Is God a Vegetarian? is one of the most complete explorations of vegetarianism in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Young, a linguistics and New Testament scholar, attempts to answer the question being asked with greater and greater frequency: "Are Christians morally obligated to be vegetarians?"
Many people are confused about the apparent mixed messages within the Bible. On the one hand, God prescribes a vegetarian diet in the Garden of Eden and the apocalyptic visions of Isaiah and John imply the restoration of a vegetarian diet. However, it is also clear that God permits, Jesus partakes in, and Paul sanctions the eating of flesh. Does the Bible give any clear guidance?
Close readings of key biblical texts pertaining to dietary customs, vegetarianism, and animal rights make up the substance of the book. Rather than ignoring or offering a literal, twentieth-century interpretation of the passages, the author analyzes the voices of these conflicting dietary motifs within their own social contexts. Interwoven throughout these readings are discussions of contemporary issues, such as animal testing and experimentation, the fur industry, raising animals in factories, and the effects of meat-eating on human health.
Thirteen chapters cover such topics as
-- the vegetarian diet in the Garden of Eden
-- the clothing of the first humans in animal skins
-- God's permitting humans to eat meat
-- animal sacrifice
-- the dietary habits of Jesus and the early apostles
-- Paul's condemnation of vegetarianism as heresy
-- the dietary views of the early church fathers
-- the peaceable kingdom.
The author provides two vegetarian recipes at the end of each chapter. An epilogueincludes guidelines for becoming a vegetarian and a recommended reading list.
Insightful and challenging, Is God a Vegetarian? poses provocative questions for vegetarians, Christians, and anyone reflecting upon her personal choices and ethical role in our world today.