An interesting objection to adopting a plant-based way of eating that many Christians rely on is the saying by Jesus that “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man” (Matthew 15:11). This is often interpreted as giving us permission to eat anything we like and instructing us instead to be mindful of our speech. By now it should be clear that this objection misses the point entirely. When we order a chicken or a cheeseburger at a deli, restaurant, or market, that is the moment that we engage in violence and cause “murders,” “thefts,” and suffering to defenseless animals and disadvantaged people. At that moment we are like the general who gives an order to kill someone in a faraway country; though he never sees the blood or hears the scream, he is nevertheless responsible for the killing.
Of itself, veganism is not a panacea, but it effectively removes a basic hindrance to our happiness, freedom, and unfoldment. As a living and ongoing expression of nonviolence, it is an enormously powerful agent of transformation in our individual lives, especially since our culture opposes it so vehemently.
As our culture moves toward a vegan orientation, we will see enormous healing and liberating forces unleashed. Indeed, imagining our culture as a vegan culture is truly imagining an almost completely different culture. This ever-present potential beckons to us.
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