Does it Matter What You Eat & Why I Am Vegan

Saturday, July 16, 2016

          Does it really matter what you eat? This is a frequently raised question among today's Christians. People are wondering if God actually cares what we eat, or if He just doesn't want us to worry about it at all.
     There are so many diets out there today. Gluten-free, paleo, sugar free, carb free, starch free, dairy free, vegetarian, vegan. It can be rather overwhelming when you see all these, and you can quickly fall into the trap of worrying so much about what you eat that it becomes an idol to you. Some people are constantly worrying if they ate something wrong, and if they're going to die because of it. Other people can't skip a green smoothie, for fear they're going to undo everything they've tried to fix. But is simply caring about what you're eating, and eating healthy wrong?
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1st Corinthians 10:31
      In 1st Corinthians, Paul talks several times about glorifying God with your body. From the verse above, we must assume that there is a way to eat and drink without glorifying God. Some of these ways are gluttony, drinking, and eating unhealthy foods.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” 1st Corinthians 6:20
    This verse again extorts us to glorify God with your bodies. If our bodies are the temple of God, shouldn't we keep them healthy, and our mind as clear as we can?
    There are other verses in the Bible where we are told to keep healthy, but I'm not going to put every one in here today because I have a lot to talk about.
    Another thing that many Christians discuss today is meat eating. I don't eat meat, and many people would call that extreme or legalistic. In the Old testament God said that we should eat meat, and in the new testament God told the disciples that we can eat all unclean meats right? I do agree that God allowed us to eat some meats, but that was never His ideal plan.

 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” Genesis 1:29

     If we go back to the beginning, we find that God originally created plants to be our food. That was to be the food for every living thing, including us, and animals. It makes sense. After all why would God create living creatures that could speak to each other, and care for their young, just for them to be killed?
    After the fall, death entered the world, through the curse. That was when animals began to eat each other. People however, were still eating plants.
  “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” Genesis 9:3
          After the flood, God told Noah and his family that they could now eat meat. This was necessary because there was no food to eat. All the plants had drown in the flood, and the food they had brought with them would have almost run out. It still wasn't God's ideal plan for man.
     However, even though man was permitted to eat meat, there were still some rules. In Leviticus 11, God set out some rules about what was clean, and what was not clean.
Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof...” Leviticus 17:14
       God also made rules, saying that we should not eat blood, or strangled animals. All these rules were very particular, and made for a reason. God wanted us to be healthy, and He knew the health problems that eating blood, and unclean animals could cause.

       In the New Testament however, we start reading verses that many take to mean these rules were not longer in place. One of the most common is Peter's vision.
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Acts 10:13-15
    In the vision, as sheet ascended from heaven, filled with all sorts of unclean animals. God told Peter to eat them, Peter refused, and God told him that he should not call was was cleansed common. This happened three times, before the vision was over.
     Now this has been commonly taken to mean that all foods are now allowed to be eaten. But is that really what it meant? If you take a look at the vision in context, we find the Peter was having problems allowing the gentiles to be baptized. After the vision, we see that three gentiles came to Peter. Remember that in the vision the sheet came down three times?
“And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28
     In verse 28, Peter explains his vision, and says that God had shown him that he should not call any man unclean. If you continue reading, you will not find anywhere Peter telling others that they could eat unclean foods. The visions was a simple metaphor, to show that the gentiles could be baptized and accepted. Jesus used many metaphors in His parables, for example He likened the kingdom of Heaven to a mustard seed, but we wouldn't never wonder if He meant it was really a mustard seed.

      ...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:” 1 Timothy 4:3-4

   In Timothy we find some verses about doctrines of devils, and among the lists of teachings is this one. At first glance it seems to be very much about vegetarianism. But notice it says meats which God hath created to be received. Did God create animals to be eaten? No, He created plants to be eaten. Another thing to note, is that in Middle English, (what was being used when the KJV was translated) the word creature simply meant something created. It didn't necessarily mean an animal.
    If this meant anything created, poisonous plants, mice, bats, anything should be good to eat and not refused. This just meant what God created to be eaten in the garden of eden.
 “But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.... Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” 1 Corinthians 8: 8 & 13
           Many people take 1 Corinthians 8 to be showing that if you eat meat, or you don't, it doesn't matter. But if you read the entire chapter it is very obvious that Paul is talking about eating foods offered to idols.
“For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.” Romans 14:2-3
   In Romans again it talks about eating herbs, and eating all things. If you read down to verse 21 you will see that it mentions eating meat, and drinking wine which were both offered to idols, then sold in the markets. Paul also wrote this from Corinth, not very long after he wrote 1 Corinthians, and the topic of foods offered to idols was a big discussion. This chapter again, is talking about eating things offered to idols, not unclean or clean meats.
      “And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?” Mark 7:18-19
      I'm jumping back now, to the words of Jesus. These verses are a commonly used to condone the eating of unclean meats. But again if you read it in context, you will see that Jesus is talking about hand washing, eating unclean meats is not mentioned in the entire chapter. He is also referring to your soul, not your health, because in the verses before and after He talks about sins that affect your soul.
    If He were talking about foods, wouldn't that make Him wrong, as it has been proven that what you eat affects your health? Could you eat poisonous foods and have them not affect you?

   Now if you follow the rules set out in the Bible, eating no unclean meat, or blood or strangled things is it still a good thing to eat meat?

   Recently a study has come out from the World Health Association proving that eating meat, especially unclean meat, causes cancer. If you do a little bit of research you can find tons of studies showing that there is a high correlation between meat eating and cancer. Even the Canadian Cancer Society has an article on their page, talking about the fact that meat eating causes cancer.
   There are also lots of studies showing that meat eating also is a high cause of heart disease. Studies have also shown that consuming dairy raises the risk of cancer.
    Besides all the health risks, the way that animals are treated in slaughterhouses and feedlots is pretty terrible. God told us to have dominion over the animals, but also to look after them. He created them, and if He cares for the sparrows, I can assure you He cares for the cows and sheep. Would you treat your dog or cat the way many farmers treat their cows? These animals can also be very intelligent. We aren't to worship animals, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be kind to them.

     Let's go back to the first verse that I shared in this article.
  “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1st Corinthians 10:31
   If we're eating unhealthy foods that cause cancer and heart disease, is this eating in a way that glorifies God? This is the reason that I'm a vegan. I want to glorify God with my body. My body is the temple of God, and I want to be healthy for Him. Meat and dairy have a bad effect on your health, eating a lot of sugar is bad for you, not drinking enough water is bad for you. Let's honour God with our bodies, and present ourselves a living sacrifice unto Him. Not only will it be glorifying to Him, but it will also make you a lot happier!

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