Why I have decided to leave the Bible behind... for now

Your current concern.

Yes, the plain meaning of the text is always preferable. Sorry for the sarcasm, but your whole procedure is backwards. You’ve started with a predetermined position, then searched the scriptures for verses to support it. The name for this is “proof-texting,” and it’s pretty much a prescription for getting things wrong. The tail wagging the dog, in popular parlance.

Oy vey! btw, the Haggadah is the Passover service.

I did do that, I;m trying not to anymore, which I why I no longer see animal welfare to be too great a concern. It’s not irrational to assume that the Ancients would have seen stewardship as important to an extent, especially the Egyptians, who saw the earth and sky as divine.

Why will it change?

when you change your mind.

How can Genesis 1:28 be interpreted in a way which doesn’t seem to suggest treating animals the same way the Israelites treated the Canaanites? That’s what the word kbs seems to indicate. I don’t want to hurt by tortoise!

This is I am sure completely normal behaviour for believers to go through, struggling with God. ‘he who struggles with God’ is the name of YHWH’s chosen people for a reason I do believe, and for this reason the story of Jacob is one of my favourite stories from the Bible.

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Perhaps @beaglelady as a vegan herself can help me with this, what is being spoken about in Romans 14:2, where Paul says vegetarians are weak of faith? I now support becoming vegan, for health, ethical and environmental reasons.

I think that is about meat offered to idols–at the time, there was a controversy over whether Christians or Jews should eat meat offered to idols (if I recall correctly, a part of virtually all meat was offered to idols or the Greek gods, so it was all symbolically dedicated to them; those who abstained were vegetarians, or at least nearly so). Paul said everything is from God, so it didn’t matter what you ate. However, he also said he was aware that by eating meat associated with idols, you could offend someone else’s conscience–so that he would not eat meat again if it offended another person.

So–I don’t think it has anything to do with whether veganism is healthy or not. That’s another debate entirely.:slight_smile:

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As I understand it, in many of the early church contexts, there was a concern that meat had been sacrificed to idols before it was sold in the market or restaurants, so some Christians avoided it altogether to avoid all semblance of participating in idol worship. Some early Christians still kept to Jewish dietary laws, but if they were a persecuted minority in a region, it might be difficult to find kosher meat (since there were rules about how it had to be butchered.) Paul was saying that people who had these concerns had overly sensitive consciences and were not living in the true freedom from the law that Christ offered. There are good reasons (motivated by Christian values of stewardship and generosity) for choosing to forego meat in our time.

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Some good verses which teach stewardship:

Revelation 11:18:

The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.”

Psalm 36:6:

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O LORD.

Genesis 9:9-11:

“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

I interpret this as a statement that God wishes to preserve the animals, as well as humans, and free them from harm.

Proverbs 21:20:

Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.

We should not waste the earth’s resources.

However, what does Paul mean when he says that God has no concern for Oxen?

For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?

He isn’t. God is concerned about oxen, and the original Deuteronomic passages about these things are indeed about caring for all of God’s creation. But then Paul is drawing on this as a matter of comparison. If God concerns himself with the oxen … how much more so does he consider and value people! So Paul’s point isn’t to “demote” the poor ox, but to relatively promote the importance of you. Jesus, too, when he compares us to the value of a sparrow, isn’t calling a sparrow worthless. Or the lilies of the field --are they of no value? But in contrast we should consider how much value we must have if even all these other things are not beneath God’s attentive love.

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But the language where Paul rhetorically asks if God has no concern for oxen implies that he doesn’t, Now as it happens I believe God does care for animals, based on about a hundred other verses, such as Gen 9:11, Ps 36:6, Ps 145:9, Matt 6:26, Luke 12:24, I just think this verse needs to be explained.

While others more knowledgeable here can step in to correct or add as needed, I’m pretty sure that our modern reading sensibilities don’t do us any favors as we read some passages. We tend to elevate straightforward prose that is objective, devoid of emotion, sarcasm, hyperbole or any of these “lesser”, or unfortunate bad communication habits. We want to just think important things should be laid out dispassionately. But prophets and apostles don’t seem to have shared in our modern demands for this. Paul seems to think explosive emotional outbursts can and should have their appropriate expression in his letters (granted … he didn’t know his correspondence would one day be set along side the sacred scriptures of his day; but still he wrote it all for public consumption and edification of his church plants).

So just treat it as if you had just suggested to me that I seemed to value a flower garden more than I value people in the community. And then I respond to you with “You think I value these flowers!? No – what I really value is the people.” Such a sentence may in a literal sense seem to be commentary on my value (or lack of value) of plants. But it is not commentary on that at all. It is 100% commentary on how much I value people. Human communication is often messy and demanding of us to pay attention to context.

Blessings on your Sunday!

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Autographed programs will be available soon … when the date stamp ink dries…

This is the latest installment…

I buried my pet tortoise today (it died), and we gave it a Quasi-Christian funeral, complete with a cross at his grave. Is this acceptable for christians?

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Sorry for your loss. You are definitely not the first person to do so. We had a whole pet (and random wild bird and baby bunny) graveyard by the railroad tracks while I was growing up. Crosses were involved and prayers were said at the funerals.

Sorry for your loss. I see no problem with that. George Macdonald, my favorite author, argued for a relationship between God and animals; but even if that were not so, doesn’t God have an interest in creation?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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