Listed 22/6/07

I occasionally fire off emails when offended or inspired – in this case the former, primarily on account of my pet hate – the Bible quoted out of context (in the following url)…


Dear Rev Shaw

Just to let you know I appreciate your heart for animals. It is admirable to see someone willing to campaign for their heartfelt cause. You are right when you say that notable Christians have done so in the past.

Even so, I was greatly disappointed to see you quoting God’s word entirely out of context, indeed in a spirit directly contrary to that intended in its writing. The close proximity of the verses that show this to be so to those you printed can only lead me to believe you deliberately seek to mislead your readers.

For example, you quote (with minor alterations) 1 Corinthians 8:13 and Romans 14:21 in stating that 

“All professing Christians are to be vegetarians. In accordance with this teaching, Saint Paul says: “I will never eat meat any more, for I will not be the cause of my brothers’ downfall.” “The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall.”

The very meaning of this latter passage, when placed in context, is in fact better represented by verses 2-3 of Romans 14 which, I’m sorry to say, reveal your argument to be nonsense:

‘One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.’

It is therefore up to us to make this choice and Paul later deems the issue an irrelevance in comparison to matters of peace and righteousness (Romans 14:17).

Elsewhere you state that ‘Humans and animals are equal and mankind has no advantage over the beasts’, another biblical statement (Ecc 3:19 – it actually shows our helplessness before God – both us and the animals will die alike) quoted without explanation. You imply that this is proof we have no rights over animals, yet then quote from Genesis 1, in which it is elsewhere (verse 28) clearly stated that:

‘God blessed them and said to them (humankind), “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”‘

Then again, I feel I perhaps address you on matters too technical. Prior to any of this you in fact claim that Jesus never fed fish to his followers, thus brazenly accusing the Gospel of fallacy for the sake of a rumoured Coptic text. I presume then that the above arguments won’t cause you too much concern given that biblical truth can be discarded at will. One question remains however – at what theological establishment did you study and qualify in which such views are endorsed?!




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