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Someone sent this to me in a fit of humor and I thought it was worth sharing since it gave me a good laugh as well.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Animal Rights: Although the Animal Rights movement (along with ethical vegetarianism, Veganism, PETA, etc.) is a large and rapidly growing socio-cultural-religious group, its proponents do not generally call it their "religion." Reliable statistics for the number of adherents for whom Animal Rights constitutes primary cultural/religious/philosophical identity, versus those who simply support certain positions of the movement, are unavailable. AR is a religion, but for the majority of Animal Rights supporters, AR functions as a movement and/or lifestyle choice, not their primary religion. (This is similar to the current broad support for the "Free Tibet" movement, most of which comes from non-Buddhists.)</div>
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This information is found at the bottom of <a href="http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html" target="_blank">this web page</a>.
 

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Basically everything that inspires strong emotions, from feminism to rock music, has been declared a cult or dangerous religion at some point.<br><br><br><br>
Such arguments are usually latched onto as a last resort by opponents grasping at straws to make a point.
 

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I suppose it depends on your definition of religion. Most people wouldn't call animal rights their religion, due to the lack of a spiritual side to it, but for many veg*ns who are atheist or not very religious, AR is their primary belief system. It may be opponents that see AR as dangerous who are the ones to label it a cult, as Peace stated. But let me give an example of why it's sometimes useful to describe it as a belief system.<br><br><br><br>
Long before I became vegetarian, I had a vegan friend where I work. Everyone knew he was vegan, and people (including myself) joked around with him about it, but they were mostly friendly about it. There was one woman who would eat lunch in the company break room, and whenever the vegan was there, she'd always make comments along the lines of "This dead cow burger is delicious. You sure you don't want some?" Now, to us veg*ns, that seems pretty rude and offensive, but she honestly thought she was just joking around harmlessly and trying to be friendly.<br><br><br><br>
Being a nonconfrontational person, the vegan actually stopped using that break room and started going to a different kitchen to prepare his lunches, just to avoid this woman. A few weeks later, she was in our area of the office one day, and she made a friendly comment to him about not seeing him at lunch very often any more. He said that he was intentionally avoiding going to that kitchen. When she asked why, he explained that her remarks were offensive to him.<br><br><br><br>
Knowing she's a very religious Christian, he put it in terms along the lines of "I wouldn't insult your Christian beliefs, even though I disagree with them. Caring about animals is my deepest belief, almost like my religion, and I find it offensive when people insult me for it." That put it in terms she understood, unlike before when she probably just thought his being vegan was some sort of diet fad. She was very apologetic about her past behavior at that point, and she never joked about animals or meat again.<br><br><br><br>
Food for thought.<br><br><br><br>
--Fromper<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/juggle.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":juggle:">
 

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In our local newspapers (right-wing ones), they have started calling not only AR supporters, but even the cute little harmless WELFARISTS, "the Taliban of the animals".<br><br><br><br>
They also call the environmentalists (even the sweet little ones - not the radical ones) the "Taliban".<br><br><br><br>
It would be funny if it weren't so stupid.
 

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Calling political positions you disagree with "religions" is pretty childish.
 

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People who study religion academically have yet to agree on a satisfactory definition of it. Nevertheless, it is broadly accepted that religion need not include belief in deity or other such metaphysical particulars. Some features that are usually associated with religions include beliefs, practices, a community of adherents, and having both explanatory and normative content that addresses the large issues of life.<br><br><br><br>
Political/philosophical ideologies can sometimes take on many of the functions of religion for some people. I think AR falls short of being a religion, even for its most devoted adherents, simply because its scope is not broad enough. It doesn't have anything particular to say about the purpose of life, the meaning and nature of death, the conduct of our interpersonal relationships, or where the universe comes from and where it is going.<br><br><br><br>
(Note: If you uses this line of thinking, it is clear that sometimes the organized religion a person confesses to adhere to does not, in fact, function fully as a religion for them - one may go to church a few times a year, but with little affect on one's behavior or general outlook.)<br><br><br><br>
Having said that, there may be some value in reflecting on the parallels (Is there a dogma? Is there an insider/outsider boundary? Are there behavioral norms that cannot be violated? Do adherents define themselves in terms of the ideology, and regard it as central to their life?)<br><br><br><br>
AR, like a religion, does provide a central motivating ideology for some of its adherents. Religions, however, are usually much more encompassing in their role.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I agree with a lot of what was said. We all do share a central ideology. A Christian can't have sex before marriage [or shouldn't] and a vegan doesn't eat animals or any animal by-products [or wear them, or use them in their household items, etc].<br><br><br><br>
We do all have a central ideology that animals are deserving of more respect than we normally give them but as Seusomon said, I still think we fall short of actually being a "religion" or even a "cult".<br><br><br><br>
Many people do think animal rights is ridiculous. I don't really get why. When I first started getting really active I recall an e-mail I got from someone who told me to fight for something "worthwhile", like starvng children in third-world countries [I believe that was his example if I remember it properly]. I had to laugh at this because in being vegan I am taking away my support of beef cows getting fed all the grain that we could be giving to third-world children and families, but we waste it on factory farming and our enormous overstocks of cows and pigs and turkeys so that we can have one juicy steak at the Outback.<br><br><br><br>
I think I've veered here ... it's still an absurd label to call the Animal Rights movement a religion, even with the central idea. That's kind of like saying Martin Luther King, Jr. started a religion or cult with his central belief that all man is created equal no matter what the color of their skin is. So I wonder ... why MLK Jr. is not a religion as well. Hm ...
 

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I don't think it's a religion. I think that it's a set of moral beliefs which might be of a similar nature to the type of moral beliefs that are involved in a religion.
 
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