Does God hate kittens?

Hobbs aged 6 weeks: fearless kittenHow can someone who worships God so devoutly not have respect and concern for all life? I know a woman – who is far from unique in this – who is a passionate and reverent Christian, yet treats animals and the natural world with only as much care as is needed to make them grow and be useful. She does not recognise their sentience or intelligence, and of course she denies that they have anything like a spirit or a soul. Along with that goes the conviction that they are worth only their value to humans as food or tools. So she treats animals as assets, like the carrot and onion seeds she buys to grow for food each year, only more troublesome and much more expensive. She is bemused and critical of my feeding carrots to her horse, or giving the chickens names, or letting the cats into the house and feeding them meat. She finds nothing sweet or attractive about kittens and didn’t understand why I rescued two abandoned kittens instead of letting them die.

Do I sound negative and angry? Yes? Well, yeah, I am a bit. Not with her, not even with her two sons who hit the horse because they think they have to, and cut the ear off the dog to stop it running away (local folklore); I’m angry with the hypocrisy of being super-religious and yet so disdainful of one’s fellow creatures. I’m angry with a system that teaches this, at church, at school and at home.

So… if you’re of a religious turn of mind, whether Christian, Jewish or Islamic, do the Abrahamic faiths believe that animals have value only as assets? Buddhism obviously has a very different view, but although brought up in the Anglican Christian tradition, I don’t know the Bible well enough to know the official view on this.

A bit of a diversion from the main topic of this blog, but since I don’t feel lonely because I feel connected to all life, be it a dandelion, a beetle or another human, it does have some relevance. Why do humans (some of them) think they’re the only creature worth talking about on the planet? Because God told them so? Surely not.

Please educate me on this. I’d really like to hear your views, and the rationale behind them.

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3 comments on “Does God hate kittens?

  1. Cate says:

    You wouldn’t believe the myriad thoughts and memories (some of them quite grim) your post inspired. But I’ll hold off on addressing the darker side of the issue and start with something positive:

    Early in the month of October, I invariably scan The Washington Post for pictures from the yearly blessing of the animals, a custom observed on or near the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4th). On that occasion the faithful and their furry or feathered friends assemble at the local Episcopalian or Roman Catholic church to receive a blessing (My cousin reports she once spotted a horse!). I don’t know how widespread this is, but it’s a very life-affirming practice.

    The following explains it better than I can:

    http://www.americancatholic.org/features/francis/blessing.asp

    Additionally, a local cathedral has not one but two Franciscan-themed chapels, the artwork of which reflects a gratitude and respect for the natural world. On one wall is an image of St. Anthony of Padua preaching to the fishes, and on another, St. Francis conferring with the wolf of Gubbio, and below all are the words of the famous Canticle of the Sun.

  2. Jan says:

    Interesting! Certainly not how I was brought up but I can’t say we were overly religious.

    I found this …. http://vegsoc.org.au/religion_jesus_and_animals.asp …. but I don’t know if it may be a little biased as it’s on a vegetarian/vegan website. I warn you it’s a bit long.

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