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  • Writer's pictureChapman Chen

Love thy (Animal) Neighbour as Thyself, Says Jesus. By Dr. Chapman Chen, HKBNews


Summary: "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these,” emphasizes Jesus (Mark 12:31 KJV). Animals are our neighbors and folk on account of the commonality of possessing a living soul, the shared ability to suffer, and their physical proximity to us. It is only out of specieism or anthropocentrism that mainstream churches limit the term "neighbour" in Mark 12:31 to the human race. Now, if we are supposed to love our animal neighbours, it is certainly a sin to torture, rape, massacre and eat them heartlessly. Therefore, let's all go vegan.


The first creation story tells us that not only humans but also animals have a soul. Genesis 1:30 (KJV) reads, "And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so."


Hebrew for the phrase "life" in the verse above is " נֶ֣פֶשׁ חַיָּ֔ה nephesh chayyah", which is mistranslated as "life" in most English versions of the Bible. נֶ֣פֶשׁ Nephesh means soul and חַיָּ֔ה chayyah means living. In other words, God did give the animals a living soul when He created them. Thus the animals are sentient, i.e., able to look for physical pleasure and to stay away from physical pain; to yearn to go on living, endeavoring to shun death and to able to experience various emotions. Subsequently, God created man and breathed into his nostrils the same “breath of life”, “nephesh chayyah”, (Gen.2:7) which is the living soul.


By reason of this commonality of possessing a living soul the animals are also our brothers and sisters to be loved by us (Farians 2009).


Moreover, both non-human animals and humans have a central nervous system, which make both of them susceptible to pain, fear and agony. As pointed out by Jeremy Bentham (1789), it is animals' ability to suffer rather than their rationality which made them our neighbors:-"The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"


Also, animals are apparently proximal to us. They live side by side with us. They are literally neighbors of us, just that we frequently destroy their homes and chase them out of their living habitats.


Follow Christ's commandment, love your animal neighbours, and go vegan. Even if you don't love them, at least leave them alone and stop persecuting them!




Chen, Chapman (2023). "Human Megalomania in Chinese Translations of "Love thy Neighbour as thyself". Go Vegan!" HKBNews, 23 Jan.


Bentham, Jeremy (1789). An Introduction to the Principles of Morals.

Farians, Elizabeth (2009). "Animals, People and the Earth". Los Angeles: 2009 Animal Rights Conference. ( )




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