Veganism as a religion

Do you believe in a God or divine spirit?

  • I am not vegan and believe in God.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I am not vegan and do not believe in God.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

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Goth Pop

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I'm really tired of people telling me my beliefs are a lifestyle or a diet.

  • I believe in God- a God that did not eat animal products.
  • I also believe that God did not create animals for us to use/abuse/kill.
  • I believe our purpose is to learn to be the best caretakers of the animals and the planet.
By holding those beliefs, that constitutes my veganism as religious, does it not?
 

Jamie in Chile

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I think that's up to you about your beliefts.

However veganism is general (as considered by most other people, not you) is a lifestyle or is just ethics, or maybe a diet, but not usually a religion. So, I suggest you need to learn to tolerate others saying your beliefs are a lifestyle or a diet and not get mad about it. Because it's not going to go away because you are in the minority. I would try and get close friends and family to respect your way of looking at it, but my point is in casual social situations you are still going to encounter people that don't understand the way you see it and you'll just have to get used to it.
 
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Sally

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I'm a vegan because I think it is wrong to exploit anyone, animal or human. I don't think it matters what anybody believes as long as they do not harm others. Some people have very strong beliefs in a religion that promotes kindness, but are unkind to people who do not follow said religion, even though those people might be kinder than the religious person who is attacking them. If you get my meaning. It's not what cult one follows, it's how one lives their life. "May you know him by his deeds." rings a bell somewhere.
 
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Mark Mywordz

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I believe in God when the flight gets turbulent and I know I will believe in God when I'm on my death bed. The idea of God can be helpful in some situations but I really don't know what "God" is or whether s/he/it exists. I really have absolutely no reason to believe and I would need a pretty good reason.
Life has no purpose but we can invent our own purpose. Most people do.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Animals eat animals. Are we animals? What was God thinking?

I don't have a problem with other people eating animals. I have a bigger problem with the mass production of animals for food. If it were just a matter of the sheer number of animals on the planet, industrial farming has been responsible for the dramatic increase of several varieties of livestock. If everyone stopped eating animals, the numbers of livestock would collapse to nearly none. So if you think about it, a farm animal's short lifespan and grizzly demise vs. a complete decimation of their ranks isn't really all that different in the end. The way back to a natural existence for these animals is both unclear and unlikely in my opinion.
 

Sally

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Animals eat animals. Are we animals? What was God thinking?

I don't have a problem with other people eating animals. I have a bigger problem with the mass production of animals for food. If it were just a matter of the sheer number of animals on the planet, industrial farming has been responsible for the dramatic increase of several varieties of livestock. If everyone stopped eating animals, the numbers of livestock would collapse to nearly none. So if you think about it, a farm animal's short lifespan and grizzly demise vs. a complete decimation of their ranks isn't really all that different in the end. The way back to a natural existence for these animals is both unclear and unlikely in my opinion.
Not all animals eat animals, most of the ones humans eat only eat vegetables, so why do we need to have the middleman, why not go straight to the vegetables ourselves. Also it is not about conservation of a bred food source, but about the breeding of creatures to endure a terrible life before we eat them. They have no 'natural existence' only an unnatural one that has been devised by humans.

I have a great problem with other people eating animals, I cannot believe I did it for so long. I am much healthier and slimmer with more energy since becoming vegan and I tell everyone the reason is not eating animal products, I think it is getting through, as animal suffering is usually quite low on peoples lists of what they care about, it is mostly about their own benefit. Personally I see no demarcation between animals and humans, we are all souls and "made of stars" to quote Moby, so if you eat an animal it is the same as eating a friend or family member,

I don't see that being a vegan has to be a religion, it isn't a belief, it is a reaction to facts. I don't believe that animals are treated appallingly on farms and in laboratories, I know it, and my response is to not be complicit in their suffering. That is not a belief, or anywhere near to being a religion. It is just the right thing to do.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Not all animals eat animals, most of the ones humans eat only eat vegetables, so why do we need to have the middleman, why not go straight to the vegetables ourselves. Also it is not about conservation of a bred food source, but about the breeding of creatures to endure a terrible life before we eat them. They have no 'natural existence' only an unnatural one that has been devised by humans.

I have a great problem with other people eating animals, I cannot believe I did it for so long. I am much healthier and slimmer with more energy since becoming vegan and I tell everyone the reason is not eating animal products, I think it is getting through, as animal suffering is usually quite low on peoples lists of what they care about, it is mostly about their own benefit. Personally I see no demarcation between animals and humans, we are all souls and "made of stars" to quote Moby, so if you eat an animal it is the same as eating a friend or family member,

I don't see that being a vegan has to be a religion, it isn't a belief, it is a reaction to facts. I don't believe that animals are treated appallingly on farms and in laboratories, I know it, and my response is to not be complicit in their suffering. That is not a belief, or anywhere near to being a religion. It is just the right thing to do.
I think we basically agree and I certainly do not believe that eating animals is necessary or sustainable especially given the population of humans on the earth but my point was that industrial animal production is the jumping off point that makes eating animals just plain wrong for so many reasons. I think that if someone decided to go out and hunt wild game and eat it, it would not bother me nearly as much as the whole idea of producing as much marketable cattle on as small amount of land as possible just to make as much money as possible and damn the environment and health considerations this practices causes.

I too have realized the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle and am grateful for coming to this realization before I suffered detrimental health issues. My weight has dropped significantly, a little too fast in fact. I'm not starving myself by any means and I mostly credit the removal of dairy from my diet as the cause of my body finding its natural weight. Meat was never a huge part of my diet but every so often I'd grab a burger or eat a pepperoni pizza. I don't miss meat as much as I miss dairy.

If anyone out there wants to know what turned me down the path of veganism, I'd have to say that the final straw was a couple of documentaries I saw on Netflix that my son likes to call vegan propaganda. It was hard to deny all of the first-hand accounts of people that became vegan and realized all the healthy benefits after doing so and it was hard to come away from watching these documentaries without seeing industrial animal production as just as corrupt and sleazy as the tobacco industry.

I don't believe veganism is a religion either. It's a lifestyle choice. Some people treat it as a religion but some people treat religion as a lifestyle choice too.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Some good NetFlix documentaries are:

Food, Inc

Fed Up

Vegucated

Forks over Knives

Food Matters
 
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Believing God thought something doesn't make it religious. It is an often abused offshoot of actual religion that is used to persecute others.

For instance - inter racial marriages were opposed because 'people believed God was against it'. There is nothing in the bible about it.

In the bible it says God created animals for people (to eat), if you are Christian or other God believing religion then you have to accept that by being part of that religion you are encouraging people to kill and eat animals.
 

rogerjolly

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In the bible it says God created animals for people (to eat), if you are Christian or other God believing religion then you have to accept that by being part of that religion you are encouraging people to kill and eat animals.
I can’t agree with you there. I look upon the bible as a wonderful store of myths comparable to those of the Greeks or Norse. But they all harbour many attitudes that have changed or are in the process of changing.

Two biblical examples are “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” and “What God has joined together let no man put asunder”.

Many Christians, though certainly not all, seem to be able to navigate around such problematic assertions.

That man should “rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth” is an example that vegan Christians can very easily consider as open to interpretation.
 

Mark Mywordz

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Religions are evil. They encourage us to kill other animals and disregard the fact that we are animals ourselves. Gods were always invented by men to justify their irrational and evil practices.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Religions are evil. They encourage us to kill other animals and disregard the fact that we are animals ourselves. Gods were always invented by men to justify their irrational and evil practices.
Not necessarily. We, as a spiecies, have been killing and eating animals long before religions existed. Whether God created us or we created God, and I lean towards the latter, preying on animals goes back ten's of thousands of years. If you want to blame anything, blame our innate survival instinct, something we have in common with animals.
 

Mark Mywordz

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Not necessarily. We, as a spiecies, have been killing and eating animals long before religions existed. Whether God created us or we created God, and I lean towards the latter, preying on animals goes back ten's of thousands of years. If you want to blame anything, blame our innate survival instinct, something we have in common with animals.
I am not concerned to blame anything or anyone here. I merely want to clarify what religion is. It is something invented by men in order to help them dominate other men/animals. In that sense it is evil. It is about naked aggression. Religion is the tool used by political leaders to justify the subjugation of their fellow men/women/animals. Primitive societies did not necessarily need politicians but they did need priests. And priests had the right to kill all other animals.

Of course animals/men will kill other animals/men when their survival is at stake. In sophisticated societies however it is not necessary to kill. Veganism is in my view the opposite of religion. As a vegan I argue that we do not need to kill any more.
In case it is not obvious: I am trying to be vegan and do not believe in God.
 
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Plant Muncher

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I am not concerned to blame anything or anyone here. I merely want to clarify what religion is. It is something invented by men in order to help them dominate other men/animals. In that sense it is evil. It is about naked aggression. Religion is the tool used by political leaders to justify the subjugation of their fellow men/women/animals. Primitive societies did not necessarily need politicians but they did need priests. And priests had the right to kill all other animals.

Of course animals/men will kill other animals/men when their survival is at stake. In sophisticated societies however it is not necessary to kill. Veganism is in my view the opposite of religion. As a vegan I argue that we do not need to kill any more.
In case it is not obvious: I am trying to be vegan and do not believe in God.
I don't think that you can put all religions in a single nutshell Mark. I am the last person on earth that will defend organized religions, spirituality, or supernatural beliefs of any kind, I simply think that belief systems are far, far more complicated than you have described them. I understand your opinion of religions, I just feel that it is a little to simplistic to be applied to the entire concept of religion. Certainly, the things you point out have and do happen in the context of religion, politics, and society but I think religions were developed for many, many reasons including the ones you have pointed out here. You have set up a dichotomy of religion vs. veganism when you stated, "Veganism is in my view the opposite of religion." that simply isn't that all that encompassing of the reality of what religion is actually about. That is all I am objecting to here.
 

Mark Mywordz

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I don't think that you can put all religions in a single nutshell Mark. I am the last person on earth that will defend organized religions, spirituality, or supernatural beliefs of any kind, I simply think that belief systems are far, far more complicated than you have described them. I understand your opinion of religions, I just feel that it is a little to simplistic to be applied to the entire concept of religion. Certainly, the things you point out have and do happen in the context of religion, politics, and society but I think religions were developed for many, many reasons including the ones you have pointed out here. You have set up a dichotomy of religion vs. veganism when you stated, "Veganism is in my view the opposite of religion." that simply isn't that all that encompassing of the reality of what religion is actually about. That is all I am objecting to here.
It appears that we basically agree, PM. But you seem to misunderstand what I was trying to do. I am not trying to present a critique of religion per se. That would be absurd and impossible to do in a single post. Plenty of people have done that already in any case. I am simply saying that religion implies an acceptance of beliefs which are beyond proof and disproof. Crudely put: nobody can offer any empirical evidence to support the contention that God exists. Veganism merely proposes that we should not eat animals because this is cruel and unhealthy for us too. There is plenty of evidence that animals do not like being killed and an increasing amount of evidence that eating them is bad for us. Veganism has practically nothing in common with religious faith.
 
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Plant Muncher

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It appears that we basically agree, PM. But you seem to misunderstand what I was trying to do. I am not trying to present a critique of religion per se. That would be absurd and impossible to do in a single post. Plenty of people have done that already in any case. I am simply saying that religion implies an acceptance of beliefs which are beyond proof and disproof. Crudely put: nobody can offer any empirical evidence to support the contention that God exists. Veganism merely proposes that we should not eat animals because this is cruel and unhealthy for us too. There is plenty of evidence that animals do not like being killed and an increasing amount of evidence that eating them is bad for us. Veganism has practically nothing in common with religious faith.
I think we do agree. My issue is that your questions make me think about these issues deeply and I race off on some tangential aspect of the topic and become intensely interested in where my thought process has taken me. I was just discussing the other day that people seem to follow and worship questions that can't possibly be answered. Why would we do that? Simply because there is no answer? That seems crazy to me anyway.
 

Mark Mywordz

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"... people seem to follow and worship questions that can't possibly be answered. Why would we do that?"
I imagine there are as many answers to that as there are people.
 

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My beliefs are pantheistic, that everything and everyone is connected. I don't believe in a specific deity, although I do believe in the idea of Mother Gaia/Nature, and that we are part of her and she is part of us. I have an aim to become vegan, as it would fit in with my belief about our planet, but I wouldn't say it was religious.
 
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Mark Mywordz

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My beliefs are pantheistic, that everything and everyone is connected. I don't believe in a specific deity, although I do believe in the idea of Mother Gaia/Nature, and that we are part of her and she is part of us. I have an aim to become vegan, as it would fit in with my belief about our planet, but I wouldn't say it was religious.
Hi Helena
I can accept that we are all in various ways connected. Our DNA is after all not totally unique in each human individual. But I think there is probably more empirical evidence for the existence of the Tooth Fairy than there is for Mother Gaia, who in Greek Mythology was daughter of the goddess Chaos. And nature is an entirely human construct/invention. Furthermore there is no evidence to support the notion that nature is a force for good. It is after all entirely natural for us to eat meat but that is not to say that we can be proud of our carnivorous nature.
 
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Plant Muncher

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Hi Helena
I can accept that we are all in various ways connected. Our DNA is after all not totally unique in each human individual. But I think there is probably more empirical evidence for the existence of the Tooth Fairy than there is for Mother Gaia, who in Greek Mythology was daughter of the goddess Chaos. And nature is an entirely human construct/invention. Furthermore there is no evidence to support the notion that nature is a force for good. It is after all entirely natural for us to eat meat but that is not to say that we can be proud of our carnivorous nature.
The stories in the bible or from Greek mythology or any ancient religious text involving beliefs were intended as allegory not is literal accounts of history but you would have a hard time convincing the true believers of this. All you have to ask is why all those miracles, mystical beasts, and Olympian Gods have suddenly disappeared in modernity while being so omnipresent in the past. These days, we are doomed to seeing the works of God in cloud shapes and happenstance. If something good happens, we credit God; if something bad happens, it's because we didn't love God enough. Yeaaaaaaahhh!
We do have a need to believe I will concede. I think that probably arose from the mystery of death and all that surrounds the final moments of our lives. For most people, it was just too hard to fathom that we simply die after a full life and that there is nothing else beyond death. It had to be explained by the creation of an elaborate afterlife story that grew into a behavioral doctrine/belief system that some people used to control the lives of others. We simply don't know what happens after we die and we may never know but we fear the journey just the same even though it is an inevitable journey we all must take. When it comes down to it, we spend our whole lives preparing for the inevitable death we can't prevent and can't control but we are willing to waste the life we have control over by turning it over to some concocted belief system out of fear and superstitious beliefs. Aren't we special?