How 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.
- Neil Padukone: Do Abrahamic Faiths Have A Monopoly On Truth? (huffingtonpost.com)