Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Veganism as a Religion pt. 2

Yesterday while discussing how my diet has been changing with someone, I stated that I have been a bad vegan lately.  I also added that it's kind of like saying you're being a "bad Christian."  I think I may have offended (and I may be doing so right now), so I would like to expound on that statement.    I have made statements about the subject before, but I would like to continue.

When one follows a certain set of beliefs, be it a religion, a dietary choice or any sort of lifestyle that includes specifics on what is appropriate to do i.e. rules.  When you're breaking those appropriate behaviors you're being a bad .  I think what is taken offense here is when one equates dietary decisions with religious beliefs (even though diet is an extremely important element within several religions, including Judaism).  However, it follows the same principles.  Regulators of food production have what's called "Standards of Identity" for most products such as ice cream.  In order for ice cream to be ice cream, it has to have a certain volume of milk, sugar, etc.  If you see yourself as being of a certain religion and have in your mind the "Standards of Identity" for a follower of that religion and you aren't adhering to those, you no longer qualify as a good ________.  The same goes for diet.  If you aren't following the rules of the diet, you don't belong in that category.  You are now something else.

As Christians, I know we forget.  We forget that it isn't about the rules.  There is such a fine line between legalism and "sinning so that grace may abound."  It's difficult to not let your "Standard of Identity" be influenced by rules, regulations and outside opinions.  There's too much emphasis on expectations put on yourself, expectations put upon by others.

Even though I have slowly added to my dairy intake, I still call myself Vegan.  Not because I necessarily follow the stringency of these rules, but because I continue to be influenced by the philosophy of one.  My heart is still there.

And that is all that matters.


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