Jesus’ message was intolerably radical, for it was the revolutionary vegan message of mercy and love for all creatures that strikes directly at the mentality of domination and exclusion that underlies both the herding culture we live in today and the culture of Jesus’ time.
Voltaire wisely said, “If we believe absurdities, we will commit atrocities.” Culture is the product of conversations, and our conversations are still dominated by the ideas and assumptions of the exploitive herding paradigm we were all fed as children.
All of us are celebrations of infinite mysterious Spirit, deserving of honor and respect. If our religions don’t emphasize this and include all of us, it’s time to replace them with spiritual teachings and traditions that do.
Our actions reinforce attitudes, in us and in others, that amplify the ripples of those actions until they become the devastating waves of insensitivity, conflict, injustice, brutality, disease, and exploitation that rock our world today.
As omnivores, we may resent vegans for reminding us of the suffering we cause, for we’d rather be comfortable and keep all the ugliness hidden, but our comfort has nothing to do with justice or with authentic inner peace. It is the comfort of blocking out and disconnecting, and it comes with a terrible price.
Religion’s turning away has allowed the atrocities to continue and legitimized the turning away of the general population. This turning away is the paradigmatic learning that our culture specializes in, particularly with regard to the plight of the animals we eat and use; it is the everyday teaching of not seeing, not caring, disconnecting, and ignoring.
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