V-COP17 – “Christspiracy” online and much more

You’ve probably heard of the international COP meetings on climate change (COP = “conference of the parties”) . Now there’s the vegan version of this conference, V-COP, which stands for “vegan convergence of the peoples,” working together to reverse the destruction of the biosphere. V-COP 17 is occurring all day this Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28, online.

There will be an opportunity to see “Christspiracy” online on Sunday at 2:00 pm Mountain (= 4:00 pm Eastern), plus Q & A with the co-producer Kameron Waters! Also hear speakers such as Anita Krajnc, Ted Barnett, Richard Schwartz, Jane Velez-Mitchell, and many others.

I’ll be giving a keynote talk at 6:00 – 6:55 pm Mountain time on Sunday the 28th (= 8:00 – 8:55 pm Eastern).  You can attend virtually for free! Register and get more details here. Continue reading “V-COP17 – “Christspiracy” online and much more”

Christspiracy—coming soon!

CHRISTSPIRACY  . . . they’re all looking at what’s on Jesus’ plate

 

UPDATE Feb. 21, 2024: According to Plant Based News, “The filmmakers have now confirmed that Christspiracy will be released worldwide on March 20, 2024.”

Early in 2018, I got an email from Kip Andersen asking whether I might be interested in being interviewed for a new documentary. That’s Kip Andersen, of Cowspiracy, Seaspiracy, and What the Health fame.

Is grass green? Does the navy have ships? Of course I was. I thought that the new movie would be about the environment, sort of a continuation of Cowspiracy. Well, silly me, it wasn’t. It was about ethics, religion, and animals. Continue readingChristspiracy—coming soon!”

Jesus and Animal Sacrifice

Jesus in the temple (Greco) – public domain image

As we approach Easter, it is worth reminding everyone why Jesus was killed: because of his opposition to animal sacrifice.

This opposition led him to go into the temple and disrupt the animal sacrifice business. Shortly thereafter he was crucified by the Romans, doubtless because of his actions in the temple. Christians often remember the incident in the temple as “Jesus drives out the dishonest money changers,” but it is clear from both the gospels as well as the history of Christianity that the money changers had little to do with it. It is one of the few incidents in Jesus’ life that is found in all four gospels (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-17, Luke 19:45-46, John 2:13-17). Continue reading “Jesus and Animal Sacrifice”

Fish stories about Pythagoras and Jesus

Pythagoras and the Fishermen, by Salvator Rosa. Public domain image.

Whenever I discuss Jesus’ vegetarianism, one of the most frequent questions I get concerns the “fish stories” in the New Testament—stories where Jesus is depicted calling fishermen as disciples, serving fish to the 5000, miraculously helping the disciples catch fish, or in one case actually eating fish. The problem with these stories, which I’ve explained elsewhere, is that they are all stories fairly obviously added many decades after Jesus’ life by people who never knew Jesus personally. As evidence of an actual historical event in Jesus’ life, they are worthless.

What most people don’t know is that there is also a fish story about Pythagoras, which strongly resembles the “miraculous catch of fish” stories told about Jesus. What is especially interesting is that these stories about Jesus seem to be copied from the story about Pythagoras—but with the ending completely changed. Continue reading “Fish stories about Pythagoras and Jesus”

Compassion Consortium conversation

UPDATE Jan. 6, 2022: the replay of my conversation with Victoria Moran has been posted here. The interview part goes from about 25:07 to 48:32 (starting with an introduction by Victoria).

I’ll be the guest speaker at the Compassion Consortium online service on Sunday, December 26. The service will be at 4 pm Eastern time (= 1 pm Pacific = 2 pm Mountain = 3 pm Central) via Zoom, and last 90 minutes; the conversation with me will be about 15 or 20 minutes.

Topics will likely include my research on early Christianity, why the historical Jesus was vegetarian, and why this matters today. If you want to hear me, you can register for the service here. (You have to order “tickets,” but they’re free.) If you miss the service, there is often a replay of past services on their web site. Continue reading “Compassion Consortium conversation”

Vegetarianism and Christianity — are they compatible?

[The following article by Keith Akers was published in The Ark, No. 234, Autumn/Winter 2016 issue. The Ark is the publication of the Catholic Concern for Animals.]

Is vegetarianism part of Christianity, or are they incompatible? Christianity and vegetarianism don’t have to be in competition, but in practice they are. While many become vegetarians for health reasons, the heart of vegetarianism is its ethical component — the practice of not eating meat out of concern for the suffering of animals. Continue reading “Vegetarianism and Christianity — are they compatible?”

“Vegan Nation” interview on Jesus and vegetarianism

Vegan Nation Xmas WCUW interview On Christmas day, WCUW radio (91.3 FM, in Worcester, Massachusetts) will broadcast an interview of me on Marlene Narrow’s “Vegan Nation” show. It will be on Friday, December 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm to 1 pm Eastern time (10:30 – 11:00 am Mountain time). (The interview has been pre-recorded.) The content will center around Jesus and vegetarianism. You can listen online by going to their website and click on the button on the left-hand side that says “WCUW Live / Listen Now!”

UPDATE December 26: here’s the link to the archive of this show (an MP3 file).

The End of Captivity? (review)

The End of Captivity?The End of Captivity? A Primate’s Reflections on Zoos, Conservation, and Christian Ethics. Tripp York. Cascade Books, 2015. 135 pages.

The End of Captivity? is a short, open-ended Christian meditation on humans and their effects on wild animals. The book is both challenging and infuriating at the same time. It is challenging because it asks us to question the basic logic that puts animals in zoos. But it is sometimes infuriating because, as the author points out, human dominion over the planet is so complete that there isn’t very much space around for wild animals. Where, exactly, can we send them? Continue readingThe End of Captivity? (review)”

What does the Decline of Christianity Mean?

Jesus in the temple (Greco)

The latest data on Christianity comes from a recent report from the Pew Research Center on religion and public life. It sounds as if Christianity is on track to disappear as the dominant religion in America within a generation or two. In fact, it’s possible that Christianity might eventually disappear from American life altogether. Is this good news or bad news? The answer might seem to depend on whether you identify with Christianity. If you’re some religion other than Christianity, or atheist or agnostic, it’s great news; otherwise, not so much.

I’d like to ask a slightly different question — what does this mean for vegans? Even Christian vegans hold a perspective which is so different from that of other Christians, that the decline of Christianity does not clearly have a good or a bad implication. Continue reading “What does the Decline of Christianity Mean?”

“Animals in Earliest Christianity”

I will be giving a talk on “Animals in Earliest Christianity” to the Animal Rights Academy in Toronto this Tuesday. Alas, I will not be there physically, but I’ll Skype in via computer, and I understand that the conversation can go in both directions and we’ll have questions and answers.

The talk will be at University College, 15 Kings College Circle, room 256, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, from 7 pm until 9 pm EST on Tuesday, February 3. There is a Facebook page for the event here.

The talk is free, so if you’re in the area, I hope you can make it and we can talk about such questions as: what was the attitude of the earliest Christians towards animals? Was Jesus, or anyone else, a vegetarian? Is animal rights compatible with Christianity? And perhaps the most puzzling question of all, should we care?

UPDATE March 24, 2016: I just found out that the talk has been uploaded to YouTube. The bad news is, the video and audio are seriously out of synch. So maybe you could listen to it as long as you don’t pay too much attention to the video portion. Otherwise the video and audio are both of pretty good quality. If anyone knows how to fix the synchronization problem, let me know. In the meantime, though, here’s the link.

The Ebionite Christian Church, part 2

Jesus and Nicodemus (H. O. Tanner)

What role would an Ebionite Christian Church play — why would anyone want to form one at all? The main reason is to provide a place for ethical vegetarianism in Christianity. The Ebionites, whatever else you may say about them, believed that vegetarianism was part of the gospel message. When Epiphanius asks an unnamed fourth-century Ebionite why they abstain from meat, when meat-eating is in the Bible, the Ebionite responds, “Christ revealed it to me.” Continue reading “The Ebionite Christian Church, part 2”

The Ebionite Christian Church

Jesus and Nicodemus (H. O. Tanner)

A reader of this blog recently asked, “When are we going to form the ECC (Ebionite Christian Church)? Or maybe EUC, Ebionite Universal Church?” Many vegetarians and vegans who come from the Christian tradition find that there isn’t really a Christian church, group, or denomination, which it makes sense to join. So why not form our own? Here are my thoughts.

Continue reading “The Ebionite Christian Church”

Vegan Christian Holidays

One person recently commented on this site, “Compassionate Spirit could respond [to the need for a vegetarian or vegan alternative in Christianity] by offering a religious experience at Christmas and Easter to see if it meets a need.” This request doesn’t sound that hard. Christmas and Easter are the two most common Christian holidays, and there’s all this material on vegetarianism and Christianity.

Actually, though, this request is actually a lot tougher than it sounds. Let me tell you about it! Continue reading “Vegan Christian Holidays”

Vegan Looks for a Church

Peg Farrar and Clementyne
“Mnemosyne Dance” and her daughter

“Mnemosyne Dance” is the pseudonym of a local (metro Denver) vegan activist who is looking for a church where she and her family can feel at home. I thought it would be interesting to interview her for this blog and she agreed. This “interview” was conducted partially in person but then by e-mail. Here’s what she said.

Question: “Mnemosyne,” I understand that you’re looking for a church and you’re vegan. Can you tell us what your background is?

Mnemosyne Dance: I was raised as a conservative Christian, with a Baptist and Pentecostal background. My religious beliefs sheltered me from other ideas. But in early adulthood, I started to change my worldview. In about 1990 I became active in the animal rights movement in Indianapolis. My core beliefs are in the Christian tradition, but I also support animal rights and am now vegan (past 9 years). Continue reading “Vegan Looks for a Church”