Do Unto Others – a Song by Jimmie Deal

 

Do Unto Others
a song by Jimmie Deal
(c) April 26, 2020

 

 

My thesis: The admonition to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” does not apply just to individuals. It applies to businesses and governments.
 
 
 
 
Profits must be goal number two, after doing something good for the world.
You can make a tidy profit without frackin’ up the world.
 
 
 
 
Hey, Exxon Mobile, look up not down, to solar and wind and wave.
STOP DRILLING NOW. The future is green.
 
 
 
 
Do unto others applies for out descendants,
Our duty to those billions yet unborn,
Our sons and our daughters for the next 10,000 years.
 
 
 
 
Do unto our mother earth, as you would have
As you would have her be a home for your children.
 
 
 
 
Energy companies are planning an endless supply of carbon and methane.   
 
A goal for the environmental – green – anti-nuclear movement should be that energy companies “STOP DRILLING NOW”!
 
 
 
All new energy industry capital should be spent on renewables. No new capital should be spent on exploring or drilling for oil and gas.

Click here to open a PDF to the lyrics and chords: Do-Unto-Others-JR-Deal.

Included for no extra charge are photos of tons of chemtrail coal fly ash being sprayed over Lynnwood, Washington.

The EPA required coal burning plants to capture coal fly ash in wet scrubbers in smokestacks. But there was no place to put the coal flash. So the EPA declared coal fly ash to be usable for almost anything, including drywall and road beds. Someone declared it usable to spray on us. 

I do not believe the profiteers are not trying to kill us. I believe they just do not care if they kill us, provided they make a profit. 

Do Unto Others
aka
Stop Drilling Now

By Jimmie Deal
(c) April 26, 2020

 

Do unto others   As you would have

As you would have them   Do unto you.

 

Hey, mister rich guy,    I’m talking to you.

Hey, big company,  I’m talking to you.

Hey, big government,    I’m talking to you too.

Do unto others applies to all.

 

Profits must be   Goal number two.

After doing something   Good for the world.

You can make a tidy profit without fracking up the world.

Do unto others applies to all.

 

Do unto others applies FOR our descendants.

Our duty to those billions yet unborn.

Our sons and our daughters for the next ten thousand years.

Do unto others applies for all. So

 

Do unto our Mother Earth – As you would have

As you would have her be – A home for your children.

 

Hey, Monsanto, where’s your code?

Your code of ethics; you should have one.

Monsanto, fraudulent seller of carcinogenic Roundup.

Monsanto, where’s your code?

 

Hey Exxon Mobile, look up not down

To solar and wind and wave.

Stop drilling NOW. The future is green.

Be a big green energy company.

 

Hey Atlantic Richfield, stop your frackin’ ways.

Your methane is even worse than your CO2.

Quit poisoning the water. Quit poisoning the air.

Be a big green energy company.

 

Hey Shell Oil, how much did you spend?

Eight billion dollars in the Chukchi Sea?

You left. You said there was no oil, but really there’s a lot.

It was Mother Nature’s storms that drove you off.

 

Eight billion dollars

Would build enough solar

Enough solar power to permanently power two

hundred thirty thousand homes.

 

Hey, cattle rancher. Take your

Beeves off the public lands.

Give the buffalo and the wolf

a place to roam.

 

Profits must be   Goal number two.

After doing something   Good for the world.

You can make a tidy profit without fracking up the world.

Do unto others applies to all.

 

 

 

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Sincerely,

James Robert Deal
Real Estate Attorney & Real Estate Managing Broker

James@JamesDeal.com
PO Box 2276 Lynnwood WA 98036
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I help buyers, sellers, brokers. Flat fee payable at closing.
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Was Jesus Vegetarian?

Was Jesus Vegetarian?

8
THE VEGETARIAN THEME IN CHRISTIAN TRADITION
MISASSUMPTIONS ABOUT JESUS AND CHRISTIANITY

Most Christians assume that Jesus ate fish and Passover lamb and therefore could not have been a vegetarian. Most feel that their religion does not place any limits on what animals they may kill and eat. Most believe that the Christianity of today is the same as  the religion of Jesus’ original followers. Most assume that Jesus was a fundamentalist. I challenge all these assumptions.

OVERVIEW: THE CONNECTION BETWEEN JESUS AND MY THEME

My thesis is this: There was a Judeo-Christian “church” before Jesus, an Essene group from which Jesus got his values. That church lasted until the early 400s, when they were scattered by the newly Christian Roman emperors. They disappear from history, save one mention by a Moslem historian in the 800s.  I refer to this group loosely as “Judeo-Christian,” although they did not call themselves “Christian,” at least not initially.  They probably called their church a synagogue.

***

My thesis is that Jesus was one of a long line of those prophets, one of the greatest. His aim was the moral perfection of humanity. Sadly, his legacy was derailed. His memory and teachings were hijacked by the Romans and their religious allies, the new gentile Christians, particularly the Latin Christians, and transmogrified into a New Testament and a Creed that get his story all wrong, omit many of his most significant ideas, and introduce ideas he would have disagreed with, first and foremost, his deification. As I like to say, Jesus did not want to be worshipped; he wanted to be followed.

Legend has it that from Adam to Noah humankind sacrificed no animals and ate no meat, which I believe indicates that there were societies which were vegetarian or which had a vegetarian religious or class priesthood. (Genesis 1:30, 9:3.) Moses tried to return Israel to the vegetarianism of the matristic Eden but failed. (Exodus 16:15; Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 6; Recognitions of Clement, 1:35 ff, Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, 8:87-88; Numbers 11:7, 18-34.)

Moses predicted that a prophet would come after him who would complete his work. (Deuteronomy 4:12, 36.) Jesus’ followers believed Jesus was that prophet (Acts 3:22) and that Jesus’ aim was to complete Moses’ work of returning the world to its Edenic peaceful state, as it was before the patriarchal invasions. Part of Moses’ work was to eliminate animal sacrifice from the Jewish religion. Jesus shared this goal and actually shut down the sacrificial system in the Jerusalem Temple for some short period of time. (John 2:14-16.) Jesus and his immediate circle of apostles were vegetarian, and so too was his Judeo-Christian church for 400 years until it was persecuted out of existence. That’s my theory.

OVERVIEW: WHAT WAS GREAT ABOUT JESUS?

Christians generally consider Jesus to have been great because he made the cosmic sacrifice—trading his life for our sins. However, the churches acknowledge he was great for a second reason—although, they rarely mention it—and that is because of the content of his ethical teachings. The points I make here will be developed more fully below.

***

He took over the temple, drove out all those who bought and sold animals, and also drove out all the animals. Thus, he abolished animal sacrifices in the Temple for some period—as the messiah was to do: “In the time of the Messiah the sacrifices will cease (except that of thanksgiving).” (Pesik 9:79, “Antinomianism,” www.JewishEncyclopedia.com; see the section of this book entitled Jesus Stopped the Animal Sacrifices in the Temple, p. 179.) And he was crucified as messiah-king of the Jews. The sign on the cross said “King of the Jews.” (Mark 15:2, 25.)

***

Jesus and those around him were vegetarian, and his followers were encouraged to “bear what they were able” regarding eating meat, which I believe meant they were to observe a vegetarian fast at lest two days per week (Didache 8:1-2), always to avoid eating the flesh of animals killed in connection with pagan sacrifices and sold in the public market, and always to avoid cruelty to animals. The rule against “eating things strangled” was a term of art or code name that stood for the rule against eating the meat of animals tortured or painfully killed. (Acts 15:20.) It is probable that vegetarianism was not an immediate or absolute requirement but a goal to be striven for. (See the sections of this book entitled James, Brother of Jesus, p. 108, and The Burden Theme, “Bear What Thou Art Able”, p. 158.)

The Judeo-Christian movement was persecuted out of existence by the 400s, although Muslim sources make mention of it as late as the 800s. Their books were banned. They were forbidden to be copied, which meant that after a few hundred years they rotted out of existence.  Probably some were burnt in the bonfires that thug monks set alight in the streets.

Jesus did not succeed in establishing his kingdom of ethical monotheism in his lifetime, but that does not mean he was a failure or that his followers will not yet someday succeed in his name. He pointed the way. He was a major player in the process that I am trying to describe in this book, the process of trying to return the world to a state of peace, justice, high ethical and environmental standards; to put an end to slavery; to find a balance between the sexes; to end child abuse; and achieve a sensitivity to the suffering of the animals.

CHRISTOLOGICAL INFLATION

Paul, John, and their disciples—who aimed their teachings at gentiles—completely dropped all references to Jesus as prophet and son of man. They preferred “son of god,” and not in the sense of adopted son of god but as pre-existent logos, and only-begotten son of god. They referred to Jesus as “Lord Jesus Christ,” and they used the term “christ” to mean “messiah-god” instead of “messiah-king.”
Ultimately, through a process of “christological inflation,” a term I have coined, Paul, John, and their successors made Jesus into god coequal with the father. Matthew and Luke taught Jesus was begotten of god at the time of his conception. (Matthew 1:18, Luke 1:35.) The author of Mark taught that Jesus became god’s son at his transfiguration or enthronement. (Mark 9:7.) Paul taught that Jesus was designated son of god and begotten at his resurrection. (Romans 1:4; Acts 13:33.) John taught Jesus was begotten of god from the beginning of time. (John 1:2.) The original Ebionites teaching was that Jesus was the natural born son of Joseph and Mary, that Jesus had been “begotten” at his baptism, meaning he had been adopted, like all Israel’s kings at their coronation, as god’s honorary and preeminent son. (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 2:7; Mark 1:11; Acts 10:38, 13:33; Hebrews 1:5, 5:5.)

Because the denomination known as “orthodox” or “catholic” or the “great church” was so well organized, because it so fiercely attacked all other Christian and pagan sects, and ultimately because it made an alliance with the Roman government, it ended up as the official religion and used that position to suppress or destroy all other pagan religions and all other sects of Christianity. In its many councils it perfected the theory that Jesus was the cosmic sacrifice in the Greek mystery religion sense that wiped away the sins of those who believed in him. Those who expressed doubts were excommunicated and told they would go to hell. Later, doubters were killed.

***

How could so much Christological inflation have occurred so quickly? See the section of this book entitled Information from Moslem-Nazarene Sources, p. 134, for my theory as to how it happened.

Christological inflation may seem a little far afield from my topic, which is the diet of Jesus and his early followers. However, bear in mind that the process of elevating Jesus to status as deity coequal with god the father included a simultaneous deemphasis of Jesus as a teacher of ethical principles about making peace, which principles included making peace with the animals. Gentile Christians found it more convenient to worship a god who demanded certain beliefs but who put few restrictions on behavior, less convenient to follow a prophet who demanded that they make great changes in their behavior, including their dietary behavior.

FOLLOW JESUS BY BEING DEEP HISTORIANS AND STUDENTS OF ETHICS

The Christianity of today focuses too much on the New Testament and too little on the many other sources of information about Jesus, too much on Jesus’ cosmic sacrifice and too little on Jesus’ ethical teachings, too much on getting forgiveness for sins and too little on stopping the sinning—including the sins we commit against innocent animals and the physical environment.
As you read this section, you will see that I am an admirer and follower of Jesus—not as the cosmic sacrifice but as our greatest teacher of peace, law, and justice. I am an admirer and follower not of the Jesus you read about in our mangled New Testament, but of the Ebionite Jesus of Judeo-Christian history.

***

Fundamentalists will have problems with my hypothesis that Jesus ate no meat, because the gospels clearly say Jesus ate fish, fed fish to others, and called apostles who were fishermen. (Matthew 7:10, 4:19, 14:17, 15:36, 17:27; Mark 1:17; Luke 24:42, John 6:9, 21:9. See the section of this book entitled What About the Fish Stories?  p. 191, for an explanation of how the fish passages arose.)

***

I will discuss the surviving sources of information regarding these vegetarians. The sources are extensive, and some are right in the New Testament. The revisionist editors did a haphazard job of purging vegetarian references as they edited the gospels. And some of what we know comes from quotations which ultra-orthodox heresy fighting Church Fathers made of now lost Judeo-Christian writings.

I will have much to say about Paul, who was not a vegetarian and who was contemptuous of vegetarians. He referred to them as being weak in faith because they would not eat meat. (1 Corinthians 8: 4-13.) He was contemptuous of the Jerusalem founders of Christianity, referring to them as “superlative apostles” and the “circumcision party.” (2 Corinthians 11:5,13, 12:11; Galatians 2:12. See Paul, James, and the Jerusalem Council, p. 122.)

***

Why do I take a critical approach? Shouldn’t I just focus on the evidence for Jesus’ vegetarianism and leave everything else about Christianity untouched—which is what groups like the Christian Vegetarian Association do? (www.christianveg.com.) Why risk upsetting the faith of unlearned Christians? Because, simply put, the CVA approach is not convincing. It  appears to focus arbitrarily on the verses that favor vegetarian theory and ignore those that disfavor it.

For me to demonstrate the high probability that Jesus was a vegetarian, I must teach you the critical method and teach you the method in full. Using this tool, you will be able to read our highly edited New Testament and understand how to tell the oldest layers from those added later. A little bit of the critical method might just be enough for you to conclude that nothing in the New Testament is true. But if I take you all the way through the process, you will come out on the other side possessing tools sufficient to understand what Jesus stood for.

There is one final reason why I take a critical approach: I think if Jesus is looking over the balcony rail and observing what goes on down here on earth, he is probably tired of Christians inflating him into something he was not and completely missing what he actually was. Clarifying who he really was is a service I think he would appreciate. Something similar could be said of poor, confused Saul of Tarsus. He would probably appreciate someone undoing all the damage he did.

***

Most theologians take little notice of dietary matters as they construct their theories. I believe they overlook a powerful analytical tool. A focus on diet can lead to insights they otherwise might miss. I will return to this point frequently in this chapter, so I will say no more about it here.

***

Essenes were strict vegetarians, and older Essenes were generally celibate. I take the position that Jesus was of Essene background, while others say he was a Pharisee. The two positions are not irreconcilable because Essenes and Pharisees respected each other and shared most beliefs and customs.

Josephus, Philo, Eusebius, and Plinius say the Essenes were vegetarians. The Essenes shared vegetarianism and many other customs with the Pythagoreans.

***

The quest for the historical Jesus is a worthy one. At the end of this quest we do not find a Jesus of doctrinal quibbles or a Jesus who focused on finding an innocuous inner peace.

We find instead a Jesus of action who challenged injustice and illegality and sought an end to poverty, war, slavery, subjugation of women, abuse of children and prisoners, and violence in general. We find a Jesus of compassion, ethics, and right-living, all of which extend not just to other humans but to the animals as well. As I say elsewhere, we do not find a Jesus who wanted to be worshiped but one who wanted to be followed.

It is often said that Jesus was a failed messianic pretender, such as Jesus Bar Kokhba, because he did not succeed in bring peace to the world. Even after 2,000 years, I would suggest that this might be a hasty judgment. We who are part of Jesus’ tradition may yet complete his work. Is there a time limit on how long a true prophet and messiah-king has to achieve results? Christians should not give up but should rechannel their efforts in the ethical direction in which Jesus pointed us.

It is not too late for us to learn what Jesus was challenging us to do and do it.

Fundamentalist World View Conditions Evangelicals To Be Right Wingers

Fundamentalist World View Conditions Evangelicals To Be Right Wingers

From James: 

Fundamentalism is a thought form in which one believes that the Bible or other holy book is completely accurate and a source of absolute truth. These true believers are prone to apply the same rigidity of thinking to politics and are thus subject to manipulation by politicians on the right. They become worshipers of the Constitution they way they are worshipers of the Bible or other holy book. A few wedge issues such as opposition to abortion are used to turn true believers to supporters of right-wing policies which are opposed to the teachings of Jesus or the other great moral prophets. Jesus was not a fundamentalist. He challenged the correctness of certain Old Testament and rabbinic teachings..

The Evangelical Roots of Our Post-Truth Society

New York Times, April 13, 2017, Molly Worthen

THE arrival of the “post-truth” political climate came as a shock to many Americans. But to the Christian writer Rachel Held Evans, charges of “fake news” are nothing new. “The deep distrust of the media, of scientific consensus — those were prevalent narratives growing up,” she told me.

Although Ms. Evans, 35, no longer calls herself an evangelical, she attended Bryan College, an evangelical school in Dayton, Tenn. She was taught to distrust information coming from the scientific or media elite because these sources did not hold a “biblical worldview.”

“It was presented as a cohesive worldview that you could maintain if you studied the Bible,” she told me. “Part of that was that climate change isn’t real, that evolution is a myth made up by scientists who hate God, and capitalism is God’s ideal for society.”

Conservative evangelicals are not the only ones who think that an authority trusted by the other side is probably lying. But they believe that their own authority — the inerrant Bible — is both supernatural and scientifically sound, and this conviction gives that natural human aversion to unwelcome facts a special power on the right. This religious tradition of fact denial long predates the rise of the culture wars, social media or President Trump, but it has provoked deep conflict among evangelicals themselves.in the evangelical world. The radio show founded by Chuck Colson, “BreakPoint,” helps listeners “get informed and equipped to live out the Christian worldview.” Focus on the Family devotes a webpage to the implications of a worldview “based on the infallible Word of God.” Betsy DeVos’s supporters praised her as a “committed Christian living out a biblical worldview.”

The phrase is not as straightforward as it seems. Ever since the scientific revolution, two compulsions have guided conservative Protestant intellectual life: the impulse to defend the Bible as a reliable scientific authority and the impulse to place the Bible beyond the claims of science entirely.

The first impulse blossomed into the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Scripture became the irrefutable guide to everything from the meaning of fossils to the interpretation of archaeological findings in the Middle East, a “storehouse of facts,” as the 19th-century theologian Charles Hodge put it.

The second impulse, the one that rejects scientists’ standing to challenge the Bible, evolved by the early 20th century into a school of thought called presuppositionalism. The term is a mouthful, but the idea is simple: We all have presuppositions that frame our understanding of the world. Cornelius Van Til, a theologian who promoted this idea, rejected the premise that all humans have access to objective reality. “We really do not grant that you see any fact in any dimension of life truly,” he wrote in a pamphlet aimed at non-Christians.

If this sounds like a forerunner of modern cultural relativism, in a way it is — with the caveat that one worldview, the one based on faith in an inerrant Bible, does have a claim on universal truth, and everyone else is a myopic relativist.

Nowadays, ministries, schools and media outlets use the term “Christian worldview” to signal their orthodoxy. But its pervasiveness masks significant disagreement over what it means. Many evangelical colleges allow faculty and students to question inerrancy, creationism and the presumption that Jesus would have voted Republican.

Karl Giberson taught biology for many years at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., where freshmen take a course that covers “the Christian worldview” alongside topics like “racial and gender equity” and “cultural diversity.” In the Church of the Nazarene, many leaders have been uneasy about the rationalist claims of biblical inerrancy, and Dr. Giberson openly taught the theory of evolution. “I was completely uncontroversial, for the most part,” he told me. “The problems emerged when I began to publish, when I became a public spokesman for this point of view.”

Nazarene pastors and church members — who absorbed the more fundamentalist worldview of mainstream evangelicalism — put pressure on the school. “The administrators were not upset that I was promoting evolution,” he said. “But now they had a pastor telling the admissions department, ‘we do not want you recruiting in our youth group.’ ” The controversy drove him to resign in 2011.

Dean Nelson, who runs the journalism program at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, told me that he doesn’t see “how you can teach ‘Christian journalism’ any more than you can teach ‘Christian mathematics.’ ” But he acknowledged that “many of the students’ parents were raised on Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and distrust the mainstream news media. So it’s a little bit of a dance with parents who are expecting us to perpetuate that distrust and raise up this tribe of ‘Christian journalists.’ ”

The conservative Christian worldview is not just a posture of mistrust toward the secular world’s “fake news.” It is a network of institutions and experts versed in shadow versions of climate change science, biology and other fields, like Nathaniel Jeanson, a research biologist at the creationist ministry Answers in Genesis, in Petersburg, Ky.

Dr. Jeanson is as important an asset for the ministry as its life-size replica of Noah’s Ark in Williamstown, Ky. He believes the earth was created in six days — and he has a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology from Harvard.

Home-schooled until high school, Dr. Jeanson grew up going to “Worldview Weekend” Christian conferences. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Parkside, he dutifully studied evolutionary biology during the day and read creationist literature at night.

This “reading double,” as he calls it, equipped him to personify the contradictions that pervade this variety of Christian worldview. At Harvard Medical School, he chose a research topic that steered clear of evolution. “My research question is a present-tense question — how do blood cells function,” he told me. “So perhaps it was easier to compartmentalize.”

Dr. Jeanson rhapsodized about the integrity of the scientific method. Before graduate school, “I held this quack idea of cancer,” he said. “But that idea got corrected. This is the way science works.” Yet when his colleagues refuse to read his creationist papers and data sets, he takes their snub as proof that they can find no flaws in his research. “If people who devote their lives to it can’t point anything out, then I think I may be on to something,” he said.

Dr. Jeanson calls himself a “presuppositionalist evidentialist” — which we might define as someone who accepts evidence when it happens to affirm his nonnegotiable presuppositions. “When it comes to questions of absolute truth, those are things I’ve settled in my own mind and heart,” he told me. “I couldn’t call myself a Christian if I hadn’t.”

We all cling to our own unquestioned assumptions. But in the quest to advance knowledge and broker peaceful coexistence in a pluralistic world, the worldview based on biblical inerrancy gets tangled up in the contradiction between its claims on universalist science and insistence on an exclusive faith.

By contrast, the worldview that has propelled mainstream Western intellectual life and made modern civilization possible is a kind of pragmatism. It is an empirical outlook that continually — if imperfectly — revises its conclusions based on evidence available to everyone, regardless of their beliefs about the supernatural. This worldview clashes with the conservative evangelical war on facts, but it is not necessarily incompatible with Christian faith.

In fact, evangelical colleges themselves may be the best hope for change. Members of traditions historically suspicious of a pseudoscientific view of the Bible, like the Nazarenes, should revive that skepticism. Mr. Nelson encourages his students to be skeptics rather than cynics. “The skeptic looks at something and says, ‘I wonder,’ ” he said. “The cynic says, ‘I know,’ and then stops thinking.”

He pointed out that “cynicism and tribalism are very closely related. You protect your tribe, your way of life and thinking, and you try to annihilate anything that might call that into question.” Cynicism and tribalism are among the gravest human temptations. They are all the more dangerous when they pose as wisdom and righteousness.

Book Review

Book Review

Book Review – What to Serve a Goddess

By Konrad Riggenmann

At first sight, this voluminous and (too) large-format book appears to be an amateur issue. And at second sight it is just that – in the word’s best sense. I learnt a lot from it.

The author stopped his studies of theology due to the theo-logical problem: “I took my religion seriously, but I also took my science seriously. The teachings of my church often conflicted with my academic studies.” This is why Deal holds two bachelors,P1010430 one master degree and ½ M.Div. Small wonder that the whole book is characterized by this non-conformist and open-minded view of life, planet, history, religion and ethical nutrition (Deal is vegan since 1981, when hardly anyone knew this term!).

His peak experience started with his question during a starlit summer night: “How can I know which way to go?” and left him with the answer: “Search for truth and follow it wherever it leads you. And don’t fear the truth you will find. Truth is the one thing not to fear.” Consequently, his approach to ethical nutrition is by no means dogmatic but rather unconventional, down-to-earth, multi-faceted – and tastefully illustrated with drawings of (admittedly differing) artistical skill.

And practical at that: Cooking recipes make for almost fifty pages of this volume which starts with a ten-page table of contents and concludes with “vegetablearian songs”.

In truth, this book is cooked with love.

Please go to Amazon and look inside, and maybe buy.

And after you read my book, send feedback.

James at James Deal dot com

JRDeal-caricature-png

Magical Religious Thinking

How Christian Delusions Are Driving the GOP Insane
Why aren’t Republicans more frightened of the consequences of a shutdown and default? Part of the reason is magical religious thinking.
October 9, 2013  |
Why aren’t Republicans more afraid? The entire premise of both the government shutdown and the threats to force the government into debt default is that Democrats care more about the consequences of these actions than the Republicans do. Republicans may go on TV and shed crocodile tears about national monuments being shut down, but the act isn’t really fooling the voters: The only way to understand these fights is to understand that the GOP is threatening to destroy the government and the world economy in order to get rid of Obamacare (as well as a panoply of other right wing demands). Just as terrorists use the fact that you care more about the lives of the hostages than they do to get leverage, Republican threats rely on believing they don’t care about the consequences, while Democrats do.

So why aren’t they more afraid? Businessweek, hardly a liberal news organization, said the price of default would be “a financial apocalypse” that would cause a worldwide economic depression.  This is the sort of thing that affects everyone. Having a right wing ideology doesn’t magically protect your investments from crashing alongside the rest of the stock market.

The willingness of Republicans to take the debt ceiling and the federal budget hostage in order to try to extract concessions from Democrats is probably the most lasting gift that the Tea Party has granted the country. More reasonable Republican politicians fear being primaried by Tea Party candidates. A handful of wide-eyed fanatics in Congress have hijacked the party. The Tea Party base and the hard right politicians driving this entire thing seem oblivious to the consequences. It’s no wonder, since so many of them—particularly those in leadership—are fundamentalist Christians whose religions have distorted their worldview until they cannot actually see what they’re doing and what kind of damage it would cause.

The press often talks about the Tea Party like they’re secularist movement that is interested mainly in promoting “fiscal conservatism”, a vague notion that never actually seems to make good on the promise to save taxpayer money. The reality is much different: The Tea Party is actually driven primarily by fundamentalist Christians whose penchant for magical thinking and belief that they’re being guided by divine forces makes it tough for them to see the real world as it is.

It’s not just that the rogue’s gallery of congress people who are pushing the hardest for hostage-taking as a negotiation tactic also happens to be a bench full of Bible thumpers. Pew Research shows that people who align with the Tea Party are more likely to not only agree with the views of religious conservatives, but are likely to cite religious belief as their prime motivation for their political views.  White evangelicals are the religious group most likely to approve of the Tea Party. Looking over the data, it becomes evident that the “Tea Party” is just a new name for the same old white fundamentalists who would rather burn this country to the ground than share it with everyone else, and this latest power play from the Republicans is, in essence, a move from that demographic to assert their “right” to control the country, even if their politicians aren’t in power.

It’s no surprise, under the circumstances, that a movement controlled by fundamentalist Christians would be oblivious to the very real dangers that their actions present. Fundamentalist religion is extremely good at convincing its followers to be more afraid of imaginary threats than real ones, and to engage in downright magical thinking about the possibility that their own choices could work out very badly. When you believe that forcing the government into default in an attempt to derail Obamacare is the Lord’s work, it’s very difficult for you to see that it could have very real, negative effects.

It’s hard for the Christian fundamentalists who run the Republican Party now to worry about the serious economic danger they’re putting the world in, because they are swept up in worrying that President Obama is an agent of the devil and that the world is on the verge of mayhem and apocalypse if they don’t “stop” him somehow, presumably be derailing the Affordable Care Act. Christian conservatives such as Ellis Washington are running around telling each other that the ACA  will lead to “the systematic genocide of the weak, minorities, enfeebled, the elderly and political enemies of the God-state.” Twenty percent of Republicans believe Obama is the Antichrist.Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner argued that Obama is using his signature health care legislation to promote “the destruction of the family, Christian culture”, and demanded that Christians “need to engage in peaceful civil disobedience against President Obama’s signature health care law”.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops joined in, demanding that the Republicans shut down the government rather than let Obamacare go into effect. The excuse was their objection to the requirement that insurance make contraception available without a copayment, saying ending this requirement matters more than “serving their own employees or the neediest Americans.”

The Christian right media has been hammering home the message that Christians should oppose the Affordable Care Act. Pat Necerato of the Christian News Network accused the supporters of the law of committing idolatry and accused people who want health care of being covetous. The Christian Post approvingly reported various Christian leaders, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, saying things like the health care law is “a profound attack on our liberties” and lamented “Today is the day I will tell my grandchildren about when they ask me what happened to freedom in America.”

Some in the Christian right straight up believe Obamacare portends the end times. Rick Phillips, writing for Christianity.com, hinted that Obamacare might be predicted in Revelations, though he held back from saying that was certain. Others are less cautious. On the right wing fundamentalist email underground, a conspiracy theory has arisen claiming that Obamacare will require all citizens to have a microchip implanted. While it’s completely untrue, many Christians believe that this means the “mark of the beast” predicted in Revelations that portends the return of Christ and the end of the world.

In other words, the Christian right has worked itself into a frenzy of believing that if this health care law is implemented fully, then we are, in fact, facing down either the end of American Christianity itself or quite possibly the end times themselves. In comparison, it’s hard to be too scared by the worldwide financial collapse that they’re promising to unleash if the Democrats don’t just give up their power and let Republicans do what they want. Sure, crashing stock markets, soaring unemployment, and worldwide economic depression sounds bad, but for the Christian right, the alternative is fire and brimstone and God unleashing all sorts of hell on the world.

This is a problem that extends beyond just the immediate manufactured crisis. The Christian right has become the primary vehicle in American politics for minimizing the problems of the real world while inventing imaginary problems as distractions. Witness, for instance, the way that fundamentalist Christianity has been harnessed to promote the notion that climate change isn’t a real problem. Average global temperatures are creeping up, but the majority of Christian conservatives are too worried about the supposed existential threats of abortion and gay rights to care.

Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise that it’s easy for Christian conservatives to worry more about imaginary threats from Obamacare than it is for them to worry about the very real threat to worldwide economic stability if the go along with their harebrained scheme of forcing the government into default. To make it worse, many have convinced themselves that it’s their opponents who are deluded. Take right wing Christian Senator Tom Coburn, who celebrated the possibility of default back in January by saying it would be a “wonderful experiment”. Being able to blow past all the advice of experts just to make stuff up you want to believe isn’t a quality that is unique to fundamentalists, but as these budget negotiations are making clear, they do have a uniquely strong ability to lie to themselves about what is and isn’t a real danger to themselves and to the world.

Sufism

Sufism:
The Spritual Path To Preach Love, Coexistence And Peace‏

By:

Thanks to Eurasia Review

 

December 31, 2012

Morocco owes its image of a modern Muslim nation to Sufism, a spiritual and tolerant Islamic tradition that goes back to the first generations of Muslims who, for centuries, has supported religious cohesion, social and cultural Moroccan society. Sufism provides answers to some of the most complex problems facing the contemporary Muslim world, where youth comprise the majority of the population.

Most Moroccans, young or old, practice one form of Sufism or another. Deep component of the Moroccan identity, Sufism absorbs all members of society, regardless of their age, sex, social status or political orientation.

Sufism attracts more young Moroccans because of its tolerance, due to the easy interpretation that gives to the Qur’an, its rejection of fanaticism and its embrace of modernity. Young people are the principles of” beauty” and” humanity”. Sufism balanced lifestyle that allows them to enjoy arts, music and love without having to abandon their spiritual or religious obligations.

MoroccoMorocco

Sufi orders exist throughout Morocco. They organize regular gatherings to pray, chant and debate timely topics of social and political, from the protection of the environment and social charity to the fight against drugs and the threat of terrorism.

In addition, focusing on the universal values ​​that Islam shares with Christianity and Judaism (as the pursuit of happiness, the love of the family, tolerance of racial and religious differences and the promotion of peace) Sufi gatherings inspire young people to engage in interfaith dialogue.

Taken together, Sufi seminars, chants and spiritual gatherings provide a social medium where millions of Moroccans mix the sacred and the secular, the soul and the body, the local and the universal. Every aspect that is both possible and enjoyable.

Sufis distance themselves from fundamentalists (who see Islam strict and Utopian emulation of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions), with particular emphasis on the adaptation of community concerns and priorities of the modern time. Sufis neither condemn unveiled women nor do they censor the distractions of our time. For them, the difference between virtue and vice is the intent, not appearances.

Sufism is so diffuse in Moroccan culture that its role can not be properly understood if reduced to a sect or a sacred place. People get together to sing Sufi poetry, the primordial essence of the human being, the virtues of simplicity and the healing gifts of Sufi saints such as Sidi Abderrahman Majdub, Sidi Ahmed Tijani, and Sidi Bouabid Charki, the spiritual masters revered by peers and disciples for having attained spiritual union with God during their earthly lives.

Gnawa musicians, the descendants of African slaves brought to Morocco between the twelfth and seventeenth centuries, produce a music that is a mix of religious lyrics deeply rooted in the oral tradition of sub-Saharan Africa and melancholic melodies reminiscent of jazz and blues. The Gnawa performance centers on a spinning body and a high-pitched voice, rhyming poetic verses with Sufi chants in Arabic such as” there is no other God but God and Muhammad is his messenger.” These words are terrifying when they are spoken by a terrorist, but lift the soul when they are sung by pious Muslims, Gnawa and other Sufi-inspired musicians.

In addition to Moroccans, thousands of young people in Europe, America and Africa flock to sacred music festivals organized every summer by Sufi movements throughout Morocco, to sing and celebrate their enthusiasm for life and their commitment to the universal values ​​of peace. The scene at these festivals completely refutes the kind of image that extremists seek to convey to Muslim youth.

It is this fusion of Sufism and modernity that produces a unique aesthetic experience, which is attractive to Moroccan youth who reject extremism and uphold values ​​of a shared humanity.

About the author:Said Temsamani

Said Temsamani is a Moroccan political observer and consultant, who follows events in his country and across North Africa. He is a Senior Fellow, Merdian International Center Washington DC, Founder and CEO “Public Initiatives” Consulting firm and Former Senior Political Advisor, US Embassy Rabat, Morocco.

Thanks to Eurasia Review

Chapter 22 – Final Speculations

Chapter 22 – Final Speculations

22
SPECULATION ABOUT AN UNCONSCIOUS CONNECTION

In this chapter I will pick up the thread I left behind at the end of Chapter 14, The Ethics of Diet.

Some of you will already think I have gone off the deep end. Now I am going to venture even further. If you rate low on the spirituality scale, skip this section. For some, having too much compassion is a flaw, even a form of mental illness, or at minimum a distraction from the getting of more money.

I speculate that there exists—or if it doesn’t exist that it could be created—some connection among all who have made a commitment to the good, referred to by some as “god.” I hope more people can become aware of this connection, meditate about it, listen to it, learn from it, talk to it, strengthen it, perhaps help create it, make it a central part of their personalities, and even follow it. This would be a connection not only with others but with ourselves, with the part of our personalities which calls us, so we can hear what it is saying.

I speculate that we can broaden the extent of this connection—even to include other species. Consider that porpoises, killer whales, and turtles have empathy for us: There are numerous instances of them saving humans.
Some animals that live in parks where hunting is prohibited actually like us. Those we hunt, on the other hand, always seem ready to run for their lives. They have long-term genetic memories.

The biggest part of most species’ brains is the smell brain. Humans find the smell of factory farms to be absolutely loathsome. Imagine how factory animals perceive it. I suspect that animals confined in factory farms are thinking something like, “Will I ever get away from this stench?” Factory farm animals cry out, not just at the times of their deaths, but throughout the period of their confinement.

I presume that as we humans inflict pain on them, they think the animal equivalent of “Why?” Their language skills are limited to simple cries, but I presume they have a cry that means “Why?” I presume that cows, pigs, and chickens have in their thoughts and vocabularies such concepts as “When will this pain end?” Or the capability to think “They are going to kill me.”

Koko is a domesticated gorilla who understands spoken English and has learned to speak using sign language. She recounts the story of her capture. She becomes highly emotional as she describes the day that poachers killed her family and kidnapped her away to civilization. It may be that many species are conscious and do remember their own history. It may just be that their thoughts are trapped inside because we have not learned how to decipher their language and they have not learned how to speak ours.

If we were castrated without anesthetics, as happens to bulls and boars; if our noses and lips were cut off, as happens to chickens’ when they are de-beaked; if our tailbone were skinned off without anesthetic, as happens with Australian sheep; if we were made to stand and lie in excrement or had it rain down on us, as happens to cattle, pigs, and chickens; if we were made to endure air that seared our lungs with ammonia, as happens to pigs and chicken; if we were driven to our deaths with electrical prods as are cows or with baseball bats as are pigs; if we were hoisted up by a leg and hung there waiting to have our throats slit, as are cattle; if we were made to consume our own feces, as are cows, pigs, and chickens; if we were made to drink our own urine, as are pigs; would we not ask “Why?”

Any person who has been beaten, raped, or abused in some way knows how degrading and humiliating assault is. They at least should understand that animals of lesser intelligence are capable of asking the fundamental question: “Why?”

Some people do not believe in hell, but 15 billion (some say 40 billion) animals in factory farms certainly do. They believe in it because they are in it right now, in the modern Inferno. I speculate that the ghoulish descriptions Dante and other writers and artists made of the horrors of the Christian hell were inspired by what they saw in the slaughterhouses of their day. We create their Hell as part of our worship of the false god Dollar, to maximize profits.
Insensitive people in the past would have said such things as: “Oh, come on, James, they are just slaves;” “Oh, come on, James, they are just Italians”. (The classical Greeks captured slaves from then-primitive Italy.) “Oh, come on, James, they are just Slavs” (root of the word ‘slave’). “Oh, come on, James, they are just Africans.” “Oh, come on, James, they are just Jews.” “Oh, come on, James, they are just Gypsies.” “Oh, come on, James, they are just women.”

We have elevated ourselves morally to the point where we no longer say such things. However, otherwise sensitive people today still say, “Oh, come on, James, they are just animals.” We have shed our bigotries towards slaves, blacks, Jews, Gypsies, and women. When will we learn to shed our bigotry toward animals?

Most of us know on at least an intellectual level of the pain and terror that exists for our food animals, but most of us choose not to think about it. I do choose to think about it. I meditate about it. In my contemplation I imagine as much as I can of the horrors animals experience. I feel I owe them at least that much. My heart quivers over the gross injustice done to them. I ponder their suffering, although it is unpleasant to do so, for if I were kept in a tiger cage in some remote place, I would hope someone would at least be pondering my suffering.

I spoke at a hospital in Seattle as part of an HMO program to encourage veganism and vegetarianism—a smart move because medical costs are lower for vegans and vegetarians. I spoke about the suffering of animals in factory farms, and there were a few who groaned. I said, “I’m sorry; I’m almost done.” And I asked, “Shall I go on?” Everyone who spoke said “Yes.” To continue the terror we have to suppress our sensitivity. To end the insensitivity, we must increase our awareness. So I must speak out.

Most people have experienced telepathy and believe it really happens. I once felt my mother’s pain from 2,000 miles away when she was having an operation. Right in the middle of a property exam in my first year of law school, I felt a piercing pain in my abdomen that would not go away, a pain I had not felt before and have not felt since. Later I learned the pain had started when she awoke from her hysterectomy. How is it that so few perceive the terror and pain of the animals we torture and kill? Why do we not perceive it the way wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, often perceive at a distance the death or pain of those they love, the way dogs sometimes howl when their masters far away are in danger?

Perhaps the enormous suffering of factory animals creates a continuing, droning, telepathic noise of terror and pain that is so persistent that we have learned to ignore it, the way we ignore the humming of our florescent lights. Perhaps human perceptions of loved ones in trouble are as rare as they are because they are overshadowed—jammed like some electromagnetic broadcast—by a white noise of psychic pain created by so many animals in so much pain.

In making ourselves insensitive to the terror and pain of animals, have we not made ourselves insensitive to other voices or some greater Voice that is trying to tell us of a way out of the moral and environmental mess our world is in?

Now, I will return to my previous point about a higher consciousness that could include other species: Animals lack our level of intelligence—as we define intelligence—, and they lack most of our abilities with language. But is it not possible that some species are capable of some level of higher consciousness and some level of telepathic connection with members of their own species, or with other species, or even with humans? Are we perhaps abusing or exterminating species that could evolve to take our place after we destroy ourselves? We are bigots to presume that there are no other species capable of higher consciousness.

One fall night in 1999, I observed a raccoon climbing my backyard fence. I stood very still on the back deck and let her become accustomed to me. I watched as she climbed the arbor. She had come for the sweet, seedless Himrod grapes. We stood a few feet apart, watching each other eat. There were plenty of grapes for us both. I wondered what she was thinking. Raccoons are very clever animals. They don’t particularly like humans, and you should keep your distance from them and not corner them. But why should they like us? We make coats and Davy Crockett caps out of them. They are much more skilled at survival than the great apes. It could very well be the raccoon and not some ape that will evolve to replace us after we have wiped out our own species.

I watched (November 16, 2000) a flock of birds fly together and turn in absolute synchronization, probably hunting for insects, and I wondered if they might be interconnected by some group consciousness. Why would telepathy be any less prevalent among animals that lack the ability to speak? If telepathy exists at all, it would seem to be more, not less, prevalent among wordless animals than among humans.

Might some animals even be “religious?” Is it impossible that some nonhuman species might even share the commitment to god that some humans have made? Animals are on a lower intellectual level than we are, however, Jewish philosopher Nachmanides believed that animals are on a higher spiritual level. (Rabbi Alfred Cohen, “Vegetarianism from a Jewish Perspective,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Vol. 1, No. 2, (Fall, 1981), p. 45, cited in Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 2.)

Is it possible that there exist species right now which engage in moral thought similar to ours? We humans, self-important to the point of crudity, simply choose not to consider the possibility.

If the animals we eat perceive terror and pain as we do, if they would never harm us and are more innocent than we are, if they exist on a higher spiritual level than we do, is it not all the more unjust that we make them suffer so much?

The Judeo-Christian-Islamic theory of god is ethical monotheism, which is this proposition: There is a single god or unifying moral force. That force is inseparable from ethics; in some sense god is ethics.

Lest I leave the skeptics behind, I would like to interject that the agnostic idealist—very common in the West—says something similar: If there is no unifying moral force, we should be about the business of creating one. If there is no god, then we humans should accept the godlike responsibility to civilize the world and build a comprehensive ethical system. That system would not be very different from what believers refer to as god. The theist works to discover more about the god he believes exists while the agnostic idealist works to create the god he doubts exists.

Unfortunately, there are some who proclaim most loudly their belief in god, but are the most determined to kill the spirit of moral discovery. They say: “Every word in our holy book is true; there are no more moral insights to be gained; god said we should dominate the earth, multiply our numbers endlessly, and terrorize, torture, and kill any animal we please. God will return soon and destroy the earth anyway, so environmentalism is pointless. Don’t trouble me with any new spiritual insights.”

Such people consider it necessary to believe some correct and complex theological doctrine in order to be pleasing to god. But they search for god in all the wrong places. The focus should not be on what doctrine we should believe but how we should behave. God and ethics are so inseparable that what we do about god is far more important than what we believe about god. The most important creed we could possibly recite is that we should live a morally responsible life, as Moses, Jesus, Hillel, and Mohammed taught. (Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 7:12, 25:31-46; Shabbat 31a; Koran 6:160.) Thus, god and the good are very close, and it is to emphasize their closeness that I never capitalize the word “god” except when I am quoting someone.

One of my friends suggested that I was being irreverent by not capitalizing the word “god.”

Ha!

I am confident that god has much more important things to be offended at than how I spell HER name. I don’t think god cares about our conformance to any specific custom or ritual or doctrine. I don’t think she cares about our obsequious praise and repetitive prayers. I think she wants us to live right, and that includes showing mercy to animals. (Matthew 5:7, 9:13.) If our religions and our doctrines encourage right living, then she probably is pleased with them; otherwise she probably is not.

The commitment to the good that we should make involves being sensitive. Sensitivity—to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” to do unsolicited good deeds for those humans and those animals we can see need them—is a fundamental component of ethics.

Some thousands of years from now, we will venture out past our solar system and meet other species that are on our verbal and technological level. We will quickly write—if we have not already—a corollary to the Golden Rule, an Eleventh Commandment, and we will learn to say: “Do unto other species as you would have other species do unto your own.

My hope is that some little thing I can do now might lessen the length of the Dark Age we live in. It shouldn’t take thousands of years and thousands of light years of travel for us to learn this. We can begin by treating the other species right here on this planet as we would have them treat us. If we do so, then by the time we meet the first extraterrestrials, we will have developed the necessary patience, understanding, and compassion to enable us to deal with them wisely. Perhaps we have already been visited by extraterrestrials, but perhaps they have chosen not to communicate with us because they found us to be too primitive. Perhaps they found us to be morally twisted in our willingness not only to torture and terrorize and kill other animals but even to exterminate entire species.

My hope is that more of us will become aware of the connection between the good impulse in ourselves and in others, meditate about it, listen to it, learn from it, talk to it, strengthen it, make it a central part of our personalities, and be open to the possibility that other fellow-humans and perhaps other species might be able to be part of this connection.

I sit and cross my legs and meditate and ponder this. In so doing, I conjure the animals and listen to what they would pray to us: “We roamed free until the end of the last Ice Age over the entire surface of the earth, when there were very few of you humans. You were just another animal species, a balanced part of the web of life. You killed some of us for food, but we accepted that as necessary for your survival. But recently you have taken more and more of the land until we now exist entirely at your sufferance. Your flaw as a species is your unrelenting urge to increase your numbers and take over every last acre of this earth. We ask that you leave us some place to live in the wild, for we are part of the natural world that makes possible your very survival. Many of us actually like humans and have joined your strange society and become your work animals and pets. We have done nothing to you humans to deserve the injustices you inflict on us. But how can we express this to you? We try to speak to you, but you have not deciphered our languages, and we give up on learning your strange tongue. All we can do is pray to you humans and hope some of you will hear our prayer and stand up for us.”

SPECULATIONS ABOUT WHERE CALLINGS COME FROM

It should be obvious to you by now that I feel a calling to stand up for the animals. I wonder where my calling comes from.

Ancient man presumed that callings come from god above. Prophets in legendary times heard voices while in ecstatic frenzies, while meditating or praying, while fasting, or while under the influence of drugs. Moses was said to have heard god’s voice in broad daylight, perhaps while sitting in a tent pondering and writing down his insights.

I have never had a vision of god or heard a deep voice from an unknown source. Whenever I have prayed and meditated and received answers, they have come in a voice that sounds like my own thought processes. I make no claim to inspiration.

I hope there is a god above us or within us, and I hope he or she calls us, but I can’t be sure. I will be patient; I will find out soon enough when I die. Faith is an easy thing for those who are absolutely convinced god exists. The greatest faith, however, is that of the person who is not certain god exists but still chooses to live as if god exists by making a commitment to right living.

Maybe the calling we perceive comes while we meditate and pray, not from god above but from those who are suffering—humans and animals. Maybe it is their voices we hear calling us telepathically.

Maybe there is some spiritual spark within us, inherent in the structure of our minds and bodies, like our instinct to love babies, which lies latent within us until it is awakened by our study, observation, and meditation. Maybe the calling I perceive is a natural, physiological reaction to what I have learned.

Maybe callings come entirely from within us. Maybe there is another consciousness within us: Maybe the mitochondria are conscious and struggle to communicate outward and upward to our body and mind. Jesus said the kingdom of god is within us.

Regardless of where callings come from, the existence of the calling is not enough. We have to choose to yield to it. This is why it can be said that we call ourselves. Many people have callings but ignore them, as did Jonah, who was miserable because he ignored his calling. We focus instead on the daily grind of making a living and running a household. Most ignore the calling and eventually forget about it. Ignoring a calling has a way of weakening us and even causing us to fail when we do labor that does not fit with our calling, while yielding to our calling has a way of strengthening and ennobling us.

How can you find your calling? Or revive a calling you have lost touch with? Visualize your aged self looking back and reflecting on the years that zipped by and the projects you never got around to. Then retrace your steps back to the present, and in the present make your commitment to work now on those projects that you will wish then that you were working on now.

Another way to find your calling is to meditate and pray and listen to the answers that come into your mind. You probably have a calling, but maybe you have not listened for it, or having heard it have ignored it. So meditate, pray, listen, and act.

I should say a word about prayer. Prayer is sending a message to god. Meditation is listening for a message god might be sending us. Meditation is to be preferred over prayer. Prayer is best used not for heaping up praise to god or asking god for help. God needs no praise. God knows already what help we need. Prayer is best used to ask god (or our deepest selves) for answers to questions, or for direction.

SPECULATIONS ABOUT WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO

It’s a warm summer night and there is a full moon. There is a slight breeze. You are eating dinner with your family and friends outside on the back deck, under the grape arbor. Stars shimmer down through gently rustling leaves. A good time is being had by all. You are asked to make a toast: You raise your glass, “People always talk about the good old days. Well, I’m here to tell you that we are living the good old days right now. This, my friends, is as good as it gets.” There is laughter and applause.

There is an extra chair. You look over at it, and there she sits, the goddess—like the angel who protected Daniel in the lion’s den. She looks like the goddess on the cover of this book. You blink and rub your eyes. You wonder if you are dreaming. No one else seems to be aware of her. She is wordless, but her half-smile communicates more than words.
In her face there is disappointment: She is unhappy with what her sons and daughters have made of her world.

In her face there is challenge. She calls you to do more.

In her face there is a quiet confidence—in you. There is much you can do to carry on her work, and she wants to fill you with her confidence.

In her face there is the hint of happiness and even a slight smile. Although foolishness and strife grow stronger every day, so also at the same time does wisdom and the love of peace. Things are going her way in the world. She will win in the end, although it may take a very long time.

She looks at you. Look at her face on the cover of this book. See that she is unwavering. You think of your unworthiness and look away.

You rub your eyes again. You look back, and she’s gone. You realize that no one else has perceived her. You awake and realize you have experienced a theological dream.

You feel changed. You have received a calling. From time to time thereafter you will recall her gaze as you go about your work in the world. You will focus on what’s really important. There will be no time to waste not working for law, ethics, justice, and peace. No time to waste not being a good example to your son or daughter of a gentle strength. And at the same time you will try to find happiness within yourself. The whole point of our efforts is to help bring happiness to others, and if we lose our own happiness, we lose our ability to help others find happiness.

So now when you look at the extra chair at the dinner table, you will think of it as an invitation to the wise one to join you. Jews invite the prophet Elijah to be present at their circumcisions.

You are just one person, but her challenge is that there is some small thing one such person can do.

What we eat is a small thing, but if millions of people make millions of small choices fit for the goddess, we can have an effect. There are ways of eating that are good for our bodies and for the environment, for the economy and for restraining population growth, for peacemaking and love making, for justice-making and reducing hunger, for our individual spirits and for the moral structure of the world. The closer we move to a green diet, the more we make this a more peaceful and environmentally sound world.

What would you serve the goddess if she joined you under the grape arbor on a summer night? Perhaps a succulent soup of pot herbs? A big skillet of rich stir fry? Sprouted and cooked grain? A salad of sprouts and greens? A spicy peanut and flax sauce to pour over it? You know she’s going to approve of this food. It is food that celebrates life and health, food that was gotten in a way we have no need to be ashamed of.

You look at the empty chair and imagine her half-smile. You understand her work in the world and accept it as your own. You think about the disappointment in her eyes, and you realize it is tempered by her confidence in people like you. You are just one person, but there is some small thing you can do to help to civilize the world—one meal at a time.

What you eat is a vote on how food is produced. Your vote has a small but real effect. The less animal-based food you eat, the less is produced. There is no person who is without effect on how the world will work out.
What you eat arouses curiosity and makes a much more powerful statement than words alone. People trying your food are saying, “Umm, Jimbo, this is really good. I see what you are talking about. Maybe this vegetarian thing is not so bad.”

Your carnivorous friends will be seduced by the good tastes, smells, and textures. They will feel light and healthy. They will get their diabetes and blood pressure under control. They will eat more food than ever before, but will lose their big bellies.

It is not important that you become a writer or speaker on this subject. It is more important that you become a cook and get people to try your green food and then teach them how to cook it for themselves and others.
A beautiful idea is powerful. It propagates itself—virus-like and exponentially. Its symmetrical sensibility is attractive to the mind. It is a beautiful and powerful idea—to think that we can change the world by eating a green diet.

I have an idealistic theory I would like to share with you: There are around 6.6 billion people in the world. Assume that each day each person learns something worthwhile. That means that each day the world as a whole gains 6.6 billion person-days of maturity and wisdom about how to live. I dream of waking up some morning to headlines that say:

World Reaches State of Enlightenment

War and Crime Disappear

Sales of Meat, Milk, Eggs Drop to Zero

NASA says a plant-based diet is the diet of space: Astronauts living in a long-term, self-sustaining space station or space colony will have to eat a green diet. In a small space, there will be no way to grow farm animals, deal with animal diseases, and dispose of the poop. Maybe NASA is taking notes from the green diet of the mythological Starship Enterprise where replicators make all the food—out of pure energy. I assume there eventually will come a time when more humans will live out in space than here on Terra. That means that someday a green diet will be the diet of a majority of humans.

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Chapter 6 – Judaism and the History of Food

Chapter 6 – Judaism and the History of Food

6
JUDAISM AND THE
HISTORY OF FOOD

MINING THE LEGENDS OF GENESIS

The stories of Genesis are symbolic and allegorical. For one who is not afraid to interpret them in a non-literal way, there is much history to be found there. Scholars such as J.J. Bachofen and A.M. Hocart believed in the “historicity of myth.” (J.J. Bachofen, Myth, Religion, and Mother Right; p. 75.) Greek historians such as Herodotus and Strabo acknowledged the ancient Greek stories to be mere legends and distilled history out of them. Those who insist that Genesis or any other book of the Bible be taken completely literally are, ironically, the only ones who are unable to identify the real historical facts they contain. Judaism regards the creation story as part of “esoteric lore.” (Encyclopedia Judaica, “Creation,” 1997 CD edition.) Judaism never accepted the Christian theory of Adam’s fall as constituting an original sin which affects all humanity. This theology first appears in the Christian 2 Esdras 3:10. Genesis belonged to the Jews first, and their interpretation of it should prevail over the Christian interpretation. The first chapters of Genesis and Ezekiel formed the core of the highly symbolic kabbalah. (“Cabala,” www.JewishEncyclopedia.com.)

There was peace in Eden as there was peace in Old Europe before 4300 B.C.E. and in the Old Near East before 5500 B.C.E. All that changed when Semitic patriarchs stormed into the Old Near East and Aryan Kurgans invaded Old Europe. Genesis tells of the loss of peace and the descent into constant warfare. One aspect of the peace was that animals were treated peaceably. There is a legend referred to in the Talmud and the Bible that from the time of Adam to the Deluge, Adam’s descendants did not eat meat. According to Sanhedrin 59b: “Adam was not permitted meat for purposes of eating.”

According to Genesis: And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” (Genesis 1:29 f.)

And to Adam he said, “…[T]horns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. (Genesis 3:17 ff.)

Note that even the animals eat only plant-based foods.

The reason why early humans were forbidden meat to eat, according to 13th Century Jewish scholar Nachmanides, was

… because living creatures possess a moving soul and a certain spiritual superiority which in this respect make them similar to those who possess intellect (people) and they have the power of affecting their welfare and their food and they flee from pain and death. (Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 2; quoting from Rabbi Alfred Cohen, “Vegetarianism from a Jewish Perspective,” Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society, Vol. I, No. II, (Fall, 1981), p. 45; see www.all-creatures.org/articles/jvrsfaq.html.)

The Jewish literature on vegetarianism is enormous, fascinating, and a door to many other aspects of Judaism and ancient history in general. Schwartz’ book and web site are a good place to start.

The life spans of the legendary patriarchs who lived before the Deluge were very long, Methuselah living to be 969 (Genesis 5:21), and the reason for this, according to Jewish scholar Nachmanides, was their vegetarianism. (I.B. Levinson, The Jewish Encyclopedia, Volume 12, p. 405; cited by Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 3.)

“Adam” may derive from the Hebrew word adamah, a feminine noun which means “earth.” I hypothesize that there had been a matristic version of this legend, before the patriarchal invasions, in which the hero of the story was Adamah, a woman. I hypothesize that the patriarchal editors put Adamah through a historical “sex change operation.” According to Theodore Reik, the predecessors of the Hebrews worshiped a female goddess. (Pagan Rites in Judaism, p. 100.)

Another role reversal involved the vilification of the serpent. The serpent had been the symbol of the goddess religion and a symbol of healing. Moses employed the Caduceus, a serpent coiled around a cross, as a healing symbol (Numbers 21:8, 2 Kings 18:4), and this harkened back to the matristic era. The Pythagorean and vegetarian physician Hippocrates—supposed author of the Hippocratic Oath—used it as a symbol of healing, and it is still the symbol of physicians today. Nevertheless, the patriarchal redactors of Genesis 3 presented the seducer of Adam and Eve as a serpent.

Scholars are generally mystified as to the meaning of the Genesis legend of the ‘sons of God” and the Nephilim:

[T]he sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…?. Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. (Genesis 6: 1-9.)

I find my own theory the most convincing: The “sons of God” in this story represent the patriarchal Semitic invaders of the Old Middle East. The Semitic patriarchs conquered the old pre-Hebrew matristic, partnership culture, in many cases killing off all the men, women, and boys, sparing only the virgin girls, and taking them as wives or concubines, referred to in this story as “the daughters of men.” The Nephilim were their offspring. (See Ronald S. Hendel, “When the Sons of God Cavorted With the Daughters of Men,” ed. Hershel Shanks, Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls: A Reader from the Biblical Archaeology Review, p. 167 ff.; Cf. Numbers 13:28, 33; Deuteronomy 9:2; Joshua 15:13.) The term “Nephilim” itself is a reference to some kind of angel, however, their behavior was not at all angelic, and the application of the term to them was probably made at a later date in the development of the myth. This is perhaps a story of a holocaust, as revised and recorded in a garbled form by later patriarchal editors. It was not a holocaust of water but of invasion, murder, rape, child abuse, and enslavement.

The patriarchs, referred to in Genesis 6 as the “sons of God,” conquered the pre-Hebrew partnership cultures, but they were outnumbered by those they conquered, and they may have brought few women with them. So they married or took as concubines enormous harems of those pre-Hebrew virgin girls who survived the holocaust. (Compare Numbers 13:28, 33, quoted on page 44.) The girls became the mothers of the second generation, the Nephilim. I suggest that the virgins knew their goddess traditions well and were able to pass them on to their children. The patriarchal culture allowed only the boys to become priests, unlike the partnership culture which preceded it, in which it appears that both boys and girls could aspire to the priesthood.

In the long history of the pre-Hebrews this is the narrow middle of the hour glass. I speculate that much of the sand of tradition never flowed through and was lost forever. But enough of the tradition did flow through to make it possible for us to reassemble the pieces. I suggest that the warlike, masculinist religion of the invaders was blended with the matristic, partnership religion to produce an initially warlike, pre-Hebrew religion which killed off entire tribes and introduced animal sacrifice.

On the mother side of the pre-Hebrew religion, god may have been female or may have had a feminine side, the ruach, or spirit of god. Judaism today considers god to be both male and female. This combined maleness and femaleness of god can be seen in the Jewish mystical tradition known as kabbalah, in which the feminine side of god is called the shekinah. (Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 112.)

The original root of the pre-Hebrew religion was very strong on the mother side, and as time passed the partnership paradigm was reasserted, with the invader religion surviving as a thin veneer: While men continued to control the leadership of the Hebrew religion, the core of the religion reverted to many aspects of the pre-invasion-holocaust partnership paradigm.

By the time of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah, after 500 B.C.E., feminine themes—justice, ending the violence to fellow humans, and ending the killing and sacrificing of animals—worked their way into the consciousness of such prophetic leaders. In most other ancient patriarchal religions such as Brahmanism and Zoroastrianism, the feminine root was expunged much more completely. Druidism, the religion of the European Celts, was likewise a merger of the masculine dominator and feminine partnership religions; among the Celts, some feminine themes survived, and women could own property and divorce.

My hypothesis is that the old teachings from the matristic, partnership era survived by being grafted into legends from the father side. The religion of mostly priestesses and some priests was replaced by a religion of priests only. The gender of god was changed from female to male, from a goddess of ethics, law, and medicine into a god of war, conquest, and ethnic cleansing. Stories were revised by the invader religion; matriarchs became patriarchs.

I suggest, however, that the goddess side of the pre-Hebrew religion survived and gradually reasserted itself in Judaism, which by the time of the Prophets had become a progressive, philosophical religion that stressed high ethical standards. Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist Judaism allow women to become rabbis, and Orthodox Judaism is now ordaining a few women as rabbis. Women have never been barred from studying the tradition. Both the feminine side of god and the ancient teachings from the mother side are stronger in Judaism than in the other major patriarchal religions—Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Brahmanism, and Hinduism.

In the Cain and Abel story as we have it (Genesis 4), Cain sacrificed grain and vegetables, and his sacrifice was not pleasing to god. Able sacrificed animals, and his sacrifice was pleasing to god. According to my theory, Cain and Abel were reversed by meat eating patriarchs who rewrote the story. I suggest that in the original pre-patriarchal story, Able offered a vegetable sacrifice that was pleasing to god, while Cain offered an animal sacrifice, which was not pleasing. I suggest the story was changed to make meat the preferred sacrifice in order to validate the customs of the conquering patriarchs.

That this reversal has taken place in Genesis 4 is quite plausible because Adam’s progeny—in the original matristic vegetarian version of pre-Hebrew history—did not eat meat from Genesis 1 thorough Genesis 9. Abel was one of Adam’s pre-Hebrew progeny, and it is unlikely he would have offered an animal sacrifice if he did not eat meat. It was generally food items that were sacrificed, vegetables, grain, meat, and wine—although incense was sacrificed too. In sacrifices in the Bible, only a few animals were burned entirely, leaving nothing to eat—referred to as “burnt offerings” or “whole burnt offerings.” Of the majority of sacrifices, only a part was burned. The remainder was distributed to the priests and those who brought the animal to be sacrificed. The priests kept all the leather. My point is that sacrifices were primarily made of things that were eaten, and if animals were not being sacrificed, they probably were not being eaten; conversely, if animals were not being eaten, they were probably not being sacrificed, and the meat sacrifice of Cain would have been displeasing to god.

However, there is another interpretation of this strange story, and it comes from Henry Bailey Stevens. Eden was a place where the tree was central. God had a special relationship with the trees, as would be appropriate in a time when trees where worshiped. Cain offered as fertilizer to the trees a mulch of only plant matter. They grew well enough. However, Abel poured the blood, bones, and manure of animals around the trees, giving them a large dose of nitrogen and minerals. They grew better and produced more fruit. In this way the god of the trees preferred Abel’s sacrifice. (The Recovery of Culture, pp. 64-67. This is on my list of must-read books.)

THE QUEST FOR THE HISTORICAL EDEN

Can we prove there were vegetarian societies in prehistoric times? I know of no archeologist who has reported finding village dumps from 5000 B.C.E. in which there are no animal bones. Would a village dump containing no bones completely biodegrade and be harder to find? I would think that broken pottery and cutting tools would still survive.

Did a vegetarian Eden ever exist? Were there tribes that gathered but did not hunt? The tentative proof is threefold: First, there is historical documentation of the existence of Pythagorean vegetarian societies in southern Italy in the Sixth Century B.C.E. and in Palestine and Egypt by the time of Jesus. Second, Pythagoras, Plato, and other Greeks claimed there was a Golden Era in the distant past when the best societies did not kill animals for food. Third, Genesis and the Talmud claim that humans from Adam to Noah ate a vegetarian diet. Greek and Hebrew myth generally grows around a seed of historical fact. Fourth, there have been and are many religions which practice a part-time vegetarianism or a vegetarianism of the priesthood, which would mean that some within these religions and societies admired vegetarianism and pursued it to different degrees.

On the other hand, mythological statements about what happened in the past are sometimes best interpreted not as statements of how things actually were in the past, but how things should be in the present. Perhaps Pythagoras, Plato, and the writers of Genesis and the Talmud said there had been a vegetarian Golden Era in order to say that their own ages should be vegetarian.

The Near East and Old Europe, before around 5500 B.C.E. and 4300 B.C.E. respectively were largely free of warfare. Women were the equal of men or even their superiors. Things took a big change thereafter, with the invasions of Aryan and other patriarchal invaders and the massive increase in animal herding which they introduced. These invasions mark the beginning of generalized war, genocide, slavery, the abuse of women and children, environmental destruction, the domestication and abuse of animals on a mass scale, and a great increase in the consumption of meat.

For most of our species’ duration, animal-based foods made up a smaller part of the human diet than they do today. The earliest humans ate mostly vegetation, supplemented with insects. They lacked the weapons to kill large animals. The bow and arrow appeared only around 30,000 years ago. For most of human history we did not herd animals, and when we hunted, it provided an occasional, not a daily, source of food. Fish was probably commonly eaten in coastal and riparian societies, although the Phoenicians refused to eat fish. Meat of land animals probably did not become a regular source of food for most humans until agriculture developed starting around 10,000 years ago, and even then meat was probably not consumed on a daily basis as it is today. Even in the 20th Century, even up until the end of World War II, the typical diet in the United States contained much less animal products than it does today.

THE QUEST FOR THE HISTORICAL DELUGE

An inquiry into the flood story is relevant to our topic because it is a dividing line in legends regarding food history. Before the Flood, the descendants of Adam were vegetarians; thereafter they were allowed to eat meat.

There are legends of a Deluge in ancient traditions around the world. The Hebrews told of Noah. The Greeks told of Deucalion—mentioned by Apollodorus, Apollonius Rhodius, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ovid, Hesiod, and others. (http://www.geocities.com/tmartiac//thalassa/themis.htm).

The flood stories may have come from vague memories of an especially destructive local flood or tsunami. For example, the mega-volcano island of Santorini near Crete blew up around 1450 B.C.E., and this created huge tsunamis. Ash may have fallen on Egypt, creating plagues that helped Moses get the Israelites out of Egypt. Ash probably covered wide areas, disrupting agriculture, and causing population decline. The partnership Minoan civilization declined after this time and was overrun by the patriarchal Mycenaeans.

However, there could be other sources for the flood myths: For example, as the last Ice Age was ending around 10,000 years ago, there was a pluvial age in which there were lengthy periods of extremely heavy rain. Glaciers were melting, sometimes very quickly, with entire ice sheets slipping off land masses, raising sea levels perhaps several meters in a matter of days. The sea level rose around 400 feet shortly after the end of the last Ice Age. Ice dams broke, flooding low areas and quickly filling lakes.

A combination of generally rising sea levels combined with rapidly calving glaciers, combined with large storms, low atmospheric pressure, high tides, and high winds, could have produced disastrous floods. Continental shelves were submerged. Perhaps the legend of the Deluge derives from this rapid rise in sea level.

Before the end of the last Ice Age, most lived along sea coasts, just as most do today. Speculative historians look for the mythical Atlantis out in the Atlantic or on some other continent, however, they should be looking on the submerged continental shelves of the world—under 400 feet of water—along the old coastlines. As the oceans rose, those who lived along the coastlines journeyed inland to what became the new coastlines. In moving inland they may have displaced upland herders, perhaps forcibly. Perhaps these evicted herders, resentful of the coastal people who drove them north and east, became the Aryan Kurgans and the Semitic patriarchs which later took revenge and invaded Europe, the Near East, and India.

While the oceans, including the Mediterranean, were rising, the Black Sea was not. It was a fresh water lake, walled off from the Mediterranean by a solid Bosporus barrier. However, around 5500 B.C.E., the barrier gave way, and the level of the Black Sea rose quickly, flooding out those who lived on its old banks. The fast and devastating flooding of the Black Sea could have given rise to the legend of the Deluge.

Albert Einstein endorsed the theory that the end of the last Ice Age a Deluge of worldwide proportions could have been caused by the shifting of the lithosphere, that is the earth’s relatively thin crust, in relation to the more elastic mantle it floats on. Einstein and Dr. Charles H. Hapgood considered this to be the only plausible explanation for the abrupt end of the last Ice Age in North American around 12,000 years ago, at the same time as the abrupt cooling of the climate of eastern Siberia.

According to their theory, the location of the north pole moved at that time from the central area of Hudson Bay to its present location at our North Pole. Such a shift, occurring in stages over a period of months, years, or decades would have caused huge waves. (Charles H. Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age, p. 177.)

Orthodox geologists do not find a large pole shift or a lithosphere shift occurring around 12,000 years ago. However, such a theory is not outlandish: Scientists acknowledge that shifts have occurred at earlier times, perhaps as a result of the destabilizing effect of the enormous weight of Ice Age ice. (Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Rock Magnetism,” 1979 ed., 15:946; Jon Erickson, Ice Ages: Past and Future, p. 97 f.) German Scholar Martin Claussen of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and others, say that around 9,000 years ago the earth’s tilt on its axis shifted from 24.14 degrees to 23.45 degrees, where it is today, and that this contributed to the drying up of the Sahara and other climate changes. (Claussen, M. ; Kubatzki, C. ; Brovkin, V. ; Ganopolski, A. ; Hoelzmann, P. ; Pachur, H.J., 1999, “Simulation of an Abrupt Change in Saharan Vegetation in the Mid-Holocene,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 26 , No. 14 , p. 2037, 1999GL900494; J.E., Kutzbach and P.J. Guetter, “The Influence of Changing Orbital Parameters and Surface Boundary Conditions on Climate Simulations for the Past 18,000 Years,” Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 43, 1726-1759, 1986.)

These authors do not say whether the 24.14 to 23.45 degree shift resulted from the lithosphere shifting or from the entire earth from the core out to the surface shifting. It would appear that Einstein and Hapgood were right at least at least in some way about the poles shifting but wrong about the mechanism. The serious flaw in their theory can be seen by looking at the string of volcanoes that make up the Hawaiian Island chain. They represent new and old volcanoes which are situated over a hot spot in the mantle, which punches through the lithosphere. The island chain runs from east to west because the crust moves slowly from west to east over the hot spot as the Pacific shrinks in size. The same pattern appears in the case of Yellowstone. Assuming that the poles do shift, which seems to be true, the only mechanism which could accomplish this would be the entire earth shifting on its axis—or at least the lithosphere and mantle together sifting over the molten outer core of the earth. But what enormous force could accomplish such shifts? The weight of polar ice is extremely great, but it is still tiny compared with the weight of the entire earth. Dr. Walter O. Peterson points to the one force great enough to shift the entire earth on its axis: solar electromagnetism. www.poleshift.org.) Even a small pole shift of 24.14 to 23.45 degrees, by whatever mechanism, would have caused enormous waves, which could have given rise to flood legends.

Plato believed there had been a worldwide cataclysm. He relied on the reports of his ancestor Solon. After Solon wrote a new constitution for Athens that radically redistributed land ownership, he departed for Egypt where priests allegedly showed him ancient historical records telling of a cataclysmic destruction of most of humanity. Solon told of flood and fire that destroyed not only the mythical Atlantis but also wiped out all life in Greece and the rest of the world except for a few shepherds who lived in the highest mountains. (Plato, Timaeus, Critas, Cletophon, Menexenus, Epistles, Loeb Classical Library, p. 29 ff.; Plato, Laws, Book III, Loeb Classical Library, p. 177 ff.) The Zoroastrians of Persia believed that history began in the year 9660 B.C.E. (Martin A. Larson, The Religion of the Occident: The Origin and Development of the Essene-Christian Faith, p. 96.)

According to my hypothesis, the Biblical story of the Flood in Genesis 7-9 could represent a confusion or conflation of two legendary but historical holocausts. It may combine the legend of Plato’s flood of water, which was some kind of indiscriminate killer of much of humanity around 9600 B.C.E. with a second holocaust, which was not accomplished by water but by patriarchal invaders on horseback, and which wiped out most of the pre-Hebrew matristic tribes. The story of the Nephilim in Genesis 6 could also refer to the patriarchal invasions. Note that if this is the case, the stories are out of order: The Noah story should have come first, as a legend which dates from the end of the last Ice Age, followed by the Nephilim story, which is a legend about the invasions of the patriarchal Aryan and Semitic tribes, which came in several waves starting around 5500 B.C.E. The Genesis legends are not necessarily set forth in correct order because redactors did not necessarily understand what the legends symbolized.

The Genesis flood story says that the population of the world was destroyed almost completely. (Genesis 7:23.) According to Plato’s story of Deucalion, only a few shepherds in the hills survived. Like the historical holocaust carried out by the patriarchal invaders, the Genesis legend tells how the patriarchal sons of God and the Nephilim took the daughters of men. (Genesis 6:2-4.) It was immediately after the coming of the Nephilim that “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth….” (Genesis 6:5.; Compare Numbers 31:7-9, 13-18, 32-35.) Because of the mention of the wickedness of man, I would presume that the taking of the daughters of men was part of a forcible conquest. Consider also the possibility that the flood is a recollection of the annihilation of almost all humans by the ash of the Toba eruption some 74,000 years ago. Toba set off large tsunamis, which swallowed up coastal cities. Most humans lived close to the oceans, and so almost everyone was killed by water. The few survivors were killed by the ash and then by the following decades of cold weather.

MEAT EATING ALLOWED AFTER THE DELUGE

After the legendary Deluge, the eating of meat was allowed to Noah and his descendants:

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every bird of the air, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.” (Genesis 9:1.)

Perhaps this change took place in the context of a world that had become less civilized or perhaps colder because the pre-Hebrew tribe was living further north or at higher altitudes. Or perhaps it occurred in the context of a partnership religious tradition that was primarily or relatively vegetarian that had been conquered by patriarchal herdsmen and then blended into a new Hebrew religion that allowed meat eating.

I hypothesize that before the patriarchal invasions, the pre-Hebrew tribe followed a lacto-vegetarian or lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet, in either case, one that excluded sacrificing animals and eating meat. After the conquest by the patriarchs, this rule was revised to include meat eating. Certain quick and relatively painless methods of slaughter were required as a part of a compromise with the vegetarians. Perhaps the early vegetarian kosher had always included rules for how to kill animals and eat meat when that was the only thing to eat, or for those who insisted on eating meat. It is easy to imagine the occasional application of the rule evolving into the regular bad habit. This hypothesis would explain better than any other why in orthodox Jewish homes, there are separate pots, pans, plates, utensils, sinks, and even separate ovens for products containing meat versus products containing no animal products except for milk and/or eggs. The only problem with this theory is that fish is considered “pareve” or neutral, and may be eaten either with milk or meat dishes, although some Jews will not eat fish with other kinds of meat. Maybe the pre-Hebrew vegetarians were fish-vegetarians.

According to Jewish scholar Joseph Albo (died 1444), the reason for the vegetarianism of humanity from Adam to Noah was this:

In the killing of animals there is cruelty, rage, and the accustoming of oneself to the bad habit of shedding innocent blood…. (Joseph Albo, tr. Isaac Husik, Sefer ha-Ikkarim, Volume III, Chapter 15; quoted by Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 2.)

Killing animals on a regular basis was bad for the innocent animals, but it was also bad for the moral structure of the killer.

But what about Deuteronomy 12:20? It says: “When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat flesh,’ because you crave flesh, you may eat as much flesh as you desire?” This appears to be a carte blanche advocacy of meat eating, however, the Talmudic commentators say otherwise. They put this Biblical passage into the context of the times and explain it as follows in Hullin 84a:

Our Rabbis taught: [It is written,] when the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy borders, as He hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, “I will eat flesh.” The Torah here teaches a rule of conduct, that a person shall not eat meat unless he has a special appetite for it… and shall eat it only occasionally and sparingly.

Maybe the rabbis took this position because they recalled that meat eating in ancient times had not been allowed at all. The granting of the right to eat meat was a limited right. According to the Talmud, meat is not considered a necessity for life. The meat that Israelites were permitted to eat is called “meat of lust.” (Encyclopedia Judaica, Volume II, p. 1152, cited in Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 8; Numbers 11:18-34.)
According to Schwartz,

… Rabbi Elijah Judah, author of Animal Life in Jewish Tradition, (1984), concedes that “[s]cripture does not command the Israelite to eat meat, but rather permits this diet as a concession to lust.” (Schochet, Animal Life in Jewish Tradition, 1984, p. 300, quoted in Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 8.)

Dr. William Harris says we are a genetically fat-addicted species. Eating fat in lean times was such a lifesaver that the early humans who had a strong taste for it were most likely to survive to become our ancestors. They passed along their genes and their addiction to us. (William Harris, M.D., The Scientific Basis of Vegetarianism, p. 24.) “Lust,” also translated “craving,” is the term frequently used in the Bible and Talmud for the desire for meat. (Numbers 11:4,21; 33:16; Deuteronomy 12:15,20,21; Psalms 78:18, 30; 81:12, 106:14.) “Lust” might be a synonym for addiction or for a craving for the essential fatty acids.

Although the Israelite cult developed a strong tradition of sacrificing animals, Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235) suggested that the sacrifices were never mandatory, only voluntary. He ascertained this from the words of Jeremiah:

[I]n the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. But this command I gave them, “Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” But they did not obey… From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day; yet they did not listen to me…. (Jeremiah 7:21-26.)

Jeremiah implies that one of the major messages of the prophets was that animal sacrifice should cease. The emphasis should be on ethical living. He says that the Hebrew people got off the track in their emphasis on a meat-sacrificing cult and their de-emphasis of ethical living. I suggest this happened when the animal herding, pastoral patriarchs conquered the pre-Hebrew people of the south. They rewrote early versions of pre-Biblical literature to require animal sacrifice. (See The Jewish Encyclopedia, 1905, p. 628, cited by Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 88.)
Judaism’s greatest scholar, Moses Maimonides (1135-1204 C.E.) wrote:

“…[T]he prophets thus distinctly declared that the object of the sacrifices is not very essential, and that God does not require them. For it is distinctly stated in Scripture, and handed down by tradition, that the first commandments communicated to us did not include any law at all about burnt-offering and sacrifice.”

Of Maimonides it was said, “From Moses to Moses, there was none like Moses.” (Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed, p. xxv, 325, 326.)

The Temple sacrifices, the slaughter and eating of the Passover lamb, and the smearing of the lamb’s blood on the door post all ended in 70 C.E. with the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans. Along with the Judeo-Christians, many Pharisees fled Jerusalem before its destruction. Johanan ben Zacchai petitioned the Roman authorities to be allowed to set up an academy at Jamnia in Palestine. He and his fellow rabbis established the Rabbinic Judaism we known today. They chose not to reinstitute animal sacrifices, however, they did not put an end to the slaughtering of animals for food. Why should they? They believed only the messiah would do that, and for them the messiah had not yet come. Prayer and repentance were substituted for animal sacrifice as the way of obtaining forgiveness of sin or atonement. Similarly, John the Baptist and Jesus offered prayer, and a “baptism of repentance” for forgiveness of sins. (Mark 1:4; Matthew 6:9-15; Luke 11:2; Didache 9:5.)

RECOVERY OF THE PARTNERSHIP PARADIGM

My theory is that within the bosom of the Hebrew tradition there continued to survive a glimmer of the ancient consciousness that dated back to the partnership paradigm. Although the Hebrew tradition had come to be led by men, it has always been more liberal towards women than most other traditions. Its consciousness of ethics as the second law after monotheism gradually overcame the dominator paradigm. (Deuteronomy 6:4 ff., 11:13 ff.; Numbers 15:37 ff.; Leviticus 19:14-18, Mark 12:31.) Along with the growing emphasis on ethics, opposition to cruelty survived and grew ever stronger in Jewish tradition.

The first chief rabbi of pre-state Israel, Abraham Isaac Kook, who died in 1935, was a vegetarian for religious reason. He believed that the option to kill and eat animals was temporary and

… that the permission to eat meat “after all the desire of your soul” was a concealed reproach and a qualified command. He states that a day will come when people will detest the eating of the flesh of animals because of a moral loathing, and then it shall be said that “because your soul does not long to eat meat, you will not eat meat.” (Joe Green, Chalutzim of the Messiah—The Religious Vegetarian Concept as Expounded by Rabbi Kook, p. 2, and Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace, and “Fragments of Light: A View as to the Reasons for the Commandments,” in Abraham Isaac Kook, both cited in Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, pp. 3, 9; “Abraham Isaac Kook,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1979 edition, Micropaedia, Volume 5, p. 887.)

According to Kook, as explained by Schwartz,

People are not always ready to live up to God’s highest ideals. By the time of Noah, humanity had degenerated greatly…. [B]ecause people had sunk to an extremely low level of spirituality, it was necessary that they be given an elevated image of themselves as compared to animals, and that they concentrate their efforts into first improving relationships between people. [God] feels that were people denied the right to eat meat, they might eat the flesh of human beings due to their inability to control their lust for flesh. He regards the permission to slaughter animals for food as a “transitional tax” or temporary dispensation until a “brighter era” is reached when people would return to vegetarian diets. (Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 3-4.)

The same logic appears in the Clementina. It was probably Judeo-Christians who wrote the original versions of the Clementina, of which we have modified versions in the form of the Recognitions of Clement and the Clementine Homilies. (Recognitions of Clement, 1:35 ff, Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume VIII, p. 87-88.)

As a relevant aside and in all fairness, I should point out that one author says that the son of Rabbi Kook told him that his father was not a vegetarian. (Alfred S. Cohen, “Vegetarianism from a Jewish Perspective,” Judaism & Animal Rights, ed. Roberta Kalechofsky, p. 193, n. 11.)

Human sacrifice—particularly child sacrifice—was a serious problem in some ancient societies. Some of the ancient worshipers of both male and female gods did practice human and child sacrifice. (Deuteronomy 12:31; Ezekiel 16:20, 20:26, 23:30; Isaiah 57:5; Leviticus 18:21; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 16:3, 21:6, 23:10; 2 Chronicles 33:6; Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5; Ezekiel 16:20; 20:26.) While Hannibal menaced northern Italy, terror-stricken Romans reverted to the human sacrifice they had long before replaced with animal sacrifice. (Donald Keegan, On the Origins of War, p. 232.)

Hebrews struggled with the problem of child sacrifice, as can be seen in the story of Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac and his sacrificing of a ram in his place. (Genesis 22:13.) I theorize that the pre-Hebrew patriarchs practiced human sacrifice and that Genesis 22 represents the point when it stopped.
The fact that there were goddess-worshiping religions in Old Testament times that sacrificed children, however, is no proof that goddess-worshiping religions as they existed before the patriarchs invaded had sacrificed children. It is my theory that these sinful practices were introduced by the patriarchal invaders, and that the patriarchs gradually learned from the women they had conquered to renounce them.

When we get to early historical times, we find that surviving, subordinated matristic religions coexisted with patriarchal religions. There were temples dedicated to the various goddesses. By classical Greek times, pagan religions showed a high degree of tolerance for each other. However, the matristic religions had probably been modified by the patriarchal religions. For example, the Pythic-Delphic Oracle before around 1400 B.C.E. was a small cult of only a few priestesses atop a hill, which was considered the navel of the world. By the time of the Doric invasions of around 1050 B.C.E., the priestesses had been reduced to captive status. Those who came to consult had to speak to male priests of the cult of Apollo, who in turn communicated with the oracular priestesses. (See the section of this book entitled Delphic Oracle, page 67.)

Early Christian preachers vilified the pagan religions; pagan spokesmen such as Porphyry countered the attack. Christians refused to declare allegiance to the state and its representative pantheon—which was done by making a token sacrifice of incense to the gods and obtaining a certificate. Suspecting the Christians of disloyalty, the Roman state persecuted Christians, although only on rare occasions. Religious pagans, for the most part, tried to tolerate the Christians. Christians, on the other hand considered theirs the only valid religion and all others as perverse. Christianity became first a tolerated religion and then the official state religion. Then all other religions except Judaism were banned, and Theodosius and other emperors confiscated pagan temples, lands, and other property and gave them to the orthodox church. By the 500s the last of the Greek temples and academies were shut down.

David Bakan, scholar of psychiatry and Judaica, suggests that the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17 ff.) is a reference to child sacrifice and child cannibalism as the original sin. Knowledge is a euphemism in the Bible for sexual intercourse (Genesis 3:7, 4:1, 4:17, 4:25, 19:8, 24:16), and the fruit or outcome of sex is the child. There were many ancient societies in which people sacrificed and ate their children. (David Bakan, And They Took Themselves Wives: The Emergence of Patriarchy in Western Civilization, p. 16.)

In response to Mr. Bakan, I would suggest that the eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge could just as well be a symbol for the killing and eating of animals. The casting of Adam and Eve out of Eden into a life of toil in the fields might be a symbol for the transition from life as gatherer-hunter to settled agricultural life.

THE RULE OF NOAH

Although humans were allowed to eat meat under Noah’s new ethical guidelines, they were prohibited in Genesis 9:4 from eating blood: “Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” (See also Leviticus 17:10, 12, 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16-25, 15:23.) The blood symbolizes life. Thus, the rule not to eat blood is a reminder not to eat animals at all. According to Moses Cassuto:

Apparently the Torah was in principle opposed to the eating of meat. When Noah and his descendants were permitted to eat meat this was a concession conditional on the prohibition of the blood. This prohibition implied respect for the principle of life (“for the blood is the life”) and an allusion to the fact that in reality all meat should have been prohibited. This partial prohibition was designed to call to mind the previously total one. (Leibowitz, Studies in Bereshit, p. 77, cited by Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 5.)

I hypothesize that Noah’s new Kosher rule was this: God does not want humans to kill and eat animals, but if humans insist on doing so, they must treat animals well while they live and must kill animals in a relatively painless way. And they must adhere to rules regarding meat eating that will act as a memory device that will help humans remember that there was a time when they did not eat meat at all and that someday they will renounce it. The memory device is the prohibition against consuming the blood of animals and the many other rules of kosher slaughter. As one slaughters a cow and drains out the blood, he or she will always ask why there is such a restriction. Judaism is replete with such memory devices. Judaism at its core is memory and consciousness, including a consciousness of ethics. Bear in mind that in Judaism the concept of god is inseparable from ethics.
Immediately after god granted Noah and his descendants the right to eat meat (Genesis 9:3) there came a warning (Genesis 9:5) of the consequences: “For your lifeblood I will surely require a reckoning…?.” Noah was the last of the especially long-lived patriarchs. The shortening of the life span of humans was part of this legend (Genesis 6:3-5), and the connection between wickedness, eating meat, and dying younger is obvious.

In the section of this book entitled Paul, James, and the Jerusalem Council, p. 123, I go into greater detail about the Rule of Noah.

MOSES

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. They wandered in the wilderness of Sinai and ate manna, a plant-based food. (Exodus 16:15, Numbers 11:7.) Rabbinic scholar Isaac Arama (1420-1494) regarded this as an attempt to reinstitute a plant-based diet. (Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 6; See Recognitions of Clement, 1:35 ff, Roberts and Donaldson, Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume VIII, p. 87-88.) The attempt failed. The Israelites may have been vegetarians before they moved to Egypt, but in Egypt they had grown accustomed to meat. They clamored for it in the desert. Perhaps there were non-Israelites who had joined in the Exodus, and meat eating was their custom. God sent quail, and

[w]hile the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.

The place where this happened was called “The Graves of Lust.” (Numbers 11:18-34.) The moral of the story is clear: Eating meat is not a good thing.
The five books of Moses, the Pentateuch, contain detailed instructions on how the Hebrews were to conduct their animal sacrifices. A vegetarian interpretation of these is that they were not part of the original tradition about Moses but were added at a later date, after the First Temple had been built in Jerusalem by Solomon and animal sacrifices had been instituted. The Judeo-Christians regarded these passages as not having been authentic. Jesus suggested there were parts of the Hebrew Bible which were falsified. (The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Frank Williams, tr., 18, Book I, pp. 44 ff.; Matthew 22:29; see the section of this book entitled Simon Peter, the Clementina, p. 102; compare Deuteronomy 12:15-28; Psalms 78:17-31.)

SAGA OF THE VEGETARIAN DANIEL

The book of Daniel (1:8-17), written in the Second Century B.C.E. about events that occurred around 600 B.C.E., when the Hebrews were being held in captivity, tells how a Babylonian king brought Israelite youth into the royal court for education. The story is worth retelling here:

… Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s rich food [meat], or with the wine which he drank; therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs; and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear lest my lord the king, who appointed your food and your drink, should see that you were in poorer condition than the youths who are of you own age. So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had appointed over Daniel…; “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s rich food be observed by you, and according to what you see deal with your servants.” So he hearkened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s rich food. So the steward took away their rich food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. As for these four youths God gave them learning and skill in all letters and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. (My comments are in square brackets.)

King Nebuchadnezzar fell into mental illness for a period of seven “times,” during which he “ate grass like an ox,” after which his reason returned. (Daniel 3:28 ff.) The Lives of the Prophets adds more detail. The period of mental illness lasted for seven months, during which Nebuchadnezzar “neither ate bread nor meat nor drank wine, since Daniel had enjoined him to appease the Lord with soaked pulse and herbs.” So Nebuchadnezzar recovered his mental health by eating sprouted lentils and greens. (David Satran, “Biblical Prophets and Christian Legend: The Lives of the Prophets Reconsidered,” Messiah and Christos: Studies in the Jewish Origins of Christianity, p. 199 ff.; C.C. Torrey, The Lives of the Prophets.)

The book of Daniel was very popular among the Jewish Essenes and was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls; it may have been written or edited by the Qumran Essenes, who were vegetarian. As discussed below, vegetarians such as John the Baptist and Jesus, and the vegetarian Judeo-Christians probably came out of the Essene tradition or were influenced by it.

JUDAISM AND THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM

The Talmud forbids hunting except when necessary and stipulates that animals be fed and treated well. It establishes a cult of the ritual slaughterer—the shochet—whose role is to sacrifice animals as painlessly as possible. The proper method is so complex that according to the Talmud:
Only a scholar of Torah may eat meat, but one who is ignorant of Torah is forbidden to eat meat. (Pesachim 49b, quoted by Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 9.)

Nevertheless, there developed in Judaism an enormous system of animal sacrifice, accompanied by the mass marketing of the resulting meat. Josephus reports that a minimum of ten and up to twenty people would share each sacrificed lamb. He estimated that 256,000 animals would have been slaughtered during Passover week.

Josephus estimated that when the armies of Vespasian and Titus surrounded Jerusalem in 68 C.E. and sealed it off, there were 2,700,200 people trapped inside—of which approximately 1,100,000 died during the next two years as a result of starvation and war. Some were regular residents, but probably most were there to visit the Temple as part of yearly religious observance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover. All of these would have been observant Jews who would have felt obligated to participate in the sacrificial system, and hence the estimate of 256,000 animals slaughtered in a few days makes mathematical sense, although the number of those trapped in Jerusalem seems incredibly high. Nevertheless, there would have been rivers of blood and intestinal contents flowing down from the Jerusalem Temple. (Whiston, The Complete Works of Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.9.3, p. 587 f.)

Robert Eisenman, in his monumental James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, suggests, without citing authorities, that the Essenes and John the Baptist adopted vegetarianism only in reaction to the fact that the sacrificial system in Jerusalem had been compromised, that is, that priests not descended from the family of Aaron were presiding over the sacrifices, and that gentiles were being allowed to offer sacrifices. (He could have added that many believed the calendar?being used was incorrect so that sacrifices were being offered on the wrong days.) Eisenman suggests that their reason for not eating meat was a technical problem with cult procedures and not some fundamental moral objection to the practice.

Eisenman points out that the eating of meat had been permitted to Noah only after an approved sacrificial system had been established. (Genesis 8:20; 9:3.) Before Noah emerged from the ark, there had been no approved sacrificial system, and it was for this reason, says Eisenman, that god’s people had originally been vegetarians. Eisenman derives some support for this theory from the story of Judas Maccabee. When the Seleucid Greeks appointed a high priest not of the proper line,

Judas, called Maccabaeus… with about nine others, withdrew into the wilderness and lived like wild animals in the hills with his companions, eating nothing but wild plants to avoid contracting defilement. (2 Maccabees 5:27.)

The reason why Daniel and the young scholars in the king’s school in Babylon ate no meat and only vegetables is not entirely clear. Daniel believed that eating meat would defile him. (Daniel 1:8,16.) He might have objected to meat of any kind or just to the fact that there was no Hebrew temple or kosher slaughterhouse in Babylon where kosher meat could be obtained.

Eisenman suggests that it was only because there was no authorized sacrificial system during the wandering of the Israelites in Sinai that the Israelites during this period had been vegetarians. (Robert Eisenman, James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 265 ff., 275 ff., 293.)

Eisenman’s thoughtful, speculative, 1,100-page tome is a must-read book for anyone interested in the origins of Judeo-Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism, but I do not agree with him on this point. Why at various times and particularly in legendary times was sacrifice not authorized? Was there no eating of meat before Noah and in Sinai simply because there was no proper sacrificial cult? Or was there no sacrificial cult because there was no meat eating? He would prefer the first alterative; I would prefer the second. Eisenman never explores the possibility that there might be something unethical about the way food animals are treated, despite that fact that the Bible shows sensitivity to the rights of animals. (See Deuteronomy 25:4.) For example, in the messianic time all sacrifices except the thank-offering will cease. (Pesachim 79a; Lev. R. ix., xxvii.) See the sections of this book entitled Jesus Quoted the Vegetarian, Hosea, Opposed the Sacrifices, p. 178, and Jesus and the Right Treatment of Animals, p. 188, where I respond to Eisenman’s theory in greater detail.)

ANCIENT JUDAISM CHALLENGES MODERN JUDAISM

Why did animal sacrifice and eating flesh have its opponents in Judaism? Was the objection grounded in some technical objection such as the wrong priestly family conducting the sacrifices or the wrong calendar being followed and thus the sacrifices being made on the wrong day? Or was there an ethical objection to sacrificing and meat eating in general?

Judaism has never been a completely unified tradition, and a counter-strain continued to survive within it which rejected animal sacrifice. The prophet Isaiah (7:11, 65:25) foresaw an ideal time when the sacrifices would end, when even carnivorous animals would become herbivorous (as they had been in Genesis 1:29): “The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.” It is also possible that the bear and lion are allegorical references to certain nations or sects which were in conflict with each other.

The prophet Hosea said: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6.)

Jesus the Jew refers to this theme (Matthew 9:13) when he says: “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’” He refers to it again (Matthew 12:1-8) when he says, “I tell you, something greater than the temple [sacrifices?] is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.” I posit that the guiltless are the animals who were sacrificed on the Temple mountain by the tens of thousands. It is clear here that Jesus opposed the use of animals for religious sacrificial purposes. (See also Amos 5:21 ff., Proverbs 21:3, and the sections of this book entitled Jesus Quoted the Vegetarian Hosea, Opposed the Sacrifices, p. 179, and Jesus Stopped the Sacrifices in the Temple, p. 180.)

The vegetarian theme is part of the ethics and justice theme that runs through Jewish messianic literature. One refrains from savagery towards animals as part of refraining from savagery in general. There is a connection between the way we treat animals and the way we treat fellow humans.

Jewish theory about the messianic era is well developed. It is to be a time of peace, justice, and the observance of high ethical standards. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold,… he will bring forth justice to the nations…?. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his law.” (Isaiah 42: 1-4; see Isaiah 7:11, 65.25.) The messiah was to be a leader who would introduce justice and ethics, including right treatment of the animals. There was no suggestion the messiah would be a deity.

In Judaism there are two acceptable theories as to how the messiah will come: According to the first, an individual messiah will come—at a time when all appears hopeless and the moral level of society is at its lowest—and will initiate the messianic era. According to the second theory, the messianic era will come gradually through the efforts of people of messianic purpose, and the messiah will appear at the end and fulfill the ceremonial role of announcing that the work has been accomplished. Therefore,

… modern Jewish religious ethical vegetarians are pioneers of the messianic era; they are leading lives that make the coming of the messiah or the coming of the messianic era more likely. (Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 12, referring to Joe Green, Chalutzim of the Messiah, p. 1.)

This second theory of how the messianic era will come is a powerful stimulus for people of good will to work to improve the moral level of society. It states that there is something people can do to help realize the better era.

In Judaism, the messianic era will be Edenic: There will be a return to the plant-based diet of the garden. The anti-animal diet and anti-sacrifice references in Genesis, Numbers, Isaiah, Hosea, Proverbs, and Amos quoted above all look back to an ideal time in the past or look forward to an ideal messianic era in the future.

Many Jewish scholars believe that animal sacrifices will not be reinstated in messianic times, even with the reestablishment of the Temple. [Animal sacrifices ceased in Judaism with the destruction of the Second Jerusalem Temple in 70 C.E.] They believe that at that time human conduct will have advanced to such high standards that there will no longer be a need for animal sacrifices to atone for sins. Only non-animal sacrifices (grains, for example) to express gratitude to God would remain. (Richard H. Schwartz, Judaism and Vegetarianism, p. 89. My comments are in square brackets.)
It is time for Jews who want to follow the oldest Jewish traditions and heed the call of the Jewish prophets to return to a plant-based diet. In ancient Hebrew tradition, eating meat was allowed when it was absolutely necessary. It is no longer necessary. It is not consistent with the Jewish project to bring the better era. Furthermore, conditions have changed: Animals are raised in conditions of filth, cruelty, and terror unlike those of ancient times. Additionally, we have learned in recent decades that eating animal-based foods is not conducive to good health or to a sound environment.

PROFESSOR SCHWARTZ LEADS THE CHALLENGE

Richard Schwartz, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island. He is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and Mathematics and Global Survival. He has posted scores of articles on the Worldwide Web, which deal with Judaism and vegetarianism. It is called The Schwartz Collection on Judaism, Vegetarianism, and Animal Rights. (www.jewishveg.com/schwartz.) In July, 2000, he and other rabbis issued an extensive proposed Resolution on Judaism, the Environment, and Dietary Health to the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which asked that the Rabbis affirm the importance of vegetarian and health conscious diets as a Jewish value.