The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament):
There are "kosher laws," just as there are laws governing war-making and slavery.The kosher laws are so strict in order to discourage the consumption of animals. A God who is loving, compassionate, and merciful does not condone human beings killing or enslaving one another, and also does not condone animal exploitation. The kosher, slave, and war-making laws are intended to make war, slavery, and meat-eating less violent than the practices of the time. For example, the Scriptures tell us not to eat animals while they are still alive, which thus prohibits the practice, common at the time, of slicing off pieces of living animals (e.g., camels' humps) while keeping the animal alive and in excruciating pain.
The Hebrew Scriptures have been used over the years to justify many cruel and violent practices (such as spousal and child abuse, slavery, and war). It is unfortunate that they continue to be used to justify animal exploitation. To learn more about the Hebrew Scriptures and vegetarianism, please read Richard Schwartz's essays on Judaism and vegetarianism.
The Christian Scriptures (New Testament):
In the four Gospels which are included in our Canon, Jesus is not seen condemning slavery, subjugation of women and children, or many other injustices. And thus, these and other injustices have been justified by Christians over the years. But Jesus' central message, of mercy and compassion, cannot be reconciled with violence toward people or animals."
And make no mistake about it, the way animals are treated today is completely merciless. Animals on factory farms are treated like machines. Within days of birth, for example, chickens have their beaks seared off with a hot blade. Male cows and pigs are castrated without painkillers. All of these animals spend their brief lives in crowded and ammonia-filled conditions, many of them so cramped that they can't even turn around or spread a wing. Many do not get a breath of fresh air until they are prodded and crammed onto trucks for a nightmarish ride to the slaughterhouse, often through weather extremes and always without food or water. The animals are hung upside down and their throats are sliced open, often while they're fully conscious. For more information, visit PETA's vegetarian Web site: www.meatstinks.com, or their anti-dairy site: www.milksucks.com.
The Nazarenes of Mount Carmel
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