September 2007

I had a short discussion with a “believer” today. I am in 9th grade (look at me revealing something about my age! oh my!) in a class with 10th and possibly 11th graders. Not from my intelligence but from their lack of. First a boy, we will call Bob, eats a large stick of beef jerky to taunt me and “Jill”(such original names!). Jill being vegan and I being vegetarian stated that that was “wrong”(however you want to define wrong) and someone overheard. Lucky me it was an ignorant, preppy girl. This girl is older than me and still was in my 9th grade class. She said that she loves meat and god put animals here for us to eat. I said that I was atheist and that meant nothing to me. I then thought about all the things wrong with her statement but only attempted to question one. I responded “If god put animals here only for us to eat why do they want to live? Why do they run away from us? Why didn’t god make then sit still so we can eat them?” she got wide-eyed and and said, in the preppiest was possible, “I don’t know! Why don’t you go think about that and leave me alone!”

She didn’t think for a moment that her explanation made no sense nor did she challenge my statement. She just continued to justify murder because her imaginary friend said it was what he wanted.

This is what really pisses me off about belief in general. Such ignorance can be and is “justified” by belief. Belief also leads people not to think for themselves. She didn’t rethink being a carnivore for even a second since she already has a nice little book that says it’s ok. Why does the bible take priority over logic and reason!?

Being vegetarian should only be a choice over how much more you want to eat that pig than spare its life not over god wanting you to eat it or not.

More ignorance is sure to come…

*cries of agony*

Just so you know, I’m not a vegetarian but my nine-year-old son is (he made the choice himself many years ago). What Bob did was wrong, if only because he did it to taunt you. The wrongness of not being vegetarian is debatable, but you sound like you have a pretty solid footing on the subject.

Now, about the “preppy girl” saying that God put animals here for us to eat. Actually, most creationists say that Adam and Eve were vegetarians, as were all the other animals in the Garden of Eden (Genesis, 1. 29-30). Killing for food didn’t start until after the fall. So God’s original intention was vegetarianism, and there would be no carnivores if it weren’t for human sin.

Your response to her was interesting, but a little unsophisticated. It assumes a pretty simplistic view of God and comes of as a sort of “so there!” response. That, along with her ability to answer, is probably why you got the “leave me alone” reaction from the girl.

You referring to eating meat as murder and to God as the girl’s imaginary friend is unnecessarily rude toward her beliefs (even if, in a sense, you are right). The reason she didn’t rethink her views on omnivorism is that you weren’t giving her any reason to — you were having an argument, not a discussion. If you slap someone, they’re going to be too busy feeling pain to wonder if you had a good reason to lash out.

You’re right that religion can lead people to short-circuit their thinking. That’s why you should strive to restart their thinking engines. The people you describe sound like they were being rude, but being rude back won’t fix their problem. Instead, try asking them more thoughtful questions, make them really question their beliefs. This is much more difficult than trying to find a snappy comeback, but it can have real, long-term results.

I also must point out that not all religious people are unthinking. Some are very thoughtful and very logical in their religion. Also, there are some people who feel so deeply that there must be a God that no amount of reasoning will change their mind. Having these feelings does not make them unintelligent.

You’re still very young and I’m asking a lot of you here. But you are in a position to do more than just defend yourself. If you think about what I’m saying and put it into practice, you may find that, after some practice, you have become a serious force for intelligent thought (and for vegetarianism). And if you do it right, you may find that even people who don’t agree with you are often on your side because of how well you handle yourself.

Best of luck to you!

Posted on September 21, 2007 at 11:37 am by ideclare · Permalink
In: Dealing with religious folks

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