Ruth is from Wales and has lived abroad for nearly 10 years, she enjoys her vegan lifestyle, loves animals and hopes to inspire others along the way. Her new blog is up and running at http://ruthculbreth.wordpress.com
I have been lacking on the blogging front and finding the time and energy to write has been incredibly challenging. I find myself working 9 to 8 some days and trying to make sure I eat well and get things done around the house is proving harder than expected.
Luckily, my husband and I will be moving to the UK soon and although busy at first, we will be settling in to a nice routine and for a whole year my only job will be to study journalism and write!
Having said all this, I never neglect reading the news and listening to podcasts and the vegan podcast I listen to is Our Hen House. It is fabulous. An American, lesbian couple talking about being vegan and animal welfare and me agreeing with everything they say… amazing!
This week they mentioned the St. Patrick’s Pig Wrestling event that was held at a church in Wisconsin (also mentioned here.) And so I talk about the next question in my vegan survey: Q4 Are you spiritual or/and religious and does this have an impact on your choice to be vegan?
I was brought up in a Christian home, going to church every Sunday and leading the fight for God. I was also the butt of many jokes in my small village because not many other children went to church anymore, I hated every Sunday but I was a faithful believer.
When I started travelling I found the experience of meeting atheists uncomfortable, I wouldn’t preach at all but when they said things I felt awkward and shifted in my seat until someone changed the subject.
Then I met a Canadian man who went on to be my boyfriend for 2 years. He had a cross tattooed on his back and proclaimed that if I didn’t believe in God we weren’t meant to be; ah my eyes shone as I had met my knight in shining armour.
I finally felt comfortable in my faith with a person who went on to verbally abuse me while sucking on a bucket of chicken wings from KFC and laughing at any notion of feminism and vegetarianism. There was an obvious flaw.
It seems to me that although there are many beautiful people of faith -my mother included- religion can and does put humans on a higher pedestal than other species.
It teaches many that animals do not have souls, that they are not capable of things as we are, that they cannot worship and therefore are here, purely, for whatever purpose humans need them to be here for.
I believe there are very few Christians who will become vegan and I find this irrational and irritating. If God put animals on earth just to be our entertainment, our food, our clothing then why would he give them the ability to feel pain? And if there is a God and he gave animals to be our entertainment, our food, our clothing and also gave them the feeling of pain, why do we worship him as a loving God at all?
On the podcast they reported how the church in Wisconsin has finally banned their annual pig wrestling event. An event that mocks the basic notion of Christian love and gentleness.
A small group of people -often children it seems- wrestle and chase a pig within an allocated area to cheering spectators. The pig has been oiled up to be slippery and if they get the pig and throw him into a large container they then get a prize, the pig itself.
A quote from the church’s website: “After much prayer and many hours of discussion, we realize that what we had for 44 years in the Original Pig Rassle was memorable, legal and great family fun. We also realize that our parish and diocesan talents could be better spent in areas that are less controversial. It is with great regret that we have discontinued the Original Pig Rassle, we are however, very excited to begin this new tradition at St. Patrick Parish.”
Family fun is how they -the orators of God- call an event that can only be described as cruel and miserable for the pig who has no idea what is being done to them and then, of course, meets the same fate as the majority of pigs do -slaughter.
This is a small insight into my personal journey to atheism and seeing deep flaws with the concept of religion and veganism. Yet, I have found a little flicker of light at the end of the tunnel as I have realised my mother is part of a Facebook group: ‘Christian vegans’. Woohoo!!
Other vegans that I asked answered as follows: Genesis 1:29: ‘And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.’ This person separated their reason for being vegan from their religion, but obviously feels that God specifically designed us to be herbivore. As proven in this video below
Another vegan believes that harming any aspect of nature for selfish reasons has a detrimental effect on our own state of inner well-being, spiritually. This seems like a fair analysis since how can we consciously be at peace if we fill our body with death, pain, and fear?
Is religion just the intention to be good? Do we really need religion to tell us the difference from right or wrong? As humans we always pride ourselves on being of higher intelligence than other animals and yet we need to be told what is right or wrong. No other species commits sins the same way we do, no other species hurts another intentionally and without desperate circumstances or natural instinct.
We are the only species that deals with a system that forces people to trample on others and become greedy as a way to prove success.
My hope is that, whether you became vegan because you feel a spiritual connection to nature, because you looked beyond what you were taught and realised that God wants you to be caring to all of his creatures, or neither, then you can at least see that being vegan is the right thing to do.