Jul 31, 2014

Vegetarianism and God

"Are you a vegetarian?". 

I have been asked this question several times at different occasions by different sort of people. Am I a vegetarian?

To find an answer to this question, I tried to list things that I do not eat. I do not eat fish, meat, pork, chicken, not even egg. In short, I do not eat anything which I think has a right to live.

Or so I thought. Does not vegetables have life of their own? Every vegetable and fruit is an outcome of the growth of a plant or a tree. It may or may not have feelings like other living beings, but still it has a life of its own.

If I stick to the principle of not eating anything which has a right to live, I have to eat either rock, sand and water or should wait till a living being, be it an animal or vegetable, dies on its own to feed myself. Most probably I would starve to death before I get my next meal.

But coming to think of it I realize that by adhering to such a principle, I acknowledge the fact that I am not the owner or enjoyer of other life in any form. It may be possible for us to take the life of a being, but it is never possible for us to give life. Science may strive to reach that point some day, but the fact is we are not there yet.

The only choice I have at this point is to accept the presence of a supernatural power (God, nature, time or whatever that is) who is the giver of life. All forms of life, including the life in me, must have been created by such supernatural being(s). So this points out to only one thing, that the supernatural power is the owner and enjoyer of all life, including the life in me.

So now, how do I feed myself? How do I prevent myself from starving to death? Do I have to kill some life in order to protect my living?

If we look at life of fish, cow, pig or chicken, they lose their life the moment we kill them. However, some vegetables and fruits when plucked from the tree, does not give their life instantly. They continue to live for a brief period. This is because some vegetables or fruits contain seeds inside. In order for such species to survive, those vegetables or fruits should be plucked from the tree (or fall down naturally) and planted elsewhere. For this reason, such vegetables and fruits continue to live for a short period of time even after they were plucked from the tree or plant.

If I still want to stick to my principle, I have to pluck the vegetable or fruit when it has life and eat it before they die. But won't they die when I eat them? This is a moral dilemma. The only way to address this issue is to consider the supernatural element as God.

If I can pluck a vegetable or fruit, eat them and pray for mercy of God, I can very well kill a living being such as fish or cow, eat them and still beg for his mercy. So considering the supernatural element as God is not enough. I need to have faith in His existence.

By having faith in Him, I pluck a fresh vegetable or fruit and offer it to Him as food when it is still alive. The faith gives me a belief that the food that I am eating for my survival has left its life in its own wish to serve God.

Whether God really accept my offering, or whether a vegetable or fruit willfully leave their lives to serve God are the questions that can never be answered. But if I have to strictly adhere to my principle that I will not eat anything that has a right to live, and still want to survive, having faith in God is the only choice I have.