- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Open Court (December 30, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0812693930
- ISBN-13: 978-0812693935
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 17 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,843,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Is God a Vegetarian?: Christianity, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights Paperback – December 30, 1998
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From Publishers Weekly
Young, who teaches New Testament at Temple Baptist Seminary, is as concerned with how to read scripture as he is with vegetarianism. As a result, he offers an insightful account of biblical ethics combined with an accessible argument for vegetarianism. Rather than mining scripture for proof texts, he searches for "directional markers" that serve as "flexible guidelines" for Christians looking to make moral decisions about animal rights and vegetarianism. His argument against cruelty to animals is not grounded in an abstract set of rights but in a narrative account that depicts a God intimately related to the whole of creation. Not set simply on proving that Jesus was a vegetarian, Young describes a peaceable kingdom where harmonious relations among creatures is more consistent with the Hebrew understanding of God than is a world marked by violence. Young returns repeatedly to biblical images of a peaceable kingdom and asks how we can evoke similar images in our own places and times. Each of his 13 chapters ends with two vegetarian recipes, and the epilogue offers a simple but well-documented account of "going veggie." As a whole, the book is a practical introduction to ethics made particularly accessible by sustained attention to a single popular issue. It is also an articulate case for vegetarianism that is neither simply a popular treatise on health and diet nor a political treatise on animal rights. Young's book offers a thoughtful reflection on a world of peace and justice in which, though we may not be what we eat, what we eat, and why, is an integral part of who we are.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Religions have been used to justify variations of human behavior ranging from how to wage war to ways of preserving peace. The religious reasons why humans should restrain from eating meat are the concern of these two books. Berry, historical adviser to the North American Vegetarian Society, has compiled essays discussing how the world's religions (Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Judaism, Roman Catholic and Protestant Christianity, and Sufism) have dealt with vegetarianism. Accompanying each essay is an interview with a vegetarian practitioner of that particular faith, usually a clergy member, monk, or self-proclaimed follower. The true value of this book is in these interviews, where the scholarly interpretations of religious texts come alive in the daily practices of the believers. Unlike Berry, Young (New Testament studies, Temple Baptist Seminary) restricts his perspective to biblical interpretations of text concerning the dietary laws and customs of Christians and Jews. It is through this careful reading of the Bible that he engages the reader in a discussion of the dilemma, both religious and social, of whether "real" Christians should be vegetarians. He expands his thesis to include animal testing and experimentation, the fur industry, and animal factories. Both books strongly advocate vegetarianism, and the theological arguments are biased toward non-meat eating, but this does not distract from the deep scholarship performed by both authors. For those who are seeking a religious basis for their vegetarianism, these two books are essential reading. Recommended for all libraries.?Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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First, Young writes in a cool, level-headed fashion that doesn't come across as angry or accusatory. Unlike other books on the subject, this feels more scholarly and balanced.
Second, Young takes you through the Bible with remarkable insight. It is a deeply Christian work throughout. His arguments mainly depend on understanding the whole story, and what he calls "directional markers." This is a very powerful idea that I think really illuminates many modern ethical issues. To his credit, he does not try to argue that Jesus and the apostles were vegetarians, and that this message was somehow corrupted later on. He brilliantly argues that the situations of modern slaughterhouses did not exist in biblical times, and that the fundamental values of Christianity are in opposition to them. He does point out that human history in the bible is bracketed by vegetarian behavior (cf Genesis 1-2 and the Isaiah description of the "peaceable kingdom"). Why then should we not move toward this goal?
My one cavil with the book is that it is not written for the evangelical Christian (which I am). His view of Scripture would certainly make many evangelicals uncomfortable (for example his understanding of several authors writing the Pentateuch, his sometimes fuzzy statements on the nature of Jesus ministry, etc.). Occassionally I thought he cited verses out of context such that their true meaning was obscured by his intentions. Despite these flaws, I think overall his biblical exegesis is sound (Professor Young is a professor of New Testament, so this is no surprise).
I do appreciate his numerous statements along the lines of "I'm not saying everyone must stopping eating all meat in all circumstances." Instead, he thoughtfully and gently tries to challenge the reader to reconsider their own practices. I know that my own meat consumption has gone way down and am contemplating becoming a vegetarian. He encourages the reader to make slow changes, such as finding one meatless main dish per week to add into your diet. Who cannot do that? I also think much more deeply about the conditions that animals are kept in today and how they should live. Would you eat that piece of chicken or beef if you could see the animal's death? What is gluttony if not eating on more than you need? These and more questions are powerful thoughts that will challenge you throughout the book.
my mother langage, this book is difficult to read,
the level is not for me.
this is the only bad point to show off.
Cons: Author's personal bias and conclusion may not be a good fit for some reasons. Author's openness may not be a good fit for others. More work needed on last section.
Was Adam and his companion Eve vegetarian? (Check Genesis 1:29)
If so, why was Noah and his family allowed to eat meat? (Genesis 9:3)
Did Jesus say that dietary laws were no applicable? (Matthew 15:11)
What was going on with those vegetarians in the New Testament (Romans 14_1-4)
This book covered a lot of ground for me and changed my perspective on diet and the Bible more than any other book has. Some of the questions that are shown above were some of the same ones that I struggled with as I began to seriously study the Bible. Ever since 2007, I have sought to reconcile my beliefs about faith with my beliefs about food. That journey has led me to seek a diet that is organic and as close to nature as possible. In other words, I became a Paleo.
I chose this book because of the provocative title and because it offered a chance to explore "the other side" of being healthy. As a Paleo, meat is encouraged (if not worshiped) in some circles. That can lead to a one-sided diet. What about vegetarians?
In this book, Richard A. Young attempts to provide readers with a case supporting that vegetarianism was and is God's preferred diet for humans (and if I read correctly) animals.
That presents a problem...
The Bible is replete with examples of animal sacrifice and eating meat (Jesus ate fish!).
The author seeks to solve this problem by walking the reader through almost every section in the Bible covering diet (from Old Testament to New Testament). He guides readers through Jewish history and philosophy as well as early Christian writing to come to support his surprising belief that vegetarianism is the preferred physical and spiritual diet for humans. Sprinkled throughout the book are recipes that can help a reader get started on the vegan and vegetarian path. There is a small section covering how to get started, but I didn't find it as useful as just following the recipes.
If you are a person of the Christian faith who has questions or issues about eating meat (or just curious about veganism/vegetarianism), this is definitely the book for you. If you are not, you might find some interesting insights on diet and Bible, but you might be turned off by the author's conclusion and personal opinion that are sprinkled rather heavily in the text. The author does a decent job of showing opposing sides, but if you aren't looking to change diet, this book isn't for you.