John Smulo has been writing on God’s love for animals over at Smulo Space. I have often found it disturbing how little regard some of my fellow Christians have for God’s creatures. I don’t see how it’s so hard to join the dots, I mean, haven’t they ever read about Noah? Hello! But that’s the unfortunate reality.
Yet there is a growing body of writings by Christian theologians who have risen to the challenge. John’s essay at Sacred Tribes is a helpful summary of some of the issues.
My own personal view is, to whatever degree it is possible, go cruelty free. I don’t buy into vegetarianism, but I don’t buy into battery hen eggs either. I think the growing awareness that global warming is a moral issue needs to be matched by some ethical inquiries into factory farming and animal testing, particularly where alternatives are available.
A poem that often gets me thinking is this:
God in his wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why.
The reason why is, while I do not know why there are flies, I know there is a reason, I know they are part of the ecological cycles that sustain our existence. I choose to talk about flies simply because typically we have so little regard. But if God created and called them good, should we not at least pause to think about it? Maybe we should listen to the Jains just a wee bit – I may disagree with their extremism but I think some listening would not go astray.
Here’s another fly poem by William Blake:
Thy summers play,
My thoughtless hand
Has brush’d away.
Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?
For I dance
And drink and sing
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.
If thought is life
And strength and breath;
And the want
of thought is death;
Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.
Why not sit and meditate on it for a minute? I don’t know all the answers but I do think the ethical responsibility of Christians should be recognised as encompassing care for endangered animals, tortured animals and exploited animals. There are many areas where ethical clarity is still elusive, and I admit I myself have been far from perfect, but ethical issues there are a plenty.
2 thoughts on “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal”
Interesting post Matt, we Brits are often accused of caring more about our animals than our fellow human beings- although the RSPCA- would probably dispute that… I suspect though this broadens out into areas of responsibility and stewrdship and ecological awareness that stretches beyond animals and challenges us on how we view creation as a whole- are we a part of it or not….hmm you have got me thinking- I might post on that later!
I agree, you don’t have to become a vegetarian just because you care for animals. There are many options available that allow us, as consumers, to do a small part.
I buy free range chicken and turkey, and local open range beef. I use locally provided eggs and small farm, organic milk.