There is a documentary being made about how regular vegans live regular lives and why they decided to stop eating animals and animal products in the first place. I shared my story with them and I thought the vegans (or veg-curious) people I know might like to hear it, too…
I became vegan mainly for religious reasons. I am not religious now but about 20 years ago I remember reading the Ten Commandments and noticing there was no asterisk after the statement, “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.
It got me thinking. Murder is obviously condoned in the Bible (blood of sheep over doors, “an eye for an eye”, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) but I noticed it was always done by men and never with God’s explicit instruction. It was always based on hearsay. Somebody said that God said… The only 10 irrefutable rules God provides in the Bible directly are His Commandments (and not for nothing, but He calls them “Commandments”, not “guidelines”, “recommendations”, or “good ideas”).
I could not help but wonder if God intentionally did not have any asterisks there. The First Commandment does not say, “Thou Shalt Not Kill***” with a footnote elsewhere that reads… ***except on burger night or if a fly is really annoying you, or if there is clear DNA evidence to support it. Other restrictions may apply.
He just says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” Period. End of line. There is no way to dispute the commandment, no loophole, no misinterpreting it, no ambiguous double meaning. This is one of the few places the Bible and God’s demands are crystal clear and irrefutable: Thou Shalt Not Kill.
I thought also, how interesting that of all animals on earth, God chose only one–only humans–to give both free will and the choice of whether or not to murder for food. Maybe it was a test, I began thinking. Maybe God really is watching and placing a tick-mark for every one of His flies that we swat, each spider we squish, or cow that we chop to pieces and grind up into bloody patties.
The animals themselves seem to be warning us. A fly avoids a fly swatter. You have to sneak up on the fly because it clearly does not want to die. A spider jumps away from the swipe of a hand. A cow fights and tries to flee just as a human would when it smells the blood and gore of the slaughterhouse and senses imminent doom.
To put it plainly, there is no merciful way to murder something that chooses NOT to die.
Of all creatures on Earth, only humans are burdened with the responsibility of choosing and living with their actions. Interesting.
So that is how my vegan journey began.
I have since traded my Faith for Reason and Logic but the conclusion on being vegan is the same. I remain vegan for one simple reason: I have not come across a good enough reason not to be. No one has yet presented a single valid, logical argument for murder or eating dead things.
There is no vitamin, mineral, or nutrient that comes from other animals that I can not find from plants, fruits, vegetables, legumes, or other plant-based sources (even B12–the toughest of the vegan vitamins to obtain, I can easily get without killing animals). There are not too many animals on the planet. We do not need to “cull the herd” (but we do need to cull the factory farming of herds). There is no environmental reason to support a carnivorous diet. There is just no reason to avoid being vegan.
Think about this. We humans are burdened with the responsibility of being kings and keepers of the Animal Kingdom, whether we like it or not. To say we are at the top of the food chain is an understatement. We have removed ourselves from the food chain. We have no predators. We do not live in fear of being hunted and eaten. This also means, however, we are the default stewards for the safekeeping of this planet. Because we are the only ones with choice, we are also the only ones with responsibility for our choices. We are the kings of the world.
What kind of kings should we be, then? Benevolent and kind or brutal and merciless? How well has the “brutal and merciless” approach worked for any king so quick to end the lives of his subjects throughout all of history?
Unlike plants, animals have a brain and nervous system; they experience pain and emotions and do not wish to die. It is not the same for plants. They have automated defense systems against pests but their very design is to be food. When you pick an apple from a tree, you do not murder the tree. In fact, the tree is counting on you to help spread its seeds and grow more apple trees. The same is true of nearly all plants and non-animals. Our relationship is symbiotic with them.
Moreover, there are clear health benefits for being vegan, and arguably environmental benefits as well (you can Google those–to keep this post from becoming a book, I will just leave it at that–as always, though, check your sources and only accept actual peer-reviewed literature as worthy to base your opinion on).
The bottom line is, going (or being) vegan is a win-win.
If I can choose my diet and be perfectly healthy without killing or causing pain to other animals, then… why wouldn’t I?
P.S. If you want to support or share your vegan superhero origin story with the Vegan Movie people, visit this link.