2012:102) include Isaiah's (31) record that God will fight on Mount Zion as a lion growls over its prey, Jesus' cry to Jerusalem that he longed to gather her kids in the same way a hen gathers her chicks, and John the Baptist's identification of Jesus as the Lamb of God (John 1:29).

 

4. It's Humanity's Calling to Play God to Other Animals?

 

On the other hand, Clough (2012:166) understands "the theologically distinctive human characteristic of bearing the image of God" as a calling to "image God to the rest of creation", and posits that only the human species is able to consider and determine actions that would contribute to the "flourishing" of other animals. In other words, humans are called upon by God to play God to other sentient creatures of God. This is anthropocentric and extremely dangerous, for when we humans anthropocentrically regard ourselves as God to other animals, most of us will be tempted to believe that we can do whatever we want to other creatures of God, although Clough (2012:176; 2020) does reminds us of "our responsibilities to non-human animals that live beyond relationships of domestication."

 

4.1. The Danger of Playing God

 

In reality, it is precisely the actions of humans who think that they are God to other animals that make sure other animals on earth will unspeakably suffer instead of flourish. Clough (2020:58) himself reminds us that deforestation, habitat degradation and fragmentation, desertification, the introduction of invasive species and their diseases, as well as pollution -- all works of humans -- all play an important role in diminishing biodiversity and lead to the extinction of wildlife. Worse still, 77 billion animals are killed for food in 2013 alone (Clough 2016), and Clough's (2020:36) own calculations suggest that 2.5 to 7.8 trillion fish are killed for food on an annual basis!

 

4.2. "Dominion" Means Servanthood

 

Clough (2015) also links up mankind's calling to image God with "dominion" and "stewardship" in Genesis 1:28. This is again dangerous for it implies that the concept of "dominion" and "stewardship" in Genesis 1:28 involve playing God to other animals and possessing God-given power/authority over them.

 

In reality, to "have dominion over animals" in Genesis 1:28 signifies that God commands humandkind to lower themselves and serve other animals as a caretake rather than a God-like authority (Chen 2024b). ירדו (yirdu), the ancient biblical Hebrew word in consonantal form for "dominion" in Genesis 1:28 connotes both רָדָה (radah) (to tread down, subjugate, rule) and יָרַד (yarad) (to lower oneself, to descend). Judging from its context, namely, Genesis 1:29, where humans are prescribed a vegan diet by Yahweh, and Genesis 2:15, where humans are particularly commissioned to tend (עָבַד/abad) and keep (שָׁמַר/shamar) the garden, as noted in the NKJV—i.e., to exercise great care over it (cf. Ritenbaugh 1999) — "dominion" should imply yarad (to lower oneself) more than radah (to tread upon).  

 

Likewise, Rev. Prof. Andrew Linzey argues that "dominion" in Genesis 1:28 means stewardship rather than despotism (Linzey 1995:34), that humans, following the example of Jesus Christ, are the species uniquely assigned by God to be "the servant species" in relation to other species (Linzey 1995:44). This is confirmed by Jesus' saying the He came to serve, not to be served (Luke 22:24-27). But, again, "caretakership" is a safer word than "stewardship" for the latter is usually supposed to have more power than the former. To borrow the words of Richard Ritenbaugh (1999), "in the context of Genesis 2:15... a caretaker maintains and protects his charge so that he can return it to its owner in as good or better condition than when he received it." And "servanthood" is even safer than "caretakership" for the former involves even less power and authority than the latter.

 

Just imagine the following scenario: Before a landlord departs for a business trip, he entrusts his mansion with all its tenants and facilities to the care of a servant/caretaker. And when he comes back, he finds that the servant/caretaker has taken the liberty to seize the premises of the tenants, rape, enslave, and murder most of them, and the mansion as a whole is a mess, with water pipes leaking, everywhere filled with garbage, the load-bearing wall removed, etc. Instead of serving the needs of the tenants, the servant/caretaker has abused them to serve his own selfish, greedy needs. What do you think the landlord will do? Of course, he will flame up and punish the servant/caretaker most severely.

 

Although Clough admits that "dominion" in Genesis assumes human "responsibilities to other animals" (Clough 2012:176), and he nobly condemns factory farming (Clough 2016:2, 16, 22), he actually hints that eating free-range, organically farmed animals is ok (Clough 2016:18-19).  

 

5. Condemnation of Intensive Farming

 

Since the vast majority of animal products currently available for purchase are derived from farmed animals reared in modern intensive modes that fail to allow for their flourishing, and this practice is harmful for humans and the environment as well as farmed animals, the article argues that Christians should avoid consuming these products

 

Clough (2016) contends that Christians ought to refrain from consuming animal products because most of these goods come from intensively farmed animals, a method that "must be judged incompatible with their flourishing as animal creatures of God." This practice is detrimental not only to the animals but also to humans and the environment. Clough (2016) goes to some lengths to describe the abhorrent conditions in factory farms as follows:

 

If we agree that the 35 day life of a broiler hen referred to above also prevents their adequate flourishing as fellow creatures, then MOST chicken is also off the menu for Christians.... If, attending to what it would mean for a pig to flourish as a pig, we agree that keeping them in monotonous and crowded indoor sheds with slatted floors for the entirety of their lives, and confining sows to crates in which they cannot even turn around, that means that Christians should avoid MOST pork. If we agree that taking dairy calves from their mothers even before they suckle for the first time, and forcing dairy cows to produce milk at levels that require the constant eating of food concentrates, being kept indoors without ever having the opportunity to graze grass, and being culled for beef after 3 or 4 lactations when their yield drops, fails to allow dairy cows to flourish adequately as creatures of God, then an increasing PROPORTION of milk and other dairy products should be avoided by Christians. Beef cattle, and sheep are generally raised extensively, and generally fare better than chickens and pigs, but lambs are slaughtered at 2-6 months without having the opportunity to grow to maturity because of a consumer preference for younger flesh, and sheep and cows are still often subject to painful procedures such as castration and branding without anaesthetic. (Clough 2016)

 

Note the use of the words "most" and "proportion" in the passage above, which imply that not all animal flesh should be avoided by Christians, that they may eat certain kinds of animal flesh without guilt or questions of conscience.

 

6. How to Respect Animals while Killing them for food?!

 

Our suspicion that Clough thinks that Christians may eat certain kinds of animal flesh without guilt or questions of conscience is confirmed by Clough's (2016) praise of a Edinburgh study as follows:-

 

... what the flourishing of farmed animals might look like. One fascinating study in Edinburgh in the 1980s took pigs from intensive systems, gave them access to a varied parkland environment, and watched the behaviour of the pigs over three years. They found the pigs built communal nests for shelter cooperatively, sited at a significant distance from feeding areas. They spent 51% of their time rooting in the earth. They exhibited complex social relationships, with particular friendships and association between siblings. Sows built nests to give birth at some distance from the communal nest, sometimes with log walls, and would not allow other pigs to enter. They were careful to keep areas of defecation separated from feeding and nesting areas, and imitated each other in marking trees. The life that these intensively reared pigs chose, given the opportunity, bore strong resemblances to their wild boar ancestors...we could allow them to live lives in which they flourish in their particular modes of being and in that flourishing glorify their creator. (Clough 2016)

 

Believe it or not, Clough (2016) forsooth believes that using such free-range, organically farmed animals for food "respects their relationship to us as fellow creatures of God"!

 

Holy smoke, there's nothing respectful or brotherly or Christly about murdering, or paying someone to murder, an innocent fellow creature who does not want to die, whether they are factory-farmed or free-range farmed!

 

7. The Achilles Heel of Clough

 

With respect, the fracture in Clough's animal theology is his desire to play the role of an inoffensive compromiser as far as Christian veganism is concerned, so that he refuses to recognize Jesus as a merciful Vegan Christ (Clough 2016:4-5), to challenge Paul the apostate's carnist discourse, and to question the genuineness of anti-vegan bible verses.

 

7.1. A Diverse Range of Biblical Texts about Flesh Consumption

 

Clough finds "a diverse range of texts concerning the eating of meat in the Bible, which allow both for permission to kill animals for food and to be flexible in dietary choice" (Clough 2022).

 

7.2. Animal Slaughter in the Old Testament

 

For example, in the Old Testament, Genesis 1:29 prescribes a vegan diet to the first humans. But after the deluge, God seemingly "permitted" Noah and his people to consume every moving thing though not their blood (Gen. 9:3-4). Isaiah longs for the Messianic reign when peace between creatures will be reestablished (Isaiah 11.6–9; 65.25–6), and also expresses God’s detestation of slaughtering animals for sacrifice (Isaiah 11.1; 66.3).

 

7.3. God Never Permitted Noah and his Clan to Kill and Eat Animals

 

Soon after Noah emerged from the Ark, God said to him, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" (Genesis 9:3 KJV). Many flesh-eaters seize upon this verse to claim that God thereby gave humans permission to kill and eat any animals they fancy. However, judging from its context, this verse is much more likely to be a descriptive preview of what atrocities humans were going to do to the animals on earth (cf. Barad 2012:17; Wescoe 2017), a visualization of what horror Noah and his offspring were going to inflict on the non-human inhabitants of the world, rather than an authorization to abuse animals (cf. Chen 2023a). Also, in view of the scarcity of plant-food ensuing the Deluge, the compromise could well be an expedient measure, a provisional permission for Noah's people to eat the bodies of drowned animals (Wescoe 2017; Barad 2012).

 

In this connection, at least seven verses in Genesis should be examined. Firstly, the animals that God ordered Noah to take to the Ark were not for human consumption but for preserving their species (Genesis 7:1-3; 8:17). Secondly, God detested Noah's animal sacrifice (Genesis 8:20-21). Thirdly, God predicted all His creation will be terrorized by humanity (Genesis 9:2). Fourthly, God reiterated to Noah the vegan diet that had been prescribed to Adam (Genesis 1:29-30). Fifthly, God forbid Noah and his clan to eat flesh with life and blood, but for the early Hebrews, life was constituted by blood itself. Sixthly, God warned Noah, "for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning" (Genesis 9:5 ESV), after issuing the ban on lifeblood taking. Seventhly, God made a covenant with every animal (Genesis 9:9-10).

 

7.4. Animal Sacrifice in the New Testament

 

Flesh-consumption is also a controversial issue in the New Testament, as recognized by Clough (2022). For instance, Paul asserts that only the weak eat veggies and that eating or not eating flesh is irrelevant to our relationship to the Lord (1 Corinthians 8:4-8; Romans 14:2). In a vision, Peter is told by a voice (God's) to kill and eat animals on a large sheet on the ground that God has made them all clean (Acts 10:9-16; 11:1-17). Early traditions indicate that James the Just, the natural brother of Jesus, as well as all the other 11 disciples of Jesus, ate no flesh. The Ebionites, an early Jewish Christian group, also claimed that Peter and Jesus practiced and taught veganism. But there are gospel stories of Jesus eating fish after the resurrection (Luke 24:43; John 21:13). Moreover, in a particular context, Jesus asked, "Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile...?", and allegedly "declared all foods clean" (Mark 7:18–19).

 

7.5. Jesus is a Vegan Christ

 

In an email to me dated Feb. 17, 2013, Prof. David Clough said that Jesus probably ate both fish and lamb. The fact, however, remains that 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).

 

7.5.1. All those Fishy Stories about Jesus

 

Instances of Jesus the Vegan Christ eating fish or helping His disciples to catch fish in the gospels are all products of either misinterpretation or later interpolation (cf. Chen 2024c, 2023, 2022a, 2022b, 2020). I. Jesus miraculously aided Peter and his folk to catch a huge net of fish (Luke 5:1-11)? But Jesus then asked them to FORSAKE their NETS, follow Him and CATCH MEN INSTEAD OF FISH. Matthew 4:18-20 and Mark 1:16-18 also record this story albeit without the first part. II. Jesus directed Peter to go hook a fish and dig a coin from her/his mouth in order to pay a temple tax (Matthew 17:24-27)? This could not be real for, firstly, it was never executed; secondly, it's improbable that Jesus would have performed a complex miracle in order to pay his own tax; thirdly, how could Jesus, who died for animal liberation (Akers 2000), have had the heart to order his disciple to do such a cruel thing to an innocent fish? III. Jesus multiplied "five loaves and two fish" to feed the multitudes (Matthew 14:13-21, Mark 6:31-44, Luke 9:12-17, John 6:1-14)? However, Jesus therein broke and handed out loaves but not fish (Matthew 14). Moreover, the Greek word for fish (ἰχθύας) is a code word for " Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior" (Akers 2000); and "fish (opsarion)" may also be a mistranslation of the Greek word for "fishweed (opson)" (Hicks 2019; Giron 2013). IV. Luke's story of Jesus helping Peter to catch fish and His eating fish to prove to the eleven disciples on the very night of his Resurrection that he's no ghost is clearly a forgery, for both the date and the venue contradict Mark and Matthew (cf. Vujicic 2016).  

 

7.5.2. Jesus would not Like you to Eat Lamb on Easter

 

It is explicitly recorded in the Gospel of John that Jesus deliberately held the Last Supper before Passover. "Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father... he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas...to betray him" (John 13: 1-2 KJV).

"Then led [the Jewish leaders] they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover" (John 18:28 KJV).

As aforementioned, in Matthew 9:13, Jesus admonished the Pharisees, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”. Again, according to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus resolutely refused to eat lamb in the Passover. The disciples asked him, "Master, where would you like us to arrange the Passover meal?" "Do I really desire to eat flesh with you this Passover?!" answered Jesus (Panarion 30.22.4). Further, during the Last Supper, Jesus blessed wine and bread, NOT meat.

 

7.5.3. Jesus as a Martyr for Animal Liberation

 

Jesus is not only a vegan but a pioneer and martyr for 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).

 

7.6. God Did Not Really Want Peter to Kill and Eat Animals

 

Based on Acts 10, one day when Apostle Peter was praying on a rooftop, he had a vision in which a large sheet containing four-footed wild beasts, reptiles and fowls was let down from Heaven to him. A voice (God's?) told him to "kill and eat". But Peter declined on the ground that he had never consumed unclean animals. The voice then said thrice, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean," (Acts 10:15) after which the sheet was taken back to Heaven. Many a Christian thinks that this is God's permission for humans to eat all animals. In reality, this vision has only two demonstrable functions:- First, to test Peter's compassion for animals and his loyalty to God's law (cf. Jeremiah 35) (cf. Hoffman 2017); Second, to show Peter that God had cleansed all gentiles and removed the divide between gentiles and Jews (as stated by Peter himself upon entering centurion Cornelius's house later on) (cf. Chen 2021c).

 

7.7. Paul the Anti-Vegan

 

Clough fails to figure out why Paul was pro-meatism. As pointed out by Keith Akers (2014), in the first century, almost everyone was vegan most of the time, because only the upper class of the Roman Empire, the rich and the power, the one percent of the day, could afford buying meat sold in the market. The single occasion that the majority in the first-century Palestine, apart from the "one percent", could consume flesh would be at festival times, when sacrificed animal flesh would be obtainable. This highlights the significance of the early Christians’ denunciation of animal sacrifice. Paul advised people to “eat anything sold in the meat-market without raising questions of conscience” (I Corinthians 8:13 NIV) because, as a Roman citizen (Acts 22:27-28) and a relative of the Herodians (Romans 16:11), his target audience was the carnist elites of the Empire, and because meatism was opposed by the Vegan Jerusalem Church.

 

Worse still, based on Paul's personal details and Saulus' genealogy, and considering Paul's debasement of the veganism of the Jerusalem Council, his attack on Moses' Law (cf. Tabor 2012:210-226), as well as his close association with the Roman authorities, e.g., Governors Felix and Festus, and King Agrippa II (Acts 23:23-35; 24; 25:13-27; 26), Robert Eisenman (2019) identifies Paul as the Herodian Saulus in Josephus' (2009) The War of the Jews, who plundered the poor (the Ebionites) in Jerusalem, and directly reported to Nero; as "the Enemy" in The Clementine Recognitions (Pseudo-Clement 2014) who nearly beat James the Just to death; and as the liar in The Habakkuk Commentary who hijacked Jesus' Vegan Church. If this is true, then Thijs Voskuilen (2005) has a point in contending that Paul "really was an agent-provocateur working for the Roman administration in Palestine..." His mission was to corrupt Jesus' Vegan Church from the inside out (Chen 2024a).

 

7.8. Clough's "Moderate Position"

 

Instead of examining these contradictory biblical verses one by one carefully to determine which ones are real and which ones are false, Clough (2016) decides to adopt "a moderate position", and concludes that Christians have no faith-based obligation to go vegan:- "Christians can legitimately disagree about whether such dietary restrictions are faith-based obligations."

 

With respect, Prof. Clough fails to grasp the core of the Christian faith, i.e., God is love (1 John 4:7); God loves the world (John 3:16), including ALL His creation (Psalm 145:9) -- it's precisely out of love that God issued the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill", which benefits both humans and animals -- Jesus Christ is compassion (Matthew 12:6-7) and He died for the cause of animal liberation.

 

Back to the moderate position of Clough. Unlike Clough, Jesus is not moderate at all. He's very radical. He requires His disciples to put down everything and follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, Luke 5:2-11); He plainly says that He has come to bring a sword instead of peace to the world and He will cause discord and disharmony in the family (Matthew 10:34-36).

 

7.9. "Vegan Christians should not Claim Moral Superiority"?

 

Instead of presenting veganism as one of the indispensable criteria for being a true Christian, Clough (2019) suggests that many Vegan Christians are self-conceited people who consider themselves morally superior to others, and that veganism as a diet cannot mend the our broken relationship with other animals:-

 

It is important to note that veganism in a Christian context should never be presented as a moral utopia. Christians recognize a brokenness in our relationships with fellow creatures which cannot be overcome by adopting a particular dietary practice or by any other effort we can make. Vegan Christians should not make claims to moral superiority : they are sinners like everyone else. They are simply seeking to act as responsibly as they can in this aspect of the choices they make about what to eat. They should hope to learn from fellow Christians about better ways of living in other areas of their lives, just as they may hope that fellow Christians may be open to learning from their practice. (Clough 2019)

 

Look, Prof. Clough, vegans do not claim moral superiority; on the contrary, they recognize that they are not so superior to other sentient beings that they are entitled to abuse, torture, exploit, rape, murder and consume them.  

 

In the paragraph quoted above, Clough also commits an appeal to futility fallacy. Just because veganism cannot make the world perfect does not mean that we should not go vegan to minimize unnecessary harm done to other creatures. So much the more, veganism is not just a dietary practice but "an ethical view against animal abuse and exploitation" (Peterson 2021).

 

8. Conclusion

 

Just as pointed out by Clough himself, God's purpose in creating non-human animals is not for humans to use and abuse. Then why should humans be supposed to play God to them? If other animals, as asserted by Clough, are our sisters and brothers, how can we have the heart to kill, or pay someone to kill, them, for food, clothing, labour, research, entertainment, etc.?

 

Jesus is a Vegan Christ who died for animal liberation. "Thou shalt not kill", commands God (Exodus 20:13 KJV; Matthew 19:18 KJV)! "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24). It is certainly praiseworthy of Prof. Clough to condemn factory farming from a Christian perspective. "A moderate position", however, is not an appropriate one to take when it comes to rape, murder, torture, abuse and enslavement of God's innocent creatures. We cannot have innocent creatures of God slaughtered and claim to be a good Christian at the same time.

 

References

 

Akers, Keith (2000). The Lost Religion of Jesus. Lagos: Lantern Books.

 

Akers, Keith (2014). "Vegetarian Propaganda." Compassionate Spirit, Jan. 30. https://compassionatespirit.com/wpblog/2014/01/30/%E2%80%9Cvegetarian-propaganda%E2%80%9D/


Alexis-Baker, Andy (2012). "Doesn't the Bible Say that Humans Are More Important than Animals?" In A Faith Embracing All Creatures. Eds. Tripp York and Andy Alexis-Baker. 39-52.


Barad, Judith (2012). "What about the Covenant with Noah?". In York, Tripp; Alexis-Baker, Andy (eds.). A Faith Embracing All Creatures. 13.

 

Bauckham, Richard (2007). Living with Other Creatures: Green Exegesis and Theology. Waco, TX: Baylor UP.

 

Bauckham, Richard (1998). "Jesus and Animals II: What did he Practice?". In Animals on the Agenda. Ed. A. Linzey et al. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

 

Calvin, John (1989). Institutes of the Christian Religion. Trans. Henry Beveridge. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

 

Chen, Chapman (2024a). "The Family Background of Paul the Anti-Vegan Roman." HKBNews, May 6. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/the-family-background-of-paul-the-anti-vegan-roman-by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2024b) "Dominion in Genesis 1:28 Means Servanthood to Animals. Go Vegan!" HKBNews Apr. 14. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/dominion-in-genesis-1-28-means-servanthood-to-animals-go-vegan-by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2024c). "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 (2023a). "God Never Permitted Noah's Clan to Kill and Eat Animals." HKBNews, Sept. 24. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/god-never-permitted-noah-s-clan-to-kill-and-eat-animals-go-vegan%EF%BC%81by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2023b). "Fish-hooking Never Meant by the VEGAN Christ!" HKBNews, Feb. 12. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/fish-hooking-never-meant-by-the-vegan-christ-by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2023c) "Follow the Vegan Christ and Celebrate Easter without Taking Life!" HKBNews, Mar.  28. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/follow-the-vegan-christ-and-celebrate-easter-without-taking-life%EF%BC%81by-dr-chapman-chen

 

Chen, Chapman (2022a). "Jesus Calls Peter to Catch Men, NOT Fish. Go Vegan!" HKBNews, Oct. 10. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/jesus-calls-peter-to-catch-men-not-fish-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews  

            

Chen, Chapman (2022b). "Meatism is Animal Sacrifice Detested by God." HKBNews, Jun. 29. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/meatism-is-animal-sacrifice-detested-by-god-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews

 

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

 

Chen, Chapman (2021a). "Did Jesus Declare All Foods Clean? Go Vegan!" HKBNews, Aug. 30. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/did-jesus-declare-all-foods-clean-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews

 

Chen, Chapman (2021b). "Jesus Asks us to Serve the Animals. Go Vegan!" HKBNews, July 10. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/jesus-asks-us-to-serve-the-animals-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews

 

Chen, Chapman  (2021c) "Did God Really Want Peter to Kill and Eat Animals?" HKBNews, July 27.  https://www.hkbnews.net/post/did-god-really-want-peter-to-kill-and-eat-animals-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews

 

Chen, Chapman (2021d). "Follow Christ's Words n Love your Neighbors, includ. Animals." HKBNews, June 15. https://www.hkbnews.net/post/follow-christ-s-words-n-love-your-neighbors-includ-animals-go-vegan-by-chapman-chen-hkbnews   

 


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