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Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism & the World's Religions Paperback – May, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Berry (Famous Vegetarians and Their Favorite Recipes) combines short essays on vegetarianism and the world's religions with interviews of vegetarian religious thinkers--all to little effect. If you're looking to this book for the definitive answer as to whether vegetarianism can be directly tied to spiritual enlightenment, then you're out of luck. Despite his best efforts, Berry can't convince various religious experts--ranging from Zen Buddhist Roshi Philip Kapleau to Franciscan monk Ron Pickarski--to link a vegetarian diet directly with spiritual attainment. The most he gets them to say, in some remarkably frank and disarming interviews, is that following a vegetarian lifestyle is generally a matter of personal choice, albeit one that they felt aided their spiritual growth for ethical reasons. While many Eastern religions do subscribe to and suggest a vegetarian diet, Berry never convincingly illuminates any direct correlation between not eating meat and attaining enlightenment. His book promises more that it delivers. It's much like a vegetarian smorgasbord in which the main dishes, the author's essays, lay heavily on the mind, while the condiments, the interviews, sparkle with genuine insight and sustenance. What Berry has in his favor are the honesty and generosity to print interviews with people who often flatly disagree with him.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Young, Richard Alan. Is God a Vegetarian?: Christianity, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Pythagorean Pub (May 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962616923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962616921
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By lindagwen on April 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Rynn Berry's Food for the Gods does a remarkable job of tracing the vegetarian link in the major religions of Hindiusm, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, and Catholicism, but also to the relatively small but intriguing non-violent religions of India's Jainism and the British Order of the Cross. The history of religion will never look the same after reading this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Louis Gedo on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a remarkable insight into dietary religious morals and philosophy.....it's a 'cookbook' for the inquisitive mind.

If you are a person of faith, this book gives an easy to understand history of how the history of your particular religious faith has been impacted by diet and moral choices of eating habits throughout the ages. Every person of faith restles with matters of principles and moral philosophy....that's why this book is important for you.

If you are not a person of faith but you are intrigued by the issue of a vegan / vegetarian diet and an ethically compassionate life and how this may effect others around you who do follow a religious lifestyle / belief, then it is a very worthwhile book to read and get familiar with. I constantly use this book as a resource in my writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
Author Rynn Berry is also the author of Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore from Buddha to the Beatles, and co-author of Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover. He wrote in the "Acknowledgements" section of this 1998 book, "I had the idea of writing a book of interviews with vegetarian spiritual leaders from each of the world's religions... [I decided] that I should do a book combining both essays and interviews... I decided to add a recipe section incorporating the vegetarian dishes that were particular for each religious tradition." (Pg. i)

He states, "The belief in reincarnation is [a] hallmark of the ahimsa-based 'vegetarian' religions. Indeed, vegetarianism is a corollary of that belief, for if one believes that the soul of a departed relative (dear Aunt Agatha) or of a deceased friend may inhabit the body of an animal, it's hard to see how one could ever acquire a taste for animal flesh." (Pg. 4) He adds, "[Another] hallmark of the 'vegetarian' religions is the manner in which the followers of these faiths convey their food to the mouth. Followers of ahimsa-based religions tend to use chopsticks and fingers; Westerners, on the other hand, use the barbaric instruments of the knife and the fork, which can be turned into weapons." (Pg. 6-7)

He explains, "The Jains were the first religious group, of which we have any record, to affirm the sanctity of animal life...
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By "rkungfumark" on June 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
How much do you know about world religions and veganism? How much do you know about your OWN religion and love of animals? This book will educate you quickly about most religions and the basic tenet of all which is to treat all life as sacred. Quite an interesting read...
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