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attn members of the Christian faith

i need your help.  I am visiting my family soon and my parents are extremely religious.  the church i was raised in is extremely conservative, and i just know that my parents and other members of the church are going to pull the whole "God put animals on earth to feed us" bullcrap.  i know about Gen 1:29, but are there any other places where a vegan/vegetarian diet  is seemingly supported in the bible?  or if you have links to thorough bible studies online that would be really helpful.  

At the very beginning of the book of Daniel I believe!


I'm not Christian, but I go to this site for recipes sometimes:

Maybe you'll find something helpful in there :)



TinTexas should be here for this!  Hopfrog beat me to it!


Lime green---you look just like my best friend in highschool. I had to do a double take to determine that you are not her.


The ten commandments:

"Thou shalt not kill." (Exodus 20:13)


Seventh-day Adventists are vegetarian and have some good biblical quotes.

Here's my thought about religious types.  They cherry pick the parts of the bible that support their beliefs, so whatever you quote won't make them more tolerant.  I think it's a matter of having a response and when they argue it, tell them that you're not upset that they don't understand and walk away.


This also ...

"Even for those who believe that God instructed humans to have "dominion" over animals, dominion should be understood as benevolent guardianship, not domination. If people loved animals the way God loved them in the Garden of Eden, we would never consider using them for selfish gratification and power. As the Bible explains, God cherishes all creation. Those who respect the rights and lives of animals by not eating them, killing them, or using them for self-serving purposes are following the path back to Eden -- a path reflective of God's love and compassion for all life."

(Source: Being Vegan, Living with Conscience, Conviction, and Compassion by Joanne Stepaniak)

And this link to Stepaniak's website...


First of all for full disclosure's sake, I am not a Christian.

Let me start off by saying, you cannot win this.  Take if from a teacher who is used to dealing with a room full of often uncooperative/argumentative kids.  When one of them gets tired, he can always step back for a rest and another will take his place.  If you get tired, there will be no one to step in and help you.

My advice:  Don't engage.  It takes at least two to have an argument.  If you don't get into discussing this with them there will be no argument.  But you have to be committed to this strategy before you get there because they will try EVERYTHING to draw you in.

I would practice my wan smiles, nods and bland looks.  I'd also practice some pat, yet sincere sounding responses such as "for ethical reasons," "that's interesting," "hmmm," and "wow."  Whatever you do, don't deviate or further explain these comments otherwise you're just opening the door for argument.

If I thought this was winnable situation I would definitely suggest you go in there and fight, fight, fight.  However, based on your initial post, it sounds as if this situation has been prearranged so that you can't win. 

Realize that refusing to argue is going to go a long way toward selling the vegan line.  They already think you're a freak.  If you try to defend yourself, you will simply be confirming their negative attitude about vegans.

Good luck!  It sounds as if you're in for a very pleasant weekend.


personally, I would feel no compunction whatsoever to justify a decision that is mine and mine alone, to make.  it is your parents' task to accept your decision; not your task to defend it. 

rebecca  :)


Let me start off by saying, you cannot win this.

I agree, you probably aren't going to win by quoting the Bible to them.  The quotes that people mentioned are a great place to start.  (Disclaimer: I have not read the entire Bible, but only several books.)  But I think I need to point out that for every instance of a verse that "supports" vegetarianism, the Bible has about five more that mention killing, eating, sacrificing animals (OT more so..)  So while knowing a few Bible verses might help you out, be prepared to be challenged.  

I think a better way to go would be to explain why vegetarianism/veganism is more in the spirit of Christianity.  For example, you could explain that veg*nism is good for the environment and could also alleviate world hunger.  You could explain that not keeping animals in cruel conditions and then killing them mercilessly is a way of showing respect for God's creations.  And of course, it is healthier, so it is also a way of showing respect for your own body, also one of God's creations.  

If they're just not buying it, I think the best thing to do is keep cool and ignore the comments.  They have their beliefs; you have yours.

Good luck :)


Here's another link for you.

I know I have received information on this topic before, but for some reason I can't find it in my inbox. ???

Anyway, good luck with your family.  :)


don't know them specifically, but, there are biblical passages about not eating meat from (sacrificed) animals....this is under the law
then, under grace,
there are passages that tell followers of Christ who do consume meat that was once not allowed or from descendants of sacrificed animals to not judge harshly those who choose not to eat animals
all in all, Christianity is (suppose) to be a faith of love of all
I'm Christian, and am lucky to have an accepting church (the boys wear girl jeans, most young people have sleeves (tattoos, not polos) that promotes love of all
but, i do encounter harsh judgment and ostricization from the majority of other "Christians"
you can't change other people, you can love them and not let them sway you and hopefully they'll desire to change in the process
good luck


I think you can be successful, but not in an argumentative way.  I agree that you shouldn't engage them in verbal battle.  Simply say that you have decided that this is right for you, and that you have such great compassion for animals that you feel at peace with this way of life.  If you are calm, logical and non-confrontational in your discussions with them, they may respond better.  Be careful not to provoke them or seem jugmental of THEIR diets, even if you disagree with the way they live or eat.  I find that many people feel threatened by nonconformity in any form.  Know that this is not a reflection on YOU, but on their discomfort.  Lead by example.  Keep a calm, kind, humble attitude.  Don't let them anger or upset you.  Stay healthy and active so that they see you aren't ill or sickly.  They might not come around to your thinking right away or ever, but hopefully they will respect you....eventually.

There have been many religious groups, orders and people who have abstained from eating meat, and there are examples of compassion to animals in the Bible.  The links given by others have some wonderful scripture quotes.  Just remember that the Bible is a long and complex set of books, so one can find religious "evidence" in his favor, regardless of what position he is arguing...

Good luck


I agree with the "don't engage" advice.  I come from an extremely conservative Christian family and had to listen to the whole "God gave us animals to eat" from my uncle every single holiday for YEARS.  I just shrugged my shoulders and changed the subject whenever he did it.  Finally, a few years ago, he turned to me at such a holiday and said, "I found out that there's support in the Bible for your vegetarianism, so I'm ok with it now."  Obviously I didn't really feel like he had the right to judge my eating practices in the first place, but anyway the point is that he came around.  I don't think that he would have if I had tried to do battle with him Bible verse for Bible verse from the get go.  I think the fact that he stumbled across the "support" for my decision on his own made it much more powerful...


Frances - I am a devout Christian, but perhaps from a different faith tradition from your parents. If you post their denomination or tradition, I might be able to be of more help. I have read the entire Bible more than once, and here are a few thoughts that might help you:

1. The Bible never forbids vegetarianism. It may be true that we have a "right" to consume animals from a Biblical perspective, but we don't have to.
2. Many Biblical Saints adopted special diets for certain reasons, or fasted for certain reasons. Daniel Chapter One is an excellent story of Vegetarian Saints! St. John the Baptist lived on "locust and wild honey" (not vegan, but a special diet - and the "locust" may have been carob - called a locust tree - rather than the bug. If that's the case, he was vegetarian). The Nazirites in the Old Testaments (Leviticus, I think) refrained from certain foods (including wine) out of devotion for God. St. Paul Fasted. Jesus said we would fast in the Sermon on the Mount ("fasting" is an abstinence from food - some foods or all foods, depending on the strictness of the fast - vegetarianism can be seen as a partial fast.
3. In Acts Chapter 15, Christians are forbidden to eat Blood or food from strangled animals (a requirement for compassion in slaughter). With modern slaughterhouse methods, it seems unlikely that we can be sure meat is bled properly and is not strangled. Every package of meat I have ever seen at the grocery had visible blood!
4. If your parents are literalists about the Bible (which I assume they are) don't tell them that "Jesus was a vegetarian" as some websites suggest. The Bible records Jesus eating fish and keeping the Passover (where lamb was served). This is not an argument which will "fly" with Fundamentalist or Evangelical Christians.
5. Christians in New Testament times and in the early centuries often chose to abstain from meat part or all of the time out of devotion for God. (see my quotes in the quotes page)
6. The book I am currently reading "Animals and Man: a State of Blessedness" by Joanne Stefanatos, DVM addresses some of these issues, but is not Evangelical or Fundamentalist - it is Orthodox Christian -but it may have a few ideas you can use.
7. God gave humans permission to eat animals after the flood  (around Genesis 6)- at this time he said animals would henceforth fear man. He also shortened our lifespan to about 120 years at this time (before that, people had lived to be several hundred years old) - some people may see a connection there ;)

If I think of more ideas later, I'll post  :)

Twink2214: This, unfortunately, is not a Biblical story (don't know where it came from). But it does have some similarities to the story in Daniel Chapter One. BTW:The colon-page thingy is called a "reference" or a "citation"


once again, this forum is my favorite thing in the whole wide world right now.
anna, i grew up in a small non-denominational church.  it's really intense and almost like a little cult, not much like what i consider a normal church experience. 

i definitely don't plan on initiating conversation about this, but i am staying with them for a week, so much vegan cooking and resturaunting will be occuring, and i'm afraid they will consider it an inconvenience.  when my family visited me here, i took them out ot a vegetarian resturaunt and it was definitely awkward. 
and it probably doesn't help that they are upset about my changing majors in school, and never visiting them. 
annnnd, they don't really know that i'm no longer a Christian. 
so, there are a lot of factors making me nervous, so i want to be as prepared as possible.

thanks again all you wonderful people.  ;D


Oooh, that's a tough situation! It's really hard to advise about the non-denominational thing, as each group is so different - I think the Bible stuff I mentioned will probably be the most helpful.

Whenever you have a difference of worldview/value system with your parents, it seems to me (hope you don't mind my volunteering here) that the best thing is to always let them know that you still love, respect, appreciate, and if needed, forgive them.

I just read the story of an early Christian Martyr, St. Thecla (a student of St. Paul himself) whose own mother asked the goverment to brutally torture and kill her for being a Christian. After she miraculously survived the execution, she went back to her Mom, and tried to reconcile - said "If you want your daughter again, here I am." even tho her mom had tried to kill her for her beliefs!

I think when we have differences with our Parents, that is the best way - to still visit, respect, and love them.

Hope you have a good visit - I'll be praying for you.  :)


Opera Chic put it best, in the thread about a website providing "ammunition" for discussion with omnis. She said something like "My dietary choices are not an attack on yours." Make them see that this is your choice for yourself, and that you are niether attacking nor condemning their chosen lifestyle. If you're in college, you're an adult now--something that's very hard for parents to come to terms with! I know that I left a definite cult, for Christianity, and thereby lost all contact with my family and siblings. I was never rude or attacked them about their beliefs...I simply got on with life. I've often said, and it's still true, "I wish I had a family--just not that one". (That particular group isn't a real "family" anyway...just a group of people with the same name and genetics...)
Be VERY calm about it all, never complain, never attempt to "justify" your choice. Just state it, when asked--and then, if they show interest, give a little information at a time. It's often a temptation when we're engaged in anything new to try to lay it all out and make the other person understand our new decisions--but so often they don't really want to! People are often intimidated by change, esp. if it's something foreign to them.
Several months ago (around Nov-Dec) ago I posted something along the lines of "the emotional charge of food" but I can't find the thread. Food is often intimately bound up with people's emotiona lives, family celebrations, ceremonies, etc. so when you make a marked change, they feel attacked, as if you were criticising or even striking at the base of the family/belief structure.
Best of luck...act as if it's the most normal thing in the world, be considerate but stick to your decisions.

BTW we're really glad to have you here.


i need your help.  I am visiting my family soon and my parents are extremely religious.  the church i was raised in is extremely conservative, and i just know that my parents and other members of the church are going to pull the whole "God put animals on earth to feed us" bullcrap.  i know about Gen 1:29, but are there any other places where a vegan/vegetarian diet  is seemingly supported in the bible?  or if you have links to thorough bible studies online that would be really helpful. 

Perhaps in the most basic sense animals were 'put' here to feed us.  I'm agnostic, so creationism is right out.  However, if you need a good reason, simply say, that you don't feel that our heavenly father would appreciate the way that we treat animals in order to feed ourselves.  There's definitely an evolutionary card to play, but in this particular situation, it would not be very useful.  I'm a certified BSA, so feel free to ask me if you need any highly convincing rhetoric to at least make people chase their tails for a minute thinking.



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