Scripture Authority for a Vegetarian
Extracted from Unity Magazine, November 1906, pages 399-401
And God said. Behold. I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed: to you it shall be for meat: and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given herb for meat: and it was so. And God saw everything that he had made and behold it was very good. — Genesis 1:29-31.
To those who are asking for Scriptural authority for not eating meat, we cite the foregoing verses in the first chapter of Genesis, which is the first reference in the Bible to what man should eat. It is God’s first command to man defining what his diet should be.
Man was told to have dominion over all animals, but he was not told to eat them. If we were trying to gain dominion over alcohol we would not see how much we could drink.
The animals were to eat the herbs also, but what strange state of affairs has taken place, that one beast devours another, and man swallows them all? Something is out of harmony with the great Divine Law, and it is man’s duty, as one in dominion, to make it right. How is he going to do this? By setting the example. It will be through his efforts that the time will come when the lion and the lamb will lie down together.
If a man holds to thoughts of love, and then goes out and takes the life of a fellow-creature to satisfy a false appetite, his loving thoughts will be of little avail, for he sends forth ideas of killing, which counteract the ones of love.
Let us remember that the appetite is an animal which should be under the dominion of man. If we have a strong appetite, let us turn it toward spiritual things, and not toward the outer material desires.
We have heard it argued, and have had a number of examples cited to prove that if a man with a strong appetite for intoxicating beverages will stop eating meat, his desire for drink will vanish. Here we have two false tastes, one depending upon the other.
It has been told how a litter of bull dog puppies were fed upon vegetables, and grew up with very kind and gentle dispositions.
In the Scriptures we are reminded that it is not what goes into a man’s mouth, but what comes out of it that defiles him. This we believe to be true, but surely it must be a defiling thought that will go forth to demand the life of a fellow creature.
Man is somehow beginning to feel the responsibility in bringing harmony to the world, and many people are falling in tune with the great harmony of love by thinking loving, true thoughts, and demonstrating this love toward all of God’s creatures by leaving them outside of their stomachs. Let us all join in the procession immediately and save time, for it must come to pass that the law of love will prevail among all creatures sooner or later.
How can man expect to gain eternal life when he believes in death, and proves it by destroying life?
But some of us will say, “I do not take life. I would not kill a chicken for the world. The animals are dressed at the packing houses, and would be whether I lived or not.”
We would say to those, You are an accessory, the same as one who uses stolen goods and knows them to be stolen, and are guilty under the law. Every time you eat a piece of meat you are creating a demand for just that amount. You are also sending forth thoughts that make active this demand.
Others will say, “What will become of the animals if they are not killed off?”
To these we would answer, The Great Law of Harmony will adjust the matter as soon as it is given a chance.
In conclusion, we will say that the Scripture command works out in harmonious relations between man and the animals in the outer world, and also between man and the animals that exist within him. When he has these animals under dominion, he is close to the kingdom of God. One who has fully realized true love will no longer care for the flesh of animals.