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Posts Tagged ‘dominion’

“as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings”

October 16th, 2010 No comments

(Luke 13:34, Mat 23:37)

The background sound for the Virtual Battery Cage came from the undercover video “Inside an Egg Factory Farm” from Compassion Over Killing.  Turn the sound off this one (bottom right corner) before you watch the one below.

If you care about animal welfare, please consider this perspective on “humane” egg production, from the Faces of Free Range Farming, presented by Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary who asks these two questions:

1. What happens to ALL of the male chicks – not just few token roosters – but ALL of them?  Here’s a Hint. More here.

2. What happens to the hens when they are no longer laying enough eggs for this facility to be profitable?

What are you actually paying for at the grocery store?  Take a look at the state of “organic” and egg labeling generally from these links:

–  the Cornucopia Institute

–  the Humane Society

An Evangelical’s Perspective on God’s Other Creatures

May 10th, 2010 No comments

Take a listen.  Most of the sources he mentions on my Resources page or in the Library Thing link in the sidebar.  When you’re done with these, check out the other videos from the Wake Up Weekend set from the link underneath.

Ben’s website Not One Sparrow (fixed link)

Wake Up Weekend – Ben DeVries Part 1 of 2 from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Wake Up Weekend – Ben DeVries Part 2 of 2 from Calvin Video Network on Vimeo.

Seeing the Interconnections, Racism-Sexism-Speciesism

April 25th, 2010 No comments

Nature or Creation?

November 30th, 2009 No comments

An excerpt from Hauerwas and Berkman on where to begin conversations about ourselves and animals in The Chief End of All Flesh, as published in Theology Today.

Instead, we believe the place to begin is with God’s creation of the world.

Acknowledging the tragedy of the natural world being at war with itself inevitably leads us to “survival of the fittest” conclusions, unless we realize that “nature” and “creation” are not referring to the same world. Those who believe that “nature” and “creation” are synonymous often buy into an implicit Deism (which sometimes also appears under the name “theism”), believing that God functions primarily as “the first cause of it all” and thus presuming that “nature” is coextensive with what Christians mean by “creation.” Of course, the notion of creation is not self-explanatory. In much of the literature devoted to questions concerning how Christians conceive of the environment and of animals, the term “creation” too easily becomes synonymous with “nature” and reasons why nature is important. In such an account, the affirmation of creation becomes simply a kind of romanticism toward nature. Though we stand in awe of our so-called “natural world,” we certainly do not intend to stand for this kind of romanticism.16We are acutely aware that animals still eat animals, even under the best of conditions. We cannot avoid the fact that hawks eat rabbits, lions eat gazelles, cats eat mice, and that, if necessary, we human animals eat all of them.

This implicit Deism fails on two counts. First, it does not recognize that the world created in the Genesis accounts is radically different from our present “natural” world, and, thus, it ignores the significance of the Fall as an account of our present tragedy.  Even more significantly, those who buy into this implicit Deism are oblivious to the fact that Christian convictions about creation must be correlated with christological and eschatological convictions, since Christian convictions about creation are trinitarian convictions. On our trinitarian view, ” nature” must be understood as “creation in bondage.”

The Westminster Catechism begins by asking us “What is the chief end of man?” This question – a question concerning the ultimate end for life-is the one with which Christians must begin if they are to understand themselves and other animals. So, minus the sexism and anthropocentrism of the original question, let us begin by discussing the chief end for all God’s creation.

We have criticized the view that understands nature and creation as coextensive and its attendant survivalist ethic. This “survivalist ethic” is frequently underwritten by theologians, not only on the issue of human relations with animals but also in debates concerning nuclear weaponry.18 It is particularly important that the position being argued for in this section be distinguished from this survivalist ethic, because Christians simply do not have an overriding stake in the survival of the earth or our own survival. As God’s creatures, our “chief end” is not to survive but to be capable of serving one another, and in doing so to  serve as signs of the kingdom of God. In comparison to this service, survival is a secondary commitment.

Thus, we must not allow the Christian doctrine of creation to function as an apology for a survivalist ethic, for, in the end, this ethic requires us to sacrifice not only many fellow human beings to guarantee human survival, but also any other animal that may possibly help guarantee human survival. We oppose this survivalist ethic because we believe the Christian affirmation that we are God’s creatures means that neither our lives nor the lives of other animals are at our disposal. This Christian affirmation requires a very different attitude towards the world.

(16As we will try to show, it is profoundly important that creation does not become just another way of praising the importance of “Mother Earth.” Much has been written already about how Christians need to learn more from Native American attitudes about the earth, the sky, and the water. While we admire much that native peoples know about the nature of their world and how they should live in it, we are not sure how, if at all, these insights can be related to what should inform Christians on this matter….)

The Christian Origins of Suicide Food

November 10th, 2009 No comments

An unexpected little blurb about suicide food.    Martyrs are fed to vicious animals to propitiate the vicious animals, God seething mob.  Pigs and cows are martyrs animals .   Jesus was an animal God incarnate, who, as the ultimate martyr, was fed to vicious animals slaughtered for the animals, God us so we could be fed saved.  It’s all the same clear now.

In the transition from a pagan to a Christian culture, Christian conceptions of sacrifice were sometimes combined with traditional conceptions.  From the Nolan countryside, the Christian monk Paulinus wrote in 406 ce about a pig and a heifer that offered themselves for slaughter at the tomb of Saint Felix (Carmen, 20).  As Denis Trout has recently shown, when animals were slaughtered at the tomb of Saint Felix, the needs of rural life were thus taken care of, and Christian and pre-Christian religious practices were combined. (Trout 1995; cf. Trout 1999: 179-86).  It is worth noting that in the Christian amalgamation of traditional sacrificial ritual and Christian piety, the animals were not merely cooperating as they had been expected to do in the traditional sacrificial cults.  The pig and the heifer were eagerly and happily hurrying towards their destiny as the Christian martyrs were thought to do.

~ Ingvild Saelid Gilhus, Animals, Gods And Humans:  Changing Attitudes to Animals in Greek, Roman and Early Christian Ideas (New York: Routledge, 2006), 157.   The Trout reference is from Trout, D.E. (1995) “Christianizing the Nolan countryside: animal sacrifice at the tomb of St. Felix”, Journal of Early Christian Studies 3, 3, 281-98.  and  (1999) Paulinus of Nola:  Life, Letters, and Poems, Berkely, Los Angeles and London: Univ. of California Press.

How long God?

November 3rd, 2009 No comments

Dairy requires pregnancy.  Pregnancy results in calves.  Veal is a byproduct of the dairy industry.  For what it’s worth.

HSUS releases new undercover  investigation.  or   here.

“The righteous know the needs of their animals,

but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” (Prov 12:10)

However men may differ as to speculative points of Religion, JUSTICE is a rule of universal extent and invariable obligation. We acknowledge this important truth in all matters in which MAN is concerned, but then we limit it to our own species only.…To rectify this mistaken notion is the design of this treatise, in which I have endeavored to prove, that as the Love and Mercy of God are over all of his works, from the highest rational to the lowest sensitive, our Love and Mercy are not to be confined within the circle of our own friends, acquaintance, and neighbours; nor limited to the more enlarged sphere of human nature, to creatures of our own rank, shape, and capacity; but are to be extended to every object of the Love and Mercy of GOD the universal Parent; who, as he is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works, will undoubtedly require of Man, superior Man, a strict account of his conduct to every creature entrusted to his care, or coming in his way; and who will avenge every instance of wanton cruelty and oppression, in the day in which he will judge the world in RIGHTEOUSNESS.  ~  Humphrey Primatt, 1776

On “Eating Animals”, book

November 1st, 2009 No comments

Mainstream coverage in advance of Jonathan Safran Foer’s new book Eating Animals, officially out tomorrow.

CNN,  WSJ online,  NPR

and an earlier longer excerpt from the NYT

Of course daring to make this argument will get played as a trendy, new, UnChristian thing.  Of course it is anything but. Ferrier (1903)  on Tertullian (circa 200):

Tertullian, the most learned of all the Latin theologians, was bold enough to proclaim his convictions. The second century in which he lived needed it. It is not to be wondered at that the orthodox party of his time separated from him. His trenchant words which have come down to us are required by this Age also. The customs of the western Christian Churches have been a blot on the teaching of the Master and the Fathers. Westernised Christianity, in seeking to conquer the east, has too often only materialised the faith. And the failure of missionaries to win over the cultured of the east is through our gross western habits in living. For the man whose religion teaches him to hold all life sacred, is not [13] likely to be converted to a faith that deems no life sacred but man’s.

These things Tertullian taught—that flesh-eating was not conducive to the highest life, that it violated the written and unwritten moral law, that it debased man in intellect and heart, and that it closed the doors of the Inner Temple of his Intuition.  Ferrier continues, “It is quite evident Tertullian had the same arguments to meet from the lovers of flesh-meats as we have to-day. And the fact that they tried to place Christ amongst the flesh-eaters and wine-bibbers in order to find an excuse for gratifying their own low tastes.…Thus [Tertullian] reproaches those who defended gross living, comparing them to Esau, the merely animal man; and that like him too they would even sell their birth-right for a mess of pottage, sacrificing their souls for the life of flesh. And then we have [Tertullian’s] scathing indictment—”Your belly is your God, your liver is your temple, your paunch is your altar, the cook is your priest.…It is in the cooking pots that your love is inflamed—it is in the kitchen that your faith grows fervid—it is in the flesh dishes that all your hope lies hid.…Who is held in so much esteem with you as the frequent giver of dinners, as the sumptuous entertainer ?…Consistently do you men of flesh reject the things of the Spirit. But if your prophets are complacent toward such persons, they are not my prophets.”

For a contextual treatment of food and the belly in Paul consider this.

Friends or Food?

October 17th, 2009 No comments

Thanks to the Grumpy Vegan for pointing to the Animals Asia Foundation.  Dog eating is an issue in Asia.  Sometimes it takes seeing a victim you can recognize before you can really begin to see the rest.  The cross comes to mind but that’s a long Girardian tangent for another day.

A tidbit from the Friends or Food? faq:

  • What is fundamental to the practice of dog and cat eating is that the cruelty is often deliberate and slaughter methods are designed to intensify and prolong the suffering in the misguided belief that “torture equals taste”.
  • In situations where the torture is not deliberate, the method of slaughter is still tragically cruel. Markets in China employ killing methods that leave both dogs and cats suffering a lingering, violent death as they are either bludgeoned over the head, stabbed in the neck or groin, hanged, electrocuted or thrown conscious into drums of boiling water.

Check out the Friends or Food? campaign here.

pictorial of the process of dog slaughter for meat in Vietnam (unrelated to the Animals Asia campaign, but informative nonetheless).  The photographer notes that

“Food dogs” are not pets and they have no names.  They are bred and raised in farms, just like pigs, cows, lambs, chickens and other farm animals.  They are put down “humanely” just like any other farm animal, usually by slitting the throat and beeding the animal until it passes out.

The issue of dog meat points most clearly to the arbitrariness of our designations of “food” animals.  The inherent properties of dogs don’t change based on the label we put on them.  It does point to the linguistic shift we have to make in order to treat animals like things. It’s not the reality of the subject that changes but we have to do a linguistic move, a conceptual move in order to treat them a certain way. The same is true for cows and pigs and chickens.  Just because we choose to not know them doesn’t mean they can’t be known as the individuals they are.

Delicacy and Disgust

October 2nd, 2009 No comments

Hell is when we consider what it might be like to live under our own dominion.  Our popular idea of ‘going to hell’ basically means that God (or Satan, depending on your theology) will treat us (creatures under his care) the way we treat the animals under our care … merciless slaughter, burning flesh, you get the idea.  Hell is the very worst thing we can imagine – but only when it happens to us. Take the following, for example, describing a forced feeding procedure …

The idea, proposed by the government, that experience demonstrated that forced feeding was harmless, was a convenient myth. The government most likely knew that forced feeding was a painful procedure that often caused both biological and psychological damage.

…  the men in power shoved feeding tubes down their throats and force-fed them …

… tubes often damaged the larynx and pharynx, and if by mistake the tube was pushed into the trachea instead of the esophagus, fatal aspiration pneumonia could result from the error

(from a victim) “Knowing what to expect I braced up my nerves and sat quietly in the chair instead of struggling and fighting … The passage of the tube through the nose caused me but little inconvenience … but its further passage caused me to retch, vomit, shake, and suffocate to such an extent that in the struggle for air I raised my body till I stood upright in spite of three or four wardresses holding me down, after which I sank back in the chair exhausted. When the tube was withdrawn I seemed to be afflicted with chronic asthma and could only breathe in short gasps. To take a deep breath caused me excruciating pain.  Two wardresses helped me back to my cell where I lay in agony, the pain becoming worse every moment.”

This is actually text from an article describing the forced feeding of suffragettes by the British government in the early 1900’s. That’s disgusting.  Having your body violated that like …  Evil.  No questions asked.  It’s also the description of what we do to geese in order to have foie gras, here and here.  Watch as they shake, wretch, try to vomit, have trouble breathing … all in the name of literally creating a diseased liver we’ll later consume as a gourmet delight.

Having their bodies violated like that … Delicacy.

Hell is imagining ourselves.  We are the mouth that swallows the damned.

They Pity, and Eat the Objects of Their Compassion

September 18th, 2009 No comments

This is the second installment from the book “Ethical Vegetarianism“.   The editors have given a section to Oliver Goldsmith, British poet and essayist, drawing from his work “The Citizen of the World”.  In it Goldsmith “satirically scrutinized the norms of eighteenth-century England through the eyes of Lien Chi Altangi, a fictional Chinese visitor to the West who regales his Pekin correspondents with sometimes bewildered accounts of British customs.” (61)  This content epitomizes what my contemporaries generally refer to as the schizophrenia we exhibit towards the rest of the animal kingdom, the fundamental irrationality with which we relate to other creatures.  Our hearts rejoice when we see a creature washed clean after an oil spill, or in any other way really, saved from the injustice of our recklessness … while at the same time refusing to see the face of that same creature on our plates.   I really believe, deep down, we know something is wrong.  We don’t want to see precisely because of the pointedness with which it reminds us of our fundamental error.  They have faces too. Read more…