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#1 Old 07-31-2016, 07:04 PM
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Veganism and religion

I'm just wondering if religion or lack thereof has an influence on your veg lifestyle.
As an atheist I don't believe that the planet and animals are here for us to use however we want. Strict buddhism is meant to be vegan. Seventh day adventists are vegetarian, hindus have some vegetarians as does Sikhism.
Islam seems to be against avoiding meat, but it's not across the board. I'm definitely concerned about halal meat being not stunned prior to slaughter.
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#2 Old 07-31-2016, 07:33 PM
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You might like this 1998 book on vegetarianism and world religions: https://www.amazon.com/Rynn-Berry-Fo...ods+rynn+berry . If your local library doesn't have this book, they can get it through an interlibrary loan.



It's a really enjoyable read. The book is a series of in-depth interviews with vegetarian advocates from several different world religions.

The author, Rynn Berry, was the historical advisor to the North American Vegetarian Society. A very interesting and committed guy:


Unfortunately, Mr. Berry died prematurely in 2014, the result of jogging on an extremely cold morning (wintertime runners with asthma are at a high risk of cardiac arrest): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rynn_Berry
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#3 Old 07-31-2016, 09:36 PM
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I'm just wondering if religion or lack thereof has an influence on your veg lifestyle.
As an atheist I don't believe that the planet and animals are here for us to use however we want. Strict buddhism is meant to be vegan. Seventh day adventists are vegetarian, hindus have some vegetarians as does Sikhism.
Islam seems to be against avoiding meat, but it's not across the board. I'm definitely concerned about halal meat being not stunned prior to slaughter.
I'm a practicing pagan leaning towards shamanism (I'm native American and lean toward my tribe's old beliefs) and the edict of "harm none" I take to include animals.
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#4 Old 08-01-2016, 03:06 AM
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Most of my life I have gone back and forth between agnostic and atheist, but for the most part I am an atheist. I really tried to be a Christian for a long time because this is what the people around me so strongly believe in, and it is generally expected in my culture. I really tried, but I had far too many doubts and objections. I prayed, read the bible, meditated on it, but I had too many doubts. I then played along for the sake of peace in my family, but when I went vegan that became much harder to do. I saw so much hypocrisy and violence in the church, and sexism, and oppression. I finally broke with the church altogether last January. I am relieved to be away from it, but there is still a lot of unrest in me, a lot to work through.
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#5 Old 08-01-2016, 10:14 AM
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Oahspe, a modern 'Kosmon' bible, commands of its followers, "...thy change from a carnivorous man of contention, to an herbivorous man of peace. The four heads of the Beast shall be put away; and war shall be no more on the earth." I've long thought there is a direct correlation between violent behavior toward each other and the killing of animals, to whom we are closely related.
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#6 Old 08-01-2016, 06:41 PM
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Some 7th Day Adventists are vegan, some of their companies make vegan food by default. I'm a Christian and I can tell you that in Genesis, Adam and Eve were originally only given plants to eat before the Fall, veganism is spreading in Israel, some people call it the new Kosher, the book of Daniel includes spiritual veganism and some Christians do a Daniel fast (a very restrictive whole foods no caffeine sort of short term thing), in Isaiah the lion lies down with the lamb and the child plays with a cobra (this implies all violence has disappeared in Paradise), and in Romans while Paul says religion doesn't come from food, if anything he eats causes his brother to stumble, he will never eat meat again. There's a lot that suggests vegetarianism is God's ideal, and the idea that animals were put here to serve us is a Western interpretation, other interpretations, is that we are put here as stewards to care for God's creation. There's even a donkey that God allows to speak in the Bible, because his idiot master is beating him.

Catholics are asked to reduce their meat consumption during Lent, and in Ladauto Si, Pope Francis asked the faithful to do so for reasons of environment and global starvation.
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#7 Old 08-01-2016, 06:43 PM
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Oh yes and Hare Krishna followers and Jains are vegetarian.
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#8 Old 08-01-2016, 10:28 PM
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Henry Salt complained about the number of theologically motivated vegetarians in the late 1800s. Salt was an atheist.

For reasons I don't quite understand I often get blowback when I talk about the religious beliefs of early vegetarians. I'm not making a theological argument. Just acknowledging history.
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#9 Old 08-02-2016, 03:16 AM
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That book looks great! This thread is way cool.

I guess I'm...ecospiritual, pagan or agnostic or something. Which makes sense in terms of vegetarianism and veganism. Nothin' shocking or interesting to add to the conversation but have enjoyed reading it. hehe
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#10 Old 08-02-2016, 06:33 AM
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Great replies. I realise talking religion may stir up trouble. I don't really expect that here though as everyone is so compassionate and kind.
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#11 Old 08-02-2016, 12:20 PM
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Henry Salt complained about the number of theologically motivated vegetarians in the late 1800s. Salt was an atheist.

For reasons I don't quite understand I often get blowback when I talk about the religious beliefs of early vegetarians. I'm not making a theological argument. Just acknowledging history.

I think it was a mistake for Henry Salt to complain about theologically-motivated vegetarians; they have been among the strongest and most vocal supporters of vegetarianism.


Henry Salt should have spoken with Sergeant Pepper. Get it? Hee hee!


.
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http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

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#12 Old 08-02-2016, 01:28 PM
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I am Christian but I believe in "ahimsa" - which is one of many concepts that are shared between many religions, with peace and "do no harm" at their core. This is the concept that ultimately drew me to veganism. I believe that we were given the responsibility of being stewards of God's creations, and as a people, we are failing at this task abysmally. In addition to the devastation being perpetrated upon our planet, we are also exploiting animals far beyond what is necessary for pure survival. At the point we are at in Western society, there is no excuse to continue the torture and suffering of animals for no reason other than selfishness.

There are people who use the Bible as an excuse to continue eating meat, but the truth is that nowhere (that I'm aware of) in the Bible does it tell us to do so, and there are many records that seem to prove Jesus himself was a vegetarian, as were many of his followers and disciples. @Thalassa gave some good examples and mentioned Daniel - he's like a vegan hero LOL: he full-on stood up to the King and refused to "defile" himself with the royal food, demanding he and his followers be fed a vegetable diet, proving themselves to be even stronger and healthier than the others who were eating meat, and thus receiving blessings, wisdom and knowledge from God as a result ^_^
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#13 Old 08-02-2016, 01:45 PM
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Came across this fabulous sit catagorizing vegetarians throughout history, with cross refrences, quotes, snippets ---

http://www.ivu.org/history/museum.html
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#14 Old 08-02-2016, 05:05 PM
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I am Christian but I believe in "ahimsa" - which is one of many concepts that are shared between many religions, with peace and "do no harm" at their core. This is the concept that ultimately drew me to veganism. I believe that we were given the responsibility of being stewards of God's creations, and as a people, we are failing at this task abysmally. In addition to the devastation being perpetrated upon our planet, we are also exploiting animals far beyond what is necessary for pure survival. At the point we are at in Western society, there is no excuse to continue the torture and suffering of animals for no reason other than selfishness.

There are people who use the Bible as an excuse to continue eating meat, but the truth is that nowhere (that I'm aware of) in the Bible does it tell us to do so, and there are many records that seem to prove Jesus himself was a vegetarian, as were many of his followers and disciples. @Thalassa gave some good examples and mentioned Daniel - he's like a vegan hero LOL: he full-on stood up to the King and refused to "defile" himself with the royal food, demanding he and his followers be fed a vegetable diet, proving themselves to be even stronger and healthier than the others who were eating meat, and thus receiving blessings, wisdom and knowledge from God as a result ^_^
How do you explain Jesus casting evil spirits into pigs and causing those pigs to drown? I don't know the exact section of the bible this is in offhand (and I am supposed to be studying other things right now lol), but this is one of the passages that stands out to me as Jesus putting humans far above nonhuman animals in value and importance. Most Christians I know also do not believe animals have a soul. Maybe this weekend when I have more time I will dig up some passages that disturb me.

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#15 Old 08-02-2016, 10:01 PM
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I think it was a mistake for Henry Salt to complain about theologically-motivated vegetarians
To be fair to Salt, I only know of one reference to this frustration (and I've lost the reference!) He didn't argue from a theological or antitheological viewpoint. Religion doesn't come up at all in Animal's Rights in Relation to Social Progress or other writings he did that I remember. I get the impression that he found being a nontheist surrounded by theists to be a wee bit annoying.

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#16 Old 08-02-2016, 10:24 PM
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How do you explain Jesus casting evil spirits into pigs and causing those pigs to drown? I don't know the exact section of the bible this is in offhand (and I am supposed to be studying other things right now lol), but this is one of the passages that stands out to me as Jesus putting humans far above nonhuman animals in value and importance. Most Christians I know also do not believe animals have a soul
The Gadarene swine, a story found in the three Synoptic Gospels - Matthew 8:28-34, Mark 5:1-20, and Luke 8:26-39. Revised Standard Version texts of these passages at biblehub.

I'll address your other points tomorrow. I do my best thinking when I'm going to sleep and it's about that time ...
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#17 Old 08-03-2016, 06:58 AM
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...and there are many records that seem to prove Jesus himself was a vegetarian, as were many of his followers and disciples.
The Biblical story of the Gadarene swine, referred to by Naturebound, indicates otherwise. There's also the story of Jesus telling his disciples how to catch more fish, Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:1-14.

If these stories are the "gospel truth", then Jesus was hardly a vegetarian. If they are not the "gospel truth", then what are they doing in the Bible, which is supposed to be the "word of God"? Do we just go through the Bible highlighting some verses and omitting others to prove what we really want to believe?

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#18 Old 08-03-2016, 10:56 AM
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The Biblical story of the Gadarene swine, referred to by Naturebound, indicates otherwise. There's also the story of Jesus telling his disciples how to catch more fish, Luke 5:1-11 and John 21:1-14.

If these stories are the "gospel truth", then Jesus was hardly a vegetarian. If they are not the "gospel truth", then what are they doing in the Bible, which is supposed to be the "word of God"? Do we just go through the Bible highlighting some verses and omitting others to prove what we really want to believe?

I am definitely not here to argue the Bible verse by verse; this is a practice I do not engage in based on the fact that a) a singular passage can very easily be taken out of context without an intimate knowledge of theology and cultural references, and b) I am not even close to being knowledgeable enough in these areas to know how to argue context against this.

For the record, (while I did express an admiration of Daniel), I was not actually claiming Biblical reference as proof to Jesus being vegetarian: Jesus was raised as an Ebonite Jew, as was his brother James. They and many of his early followers and disciples were vegetarians as well, according to Jewish law at the time. However, the primary goal of him being here was to convey the teachings of God to humanity, and to preach peace and forgiveness, not to tell us specifically what to eat and what not to eat. I do not believe anyone is going to be condemned specifically for eating meat, but my personal opinion is that if Jesus were here today, he'd be vegan, and he'd probably hang out with people who weren't.

It is my humble opinion that whatever details one believes or does not, the primary takeaway from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus should be those of love, peace and mercy. Genuine love for each other and respect for our fellow citizens (both two-legged, and four) on earth should be our primary goals as humans, whether we are Christian or not, and in this day and age, the only way to accomplish that is by living a vegan lifestyle.
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#19 Old 08-03-2016, 10:57 AM
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Fun fact I discovered while Googling for the exact location of the Gadarean swine story: "Gadarean Swine" was the name of a vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Los Angeles. It's closed now, but was apparently popular at one time. The name, I'm sure, was chosen to be ironic.
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#20 Old 08-03-2016, 11:24 AM
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How do you explain Jesus casting evil spirits into pigs and causing those pigs to drown? I don't know the exact section of the bible this is in offhand (and I am supposed to be studying other things right now lol), but this is one of the passages that stands out to me as Jesus putting humans far above nonhuman animals in value and importance. Most Christians I know also do not believe animals have a soul. Maybe this weekend when I have more time I will dig up some passages that disturb me.
If this is in fact a literal event, I would argue this proves Jesus was not vegan but does not offer any commentary on his dietary choices. You are right in the sense that according to the Bible, man was created in God's image, and thus holds a higher place on the totem pole, so to speak, BUUUUUUT!!! too many people take that to believe we have the right to use animals however we please. With power comes great responsibility. As stewards, we are meant to govern and protect the earth and its citizens, not rape and murder them for our own pleasure. The message has gotten very very twisted indeed.

If it matters, I, personally, DO very much believe animals have a soul. I have looked deeply into many animals' eyes, particularly companion animals and rescue animals, and there is unquestionably a soul there. I have four rescues in my care and work with feral cats on a regular basis. These unwanted, discarded creatures of society absolutely have the ability to feel, to learn, and to care. In addition, I have and know of others who have received messages from beloved animals who have passed on. There is much we do not know or understand, but (for what it's worth) I firmly believe there are animals in the spiritual realm, therefore it stands to follow, they must have a soul <3
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#21 Old 08-03-2016, 11:52 AM
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For the record, (while I did express an admiration of Daniel), I was not actually claiming Biblical reference as proof to Jesus being vegetarian: Jesus was raised as an Ebonite Jew, as was his brother James. They and many of his early followers and disciples were vegetarians as well, according to Jewish law at the time.
Is there any firm evidence that Jesus and James were raised as Ebonite Jews and so 'must have been vegetarians'[my precis]? I'm finding nothing on the internet to support this.

I've mentioned before that I lived for a couple of years on an Israeli kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee, under the Golan Heights. When I moved there in 1969, the kibbutz had pig-pens, but the pigs had recently left. I always wondered if they'd been the decendants of the Gadarene swine (although the traditional site of the town of Gadara was around 5 miles further south.)
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#22 Old 08-03-2016, 12:07 PM
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Is there any firm evidence that Jesus and James were raised as Ebonite Jews and so 'must have been vegetarians'[my precis]? I'm finding nothing on the internet to support this.

I've mentioned before that I lived for a couple of years on an Israeli kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee, under the Golan Heights. When I moved there in 1969, the kibbutz had pig-pens, but the pigs had recently left. I always wondered if they'd been the decendants of the Gadarene swine (although the traditional site of the town of Gadara was around 5 miles further south.)
I have not studied theology, so I do not know of any "firm" evidence of ANYTHING in that time period, however I've read multiple historic accounts which seem to support this. Many articles and passages can be found on the internet, but as we all know, the fact something exists on the internet does not make it gospel truth - pun intended ^_^ I am 100% open to the idea that it may or may not be true, if someone has firm evidence otherwise.

I am humbled and fascinated by the fact that you lived on a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee - what an experience that must have been!! I can imagine you have some very unique insights into that time, place and culture as a result ^_^
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#23 Old 08-03-2016, 12:14 PM
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I have not studied theology, so I do not know of any "firm" evidence of ANYTHING in that time period, however I've read multiple historic accounts which seem to support this. Many articles and passages can be found on the internet, but as we all know, the fact something exists on the internet does not make it gospel truth - pun intended ^_^ I am 100% open to the idea that it may or may not be true, if someone has firm evidence otherwise.

I am humbled and fascinated by the fact that you lived on a kibbutz on the Sea of Galilee - what an experience that must have been!! I can imagine you have some very unique insights into that time, place and culture as a result ^_^



Considering that relatively few people were close witnesses to the life of Jesus, and considering as well that these witnesses were emotionally loyal to him (except for one, of course), it would be very difficult to objectively cross-check the statements made in the Bible.


Even with more modern historical events, it can be difficult to get objective and firm verification.




.
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While the OP did not (I'm sure) intend for this to be a theological debate, and at the risk of going slightly off-topic, this is a very good page I found that has helped me understand some of the apparent inconsistencies in the Bible, particularly relating to vegetarianism. It articulates (in a much better way than I have) some of the points I was attempting to make. While I stand behind my intentions and original message, I apologize for any confusion or offence I have caused due to my lack of theological knowledge.

http://www.thenazareneway.com/biblic...enis_giron.htm

I also wish to reiterate that no matter what religion or language we practice or speak, I truly believe we are all here because we are moved by the concept of ahimsa in one form or another, and I wish to extend that compassion and love to everyone here <3
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#25 Old 08-03-2016, 09:27 PM
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While the OP did not (I'm sure) intend for this to be a theological debate
Not really, but debating is good, as long as there is respect involved. Challenging yes, but it can be eye opening for some.
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#26 Old 08-05-2016, 03:36 AM
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Not really, but debating is good, as long as there is respect involved. Challenging yes, but it can be eye opening for some.
I respect the right of others to have different views to mine but I don't necessarily respect the views. Religious views are no different to any other kinds of views and can and should be challenged. I have a belief that it's right for me to show compassion towards other animals but it is purely a belief and there's no proof I can supply to show why it should be so. If the various gods of the various religions are ok with condoning and even promoting cruelty/suffering towards other animals, then those gods and those religions are not for me.
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#27 Old 08-05-2016, 06:29 AM
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If the various gods of the various religions are ok with condoning and even promoting cruelty/suffering towards other animals, then those gods and those religions are not for me.
Agreed.
__

As a kid, I always wondered why God let bad stuff happen. I was told various things from various people, such as God is testing us, or God thought those people were doing bad things, or God only puts people in situations where he knows they have the strength to handle it. I believed it.

As I got older, these responses started to seem more like excuses than explanations. I had more questions. Why does God give cancer to some people but not others? Why does God give cancer to those that don't have the strength to handle it? Why does God allow bad people to live longer than good people? Why does God punish certain people and not others? Why does God allow people to harm certain animals and not others? My belief started to wane.

As I aged more, I questioned why there were so many religions, and why so many had failed in the past. Which one is right? Which one is wrong? Which god is god? Am I to believe in the religion or god of my parents simply because they believe in that particular god? Why is god portrayed as male? Why is god portrayed as human? I became skeptical.

At my current age, I see that people use god as the unknown that science cannot yet explain, a "god of the gaps". Or, they use god as an excuse to bring unjust and immoral actions upon others for their own personal or political gain. I no longer believe.
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#28 Old 08-05-2016, 10:35 AM
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I respect the right of others to have different views to mine but I don't necessarily respect the views. Religious views are no different to any other kinds of views and can and should be challenged. I have a belief that it's right for me to show compassion towards other animals but it is purely a belief and there's no proof I can supply to show why it should be so. If the various gods of the various religions are ok with condoning and even promoting cruelty/suffering towards other animals, then those gods and those religions are not for me.
I agree. Faith or belief of any kind is intangible, sometimes inexplicable. People go to war over religion, and there are aspects and individuals in every religion that can be called into question or brought up as examples, both good and bad. Humans can argue all day about who is right and who is wrong but at the end of the day, we are all imperfect, and there is no single person on earth that can know for sure what the truth really is.

When in doubt, I follow my heart, and err on the side of peace and love. Even if I'm wrong, at least I can be content knowing I am not causing the suffering of another being. When someone asks me what the meaning of life is, I tell them I believe it's so we can learn how to love completely. If we can do that, we have gained a valuable treasure, and left the world a better place than how we found it ^_^
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#29 Old 08-05-2016, 10:58 AM
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Agreed.
__

As a kid, I always wondered why God let bad stuff happen. I was told various things from various people, such as God is testing us, or God thought those people were doing bad things, or God only puts people in situations where he knows they have the strength to handle it. I believed it.

As I got older, these responses started to seem more like excuses than explanations. I had more questions. Why does God give cancer to some people but not others? Why does God give cancer to those that don't have the strength to handle it? Why does God allow bad people to live longer than good people? Why does God punish certain people and not others? Why does God allow people to harm certain animals and not others? My belief started to wane.

As I aged more, I questioned why there were so many religions, and why so many had failed in the past. Which one is right? Which one is wrong? Which god is god? Am I to believe in the religion or god of my parents simply because they believe in that particular god? Why is god portrayed as male? Why is god portrayed as human? I became skeptical.

At my current age, I see that people use god as the unknown that science cannot yet explain, a "god of the gaps". Or, they use god as an excuse to bring unjust and immoral actions upon others for their own personal or political gain. I no longer believe.
I, too, have heard these somewhat canned and empty responses to the very difficult and profound questions we all have. I know what I say will likely have no bearing on your beliefs; I do not wish to downplay your experiences by arguing. I merely wish to offer another viewpoint on which you may choose (or not) to ponder. Please take it or leave it as you will

It is my belief that we were created with free will. This means that God, while he theoretically could interfere/intervene with our lives, chooses not to, so that we may live according to how we choose, and so that we can follow our own path to learning uninhibited. This means we are not controlled, governed or regulated by God, but it also means we must bear the earthly consequences of our actions... not only as individuals but as a people. I don't pretend to know why things like cancer and disease exist, but I suspect it has to do with the effects of development and technology, and the overpopulation of the earth on the environment.

I believe we are here to learn, and to learn how to love fully and unconditionally. I think we all make mistakes, and stumble along this path while we struggle for answers. Sometimes we hurt others - most of us unintentionally; some of us on purpose. I believe part of our learning is to help others who are hurting, to show them some comfort and compassion when they need it most.

I do not believe God punishes us on earth. I do believe, however, that at the end of the day, we will each have to answer for how we lived our lives, the decisions we made and the consequences of our actions. I have no proof for this, it just makes sense to me. I guess in a way, it's akin to karma. I don't believe evil goes unpunished. I can't believe that those who torture innocent animals or humans without conscience will simply carry on forever unaccountable. Neither do I believe that innocent animals or humans who have suffered great loss will not know equivalent comfort and joy.

Again, I only offer these personal viewpoints as a potential balance to some of the others you've heard. For what it's worth, I left the church many years ago, and while I believe it was intended to be a place of fellowship and comfort, it all too often ends up being a place of bigotry and holier-than-thou attitudes. I choose to keep the faith on a personal level. I do not have any tangible proof, other than a very difficult and sometimes traumatic 39 years of life experience <3
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#30 Old 08-05-2016, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TailFin View Post
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As a kid, I always wondered why God let bad stuff happen. I was told various things from various people, such as God is testing us, or God thought those people were doing bad things, or God only puts people in situations where he knows they have the strength to handle it. I believed it.

As I got older, these responses started to seem more like excuses than explanations. I had more questions. Why does God give cancer to some people but not others? Why does God give cancer to those that don't have the strength to handle it? Why does God allow bad people to live longer than good people? Why does God punish certain people and not others? Why does God allow people to harm certain animals and not others? My belief started to wane.

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In philosophy of religion, this topic actually has its own name: "The Problem of Evil". It refers to the (ancient) question of how to reconcile the existence of evil with an omnibenevolent, omniscient, and omnipotent God.

Lengthy Wikipedia article on this topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_evil

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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 08-05-2016 at 12:27 PM.
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