There are many Christians who are starting to avoid meat and other animal products. Why do some Christians avoid animal products and others fully enjoy animal products?
Should Christians be vegan? Christians do not have to be vegan. They can be vegan if they are convicted about eating animal products. Other Christians go vegan for health reasons. Being vegan is a personal decision.
This post details the different viewpoints about Christians being vegan.
Should Christians Be Vegan?
There are two viewpoints on Christians being vegan 1) those who are for being vegan 2) those who don’t believe you need to be vegan.
Being a vegan means that you do not eat anything that is derived from an animal or uses animal products.
As Christians we are no longer under the law like the Israelites were in the Old Testament, we do not need to legalistically follow the laws that God gave to Moses.
Following a vegan lifestyle to gain favor with God is not how we as Christians live under the new covenant.
As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us that helps us become more like Christ and convicts us when we are walking in sin, choosing a vegan lifestyle has much more to do with our conviction by the Holy Spirit than to look like a good Christian.
If you are feeling a conviction about eating meat or are wondering if you should be vegan, seek God. Ask Him to guide you in your decision.
Christian Viewpoints On Being Vegan
First, we will dive into the reasons some Christians are vegan.
1. Caring For Animals
Many people today who are vegan, both Christians and non-Christians alike do it based on animal cruelty.
There is much research that shows the less than ideal treatment that animals go through before they come to our plates.
As Christians, we are given dominion over the earth and all living here, we are the only ones that are made in the image of God, and we were given authority at the beginning of the world.
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”Genesis 1:26
Because we are given this responsibility over the earth and all that lives in it, many Christians say that taking part in the harsh treatment of animals is not being good stewards of the authority we were given.
They see eating animal products as neglect of the responsibility we have, and as disobedience to God.
We certainly do have dominion as we are made in God’s image and we should not take this responsibility lightly.
It is important to remember also that we are made in God’s image while animals are not, this means that we should treat all animals and creatures properly.
One note about animals – we shouldn’t put animals on a pedestal with humans. Animals are not made in the image of God. Humans are.
2. Pre-Fall Diet
Before the fall of man when sin entered the world, our diet was much different than it is now, and God had Adam and Eve
And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.Genesis 1:29
God gives them plants that yield the food they need, eating animals and what they produce was not on the list.
The diet for man changed after the fall, but many feel like we should go back to the diet that was originally had in the garden.
Viewpoints On Not Being Vegan
Many people find good arguments against being vegan throughout scripture. Meat is eaten many times by godly men.
It’s valuable to evaluate both sides of the discussion.
1. Jesus Ate Fish
After Jesus was crucified, buried for three days, and rose again, he appeared to the disciples. He asked for food, and they gave him a broiled fish.
They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.Luke 24:42
This is Jesus’ resurrected body that is eating the fish. Many see this as an indication that there is no issue with eating meat.
Reading about Jesus eating fish, and Jesus being the Son of God leads many to believe a vegan lifestyle is not necessary for Christians.
2. All Things Were Declared Clean
In the Old Testament, under the Mosaic covenant, there were many animals or other specific foods that they were commanded to avoid.
While this could be an argument for avoiding eating animals and animal products today. But we see in the New Testament a change in what was allowed.
In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air. And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’… And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’Acts 10:12,13,15
God declared even the foods and meats that were previously not allowed, clean.
If Peter was allowed and commanded to eat these animal products, people believe there is no reason they should avoid animal products today.
Our Christian Response To Those Who Disagree
Why is it so hard to find a definitive opinion on this subject? This subject is very important so some but as Christians it is not a descions that is crucial to our faith as Christians.
Salvation by grace through faith alone. Deciding if you will eat vegan or not is not an issue that makes or breaks the deal.
Choosing to go vegan or not can be a big decision. If you are vegan, I’d encourage you to extend grace to those around you who aren’t.
The same is true for those who feel no conviction to give up animal products.
Being vegan or not isn’t a primary issue.
We should not pass judgment on those who believe differently in secondary matters such as this.
One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.Romans 14:2,3
Show grace to people who disagree with you on this topic. Remember, there are your brother or sister in Christ.
If you want to learn more about disagreeing with Christians in a respectful way – check this post out.