Vegetarianism and the Eighth Commandment

Is the command, "Thou shalt not kill," a proper and valid reason to ad­vance for our advocacy of a nonflesh diet? Is it wrong to take any animal life?

L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

Is the command, " Thou shalt not kill," a proper and valid reason to ad­vance for our advocacy of a nonflesh diet? Is it wrong to take any animal life?                                                

A Bible Worker.

Answering as a practicing vegeta­rian as well as a believer in the theoretical principle of a nonfiesh diet in these last days, I should say: While the propriety of the humane appeal for man not to slay dumb animals for food is not to be questioned, it is surely an improper procedure to cite the eighth commandment, which pertains to man's relation to man, as a divinely authoritative injunction against the taking of all or any animal life of the lower orders.

It was God Himself who initiated and approved the system of animal sacrifices beginning back at the very gates of Eden, and who clothed Adam and. Eve with the skins of the slain animals. And during the period of the Mosaic economy this sacrificial sys­tem was greatly elaborated by divine Instruction. But God would not have given such a mandatory system and have made it solemnly obligatory if each act of such worship was a viola­tion of the eighth command of His ever­lasting ten.

Again, in giving man permission to eat flesh food after the flood, Jehovah did not suspend the binding obligation of the eighth commandment. No par­allel is to be found relative to any other command of the decalogue. This com­mandment was not violated in either the slaying or the eating of the animal.

Once such an unwarranted premise were granted, it would be well-nigh im­possible to draw the line against any destructive animal pests. If it were inherently wrong to take any animal life, then rats, poisonous snakes, and even insects should have right of way.

The inconsistency of the contention is easily discernible when we pause to remember that the shoes in which such a contender gladly stands are made of the hides of slain animals. The hat­band and belt he wears and the suit­case with which he travels, and a thou­sand and one necessities and conven­iences of daily life, including the bind­ing of the very Bible he holds in his hand to read his text, are of leather. Under this premise, to be logically con­sistent, he should refuse to use any article made of leather or other animal product.

Let us aggressively advocate the whole message, including the health reform phase. But let us base each of its parts upon a solid, dependable foun­dation. We shall thus gain the con­fidence and respect of the world to whom we are commissioned to minister by placing the question of vegetarian­ism upon an undeniably scientific and physiological foundation. The truth is impregnable. It neither needs nor tolerates unworthy supporting argu­ments. The incontestable reasons for our dietetic position need not be reiter­ated here, as they are familiar and available to all workers. Let us build the structure of our faith upon sound, dependable, irrefutable foundations.

L. E. F.

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L.E.F. is editor of the Ministry

October 1928

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