Jump to content

Animal Cruelty And The Bible


Recommended Posts

Stating the obvious.  We ourselves are animals.  All animals feel pain.

 

They hurt.  They are sentient beings, with feelings.

 

We as humans have a strange relationship with animals.  Some we like, others we dont.

 

Billions of animals are tortured and killed in slaughterhouses.

 

Many people dont seem to care about this. Animals, excluding us, are just things.

 

And obviously if a God exists it allows a massive amount of suffering, esp. if you include all the torture and death or non human animals.  I think I am answering my own question, but how can this be? Can a God do nothing whilst all this suffering goes on?

 

In the old testament geocides, as well as killing men, women and children, the God-ordained massacres included all animals. They would slaughter sheep, cattle, camels and donkeys.

 

According to the bible when going to war the israelites would kill everything that breathes.  They would go from city to city killing infants, slaughtering animals and stealing possessions.  Ordained by a God of love, what a joke!!

 

There is a whole book, Leviticus on animal sacrifices.  It is a bloody book, full of cruelty, sprinkling blood around and dismemberment. All for the purpose of appeasing a wrathful God. Needless to say this is ignored by the church.

 

In the new testament Jesus when performing exorcism, drives demons into a herd of pigs and sends them into a lake.  Is this also an act of animal cruelty?  Why did the pigs diserve to drown?  It makes no sense.

 

I guess this is the Bible God being consistent with drowning the entire planet in Genesis.  However this is surely a very distorted view of a creator, making out that the deity is psychopathic angry, vengeful entity.

 

What are you thoughts about the animal suffering in the Bible?  Thanks

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This has always bothered me as well. I think compassion is a sign if intelligence. That is why I never could understand how god, who was supposed to be so all-knowing could also be so cruel. Sometimes I save bugs that get into my house by putting them outside and as I am doing it, I think about how different I am from the god of the bible--- and am glad for it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Stating the obvious.  We ourselves are animals.  All animals feel pain.

 

 

The part in bold is not the Christian perspective. The Christian perspective (as taught in my old church and thoroughly adhered to by my former mentor) is that humans are God's image bearers. Animals were created for man (remember the part in Genesis about the search for a suitable mate and how it was Adam's job to name the animals, etc?). In the Bible, animals are firmly beneath man in the hierarchy.

 

Humans are exceptional and there is a fancy term for this belief: human exceptionalism. Since we were created God's image, we are better than the rest of the animals. God blessed us and us alone with souls, conscience, understanding and that ability to have a relationship with him. Yada yada.

 

Of course, if the Fall had not happened, none of us (not even the animals) would feel pain and humanity would still be innocent, happy, and 100% free to live under the care of a loving God.

 

That is how it was explained to me back in church, fwiw.

 

My opinion is that there is nothing exceptional about us and who are we to say that dolphins, dogs, birds, ants, and other living things don't have relationships, lives, societies, and other such things? We tend to judge by our standards and think that human=best or human=unique...but obviously, other animals have systems that work for them. They haven't been busy reinventing the wheel like we have for thousands of years. Animals live by the laws of nature and guess what? That is what God enables humans to deny. Humans created God to understand and justify a cruel and vast nature that they could not bend to their will. Instead of acceptance, there was fear and this fear exists today in the form of science denial and naturalism for God, imo.

 

As far as animal suffering in the Bible goes....it was mostly unnecessary. How could the aroma be pleasing to God if he is not a living thing capable of smell? Why create only to destroy? Seems pointless and illogical to me.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

.., I think about how different I am from the god of the bible--- and am glad for it!

 

Agreed. The theoretical God is happy to sit around and be a do-nothing entity and let animal and human suffering continue

 

And the bible God version 1.0, the old testament being, who requires sin and guilt offerings and loves the smell of burning flesh, sounds more akin to an imaginary demonic being.

 

I know what you mean about spiders and bugs.  I am the one called upon to save bugs in my household, but admittedly I sometimes have squashed them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Stating the obvious.  We ourselves are animals.  All animals feel pain.

 

 

The part in bold is not the Christian perspective. The Christian perspective (as taught in my old church and thoroughly adhered to by my former mentor) is that humans are God's image bearers. Animals were created for man (remember the part in Genesis about the search for a suitable mate and how it was Adam's job to name the animals, etc?). In the Bible, animals are firmly beneath man in the hierarchy.

 

Humans are exceptional and there is a fancy term for this belief: human exceptionalism. Since we were created God's image, we are better than the rest of the animals. God blessed us and us alone with souls, conscience, understanding and that ability to have a relationship with him. ...

 

I remember that now, the great chain of being, with God at the top, and then animals firmly beneath man in the hierarchy.  I'd agree that there is nothing exceptional about us, except perhaps for our intelligence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Stating the obvious.  We ourselves are animals.  All animals feel pain.

 

As far as animal suffering in the Bible goes....it was mostly unnecessary. How could the aroma be pleasing to God if he is not a living thing capable of smell? Why create only to destroy? Seems pointless and illogical to me.

 

I could never reconcile animal cruelty with the existence of a loving creator.  As a christian, I was depressed because I just didn't understand why god would create animals to feel pain if he made them to be eaten, and - even more depressing - sacrificed. 

 

Jesus words about the father caring for the birds and giving them food were constantly coming into conflict with reality for me.  Where I live in the north, I would see how animals would freeze to death and starve each year.  These deaths were even more brutal than an animal being eaten by other animals.  Jesus was full of shit about this.  The birds here spend all of their time finding food sources for themselves.  Skydaddy doesn't do anything for them.  A loving, providing creator would never create such a torturous existence for its creation.  

 

Seven77, your point about YHVH's enjoyment of the smell of burning flesh was pretty much a turning point for me.  I allowed my mind to consider this question:  is it more likely that the creator of the universe enjoys burning flesh, or that a bunch of primitive humans looked out over a plane and saw a herd animal get hit by lightening, and then it rained?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have identified a particular moral tenant existing among modern humans that contradicts a moral tenent sourced from certain religious dogma from two millennia ago.  Are you surprised?  If so, why?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The animal cruelty/ human superiority stuff in the bible made me sick.  Literally sick.  I'm glad I don't adhere to that evil book anymore.  When I became a vegetarian with the goal of working towards a cruelty-free life, and a respect for life in all it's different forms and particularly an unwillingness to cause pain to a living being, my devout Christian adoptive family went bananas.  I was "evil", I was an "idolater", I had turned away from "God's will".  I saw then clearly maybe for the first time how Christianity had really warped them.  That I was the "evil" one because I did not want to cause harm and did not believe humans were more special than any other being. 

 

It also made no sense that God/Jesus had deliberately created all these various kinds of animals and then basically just seemed to hate them all, or at best be indifferent, such as the pig drowning affair.  What is "holy" about plunging a knife into a lamb tied to an alter??  Nothing.  It is a barbaric activity for barbarians.  And if your God wants such things then he is simply a demon. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest afireinside

I could never comprehend the acceptance of animal cruelty in the Bible or why it was necessary at all, firstly what a waste of life and also killing off the best and healthiest "blemish free" sheep etc is not a very good way of refining your breed-flies in the face of Solomon's ultimate wisdom, couldn't he see that like begets like and question God on this.

 

I also don't get the need for blood of innocent animals, couldn't they burn wheat or something more practical and less barbaric?

 

The priests must have been right sickos really.

 

It all comes down to worldview, if we believe God/Heaven/atonement is priority then everything else is secondary, just like the Christian parents neglecting the needs of their children for the sake of tithing by faith, it's stupidity. Same goes for the Christian view of the environment- "it's all good, trash the place we'll be outta here soon, forget about sustainability, it's rapture baby!!". Just uninformed, ignorant, self concerned stupidity and it had me sucked in for a while too

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also don't get the need for blood of innocent animals, couldn't they burn wheat or something more practical and less barbaric?  The priests must have been right sickos really.

 

Hi afireinside, I think its just part of the bronze age/ iron age culture.  In their culture they believed in an angry tribal deity, and the only way to appease this anger they believed, was for them to sacrifice animals.

 

They would cut the throats of sheep and goats and the priests would sprinkle the blood on the assembled congreation  - Exodus 24:8 "Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you". In their mindset this was the only way for Yahwah to stop smiting them with plagues.  They would consecrate each other by sprinkling blood.  Leviticus 8:30 "Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments."

 

Even though we find the image of priests drenched in blood sickening, in their culture I imagine this behaviour was perfectly normal. I think as human beings we have in many ways evolved, and have no need for such primtive ritual. Although the Christian ritual of symbolic cannabilism and vampirism is not much much better IMO. And we still kill non-human animals but it is hidden away in factory farms, so from the animal's point of view I dont know if things are much better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

They did sacrafice grain as well, not just animals. They sacraficed the first fruits of everything. Including the first born human children, sorta, because there was a special offering you had to bring to the temple to randsom your firstborn son back from god (that offering was on a sliding scale based on income). And it didn't all go to waste; some of the parts of the sacrafices went to feed the priests and their families (of both the animal and the grain offerings), so to me that makes the killing a bit less senseless, and about sharing food with their god/income for the priests and not just about death.

 

The creepiest part to me is the modern people whose only reason for not trying to sacrafice animals like that today is because that got taken care of a few thousand years ago with a really special human sacrafice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it's sort of understandable for the time the books were written. In war, you don't want your enemy having resources to fall back on, so you kill the livestock. It's shitty and stupid, but that's humans for you. 

Meat was a precious commodity then too, so killing and burning meat was the ultimate sacrifice. The meat also went to feed the clergy, so it wasn't just a sacrifice to God, it was also a form of tithing. Grains, vegetables, and bread were also offered, especially by those who couldn't afford to sacrifice a dove, chicken, lamb, or cattle. 

Understandable then. Not now. It's not 2,014 years ago any more.

As for modern day, I speak as a small suburban farmer that raises and butchers her own livestock that I live very intimately with the cycles of life and death. I don't see killing and eating meat as wrong or immoral (harvesting meat is very necessary for how I do things) but cruelty doesn't factor into it anywhere. I've taken great pains in planning to make sure everything here can live a normal, healthy, and happy life as nature intended...in fact, letting them act as nature intended saves ME a hell of a lot of work and expense. Not only do I care about them as sentient beings and don't want them to feel pain, it's imperative that I keep them healthy and happy for the survival of my body and my business.

 

I KNOW very well that our current industrial farming practices are barbaric, inefficient, wasteful, stupid, dangerous, corrupt, and destructive. Things HAVE to change. Everything we do to animals and the environment is backlashing back at us badly and making us sick as a species. Do people have to be dropping dead in the streets for things to change? 

I could go on a very long tirade complete with my own opinions on how to fix our food system, but I won't hijack the thread. Suffice to say, I am not down with the Biblical ideas of how to treat animals.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest afireinside

Would be interesting to read that thread though Kurari, I work in the food production industry in an intensive dairy/horticultural region and am always thinking if alternative ways of doing things

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Would be interesting to read that thread though Kurari, I work in the food production industry in an intensive dairy/horticultural region and am always thinking if alternative ways of doing things

That's cool. I'd be happy to start a thread, but not sure where to put it since it's pretty off-topic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Totally Off Topic be probably the most suitable

Thanks! I didn't know we even had one. Never scroll down that far. XD

 

 

Edit: Ok, I posted: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/61441-ethical-farming/#.UyU96fldU0Q

Link to comment
Share on other sites

..It also made no sense that God/Jesus had deliberately created all these various kinds of animals and then basically just seemed to hate them all, or at best be indifferent, such as the pig drowning affair.  What is "holy" about plunging a knife into a lamb tied to an alter??  Nothing.  It is a barbaric activity for barbarians.  And if your God wants such things then he is simply a demon. 

 

Hi Rach, I also find animal sacrifices in the the bible primtive and barbaric.  Interesting comment on being vegetarian and your Christian family freaking out. I agree that being vegetarian makes you some kind of pariah.

 

Jesus supposedly made all foods clean, which includes all all kinds of meat.  We can therefore conclude he had little thought to animal suffering.  And the disgraceful legion/ pig downing episode confirms this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Things sure have changed... even in the last 150 years, regarding the place of animals in society. As was pointed out by seven77, the rest of creation is just there for humanity to use up, however they want, according to what's in the Bible. After all, God created it, just for them. Suggesting that humanity was an animal, too, and came from animals, directly contradicted not just the word in Genesis, but the whole concept of humanity, and their place in Creation, as far as a lot of Christians were (and are) concerned. That's precisely why some of them FLIP OUT about natural selection: it's not just the idea that Genesis isn't literally correct, it's that the idea itself that humanity is part of a natural continuum - that directly sabotages a lot of the Christian world-view of humans as a special creation of God, and therefore needing revelations, prophets, and salvation. 150 years... what happened, about that time ago... let me think. Yeah, On the Origin of Species (1859) has a lot to do with the beginnings of the ideas that humanity owes any sort of kindness to animals, actually. If we are animals too, we're not so different, and being cruel to animals became a short step away from cruelty to humans, too.

 

Here's a roll call of a bunch of horrific animal-torturing pass-times that our ancestors were okay with:

Rat-baiting (what terriers were bred for - the one that could kill the most rats in the least time won); bull-baiting ; bear baiting ; (you get the idea: anything-baiting was popular - if you could tie it to a stake, and have dogs rip it apart, it was done) ; cock throwing ; fox tossing ; goose pulling ... yeah. Casual animal cruelty was very widespread.

 

So, it's not just the Bible, it's also a larger change in culture. But, yes, there are other cultures with different ideas of nature and humanity's relationship to it. (Sometimes, this comes with its own problems, or weird outcomes, like animals bred in cages, so they can be sold to people who release them from captivity, or said released animals becoming invasive.) Long story short, nature isn't obligated to act like humanity thinks it should...

 

Edit: I just re-read that, and it was super-depressing, so here's some tame deer from Nara park (a Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan forbid hunting on their grounds a few hundred years ago, so the deer are completely fearless of humans.) They're tame, not domestic, of course, so they'll fight if provoked, and shamelessly beg or mug tourists for cookies. They're half the size of the deer species I'm familiar with, so that just makes them look extra-precious, summer coat of spots and all. The samurai, however, weren't so pacifistic - note traditional deer hide chaps. So, even in the same culture, there can be considerable tension in viewpoints.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

...Jesus words about the father caring for the birds and giving them food were constantly coming into conflict with reality for me.  Where I live in the north, I would see how animals would freeze to death and starve each year.  These deaths were even more brutal than an animal being eaten by other animals.  Jesus was full of shit about this.  The birds here spend all of their time finding food sources for themselves.  Skydaddy doesn't do anything for them.  A loving, providing creator would never create such a torturous existence for its creation.

Jesus was indeed full of crap about this, completely divorced from reality.

This issue alone soured me on Christianity.

Skydaddy also drowned animals in the flood and that was intentional.

Jesus ignored that as well.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Skydaddy also drowned animals in the flood and that was intentional.

Jesus ignored that as well.

Or if you believe in the trinity, Jesus personally drowns all the animals, millions of innocent men, women, pregnant women and children in a global flood.  Bizarre behavious for a so called loving God, but there you go!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.