Religious Reasons for Veganism
One of the primary reasons to live a vegan lifestyle is because of religious beliefs. Many religions support healthy eating, including Seventh-Day Adventists, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Muslims. Although not every member of any religion is vegan, many are vegetarian and others are at least careful of what they eat.
In Genesis 9, God does give permission to eat flesh. Being flooded, the earth went through major geologic changes. Needless to say, there would not have been an adequate supply of plant-based foods for the Noah and his family. Though Genesis 6:21 suggests that the animals and themselves ate only vegetarian food while on the art, it would not have been practical to store food for the first few months back on dry land. While God does allow the consumption of animal flesh, he never encourages it and it is no longer necessary.
As further support for veganism, the Bible clearly teaches that we are to care for the environment. Psalm 24:10 states: “The "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof." Deuteronomy 20:19-20 says “When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down…Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down…” In living a vegan lifestyle, we are helping the environment. Though indirect, this is excellent Biblical support for veganism.
Romans 12:1 says, “Therefore, I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Similarly, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” Later on, Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Finally, III John says, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” These verses make it evident that it does matter what we eat.
In addition, Jesus message was one of love, compassion, and mercy. Today’s factory farms display the horrid proof that we are supporting the torture of animals when we make the choice to eat them. Supporting a healthy lifestyle that is kind to animals and helpful to the environment is undoubtedly a preferable choice.
Seventh Day Adventists
She also commented on the efficiency of growing food for animals, and then using animals as food. “The diet of animals is vegetables and grains. Must the vegetables be animalized; must they be incorporated into the system of animals, before we get them? Must we obtain our vegetable diet by eating the flesh of dead creatures? God provided fruit in its natural state for our first parents. He gave to Adam charge over the garden, to dress it, and to care for it, saying, ‘To you it shall be for meat.’ One animal was not to destroy another animal for food.”
Though the colonization of India by other cultures has damaged the Hindu vegetarian ethic, it remains an ideal of thought and practice. Hindus emphasize that we should not have to kill in order to live. In Dancing with Siva, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami explains: "Hindus teach vegetarianism as a way to live with a minimum of hurt to other beings, for to consume meat, fish, fowl or eggs is to participate indirectly in acts of cruelty and violence against the animal kingdom. The abhorrence of injury and killing of any kind leads quite naturally to a vegetarian diet, shakahara…”
Besides viewing vegetarianism as an obligation to God, Hindus believe that our actions will have karmic consequences. By inflicting injury, pain and death upon animals, Hindus believe that they will receive equal suffering in the future.
Hindus have also observed the health benefits of a strictly vegetarian or vegan diet. As explained in our section titled “Health Reasons for Veganism”, vegans tend to live longer, healthier lives with fewer health problems.
Lastly, Hindus know that the earth itself is suffering from destruction of the environment. Much of this is a consequent of raising huge quantities of animals for food. Read more about this important reason for veganism on our page about the environment.
According to Lin Ching Shywan in “A Buddhist Perspective on Vegetarianism “, “Having a merciful and compassionate heart will show up in all aspects of one's life; but the simplest and most direct way is to follow a vegetarian diet.”
Similar to the Hindus, Buddhists believe in karma. The basic concept in Buddhist teaching is that “Good is rewarded with good; evil is rewarded with evil; and the rewarding of good and evil is only a matter of time."
In the Koran, many verses emphasize the equality humans have with animals. 6: 39 states, “There is not an animal that crawls in the earth, nor a bird that flies on its two wings, but they are communities like you…Then to their Lord shall they all be gathered together.”
In America, some Muslims have become vegan, as it is very difficult to obtain meat that comes from animals slaughtered according to Muslims principles.
Though not every Muslims believes that vegetarianism or vegan is necessary, the vegan lifestyle clearly goes in accordance with the Islamic faith.