Vegetarianism in major world religions

In this article, we will look at the view of the world’s major religions on a vegetarian diet. Eastern religions: Hinduism, Buddhism Teachers and scriptures in this religion fully encourage vegetarianism, but not all Hindus adhere to an exclusively plant-based diet. Almost 100% of Hindus do not eat beef, as the cow is considered sacred (Krishna’s favorite animal). Mahatma Gandhi expressed his view of vegetarianism with the following quote: “The greatness and moral progress of a nation can be measured by how that nation treats animals.” The extensive Hindu scriptures contain many recommendations regarding vegetarianism based on the deep connection between ahimsa (the principle of non-violence) and spirituality. For example, Yajur Veda said, “You should not use your God-given body for the purpose of killing God’s creatures, be they human, animal or anything else.” While killing harms animals, it also harms the people who kill them, according to Hinduism. Causing pain and death creates bad karma. Belief in the sanctity of life, reincarnation, non-violence and karmic laws are the central tenets of Hinduism’s “spiritual ecology”. Siddhartha Gautama – the Buddha – was a Hindu who accepted many Hindu doctrines such as karma. His teachings offered a slightly different understanding of how to solve the problems of the human nature. Vegetarianism has become an integral component of his concept of a rational and compassionate being. The Buddha’s first sermon, The Four Noble Truths, talks about the nature of suffering and how to relieve suffering. Abrahamic Religions: Islam, Judaism, Christianity The Torah describes vegetarianism as an ideal. In the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, and all creatures were meant to eat plant foods (Genesis 1:29-30). The prophet Isaiah had a utopian vision in which everyone is a vegetarian: “And the wolf will live with the lamb… The lion will eat straw like the ox… They shall not harm or destroy My holy mountain” (Isaiah 11:6-9). In the Torah, God gives man power over every creature that moves on the earth (Genesis 1:28). However, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Chief Rabbi, noted that such “dominance” does not give people the right to treat animals according to their every whim and desire. The main Muslim scriptures are the Quran and the Hadiths (sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad, the last of which says: “He who is kind to God’s creatures is kind to himself.” All but one of the 114 chapters of the Qur’an begin with the phrase: “Allah is merciful and compassionate.” Muslims consider the Jewish scriptures to be holy, hence sharing with them teachings against cruelty to animals. The Qur’an says: “There is no animal on Earth, nor a bird with wings, they are the same people as you (Sura 6, verse 38).” Based on Judaism, Christianity forbids cruelty to animals. The main teachings of Jesus include love, compassion, and mercy. It is hard to imagine Jesus looking at modern farms and slaughterhouses and then joyfully consuming the flesh. Although the Bible does not describe Jesus’ position on the issue of meat, many Christians throughout history have believed that Christian love involves a vegetarian diet. Examples are the early followers of Jesus, the Desert Fathers: Saint Benedict, John Wesley, Albert Schweitzer, Leo Tolstoy and many others.

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