7 Reasons I'm a Christian Vegan

By Sarah Withrow King

"Why are you vegan?"

It's one of the first questions people ask when they discover that I don't eat or wear animal products, buy products that are tested on animals, or pay to see animals used in entertainment. And while there are more and more Christian vegans (look for the guy at the church potluck with a plate of raw vegetables, hovering over the dish he brought that has a little vegan-friendly protein), we're still a bit of an anomaly in the church.

Because we church folk like to eat, the question often comes up around a meal. And, honestly, I feel a little awkward telling you about how that chicken leg you're eating belonged to a bird who was raised in filth, had her beak hacked off when she was a baby, was probably crippled before her six-week-birthday, and then died a terrifying and gruesome death.

So, here's "why vegan" in a nutshell. If you're like me and have already adopted a more compassionate lifestyle, but aren't sure how to talk about it to your church friends, this list can help you, too.

  1. Eating meat and dairy products supports cruelty to animals, and I don't want to do that.
  2. Expanding on that—when it comes to using animals to satisfy human desires or to feed human greed, animal welfare will always lose to profit.
  3. The Bible tells us that Eden was vegan and paints a portrait of a new Jerusalem where death and crying and mourning will be no more. If we were vegan then and will be vegan again, why not begin to live into that Kingdom promise now?
  4. The movement of God is towards reconciliation—reconciliation of humans to God, to one another, and to the rest of creation. I want to move with the Spirit of God.
  5. Jesus' life demonstrated again and again that we were to reach beyond what was comfortable and love the ones who were least like us. Given the systemic way we use and abuse animals today, I think that charge of neighborly love should apply to the furry, finned, and feathered as much as it applied to the leper, prostitute, and Gentile then.
  6. Eating meat and dairy is bad for the environment. This is especially damaging to our brothers and sisters in rural communities and in the global south, where the brunt of the effects of climate change (of which animal agriculture is a main contributing factor) are felt.
  7. Eating meat and dairy is a terrible waste of resources. We use far more than our fair share of grain, water, air, and land when we consume diets that include animal products.

There are a number of excellent resources for Christians who want to learn more about how their use of animals impacts the whole world. You can start by checking out ESA's articles on animal protection.

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8 Responses

  1. Maureen Killoran says:

    Thank you this was well written !

  2. Lena says:

    Wow! This is awesome! I'm not a Christian, but I believe in the teachings of Jesus and in radical empathy. It's great to see people of all faiths who really GET it!

  3. Jackie White says:

    Very helpful, thank you. 🙂

  4. Thank you for being the change that changes the world. Ghandi

  5. Sue says:

    Thank you. It's so hard at church potlucks. I always take dishes that are vegan. I can never get how they can turn a blind eye towards supporting farm factories. Once a lot of us went out for pizza and I ordered a veggie pizza (before I gave up dairy) my pizza came first. Everyone wanted a piece which left my daughter and I with one piece. Then all the meat pizza came and sitting there wondering how everyone forgot about what I just shared with them about farm factories.

  6. Vegan says:

    I've been vegan for 18 years and Christian for 25. Church potlucks are hard for me when people make fun of my choice to eat the way I eat. I never confront what is on their plates. It does hurt, but your article has helped after my church's sermon today. I really had a hard time listening and processing what my pastor was saying regarding dominion over the animals and enjoying meat. It was more of a joke and laughing at those who are vegetarian. Your points are very valid, especially how eating meat contributes to harming each other in less fortunate places in this world. I'm rambling here because I feel very alone on this but thank you again for your article and for those who have commented before me.

    • Sarah King says:

      That sounds awful, I'm so sorry. The project we've started, CreatureKind, is working on a way to help folks like you connect with other like-minded Christians. You can sign up for updates and whatnot at BeCreatureKind.org.

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