Report: Vegetarianism



Selected biblical passages by a vegetarian

Responding to a “Bible Diet” Vegetarian

What Does the Bible say about Vegetarianism?

Why I Am Not a Vegetarian

Christianity and Animal Rights

North American Report Eating Trends (Christianity Today)

Was Jesus a Vegetarian?

Vegan vs High-Protein

Dealing with disagreements: A Study of Romans 14





Selected biblical passages by a vegetarian


[Kwing Hung: Biased in excluding passages about eating meat, except the last part]


All biblical quotations are from the King James Version or the American Standard Version of 1901 (public domain).  I have cited passages both pro and con; the Bible does not take a consistent stand.


Supportive of vegetarianism


Original ideal and ultimate hope


Genesis 1:29-30          “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for food: and to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, [I have given] every green herb for food: and it was so.”

Numbers 11:4-34        The people in the desert are tired of manna, and so ask for meat.  Quails are sent, but as soon as they eat the quails, they are struck with a deadly plague. 

Isaiah 11:6-9   “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Daniel 1:3-16 Daniel and his friends refuse to eat from the king’s table which has meat on it, but eat vegetables instead.  After ten days they are found to be healthier than those who eat at the king’s table.

Hosea 2:18      “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the land, and will make them to lie down safely.”

Revelation 4:6-7          “. . . and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And the first creature [was] like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face as of a man, and the fourth creature [was] like a flying eagle.”

Revelation 21:4           “. . . and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away.”


Compassion to animals

Exodus 20:8-10           Animals are to abstain from work on the Sabbath as well as the humans.

Exodus 23:5    “If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, thou shalt forbear to leave him, thou shalt surely release [it] with him.”

Deuteronomy 22:4      “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ass or his ox fallen down by the way, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt surely help him to lift them up again.”

Deuteronomy 25:4      “Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out [the grain].”

Proverbs 12:10            “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast.”

Isaiah 66:3       “He that killeth an ox is as he that slayeth a man.”

Matthew 12:11            “And he said unto them, What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?”

Matthew 25:40            “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, [even] these least, ye did it unto me.”

Luke 12:6        “Are not five sparrows sold for two pence? and not one of them is forgotten in the sight of God.”

Luke 13:11-16             A woman who has been bent over for 18 years comes to Jesus and is healed on the Sabbath.  The ruler of  synagogue objects.  “But the Lord answered him, and said, Ye hypocrites, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bound, lo, [these] eighteen years, to have been loosed from this bond on the day of the sabbath?”

Luke 14:5-6     “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a well, and will not straightway draw him up on a sabbath day? And they could not answer again unto these things.”


God’s relationship to animals

Genesis 9:9-11            “And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you. Of all that go out of the ark, even every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth.”

Psalms 36:6     “O LORD, thou preservest man and beast.”

Psalms 104:24-30        God feeds the creatures of the sea.

Psalms 145:9   “The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”

Psalms 145:16             “Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”

Matthew 6:26 “Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them.”

Animals are like (or superior to) humans

Proverbs 6:6-8             “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

Proverbs 30:24-28       “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;  The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.”

Ecclesiastes 3:19         “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. “

Isaiah 1:3         “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib; [but] Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.”


Animal sacrifices

Isaiah 1:11-16             “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?  Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.  And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.  Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil. . . “

Jeremiah 7:22 “For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. . . “

Ezekial 20:25-26         “Wherefore I gave them also statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not live;  And I polluted them in their own gifts, in that they caused to pass through the fire all that openeth the womb, that I might make them desolate, to the end that they might know that I am the LORD.”

Hosea 6:6        “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.”

Amos 5:21-27             “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.  Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?  But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.”

Micah 6:6-8     “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old?  Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?  He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”

Matthew 9:13 “But go ye and learn what [this] meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice . . . “

Matthew 12:7 “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”

Matthew 21:12-13      “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Mark 13:2        “And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Acts 7:42-51   Stephen compares animal sacrifice to idolatry and condemns the temple.

Acts 15:29       “That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well.”

Revelation 2:14           “But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”


Not supportive of vegetarianism

Genesis 4:1-16            The story of Cain and Abel, in which Abel offers an animal sacrifice which is preferred to Cain’s plant sacrifice.

Genesis 9:3      “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

Leviticus 3 ff.             Many commands to offer animal sacrifices are described in Leviticus.

Matthew 8:28-32        Jesus sends some demons who have been driven out of their human hosts into a herd of pigs; the pigs go into the sea and drown.

Mark 6:34-44 The miraculous feeding of the multitude with loaves and fishes (though Jesus apparently does not eat fish himself).

Matthew 22:1-14        The parable of the wedding feast, for which oxen and fatlings are killed.

Luke 15:11-32             The parable of the prodigal son, for whom the fatted calf is killed.

Luke 24:42-43             “And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”  (This actually leaves ambiguous whether he ate the fish, the honeycomb, or both.)

Acts 10:9-16   Peter’s vision of a sheet descending from heaven with animals on it, with a voice saying “Up, Peter, kill and eat.”

Romans 14:1-2            “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.  For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.”

I Corinthians 10:25     “Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [the meat market], eat, asking no question for conscience’ sake.”

Colossians 2:16           “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. . . “

I Timothy 4:1-4           “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils . . . Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”




Responding to a “Bible Diet” Vegetarian


by James Ong, Singapore



[Copied and edited from three letters from James Ong responding to a so-called “bible diet” vegetarian writer.]


Allow me to highlight a few Biblical truths:


            Jesus Christ, our Lord, the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all human beings, ate animal foods (meat, curds, milk), during His pre-incarnate appearances (e.g. to Abraham in Genesis 18), during His 3.5-year earthly ministry (I’m sure it was no different during His pre-public ministry days) and, think of it, after His resurrection (He ate broiled/barbecued fish on two occasions).  If my Lord, who loved me so much that He was willing to go the cross for me, ate fish and gave fish to His children to eat (the feeding of the 4,000 and 5,000), how can I possibly believe that eating fish is toxic to my body.  Would such a benevolent God feed poison to His children?  Jesus taught that fish and eggs are good gifts which a loving father would not withhold from his children (Luke 11:11-13).  He would not have used these examples if He knew that these were toxic.  Jesus also ate bread, which was the staple food of the Jews, referring to Himself as the Bread of Life.



            How can you be so sure that they ate their food raw 100% of the time?  We read in Genesis 4:22 that the pre-Flood descendants of Cain learned how to forge implements of bronze and iron.  This could only be possible if they had learnt to use fire.  Are you suggesting that generations of pre-Flood man who knew how to use fire for other industrial purposes never cooked their food?  It is really quite hard to swallow.



             You stated, “We don’t know for sure if pre-Flood man never ate animal foods.”   Abel was a keeper of flocks.  He brought an animal sacrifice to the LORD (Genesis 4:2).  Do you suppose he threw the meat away after the sacrifice?  The descendants of Cain also kept flocks (Genesis 4:20).  It is hard to imagine that pastoral farmers who kept large quantities of livestock never ate from his produce.  What did they keep livestock for?  For fur coats and skins only?  Now we know that the earth’s climate in those days was uniformly warm throughout the earth.  Why would they need so much coats and skin to cover themselves?  After taking the skin and coats, did they throw away the meat?  What about the milk of cows, sheep and goats?  Did they also abstain from these for hundreds, even thousands of years?  I believe that it is possible that pre-Flood man ate some animal foods from time to time.



            You stated, “We don’t know for sure if pre-Flood man never fell sick.”  In Romans 8:19-23 tells us that the whole creation had been suffering the pains of childbirth ever since the fall of man.  I believe sickness entered the world the moment Adam and Eve fell.  To say that pre-Flood man never fell sick is therefore a gross mistake.



            You stated, “We don’t know for sure if pre-Flood man never ate grains or tubers or certain plant foods which require cooking.”   However, Genesis tells us that Cain was a tiller of the grounds.  Could it be that he or pre-Flood man never cultivated grains which is a staple food of man for thousands of years and made large civilizations possible?


You asked the question,  “Why did God shorten the lifespan of man and how did He do it?”  The answer to the first question is plain and simple.  God shortened the lifespan of man as an act of His grace so that the wickedness and evil in the world would be kept under control. It is found in the Genesis passage itself (6:1-8).  Imagine what would happen if Hitler, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Mussolini and other tyrants were able to live till 900?


I would like to pose you a question, [Mr. Bible Diet Vegetarian].  If you kept a 100% raw, vegan diet, would you live till 900?  We know it is impossible.  That brings us to the answer for the second question.  We don’t know for sure how God shortened the lifespan of man.  It could have been through several causes - genetic, environmental, loss of valuable topsoil, diet perhaps had a small role, etc.  He is God and Creator.  His knowledge and ways are too marvelous for us to comprehend.  From the studies of eminent creation scientists, we learn that the earth’s atmosphere before the Flood was very different, which accounts for dense tropical forests in what are deserts and snow-covered places today.  Fact is, we will never be able to reverse the drastic shortening of life span, no matter how healthy our diet is.  In your latest Health Tip, you suggested that God allowed the consumption of animal foods so as to accomplish His purpose of shortening the life span of man.  This is without reasonable proof and totally against the loving, benevolent nature of God!


Here are some interesting Bible facts for you to consider:


   1. Isaac lived till 180, 70 years more than Joseph.  Yet the Bible tells us that he loved game meats.



   2. Ezekiel 47:9-12 tells us that during the Millennium, man will still be fishing and harvesting sea salt. What would the fish and salt be used for?  If not for human consumption, then I don’t know what for.



   3. Noah, his family and the animals spent about a year in the Ark.  If they had only subsisted on fruits, nuts and vegetables, their food supply would have been exhausted after a short time, without refrigeration.  Only dried beans and grains could have lasted for so long and managed to feed all those creatures in the Ark for a year.  Hence, it is reasonable to assume that pre-Flood man had learnt to cultivate grains, legumes and other seed foods.



   4. If the Jews were to follow your vegan diet, they would not have been to celebrate the Passover, Pentecost, Feast of Tabernacles and many other appointed feasts of the LORD as these feasts required consumption of animal flesh and cooked bread.  Are you suggesting that they should disobey God’s commandments (punishable by death) to follow your dietary guidelines?  Did you know the Jews of the Millennium are required to keep these feasts (Ezekiel 44-46)?



   5. Did you also know that God will feed us with meat and marrow during the Millennium (Isaiah 25:6)?



   6. When God gave manna to the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings, Moses did not forbid them to cook their manna.  Rather, Exodus 16:23 tells us that the Israelites were to bake or boil the manna into bread/wafers or porridge.  If raw food was the most nutritious and cooking destroyed many nutrients, God would certainly have told the Israelites to eat the manna raw, but He did not.


   7. Many of the heroes of faith, the Godly men of the Bible, were shepherds and herdsmen, e.g. Abel, Job, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jacob’s twelve sons, David, etc, and had very many livestock. Jacob’s entire household were in the profession of animal husbandry. That is why they settled in Goshen for the Egyptians did not like keepers of animals. The chosen people of God must have eaten lots of dairy products and meat!


   8. God said He would give the covenant people, Israel, the promised land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey. If milk is so bad, why would God have used it as an illustration of the abundance and blessedness of the promised land?


   9. Three of Jesus’ closest disciples were fishermen by profession. They must have eaten lots of fish!


  10. Read Isaiah 55:1-2:


        “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,

        Come to the waters;

        And you who have no money,

        Come, buy and eat.

        Yes, come, buy wine and milk

        Without money and without price.

        Why do you spend money for what is not bread,

        And your wages for what does not satisfy?

        Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,

        And let your soul delight itself in abundance.


According to the Holy Spirit, milk is good, it is bread for food and it satisfies. For this reason, it is used as a biblical illustration for the importance of feeding on God’s instruction. Are you feeding on the whole counsel of God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation? Milk, per se, is not bad for health, it is what modern man has done to the milk.


  11.  Read Zechariah 14:16-21:


      And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.



The above passage tells us that during the Millennium, all nations have to send envoys up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. Do you know how many animals (oxen, rams, sheep, etc) are slaughtered for sacrifices during this Feast? You can check out the book of Leviticus and Numbers for the details. That is beside the animals that are freely offered by the worshippers. What does the Scripture say? Refusal to participate in the Feast is punishable by plagues and drought. The meat of the sacrifices will be cooked in pots and thrown away, because it is unhealthy to eat meat? Of course not, the meat will be eaten by all who participate in the Feast.



  12. Jesus said, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Have you carefully considered the rest of the counsel of God?

      I would rather obey God than man.



Do not get me wrong.  I’m not advocating that we go out and eat as much animal foods or cooked foods as we can.  There are advantages in eating raw, especially with fruits and certain vegetables.   But some foods are best consumed cooked (e.g. grains, beans and tubers).  And when clean, wholesome animal produce is available, we should not be afraid of consuming them as these are usually very good sources of essential amino acids, fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins and minerals that are also of greater bio-availability than plant foods to the human body.  Rather than preaching against consumption of animal foods, we should lobby for a return to traditional, organic forms of pastoral farming.




After reading your Health Tip: Biblical Nutrition (Part 3), it amazes me that you continue to advocate so strongly a 100% pure vegan, raw diet by putting forth rather weak arguments while at the same time ignoring Biblical truths. Your statement that biblical nutrition begins and ends with Genesis 1:29 is simply without basis and is a gross distortion of Biblical truth. So here’s my rebuttal:


   1. Man possesses four canine teeth out of a total of thirty-two teeth. If man were to be a pure vegetarian, God would not have placed any canine teeth in us. Four out of thirty-two is 12.5%. Hence, it may be argued that the inclusion of at least 10%-15% meat products to our diet is supported by our God-given physiology.



   2. Milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, eggs and fish (especially cooked) does not require sharp, canine teeth for mastication.



   3. Although the strength of hydrochloric acid in man’s stomach is much weaker than carnivorous animals, it nevertheless contains adequate amounts of hydrochloric acid to assist in the digestion of animal proteins. Herbivores like cows, sheep and goats do not have hydrochloric acid in their stomachs.



   4. You like to use comparisons with animals and cite human instincts as arguments. Did you know that these same carnivorous animals started out as pure vegetarians before the Fall and will end up as pure vegetarians again during the Millennium? Young carnivorous animals have to learn how to hunt for prey from their parents. Likewise, for thousands of years, fathers have taught their children how to catch wild animals, fish, birds, etc.




Consider the following Biblical evidences:


I have attached an excellent article on the Myths of Vegetarianism by Dr Stephen Byrnes for your further reference.


I’ll leave you a passage from 1 Timothy 4:1-6:


Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.  If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.


Warmest regards,


James Ong





I wish to submit my final rebuttal of your teaching on Biblical nutrition [bible diet vegetarianism], highlighting further scriptural evidence, rather than re-hashing the same arguments over and over again:


   1. In your Health Tips, you quote 1 Timothy 4:3 to explain that in the KJV, “meat” does not always refer to animal flesh.  But you deliberately left out vs. 4-5 which states, in the same KJV that you use, “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:  for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”


      Notice what the Scripture says.  Every creature of God is good, i.e. cows, sheep, goats, deer, chicken, quail, fishes with scales and fins, etc, and nothing is to be refused as food, if it is approved by the Word of God.


   2. You teach that during OT times, animals were slaughtered primarily for the purpose of religious sacrifices which were a foreshadow of the ultimate and final sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the sins of man.  You are only stating the partial truth.


      Firstly, the flesh of the animals that were sacrificed were to serve as food for the priests and those who offered the sacrifices.  In fact, priests were offered the choicest parts of the animals as food.  Priests must have eaten more meat than the common folk.  Yet, they are supposed to be the healthiest people in the nation for if they had any physical defect or uncleanness, they were disqualified from serving before God.  You can read all about these in Leviticus and Numbers.


      Why do you keep certain truths from your readers?  You are not teaching the whole counsel of God.  I quote from Deuteronomy 12:5-12 that sums up God’s position on the consumption of meat, both as part of religious ceremonies and as a part of normal meals:



          “But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go.


          “There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, your vowed offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks.


          “And there you shall eat before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, you and your households, in which the Lord your God has blessed you.


          “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today-every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes-for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God is giving you.


          “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety,


          “then there will be the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the Lord.


          “And you shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your sons and your daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you.


          “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see;


          “but in the place which the Lord chooses, in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.


          “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, of the gazelle and the deer alike.


          “Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water. “You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or your new wine or your oil, of the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow, of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand.


          “But you must eat them before the Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all to which you put your hands.


          “Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.”


          Notice that as far as the sacrifices and tithes are concerned, the Israelites are required to eat the flesh of the animals in the presence of the LORD at the place appointed by Him.  It is a command.  As for other occasions, God freely allows man to eat meat whenever and whatever their heart desires.


   3. You also teach that in NT times, there is no longer any need for animal sacrifices, hence we should not be eating meat.  This same Jesus, who offered Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice for sins, ate fish after His resurrection and invited His disciples to join Him in His breakfast of broiled fish and bread!  Furthermore, the apostle Paul in Romans 14 deals at length with the issue of eating meats offered to idols.


      In his treatise, he does not condemn or discourage the eating of meat at all.  Rather he states categorically in v. 14 that, “I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.” From this passage, we can gather that Paul himself ate meat, being stronger in faith but he taught that abstinence from meat is sometimes better for the sake of the conscience of the weaker brother. This is so as not to cause the brother to stumble, since he is weaker in faith and feels that he should not eat meat that has been offered to idols.  Paul deals with this issue again 1 Corinthians 8.  Nowhere in the NT does the Bible prohibit the eating of animal flesh/food.


      You should also refer to my earlier letters which highlighted passages in the OT that state that during the Millenium, animal sacrifices will be reinstated in the Jerusalem Temple, fishing will continue and meat will still be eaten.



   4. You seem to advocate feeding raw meat to cats and dogs to keep them healthy.  Yet, many breeders have successfully bred beautiful, healthy cats and dogs on commercial pet food and, occasionally, freshly cooked food, for years.  For your information, I used to keep German Shepherds.  My family has never fed them with raw meat.  Our dogs reproduced without problems and never had tumours or other health problems described by you.  Feeding raw meat is potentially dangerous as the animals will develop a taste for blood and raw flesh and have been known to attack humans as a result.



   5. The word “raw” does not even appear in Genesis 1:29 or Daniel 1:12.  So how can you be so sure that the Bible was referring unequivocally to raw fruit and vegetables in both instances?



   6. Did you know that God fed the Israelites with manna every morning and quail every evening during their wilderness wanderings?  You can read it in Exodus 16.  If meat is so toxic, why would God do such a thing?  Even without quail, the Israelites had plenty of dairy products and eggs to consume because they left Egypt with plenty of livestock (Exodus 12:38). The Israelites were also instructed to cook the manna.  With this diet, Moses lived to a ripe old age of 120, still in excellent health on the day he died.  Vegetables and fruits were hard to come by in the wilderness, more so if you have to move from place to place.  God even gave instructions to the Israelites regarding their gathering of birds’ eggs (Deuteronomy 22:6).



   7. Did you know that God sent a raven to feed Elijah with bread and meat in the morning and in the evening for a period of time during the drought until the brook Cherith dried up?  You can read the account in 1 Kings 17:1-7.  This same Elijah was fed with bread cake baked on hot stones which strengthened him for a forty day/night journey to Horeb, the mountain of God.



   8. Proponents of vegetarianism/veganism often cite the example of Daniel. However, they may not be aware that Daniel did not maintain a strict vegetarian diet for the rest of his life.  The evidence is in Daniel 10:2-3, which records an event that took place many years after his training as a youth in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace, “In those days, I Daniel, had been mourning for three entire weeks.  I did not eat any tasty food, nor did meat or wine enter my mouth, nor did I use any ointment at all until the entire three weeks were completed.”


      You see, the best way to interpret Daniel Ch. 1 is that the young men were presented with the king’s delicacies which must have included unclean flesh of animals that were forbidden for the Jews to eat, meats that were not prepared in the manner that the Torah prescribed (e.g. draining out the blood, removing the cover fat) and meats that were offered to Babylonian idols.


      Their godly wisdom taught them that consuming such food would defile their body, mind and spirit.  God honored their commitment and blessed their bodies and minds.  The diet of vegetables (we don’t know for sure if it was all cooked, all raw or partly cooked, partly raw) was certainly more nutritious than the king’s delicacies.


      In the Middle East, seeds, grain, beans and lentils are a very common part of the people’s diet.  It would not be unreasonable to assume that part of the vegetables (“pulses” in the KJV) the youths ate included seeds, grains, beans and lentils.  After Daniel completed his training and began to serve in the king’s court, he could choose the clean meats and have them prepared in the Torah-prescribed way.  So there was no need for him to continue with his vegetarian diet, as confirmed by Daniel 10:2-3.



   9. It is still possible to buy meats from free-range animals that are slaughtered in the kosher/halal way today.  As I’ve said before, we need to go back to the good old ways of mixed, organic farming and protection of our environment, rather than condemn animal foods wholesale.  Other than the threat of contaminated sea and river water, fish is an excellent source of animal protein and essential fatty acids, and qualifies as “free-range” meat.  In many rural villages in Asia, cows, goats, chicken and ducks are still raised in the traditional way and slaughtered and eaten on special occasions.



  10. John the Baptist, whom Jesus described as the greatest prophet under the Old Covenant, ate honey and locusts as his primary diet.




You seem to like to use the example of animals feeding in the wild as illustration of how man should eat.  Please bear in mind that man was not created in the image of the wild beasts, but in the image of God, Amen.  So our best model is not the wild animals, but the perfect God-Man Himself, our Lord Jesus Christ, who ate animal and cooked foods freely and did not ever once condemn the eating of such foods. 




What Does the Bible say about Vegetarianism?


By Mercy Aiken


The Bible says that in the earliest days of creation, all of God’s creation (even animals) were vegetarian. When God blessed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He said to them: “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be food for you. And to the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food. And it was so” (Genesis 1:29-30).


It appears that all creation was vegetarian until after the waters of the Great Flood receded and Noah and his family were left to replenish the earth.


Genesis 9:1-3 says: “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all of the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, now I give you everything.”


It is interesting to note that because they didn’t eat meat, it could have been one of the reasons that Noah was able to so easily gather all the animals into the ark--and explains why the animals did not devour each other while they were in it.


After the flood, why did God now deem it fit for His creation to eat each other? A possible clue that comes to mind is this: Man’s wickedness had just reached its fullness, and God had destroyed almost all of the inhabitants of the earth because of it. That flood had somehow changed the order of things--and it was as if Noah and his family were like Adam and Eve, beginning things all over again, but without the innocence of Adam and Eve. The first world, which had been created in perfection, was ruined because of sin. For man to function in the post-flood world, evidently God allowed for the eating meat that would become a part of our existence. The distinguishing mark on this particular era of history would be having to live with the blight of sin.


In a broad sense, it illustrates to us, the devouring nature of our sin and of the devil. Since the devil was given authority in the earth (Luke 4:6), we know that his kingdom is one that kills and devours itself...Satan who is the author of fear, would also rule this domain with fear. Because of this, the animal and human creatures would have fear and dread of each other. They would feed off of each other to survive. Many people accuse God of being cruel and unjust when they study nature and the insect world.


“Surely a God who made everything “good” could not call all of this good!”


“How could a loving and intelligent Creator be behind such savagery and bloodshed?”


These are fair and intelligent questions that probably everyone has grappled with at some point. We believe that the answer points back to the sin of man, and the power of the devil. God created everything good, and it was Satan who perverted the order of things. God gave man authority over His creation (Genesis 1:26-28). This is programmed into our character. Most people would not deny that man has messed up the earth and most would argue that it is our responsibility to fix it. Anyone who says it is pompous of us to “rule the earth” and yet tries to “save the earth” defeats their own argument by their very actions! Innately, we know that we have that authority, and we act upon it every day.


Yet, because man chose to sin, he lost his proper position of authority over God’s creation; he lost it in the Garden of Eden, and then it appears that he lost even more when God decided to flood the world because of man’s wickedness. When man lost his position on the earth, it caused all of creation to lose its proper position as well. And now, everything has been tainted with the perverted character of the Wicked One.


Today, many ask if it is a sin to eat meat. The Bible makes it clear that we can eat meat, even as Jesus ate meat when He was on the earth.


Luke 24:42-43, “And they gave him (Jesus) a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.”


Some may say however, that when Jesus ate meat, it was before the modern-day pollution of meat, such as animals being mass-raised in indoor living quarters, treated with hormones, over-fed, and in all ways exploited the way many of them are today.


One reason some vegetarians have chosen to not eat meat, is because the exploitation of animals is very troublesome to them. Is the exploitation of animals in the manner just mentioned displeasing to God? Of course! God loves His creation and even cares about what happens to sparrows! If your conscience bothers you about eating some of the commercially-raised meat, don’t eat it. However, if it doesn’t bother you (or you don’t know where the meat came from), eat it as you feel led. This is scriptural, as stated in Romans 14:2-3, “One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The mans who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.”


God’s original and perfect plan excluded the eating of flesh. However, because He Himself has given us permission to eat flesh, it should not be considered wrong or a sin--in the age we are presently living in.


The Bible also warns us that in the last days there will be a host of doctrines that point man away from the truth, instead of towards it. One of these such doctrines, is the worship of the “deity of nature” as some do today. Often vegetarianism is a part of their beliefs--the idea that all of nature is God. While this may sound nice, it simply is not true, and is a doctrine that prevents people from really knowing God as He is. Nature is not God. It reflects His creativity, His beauty, and many other things. However, it is only His creation, just as we are.


(1 Tim 4:1-4 KJV) “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:”


In the way of food, the Bible repeatedly warns us to not become too absorbed in it. Gluttony is a sin that is rarely mentioned in the church today, but is often mentioned in the Bible. Also, there are others who are so worried about their weight, or what they should and shouldn’t eat that they are in just as much bondage to food, as those who are chronic over-eaters. Both extremes are sin. God wants us to be healthy and balanced with what we put into our bodies. After all, “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).


We should all study God’s word, when making decisions about how and what we should eat. God gives us guidelines in this area as well as all other areas of our lives. For more information, please go to “What Does the Bible say about Diet?”


One final note of conclusion here, for those who are sincerely wondering if creation will always be the way it is now. We have good news for you! Scripture also seems to indicate that during the millennial reign of Christ on the earth (when the devil is bound for 1000 years), all creation will go back to being vegetarian. Read the following prophecy from Isaiah 11:6-9.


“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”


Praise God! The time is soon coming when all creation will rest in peace once again, and the creatures of the earth will no longer destroy each other or fear each other. This may sound like a distant utopia, but we know by the Word of God that it will come to pass, as surely as God spoke this world into existence and as surely as every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! God’s ultimate plan is to redeem His creation and restore it back to the way it was in the garden of Eden.




Why I Am Not a Vegetarian


by Dr. William T. Jarvis


American Council on Science and Health

Volume 9 Number 2 1997


Vegetarianism has taken on a “political correctness” comparable to the respectability it had in the last century, when many social and scientific progressives advocated it. Today, crusaders extol meatless eating not only as healthful but also as a solution to world hunger and as a safeguard of “Mother Earth.” The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) aggressively attacks the use of animal foods and has proposed its own food-groups model, which excludes all animal products.


I disclaimed vegetarianism after many years of observance. Although the arguments in favor of it appear compelling, I have learned to be suspicious, and to search for hidden agendas, when I evaluate claims of the benefits of vegetarianism. Vegetarianism is riddled with delusional thinking from which even scientists and medical professionals are not immune.


Don’t get me wrong: I know that meatless diets can be healthful, even desirable, for some people. For example: (a) Men with an iron-loading gene are better off without red meat, because it contains heme iron, which is highly absorbable and can increase their risk of heart disease. (b) Because vegetarian diets are likely to contain less saturated fat than nonvegetarian diets, they may be preferable for persons with familial hypercholesterolemia. (c) Vegetables contain phytochemicals that appear protective against colorectal cancer. (d) Homocysteinemia (elevated plasma homocysteine) approximately doubles the risk of coronary artery disease. Several congenital and nutritional disorders, including deficiencies of vitamins B6 and B12 and folic acid, can cause this condition. Since folic acid occurs mostly in vegetables, low intakes of the vitamin are less likely among vegetarians than among nonvegetarians. (e) Some people find that being a vegetarian helps to control their weight. Vegetarianism tends to facilitate weight control because it is a form of food restriction; and in our overfed society, food restriction is a plus unless it entails a deficit of some essential nutrient.


However, one need not eliminate meat from one’s diet for any of the foregoing reasons. Apparently, it is ample consumption of fruits and vegetables, not the exclusion of meat, that makes vegetarianism healthful.


Dog Day Afternoon?


The term “vegetarian” is misleading, for it is not a name for people who favor vegetable consumption, but a code word for those who disfavor or protest the consumption of animal foods. The neologism anticarnivorist better characterizes the majority of those who call themselves vegetarians. I call myself a “vegetable enthusiast,” because I strongly encourage eating lots of vegetables, including legumes, whole grains, and fruits. I believe that these foods are desirable not only because of their high nutrient density and low caloric density, but also because of aesthetic and gustatory factors. Being a vegetable enthusiast doesn’t entail rejecting the use of meat or animal products.


Most people who categorize vegetarians identify at least five different kinds, based on which types of animal food they consume: Semivegetarians consume dairy products, eggs, fish, and chicken; pesco-vegetarians consume dairy products, eggs, and fish; lacto-ovo-vegetarians, dairy products and eggs; ovo-vegetarians, eggs; and vegans, no animal foods. From a behavioral standpoint, I categorize vegetarians as either pragmatic or ideologic. A pragmatic vegetarian is one whose dietary behavior stems from objective health considerations (e.g., hypercholesterolemia or obesity). Pragmatic vegetarians are rational, rather than emotional, in their approach to making lifestyle decisions. In contrast, vegetarianism is a “matter of principle” for ideologic vegetarians; its appropriateness is a given.


One can spot ideologic vegetarians by their exaggerations of the benefits of vegetarianism, their lack of skepticism, and their failure to recognize (or their glossing over of) the potential risks even of extreme vegetarian diets. Ideologic vegetarians make a pretense of being scientific, but they approach the subject of vegetarianism more like lawyers than scientists. Promoters of vegetarianism gather data selectively and gear their arguments toward discrediting information that is contrary to their dogma. This approach to defending a position is suitable for a debate, but it cannot engender scientific understanding.


Because of the influence of my Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) environment, I practiced vegetarianism for many years. My wife and I even tried to give up consuming all animal products, but this didn’t work. We sometimes muse aloud about the morning we put soymilk on our breakfast cereal. We ended up eating the cereal with a fork because we found the mixture repulsive. We had another unforgettable experience when we ate with a group of vegetarian hippies in the Oregon woods. We were there at their request to advise them on vegetarian eating. They had already prepared the worst-looking vegetarian stew I have ever seen or tasted. It consisted of raw peanuts and a variety of half-cooked vegetables. After eating it, I had heartburn for hours. Digestive distress is legendary among SDAs.


Reasons for adopting vegetarianism can be very personal. Some years ago I shared a podium for several days with a vegetarian. It became clear from our informal conversations that he was not religious; so I asked him why he had opted for vegetarianism. He told me a touching story about having been a lonely boy whose closest companion was his pet dog. He said that, peering into the dog’s eyes one day, he had come to see the animal as a fellow being. Soon he had applied this view to all animals, and since he could not bear the thought of eating his dog, he could no longer eat other animals.


North by Northwest


Darla Erhardt, R.D., M.P.H., listed five vegetarian postulates: (1) All forms of life are sacred, and all creatures have a right to live out their natural lives. (2) It is anatomically clear that God did not design humans to eat meat. (3) Slaughter is repugnant and degrading. (4) Raising animals for meat is inefficient and misuses available land. (5) Animal flesh is unhealthful because it contains toxins, virulent bacteria, uric acid, impure fluids, and the wrong kinds of nutrients. 1 I find all of these axioms flawed:


   1. The belief that all life is sacred can lead to absurdities such as allowing mosquitoes to spread malaria, or vipers to run loose on one’s premises. Inherent in the idea that all life is sacred is the supposition that all forms of life have equal value. The natural world reveals hierarchies in the food chain, the dominance of certain species over others. And most creatures in the wild die (usually the victim of a predator) long before they have reached the genetic limit on their longevity.


   2. The multifarious dietary practices of human populations belie the notion that humans are designed to be vegetarians rather than omnivores. For example, Australian aborigines consume insect larvae and reptiles, Eskimos eat raw meat, and traditional Hindus are vegetarians.


      The first SDA physician, John Harvey Kellogg (1852Ð1943), was a vegetarian zealot. Alonzo Baker, Ph.D., his former private secretary, told me of an incident that occurred circa 1939: Kellogg awakened him in the middle of the night and ordered him to board the morning train for Cleveland. There, Weston Price, D.D.S., who had just returned from the mysterious high north, was to give a report on Eskimo dietary habits. When Baker returned, he informed Kellogg of Price’s finding that Eskimos ate raw meat almost exclusively (eskimo literally means “raw meat eater”). Kellogg accused Price of lying.


      Perhaps Kellogg disbelieved Price partly because it was widely known that the 1898 Yukon gold rushers had suffered extensively from scurvy. People generally believed that Eskimos derived their vitamin C from berries the snow had preserved. In fact, Eskimos derive vitamin C from the raw meat of animals who synthesize ascorbic acid. If they had cooked their meat, they would have developed scurvy like the gold rushers. (When I visited Northwest Territories, Canada, in 1973, a Franciscan monk who raised beautiful vegetables in a greenhouse in Pelly Bay told me that the Inuits, or North American Eskimos, didn’t like their taste and wouldn’t eat them.)


   3. Whether something is repugnant is highly individual. Some Hindus who will not eat animal foods readily drink their own urine for the sake of health. And what is repugnant —for example, chores such as changing a baby’s diaper or caring for sick people —is not necessarily wrong. Whether such activities are degrading is a matter of opinion. That most prey are eaten while they are still alive testifies to the heartlessness of nature compared to slaughterhouses, where death is generally quick and painless.


   4. The idea that animal-raising is an inefficient way to produce food is half-baked. Animals pull their weight when it comes to land-use and food-production efficiency: They graze on lands unsuitable for crop-growing, eat those portions of plants that are considered inedible (e.g., corn stalks and husks), and provide byproducts and services that ease human burdens. 2 Many nomadic populations survive on lands that lack farming potential by feeding on animals whose nourishment is coarse vegetation humans can’t digest.


   5. The postulate that toxins render meat unfit as food also lacks merit. Plants also contain naturally occurring toxicants, many of which are far more deadly than those of animal flesh. 3 Vegetarian evangelists who revel in portraying animal foods as unhealthful disregard the fact that those societies that consume the most animal products enjoy record longevity. They also overlook the reality that the animals they brand as diseased are herbivores whose diet consists entirely of raw vegetation. These animals develop many diseases “despite” becoming vegans after weaning.


Ideologic Vegetarianism


Much of my professional life has been spent studying health fraud, quackery, and related misinformation, and their impact on people’s lives. I have discerned a recurrent sequence of behaviors: First, the prospective vegetarian eliminates reportedly unhealthful foods from his or her diet, beginning with foods that society considers “bad for you” (e.g., sugar, coffee, and white bread). Next, if concerns about food safety grow to neurotic proportions, the person scrutinizes labels and worries about ingredients indicated by terms he doesn’t understand. Then he may patronize health food stores, where clerks and publications can feed his phobias. He may treat modern foods as poisonous. Finally, if he deems vegetarianism not restrictive enough, the “health foodist” may turn to veganism. In my opinion, it is at this point that vegetarianism becomes hazardous, especially for children.


The case of Sonja and Khachadour Atikian illustrates what can happen to those seduced by ideologic vegetarianism. The Atikians were ŽmigrŽs from Lebanon who —because of unrelenting media barrages focusing on environmental pollution, diet, and health —became overly concerned about the safety and healthfulness of modern foods. Sonja Atikian began shopping at health food stores instead of supermarkets. Gerhardt Hanswille, a self-styled herbalist from Germany, taught classes in the rear of a health food store she patronized. Although Hanswille was not licensed to practice medicine, he saw 40 to 45 “patients” day. He treated Ms. Atikian for a sore knee, and she took some of his courses. Hanswille taught that: (a) people should not kill animals, nor consume animal products; (b) God intended cow’s milk to be food for calves, not human babies; (c) eating eggs deprives hens of fulfilling their divinely intended role as mothers; (d) people should not poison themselves or the earth with the unnatural products of modern living; (e) using herbs both as food and as medicine is God’s way; and (f) the medicines of doctors are poisons. “Choose whom you will believe,” said Hanswille, “me or the doctors. You can’t have it both ways.”


Ms. Atikian chose poorly. Except for eating fish occasionally, she followed the herbalist’s advice during pregnancy. She delivered a healthy 8.2-lb girl named Loreie. Hanswille convinced the Atikians that the newborn would become a superbaby if they gave her a vegetarian diet of raw, organic foods. He dissuaded them from having the infant immunized and from continuing to see a pediatrician. And he induced them to rely on him for healthcare advice.


Four and a half months after her birth, Loreie’s weight was still at the 75th percentile, but when she was 11 months old, breast-feeding —her sole source of animal food —discontinued. Fed only fruits, vegetables, and rice, she eventually stopped growing, slept more and more, and had more and more infections. As the baby’s health spiraled downward, Hanswille assured the parents that her decline was merely “the poisons coming out of her body” and that she would eventually become the superbaby they desired. In 1987, 17-month-old Loreie died of bronchial pneumonia complicated by severe malnutrition. She weighed 11-1/4 lbs. The Atikians were charged with failing to provide their daughter with the “necessaries of life.” Their defense was that they had truly believed they had been providing the “necessaries of life” when they followed Hanswille’s advice. The judge acquitted them after the discovery that the prosecution had failed to provide important information supporting the couple’s story.


Let’s run through some other examples of ideologic vegetarian extremism:


    * It caused mental and growth retardation in two boys underfed from birth to ages 3 and 5. Their mother had become a vegetarian, later eliminated sugar and dairy products from her diet, and eventually adopted a macrobiotic diet (see “Peculiar Vegetarianism” ). 4


    * Ten cases of nutritional rickets were reported among infants (most of whom were breast-fed) of strict-vegetarian mothers who had not sought medical counsel during pregnancy but had obtained advice from health food stores. 5


    * Scurvy and rickets occurred in two boys, 11/2 and 21/2 years old, whose parents were adherents of the Zen Macrobiotic diet (see Peculiar Vegetarianism below). 6


    * A 36-year-old former college professor attempted to become a “ breatharian” —one who supposedly feeds on air alone —and died of malnutrition. First he became a vegetarian, then a fruitarian, then a “ liquidarian” (consuming juices only), and finally, a would-be breatharian. 7


    * A 2-month-old boy died because his mother, following the invalid recommendation for colic in Adelle Davis’s Let’s Have Healthy Children, overdosed him with potassium. 8 In a television interview, the mother said that, as she became increasingly estranged toward conventional medicine, she had adopted vegetarianism and then veganism.


    * A 24-year-old woman who was head of San Jose State University’s student art program died after taking an extract of pennyroyal to induce an abortion. She was described as “a strict vegetarian who was involved in holistic medicine.” 9


For the ideologist, vegetarianism is a hygienic religion. It enables believers to practice self-denial. As a religion, vegetarianism attracts the guilt-ridden. It attracts masochists because it gives guilt a boost. And it seduces the unskeptical by causing guilt and/or by instilling false guilt. Guilt leads to self-denial, even asceticism. The belief that salvation is attainable by eschewing worldly pleasures marked the asceticism of early Christian zealots. Similarly, health neurotics with medical problems seem to believe that the more they restrict their alimentary pleasures, the more their health will improve. Fasting, austere diets, enemas, and the ingestion of bitter herbs are consistent with the psychological needs of health neurotics, many of whom shun those voices of conventional medicine and public health that might disenchant them.


Of course, I don’t blame ideologic vegetarianism per se entirely for tragedies such as those outlined above. Mental or emotional disorders apparently figure in many instances. In such cases, extremism is more to blame. This doesn’t take ideologic vegetarianism off the hook, however, for it can fuel or ignite psychological problems.


Eating by the Book?


SDA vegetarianism is rooted in the Bible, according to which for food God gave humans “all plants that bear seed everywhere on earth, and every tree bearing fruit that yields seed” (Genesis 1:29). Meat is said to have become a part of the human diet after the Flood, when all plant life had been destroyed: “Every creature that lives and moves shall be food for you” (Genesis 9:3). Adventists are taught that the introduction of meat into the human diet at that time decreased the human life span from the more than 900 years of the first humans to today’s “three-score and ten.”


However, the Bible warns against confusing dietary practices with moral behavior:


    For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace. (Romans 14:17)


    Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink. (Colossians 2:16)


    One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables, let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgment on him who eats. (Romans 14:2-4)


It also seems to condemn vegetarianism:


    The Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some in the church will turn away from Christ and become eager followers of teachers with devil inspired ideas. These teachers will tell lies with straight faces and do it so often that their consciences won’t even bother them. They will say that it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat meat, even though God gave these things to well-taught Christians to enjoy and be thankful for. For everything God made is good, and we may eat it gladly if we are thankful for it. (I Timothy 4:1-4, Living Bible)


SDA Church pioneer Ellen G. White (1827-1915) was a proponent of vegetarianism even though she did not practice it herself. Like the Grahamites of her time, she taught that gradually the earth would become more corrupted, diseases and calamities worse, and the food —particularly animal foods —unsafe. In 1902 she wrote that the time might come when the use of milk should be discontinued. Although White was an advocate of science and chiefly responsible for making SDA healthcare a science-based enterprise, clearly she did not anticipate twentieth-century advances in public health and medical science. Despite the record longevity now enjoyed by people in the developed nations, vegetarian zealots within the church caught up in the doomsday hysteria of the 1990s have decided that the time has come to give up all animal foods and are fervidly preaching veganism.


East of Eden


It is possible to provide all essential nutrients except vitamin B12 without using animal foods. On the other hand, it is possible to provide all essential nutrients with a diet composed only of meat. Personal dietary appropriateness —including the value of a diet as a source of essential nutrients and its value as a preventative —for oneself and one’s significant others is the foremost dietary consideration of pragmatic vegetarians. In contrast, the overriding dietary consideration of ideologic vegetarians varies with the particular ideology. Typically, their motivation is a blend of physical, psychosocial, societal, and moral, often religious, concerns.


A continual problem for SDAs who espouse the “back to Eden” ideology is the absence of a non-animal food source of vitamin B12. A vegetarian Registered Dietitian who wrote a column for a church periodical asked me if I thought vegans could derive vitamin B12 from organic vegetables that were unwashed before ingestion. I opined that it would be better to eat animal foods than fecal residues. She agreed.


A perennial assumption among vegetarians is that vegetarianism increases longevity. In the last century, Grahamites —devotees of the Christian “hygienic” philosophy of Sylvester Graham (1794-1851) —taught that adherence to the Garden of Eden lifestyle would eventuate in humankind’s reclamation of the potential for superlongevity, such as that attributed to Adam (930 years) or Methuselah (969 years). I discussed this matter 25 years ago with an SDA physician who was dean of the Loma Linda University (LLU) School of Health. Although he admitted that lifelong SDA vegetarians had not exhibited spectacular longevity, he professed that longevity of the antediluvian sort might become possible over several generations of vegetarianism. SDA periodicals publicize centenarians and often attribute their longevity to the SDA lifestyle. However, of 1200 people who reached the century mark between 1932 and 1952, only four were vegetarians. 10 I continue to ask: Where on Earth is there an exceptionally longevous population of vegetarians? Hindus have practiced vegetarianism for many generations but have not set longevity records. At best, the whole of scientific data from nutrition-related research supports vegetarianism only tentatively. The incidence of colorectal cancer among nonvegetarian Mormons is lower than that of SDAs. 11 A review of populations at low risk for cancer showed that World War I veterans who never smoked had the lowest risk of all. 12 As data accumulate, optimism that diet is a significant factor in cancer appears to be diminishing. An analysis of 13 case-control studies of colorectal cancer and dietary fiber showed that, for the studies with the best research methods, risk estimates for dietary fiber and colorectal cancer were closer to zero.13 A pooled analysis of studies of fat intake and the risk of breast cancer that included SDA data showed no association. 14


A meatless diet can facilitate weight control because it is a form of food restriction. But one need not eliminate meat to maintain a healthy weight, and there are many overweight vegetarians. Surely prudence and selectivity overshadow mere abstention from consuming animal products.


Daniel’s Diet


According to the first chapter of the Book of Daniel, Israel’s captive whiz kids —” well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in all knowledge, and understanding science” (verse 4) —after subsisting on just vegetables and water for ten days, impressed the Babylonian king as far superior to all the magicians and astrologers “ in all matters of wisdom and understanding” (verse 20). Many ideological vegetarians credit vegetables for group’s physical and mental improvement (see “A ‘Biblical’ Alternativist Method”). A more credible proposition is that abstention from drinking wine caused the improvement, which the story ascribes to God.


In an interview on the school’s Christian radio station in the mid-1970s, an LLU nutrition graduate student (who was not an SDA) claimed that vegetarianism produced superior intellects. To make her case, she stated:


    Linus Pauling says that vitamin C improves intelligence. Vegetarians get more vitamin C in their diets than meat-eaters. The probable reason why George Bernard Shaw and Leo Tolstoy were brilliant was because they were vegetarians.


The interviewer agreed, extolling the health and intellect of vegetarians. That Adolf Hitler was a vegetarian went unmentioned during the interview. Also unmentioned was that Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and other eminent moralists were not vegetarians.


Animal behavioral scientists have noted that, to survive, meat-eating predators must outsmart their vegetarian prey. However, I believe that all such theories break down because of the difficulty of defining intelligence.


SDAs note that meat-eating predators such as wolves and lions have tremendous speed but lack endurance. However, Arctic sled dogs that run the 1200-mile Ididarod cover more than a hundred miles per day —a feat no horse, mule or ox can accomplish.


The idea that vegetarians have superior physical endurance was reinforced in 1974 when a group of male vegetarian runners called “the vegetarian seven” set a 24-hour distance record. This inspired an undergraduate dietetics major to seek me out as a coach for a group of seven female vegetarian long-distance runners. I asked her what their motivations were —something every coach needs to know. She said they wanted to demonstrate the superiority of a vegetarian diet. I asked who would be representing the meat-eaters. She said that, because the event would not be a standard competition, no one would represent the meat-eaters. I revealed to her that three of the male runners had not been vegetarians until training for the record-setting event but merely had pledged to become so. I also told her: that genetic factors, principally the capacity for oxygen uptake, determine distance-running ability; that whether a diet is vegetarian is inconsequential to distance-running ability; and that a 24-hour run is a perilous way to try proving vegetarian superiority. “What will you do,” I inquired, “ if seven meat-eating, beer-drinking atheists who are world-class runners decide to beat your record?” She got the point. And although she became an accomplished amateur runner, she didn’t use her success to propagandize for vegetarianism.


John Harvey Kellogg sought to prove that vegetarians were physically superior by fielding a Battle Creek College football team, which he personally coached. According to a former player, “Brother” Wright, whenever Kellogg’s players lost, he railed at them for cheating on their diets and held them captive until one would say he had broken training rules and eaten meat. Wright stated that sometimes a player would eventually lie that he had eaten meat just to get the team released. He described Kellogg’s efforts as “a crusade to prove the superiority of vegetarianism.” Ellen G. White’s condemnation of this approach to proving SDA superiority led to a policy restricting interscholastic sports by Adventist schools.


Odorless Doo-doo?


The John Harvey Kellogg character in the 1995 film Road to Wellville stated that his feces had no more odor than that of “freshly baked biscuits.” One evening I offered a ride home from the university to an elderly colleague, an avid vegetarian. Upon entering my car, he declared: “When I drink carrot juice, my bowel movements have no odor.”


Before I could respond, he said: “Rabbits eat lots of carrots, and their feces have no odor.” The thought of someone running around sniffing little piles of rabbit doo-doo almost made me laugh, but I didn’t want to be disrespectful. His idea that rabbits eat many carrots intrigued me. I had raised them in my boyhood and discovered that, despite the passion for carrots shown by Bugs Bunny, real bunnies are not particularly fond of carrots. Furthermore, wild rabbits seldom would have an opportunity to eat carrots. Luckily the ride was short.


The late Pulitzer Prize-winning anthropologist Ernest Becker argued that defecation is most closely associated with humankind’s animality and mortality. 15 During a Bible class at an SDA school, I was taught that people did not defecate in the Garden of Eden but utilized the food they ingested in its entirety. Apparently, foul odors did not befit Paradise. (Perhaps the persistence of the miasmatic theory of disease —the theory that diseases are due to foul-smelling emanations from the earth —well into the nineteenth century, when SDA beliefs were developed, reinforced the idea of a poopless Paradise.) I was also taught that roughage became part of the human diet after the Fall. Allegedly, this broadening of the diet to include “the herb of the field” (Genesis 3:18, King James version) occurred because humans were now under the “ death sentence” caused by original sin. Whether this reportedly was a voluntary dietary change or part of the curse of being ousted from Paradise is debatable. Some versions of the Bible imply that “the herb of the field” merely meant “wild foods” (New English Version), not a new source of food.


Heavy “PETAing”


In the last century, the pacifist movement was vegetarian because of the belief that meat-eating animals were fierce and vegetarian animals were docile. The British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley claimed that the French revolution had been bloody and the English revolution bloodless because the French ate more meat than the English. 16 Such invalid notions have been discredited, but not abandoned. Some boxers still eat raw meat or drink blood before a fight to increase their aggressiveness.


People who fancy themselves morally superior often have a mission to convert humanity to their worldview. The most violent ideologic vegetarians are the animal-rights activists, who have destroyed animal research facilities and threatened researchers’ lives. Animal-rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) consider animals on par with humans. On April 24, 1996, PETA’s Ingrid Newkirk appeared on the television newsmagazine Day & Date opposing sport fishing. She began her argument by seeking commiseration for suffocating fish. Then she said that fish were unhealthful food because they contained mercury and other environmental contaminants. The solution, according to Newkirk, was vegetarianism. Her opponent, a TV talk-show host, pressed her into acknowledging the PETA creed. The talk-show host described an on-air encounter she had had with another PETA representative. A scenario had been presented in which the representative’s daughter needed a vital organ from a beloved household pet in order to survive. The ethical question had been whether the child’s life was worth more than the pet’s. The PETA representative had held that the child had no more value than the pet. Newkirk did not contest the assertion that PETA considers the life of a child no more valuable than that of a pet.


When an LLU medical team transplanted a baboon’s heart into an infant whose pseudonym was “Baby Fae,” animal-rights activists picketed the medical center. They seemed disillusioned with SDAs, who have no qualms about prioritizing humans over animals. In October 1992, after a pig’s liver had been transplanted into a 30-year-old woman to enable her to survive until a human liver was secured, a representative of PCRM engaged in a televised debate with one of the physicians who had performed the transplant. The representative lamented that the pig’s consent had not been obtained.


PCRM appears to be largely a personal forum for its leader, Neal Barnard, M.D., and is said to be substantially funded by PETA. (In fiscal year 1994, donations and grants to PCRM reportedly totaled more than a million dollars. 17) Barnard extols the longevity value of vegetarianism. He has claimed: “It’s not genetics or fate that gives people long, healthy lives and cuts other people short; for those who want to take care of themselves, it all comes down to diet.” The surgeon argued that pigs were killed daily for meat, including their livers. The PCRM doctor retorted that the consumption of animal fat (which is highly saturated) was responsible for most deaths in modern society. He cited a study conducted by Colin Campbell in China. Campbell had focused on the relative morbidity for certain diseases without pointing out that life expectancy in China (66 years) is lower that that in the United States (75 years). 18


Because they consider themselves morally superior, many vegetarians exhibit no reservations against using mind-control techniques or terrorism to actualize their agenda. Mind control includes using information selectively to “educate” people about the alleged superiority of vegetarianism. It may also include traumatizing people emotionally to condition them against the use of animal foods. Early in my teaching experience, I attended a meeting of SDA secondary school health teachers where many said that they converted students to vegetarianism by taking them on field trips to slaughterhouses to witness the bloodshed. This strategy offended me even though I was a practicing vegetarian at the time. Having studied for years how people have been manipulated by cults and quacks, it is now clear to me that the slaughterhouse tactic is a form of mind control —that it is as unethical as discouraging little girls from having sex by inducing them to watch a difficult childbirth.


Terrorism involves trying to coerce people to behave in ways the perpetrators desire. In December 1994, to keep people from having turkey for Christmas dinner, self-described animal-rights terrorists claimed they had injected rat poison into supermarket turkeys in Vancouver, British Columbia. The scare caused the destruction of more than $1 million in turkeys. Apparently, the activists had not foreseen the ensuing slaughter of turkeys as replacements.




Research into vegetarianism by vegetarians always involves at least unconscious bias. All humans have entrenched beliefs —beliefs whose rootedness makes doing related scientific research unwise. Kenneth J. Rothman, Dr.P.H., referred to SDAs in a recent discussion of conflicts of interest in research:


    We might expect conflict of interest concerns to be raised, for example, about Seventh Day Adventists who are studying the health effects of the comparatively abstemious lifestyle of their fellow Adventists. Whereas policies at [the Journal of the American Medical Association] and The New England Journal of Medicine emphasize financial conflicts, Science asks authors to divulge “any relationships that they believe could be construed as causing a conflict of interest, whether or not the individual believes that is actually so.” In other words, to comply with disclosure policies at Science, authors might need to disclose to editors their religion and sexual orientation along with their financial portfolio. 19


Although Rothman argues for letting work standing on its own merit rather than judging cynically any possible connection to a funding source, his example makes the point that motivations more powerful than money can distort data. Science fraud can be extremely difficult to detect, because the perpetrators control the information. As Mark Twain observed, “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure!”


I don’t believe that all research done by vegetarians is untrustworthy. My experience with the ongoing Seventh-day Adventist Health Study (SDAHS), a series of studies conducted from LLU School of Public Health, has been largely positive. Its chief researcher, the late Roland Phillips, M.D., Dr.P.H., was an outstanding scientist in whose objectivity I had the utmost confidence. He recognized the problem of the influence of social expectations on SDAs responding to questions about their lifestyle. Adventist groupthink makes it likely that SDAs will underreport activities disfavored by the church community (e.g., meat-eating, coffee drinking, and imbibing) and over-report those that are approved (e.g., dining meatlessly and exercising). Phillips seemed to feel that the benefits of vegetarianism per se were limited, and that one must take account of heredity, socioeconomic status, and the total SDA lifestyle. Abstention from smoking, access to state-of-the-art healthcare, and strong social support probably are responsible for most of the health benefits SDAs enjoy. The main problem with SDA vegetarian science is how the scientific information is used. To paraphrase an old Pennsylvania Dutch saying: Among SDAs, when the news about vegetarianism and health is good, “we hear it ever” ; when the news is not good, “we hear it never.”


I have received numerous reports from SDA health professionals, and have personal knowledge of other cases, in which church members’ overconfidence in vegetarianism prevented them from obtaining effective medical care. Some reports have involved true believers in vegetarianism who were members of physicians’ families. Some denied symptoms, and their denial kept them from seeking effective intervention in time. Others rejected medical care for “natural remedies” that emphasized diet. The attitudes evidenced are consistent with those identified in cancer patients who had turned to quackery because they believed they had brought the disease upon themselves and could cure it by “natural” practices. 20 The SDA Church has bent over backward to document the benefits of the SDA lifestyle and to persuade members to adopt vegetarian diets. I would like to see the church seek earnestly to expose the harm that its vegetarian teachings have caused its members. Alas, there’s the rub with ideologic vegetarianism: Objectivity always takes a back seat to proselytism.


The data suggest that most SDAs are reasonable in their approach to vegetarianism. In the 1970s, the SDAHS revealed that only one percent were vegans. 21 This may change as vegetarianism becomes more popular in the general population. SDAs tend to be overachievers. If we regard something as “good,” we strive to adopt it completely. If we consider something “bad,” we avoid it completely. SDA vegetarian evangelists have become more aggressive in recent years because of the widespread belief in the SDA community that doomsday is nigh.


I recall an SDA church leader’s fitting reply to the question of whether he ate meat: “I eat just enough to keep me from becoming a fanatic!”


One Less “Ism”


I gave up vegetarianism because I found that commitment thereto meant surrendering the objectivity that is essential to the personal and professional integrity of a scientist. As a health educator, I feel I have an obligation to endeavor to stick to whatever unvarnished facts scientific research uncovers. I can support pragmatic vegetarianism, but I believe that crusading vegetarian ideologues are dangerous to themselves and to society.


ACSH advisor William T. Jarvis, Ph.D., is a professor of public health and preventive medicine at Loma Linda University, founder and president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, and coeditor of The Health Robbers: A Close Look at Quackery in America (1993). This article is an adaptation of one published by Prometheus Books (Amherst, New York) in the November/December 1996 issue of Nutrition & Health Forum newsletter.


1. D. Erhardt, “The New Vegetarians, Part OneÑVegetarianism and its Medical Consequences,” Nutrition Today, November/December, 1973.


2. R. Spitzer. No Need For Hunger. Danville, Ill.: Interstate Printers and Publishers, 1981.


3. National Academy of Sciences. Toxicants Occurring Naturally In Foods. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1973.


4. J. Wood. “Mother of Starved Children Asks Permission to Give Birth Again,” San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle, March 27, 1983, p. A5.


5. Journal of Nutrition Education 1981; 13:26.


6. Newsweek, September 18, 1972, p. 71.


7. “Temple Beautiful DietÑDeath for David Blume,” (AP) San Bernardino Sun, October 15, 1979, p. A-3.


8. C.V. Wetli and J.H. Davis. JAMA 1978; 240:1339.


9. San Jose Mercury News, August 20, 1994.


10. O. Segerberg. Living to Be 100: 1200 Who Did and How They Did It. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1982.


11. J.L. Lyon, M.R. Klauber, J.W. Gardner, and C.R. Smart, “Cancer Incidence in Mormons and Non-Mormons in Utah, 1966-70,” N Engl J Med 1976; 294:129-133 (p.132).


12. J.E. Enstrom. “Cancer Mortality among Low-Risk Populations,” CA — A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 1979; 29:352-61.


13. C.M. Friedenreich, R.F. Brant, and E. Riboli. “Influence of Methodological Factors in a Pooled Analysis of 13 Case-Control Studies of Colorectal Cancer and Dietary Fiber,” Epidemiology 1994; 5:66-79.


14. D.J. Hunter et al. “Cohort Studies of Fat Intake and the Risk of Breast CancerÑA Pooled Analysis,” New Engl J Med 1996; 334:356-61.


15. E. Becker. The Denial of Death. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1973.


16. J. Whorton. “Tempest in a Flesh-Pot: Development of a Physiological Rationale for Vegetarianism,” Journal of the History of Medicine, April 1977, pp. 119-120.


17. Good Medicine, Spring 1995.


18. The Population Reference Bureau, Inc., Washington, D.C., 1988.


19. K. Rothman. “Conflict of Interest: The New McCarthyism in Science,” JAMA 1993; 269 (21):2782-4.


20. B. Cassileth et al. “Contemporary Treatments in Cancer Medicine,” Ann Intern Med 1984; 101:105-12.


21. “Researchers Release Adventist Health Study Results,” Pacific Union Recorder, March 12, 1979.


* From Raso J. The Dictionary of Metaphysical Healthcare: Alternative Medicine, Paranormal Healing, and Related Methods. 2nd ed. Atlanta: The Georgia Council Against Health Fraud; 1997.


Peculiar Vegetarianism


diet #7 (Diet No. 7): “Healing regimen” recommended by George Ohsawa (see “macrobiotics” ) in Zen Macrobiotics: The Art of Rejuvenation and Longevity (1965). It principally involves restricting dietary intake (including water) to brown rice and particular kinds of tea (“ as little as possible” ) for a period of one week to an indefinite number of months. The purported objective of diet #7 and the nine other diets of Zen Macrobiotics is to maintain balance of yin and yang.


macrobiotics (formerly called “Zen Macrobiotics” ): Quasireligious movement and health-centered lifestyle whose centerpiece is a mystical form of vegetarianism. The thrust of macrobiotic nutrition is regulation of the intake of two alleged elementary forms of energy: yin and yang. Categorizing a food as yin or yang depends largely on characteristics directly cognizable by the senses and is unrelated to nutrient content. Proponents ascribe the modern version of macrobiotics either to Ishizuka Sagen (1850Ð1910), a Japanese physician and author of A Chemical Nutritional Theory of Long Life, or to George Ohsawa (1893Ð1966), whose names included: Georges Ohsawa, Nyoichi (also spelled “Nyoiti” ) Sakurazawa, and Yukikazu Sakurazawa. The leading exponent of macrobiotics is Michio Kushi, according to whom “Natural and Macrobiotic Medicine” encompasses: (a) astrological diagnosis; (b) aura and vibrational diagnosis, allegedly based on the color, frequency, “heat,”and intensity of a one’s “radiating aura” and “vibrations”; (c) consciousness and thought diagnosis, a variation of so-called mind reading; (d) environmental diagnosis, whose theory posits “celestial influences”; (e) meridian diagnosis, which purportedly reveals valuable information about “internal energy flow”; (f) pressure diagnosis, which supposedly reveals “stagnation of the streaming energy”; and (g) spiritual diagnosis, an apparent variation of aura analysis (probably rei-so).


Zen Macrobiotics: Early form of macrobiotics, endorsed by Herman and Cornelia Aihara. The Aiharas were students of George Ohsawa (see “macrobiotics”) and coauthored Natural Healing from Head to Toe: Traditional Macrobiotic Remedies (Avery Publishing Group, Inc., 1994). They also founded, in 1974, the Vega Study Center, in Oroville, California. The school teaches Zen Macrobiotics.


A “Biblical” Alternativist Method


Daniel’s Diet: Alleged medical panacea and “higher way of eating” promoted by microbiologist Robert O. Young, Ph.D., author of Colloids of Light & Life, Profiles of Microscopy, Sick & Tired, and One Sickness —One Disease —One Treatment (1995). In the latter book, Young holds that mycosis, or fungal infection, or over-acidification of the body (or blood), is the only disease. He further holds that an “inverted” way of living and eating, especially excessive consumption of sugars and animal protein, causes such over-acidification. Daniel’s Diet excludes all foods except avocados, lemons, limes, tomatoes, vegetables (e.g., buckwheat and soybeans), dark-green vegetable juice, tofu (bean curd), millet, “sprouted” or soaked seeds and nuts, oils, sea salt, herbal teas, specific dietary supplements (e.g., Pycnogenol®), and LiquidLightning Oxygen-O3 (a “formula” purportedly beneficial for “oxygen deprivation”). The diet is the namesake of a Jewish “prophet” and fortuneteller of the sixth century b.c.e. According to the Book of Daniel, in the Old Testament, Daniel refused to consume meat and wine assigned to him by a Babylonian king, requested vegetables and water, and, after eating only vegetables for ten days, appeared healthier and stronger.




Christianity and Animal Rights


As a licensed minister and graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (Class of 89), I am amazed at the number of Christians swayed by the animal rights, vegetarian, etc. agenda. It is truly disturbing that people who claim to follow Christ can twist His message for their own purposes. Of course, there will be those who make the same sort of attack on my beliefs.


However, if we take the Scripture seriously, I think one can demonstrate with great certainty that Animal rights, evangelistic vegetarianism, and many aspects of the so called environmentalist movement (ie. Green Peace) are based on non-Biblical principles and/or are antagonistic to the Revealed Word of God. Before you send me more hatemail, please do some due diligence.



My Definition of Christian Vegetarianism



To eliminate confusion as to the ideas and beliefs I am disagreeing with, let me make the following attempt to briefly define my opposition.


A Christian Vegetarian as I define here is one who:


    * Believes ‘God’s perfect will’ is for all to not eat meat.

    * Actively evangelizes fellow Christians to not eat meat.

    * Claims it is more spiritual to not eat meat.

    * May believe that Jesus didn’t eat meat.


To further define my position let me say that I:


    * believe you can be a Christian and a vegetarian. God gives us the freedom to restrict our freedom if we so choose.

    * believe you are in error if you believe that Christians must be vegetarians.

    * believe you are in error if you believe that good Christians are vegetarians.


The Bible and Vegetarianism


So called Christian vegetarians make a number of claims regarding the moral superiority of the meatless diet. Some of these claims are dealt with on at page. I want to focus this page on their use of Scripture.


You can view one of these so called vegetarian sites at

God’s Perfect Will was that Mankind Be Vegetarian

Here the vegetarians argue from Genesis 2:16 and 9:3, that humanity in the beginning was vegetarian.  Others suggest that Isaiah 11:6ff insinuates that if the wolf no longer eats the lamb then humans will no longer eat flesh.


Response #1 Noahic Covenant: The Biblical response to this argument is simply, we don’t live in the Garden and Christ hasn’t returned yet.  It is striking to see people argue that vegetarianism is in line with God’s perfect will and yet God clearly told Noah that he could treat the animals as food in Genesis 9. The so called Christian vegetarians have not explained why God made this change. To say that He did it due to the hardness of mankind’s hearts (such as divorce) is inadequate as the God clearly makes the change on His own. There is no evidence that Noah asked God to eat animal flesh. I find it strange to think that God would not have made it clear to Noah that He wanted him to remain a vegetarian if that is what God wanted him to do. For God’s failure to tell Noah this would mean that Noah was set up to fail.


In short, the hermeneutical principle is this. Conjecture cannot override the clear teaching of God’s Word. Since God clearly stated that humanity to utilize animal flesh there is no reason to think we are bound to do otherwise.


Response #2 Life of Christ: Since the Bible clearly teaches that Christ was sinless and fulfilled the Will of the Father and that we as Christians are to follow Him, it is interesting that Jesus killed fish. In Luke 5:4 we have Christ being instrumental in helping the disciples kill more fish. One person I spoke with said that the Scripture never says Jesus killed fish. In one sense that is true. However, Christ knew what the disciples were going to do with those fish. So His helping them catch the fish makes Him complicit in the death of those fish. The issue for vegetarians is why did Jesus do this if eating fish was somehow wrong? Why would Jesus help His future disciples not to fulfill the perfect will of God?


The passage in John 21:9ff we have Jesus (post resurrection) cooking breakfast (fish) and inviting the disciples to join Him. Again why would he do this if eating meat was out of the perfect will of God?


We also have the issue of the Passover which in N.T. times meant eating lamb (see Luke 22:10; and compare with Exodus 12).  Jesus being a good Jew would have fulfilled the Law of God by participating in the Passover, which included eating the Passover Lamb.   Some may claim that the Bible never says Jesus ate the lamb. While true, it neglects the passage that says Jesus was in all things perfect. At the risk of being boorish, I must also remind people that the Bible never says that Jesus urinated. So on that line of reasoning we should say that He never did. Of course that is a stupid claim unless you are a Gnostic and deny that Jesus came in the flesh (cf. 1 John)


Others say that Jesus belonged to a vegetarian sect of the Essenes. The problem with this view is that it is totally speculative. There is no evidence that Jesus ever met the Essenes. He certainly would have had problems with their anti-temple theology or vice versa as Jesus was regularly found in and around the Temple in Jerusalem.


So called Christian Vegetarians Ignore the Scriptures on Words on Animal Use


    * Jesus helped the Disciples kill more fish (Luke 5:4)

    * Jesus’ parents, Joseph and Mary, sacrificed doves in the Temple (Luke 2:24)

    * Jesus participated in Passover which included eating lamb (Mt. 26:19ff)

    * Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son speaks of the fatted calf being eaten in celebration. Bible Scholars say that the fatted calf means the “stall fed calf.” (Luke 15:23ff).

    * If eating meat was so terrible why didn’t Jesus condemn it?


For clairity let me say, that people can argue we eat too much meat. But they can’t say that eating meat is inconsistent with Biblical teaching.

Some so called Christian Vegetarians are more vegetarian than they are Christian


One e-mail I received stated that the Bible is full of mistakes. While this is a common argument from the uninformed, it essentially evades the real issue. First, how does one know which portions of the Bible are authentic and which ones are inauthentic? These critics rarely provide a Bible that is uncorrupted so that the simple among us can read it plainly. Second, often what constitutes error in the minds of these critics are passages that fail to meet their predetermined ideology. For example, they say vegetarianism is the correct belief, therefore every passage that suggests otherwise must be inserted by unenlightened Christians at a later date who then ‘made Jesus’ say these things. Sounds very sophisticated, the problem is that the vast majority of the N.T. was written before 70 A.D. (The book of Revelation was one exception) Very little time for the Bible to be corrupted. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary Ed. by Frank E. Gaeblein, vol. 1 p. 43 states, “The NT documents were all written in Greek within the first century.”.


Other so called Christian Vegetarians argue that the Bible was corrupted at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. When I pressed them on the issue, the person had to admit that the Bible wasn’t corrupted as much as an official interpretation was adopted. I challenged the person then to either a. provide evidence that the early Church Fathers corrupted the Bible or b. to show how their interpretation on vegetarianism was wrong.


If you would like evidence rather than fancy myths about how Nicea didn’t change the Bible, the click on Nicea




Some so called Christian Vegetarians believe that eating meat harms the body and is therefore sinful to eat.


We can call these people the Christian health addicts. What I find interesting, besides their lack of factualness on the effects of eating meat, is how selective they are in applying their own claims.


Take for example, alcohol. Now everytime you have a drink, some brain cells are killed or deadened. Yet I don’t hear them claiming we should stop drinking because it harms the body. I understand there are some vegans called “straight edgers” who abstain from alcohol. Yet I don’t hear that these “straight edgers” call themselves Christians.




North American Report Eating Trends (Christianity Today)


Was the Messiah a Vegetarian? Jesus is appearing all over America with a giant, shining orange slice as his halo and a billboard banner that proclaims, “Jesus Was a Vegetarian—Follow Him.”


The vegetarian advertisements have run as part of a campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to win Christians to a “nonviolent” diet.


Other recent efforts include newspaper and magazine advertisements, a Web site that disputes the authenticity of Jesus multiplying fish to feed the 5,000, and a Veggie-Jesus mascot who distributed leaflets during Pope John Paul II’s Saint Louis visit and during the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta earlier this year.


“The goal is to get Christians thinking about how their diet and faith relate,” says PETA’s Vegetarian Campaign coordinator Bruce Friedich.


Pat Robertson and Robert H. Schuller already have been endorsing George Malkmus’s “Hallelujah Diet,” a vegetarian plan based on Genesis 1:29: “I give you all plants bearing seed everywhere on earth and every tree bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food.”


But it is unlikely that Jesus never ate meat, according to Wheaton College New Testament professor Gary Burge. “PETA is trying to justify its personal point of view with an inappropriate connection to Jesus,” says Burge, explaining that it would have been impossible for Jesus to participate in Passover celebrations without eating lamb.




Was Jesus a Vegetarian?


PETA says he ate like a lamb. According to theologians, he ate them.

By Joshua Green

Posted Friday, Oct. 13, 2000, at 12:00 AM PT


Last week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals launched a new ad campaign that features an image of the Shroud of Turin and the slogan “Make a Lasting Impression—Go Vegetarian.” PETA explained in a statement that it “chose Jesus as its new ‘poster boy’ because he is widely believed to have been a member of the Essenes, a Jewish religious sect that followed a vegetarian diet and rejected animal sacrifices.”


Jesus a weed-eater? It’s not a new claim, but a new spin on an old one. Vegetarianism’s true believers have long held that the Garden of Eden was a meatless paradise (“And God said, Behold, I have given you ... the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat,” Genesis 1:29). They’ve also claimed that the New Testament supports Jesus’ vegetarianism, although that requires you to believe that Jesus’ frequent encouragement of fishermen was symbolic, “fish” being mere symbols of “disciples,” and that he cast the sinners out of the temple because he wanted to rescue the Passover lamb.


No mainstream theologian buys the vegetarians’ argument because the Gospels are fairly straightforward about the Messiah’s tastes in food. “Jesus said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of broiled fish. ... And he took it, and did eat before them” (Luke 24:41-43). The story of Jesus multiplying the loaves and fishes, not to mention that Passover lamb, argues against vegetarianism, too.


But with this new campaign PETA foils the scholars by ignoring the biblical evidence—and the Bible altogether—preferring sources from the fringe field of “vegetarian theology,” who depend on coincidence, historical speculation, and creative exegesis of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other ancient texts to make their case that 1) Jesus was an Essene; and 2) that the Essenes practiced vegetarianism.


Was Jesus an Essene? Did the Essenes practice vegetarianism? And just who were the Essenes?


The Essenes were a Jewish ascetical sect that lived in the Judean desert on the western shore of the Dead Sea during the time of Jesus. Secretive and communal, the Essenes broke with official Judaism and retreated from the world because they thought both “had become polluted, unclean and ungodly,” says Marcus J. Borg, a religious studies professor at Oregon State University and a leading New Testament scholar. “They had rigorous understandings of purity that could only be met by separating themselves from others, and they looked forward to an apocalyptic war in which God would destroy their enemies.” (In that sense they were a little like the Branch Davidians, only without the automatic weapons.) Many scholars also believe the Essenes were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls.


To prove Jesus was an Essene, the vegetarian theologians work backward from John the Baptist. A few scholars have speculated that John might have been an Essene. Indeed, he preached along the Jordan River near the Essenes’ Dead Sea settlement, he held political beliefs similar to those of the Essenes, and lines found in the Dead Sea Scrolls echo in his preaching. For instance, Isaiah 40:3 makes this reference to John: “The voice of him [John] that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” The same passage appears frequently in the Dead Sea Scrolls.


So if John was an Essene—which is by no means certain—the vegetarian theologians maintain that he made Jesus one too by baptizing him. That’s quite a stretch. So is the vegetarian theologians’ second argument. The Gospels identify the two other major Jewish sects of the day, the Sadducees and Pharisees, as opponents of Jesus. But the Gospels don’t mention the Essenes, therefore Jesus must have been an Essene. This is what is known as an “argument from silence.” (William Phipps used a similar tactic for different ends in his controversial 1970 book, Was Jesus Married?) “It’s a lot of baloney, as far as I’m concerned,” says Father Joseph Fitzmeyer, a professor of biblical studies at Georgetown University and an expert on the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Then were the Essenes vegetarians? Not likely. Vegetarianism goes unmentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls. And since the Essenes were purists, Borg points out, it’s likely they would have slaughtered a lamb at Passover. PETA draws its mainstream proof of Essene vegetarianism from a brief article in the May/June 1999 issue of Archaeology, which reports that a dig of what may have been an Essene settlement hasn’t unearthed any animal bones.


And while PETA is right about the Essenes rejecting animal sacrifice, it wrongly attributes this stance to compassion for God’s lesser creatures. When the Essenes split from the Jewish establishment they rejected all rituals performed in the temple by the priests, of which animal sacrifice was only one.


Assuming that you accept the “Jesus was an Essene” argument, you still have to resolve the fundamental differences in their teachings. “Wherever there’s an overlap in subject matter, there is significant disagreement,” Borg says. Jesus socialized with lepers. The Essenes rejected even healthy Jews. Jesus spoke of loving one’s enemy. The Essenes believed an apocalyptic war would wipe out theirs. Jesus taught that we’re all God’s children. The Essenes believed they were “children of light” while others were “children of darkness”—a lot like a certain group of proselytizing vegetarians.




Vegan vs High-Protein


Diet Debate

News You Can Use


This web site will prove that eating red meat and animal natural fats while restricting carbohydrates is not only healthy but will prevent and cure many diseases.


    The vegetarians of Southern India eat a low-calorie diet very high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fat. They have the shortest life span of any society on Earth, and their bodies have an extremely low muscle mass. They are weak and frail and the children clearly exhibit a failure to thrive. Their heart disease rate is double that of the meat eaters in Northern India. HL Abrams. “Vegetarianism: An anthropological/nutritional evaluation.” Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1980, 32:2:53-87.



The Myths of Vegetarianism.


The Bible Condemns Abstaining From Eating Meats


    The Bible describes those who recommend abstaining from eating meats as extremely evil. They are teaching doctrines of devils with lies and hypocrisy. The same is said about those who are against marriage.


        1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; 3 Forbidding to marry, [and commanding] to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God [is] good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: 5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (KJV)


Advice to Vegetarians


    Please don’t be a liar and a hypocrite. Don’t sneak around eating meat when others can’t see you like other vegetarians. Don’t eat fish and call yourself a vegetarian. Fish have a face and a mother. Don’t eat eggs and call yourself a vegetarian. Half of the chickens born to become egg layers are male and must be killed to prevent being overrun by cock rosters. Don’t support killing half of the chickens to support your egg diet and call yourself a vegetarian. Don’t consume milk, cream and cheese while you call yourself a vegetarian. Cows must produce a calf each year to keep giving milk, otherwise they dry up. Half of those calves are male and must be killed to prevent being overrun by bulls. Drinking milk and eating cheese results in half of the animals being killed. Don’t be a liar and a hypocrite by telling others not to eat meat while you eat fish, cheese and eggs.


True Vegetarianism Exposed


    Vegetarianism is a religion which is falsely disguised as a health way of eating. The leaders of the vegetarianism religion worship animals. These people place animals on the same value level as human beings and sometimes above that of the human race. The result of their spreading myths, distortions and lies about healthy eating has lead to a dramatic surge in obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer that is not found in low-carbohydrate, high-fat, meat-eating societies. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet of the last 40 years has cause the early deaths of millions of people and untold suffering, both of which continues unabated to this day.




Dealing with disagreements: A Study of Romans 14


Paul’s letter to the Romans is his most systematic presentation of the gospel. In it, he explains human sinfulness and the forgiveness that we have in Christ (chapters 1 to 8). After explaining that God is saving gentiles as well as Jews, he reassures his readers that God has not given up on the Jewish people (chapters 9 to 11).


He then moves into the practical results of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In chapters 12 to 13 he urges his readers to be living sacrifices, to love one another, to be patient in trials, to behave well.


In chapter 14, he gets more specific--he discusses a problem in the first-century Roman church. The situation was created in part because both Jews and gentiles were in the Roman church. They had different customs and religious ideas. Let’s see what he wrote, and consider how the principles might apply to situations today.

Disputable matters


“Accept him whose faith is weak,” Paul begins, “without passing judgment on disputable matters” (14:1).


Here, we learn several important things:


* Some Christians are weak in the faith. Some are superstitiously strict; others show weakness in sins of the flesh.


* Weak-faith Christians should be accepted--not ridiculed. People grow in faith through love and acceptance, not through condemnation.


* Christians who think they are strong are sometimes tempted to judge others, to look down on people who have different ideas and customs.


* Some matters are disputable. The beliefs and practices that some Christians think are important, other Christians do not. One side may be right, but Paul tells us to view the matter as debatable.


Paul then addressed the dispute he had in mind: “One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables” (14:2).


Paul does not tell us why some people avoided meat. Perhaps they were influenced by ascetic false religions, but it seems more likely that the concerns came from Judaism. The terms “unclean” and “clean” (14:14, 20) were important in Judaism. Some Jews avoided meat because they could not be sure that the animals had been properly killed and bled. Maybe it had been offered to an idol, or touched by a pagan.


Some Jewish Christians may not have been as “careful,” and some gentiles may have been as cautious as the strictest Jews. Paul is addressing attitudes, not ethnic groups. He was writing to a church that had both Jews and gentiles. He knew that his terms would apply to Jewish concerns just as well as to ascetic ideas.

Accepting sin?


Let’s see how Paul dealt with this situation: “The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him” (14:3). The strong-faith Christian should not belittle the weak Christian, and the weak one should not condemn.


What shocking advice! Imagine that you are a vegetarian in the Roman church, and you believe it is a sin to eat meat. Paul is not only calling you “weak,” he is also telling you not to condemn people who you think are sinning!


Why? Because God has accepted them. God accepts people on the basis of faith, not on works, nor on a perfect understanding of what sin is. The gospel of justification by faith alone tells us that we must accept believers who have different opinions about disputable matters, because the gospel tells us that God accepts sinners on the basis of faith.


Paul did not mean that we should accept idolaters, fornicators, thieves and drunkards (1 Cor. 5:11). The New Testament clearly tells us to avoid certain sins. But it doesn’t address every situation and every behavior, and because of that, there will be differences of opinion within Christianity. In this chapter, Paul gives several examples of disputable matters: meat, days, unclean foods and wine (Rom. 14:5-6, 20-21).


For example, if we are convinced that we should not drink wine, we should avoid wine. But we should not call all wine-drinkers sinners, nor should we separate from them. Wine is one of the disputable matters, and so are days and foods. These are matters for mutual tolerance, not division and hard feelings.


Paul asks: “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls” (14:4). The Lord has called us to serve, not to judge. If he has been so gracious as to include us, we must allow him to be gracious enough to include them, too. He will make the decisions and take care of his own servants.

Be fully convinced


Paul then addresses another disputable matter that affected the Roman churches: “One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind” (14:5).


In a church composed of Jews and gentiles, what kind of days might be considered better than others? Jews and gentiles may have had different opinions on this--but Paul describes it in such as way as to cover both situations. He knew that his words applied to Sabbath days just as much as they would to superstitions about the Ides of March.


Whatever a person does, though, should be done from conviction, not from fear of what others might think. Others should not condemn, but even if they do condemn, we should not allow their attitudes to boss us around (Col. 2:16). We cannot let their sensitivities create permanent obligations for what we do.


What an astonishing thing Paul is asking! He is asking fully convinced Sabbath-keepers to be tolerant of people who ignore the Sabbath. He is asking people who are fully convinced that the Sabbath is obsolete, to be tolerant of Sabbath-keepers. One view is wrong, but the people should treat this as a disputable matter calling for tolerance, not for separation.


“He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God” (14:6). Sabbath-keepers are responding to God as best they know how. So are the Sabbath-ignorers. Meat-eaters and vegetarians are both trying to do God’s will. The specifics are simply not as important as the attitude behind them. When we are trying to please God, we must be gracious toward one another.


Judged by Christ


Why must we be convinced in our own minds? Because we will all be called to account for how we have lived: “For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.... Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord” (14:7-8).


Our lives are bought at a price; we belong to Jesus Christ, and it is for him that we live. As stewards of our bodies and stewards of our time, we bring all of life into submission to him. We need to think about what we are doing, and live to the Lord as best as we understand.


We are to be like Christ in grace and patience; we are not to usurp his role as master and judge. We are not to look down on believers who have different opinions on debatable issues (14:10). If we condemn them, we are sinning. “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another” (14:13).


Avoid offense


How do we deal with our differences? “Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” Instead of focusing on our rightness, we are considerate of others’ needs. If we are strong, we are willing to set aside our preferences so we can help someone else (15:1).


Paul was “fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself” (14:14). He no doubt knew how a Jewish person would understand this, and they might be offended. But he had to make the truth plain. His clear statement here helps qualify what he said in later verses.


“If anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.” Christians shouldn’t violate their own consciences. If people think it wrong to drink wine, they should not drink wine. They may have studied the question thoroughly, and yet persist in the “wrong” conclusion. Nevertheless, for these disputable matters, we must all exercise patience with one another.


“If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love.... Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil” (14:15-16). Paul wrote this even though some people were distressed because of what Paul himself considered clean. What he considered good, others said was evil--and he could not prevent that, no matter how hard he tried.


A Christian must balance two needs: 1) Do not let someone else’s conscience dictate what you do and 2) Do not let your behavior offend them. We live for the Lord alone, but we do not live alone. The Lord calls us to live with others, and to be considerate of their needs, without letting their needs dictate what we do.


We cannot become so afraid of offending others that we comply with every sensitivity everyone has. Just because one person in our church thinks it is a sin to drink wine, does not mean that everyone else has to abstain. Like Paul did, we can freely say that we are convinced that wine is permitted. There is a time to be quiet (to seek peace), and a time to speak (to edify) (14:19).


“Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food,” Paul writes. “It is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.... So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God” (14:20-22).


But we must note that Paul did not “keep it between himself and God”--he made his own position clear: “All food is clean” (14:20). It is OK to state your conviction, but not in a deliberate attempt to offend. We are to be considerate, but we do not have to be secret.


Paul is clearly on the side of liberty, but he also sounds a warning: “Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves” (14:22). Even lawful things can be used in an inappropriate way.


Paul then warns the weak to not be pushed around by the strong: “The man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (14:23).


It all comes back to faith. We are saved by faith, not by observing or not observing days and foods.


Michael Morrison


Copyright © Worldwide Church of God, 1999