This is a question I suspect few have asked, given the rarity of both groups of people, but it’s a question worth asking.
After all, I know many people (myself included) who came to their vegetarianism/veganism through honest critical thinking. Because they sat down, looked at the evidence, and decided that mindless conformity was not the answer. This is something the atheist/secularist/humanist community is no stranger too, and yet there seems to be a failing here.
Let’s not forget, many of the justifications for oppression have been almost entirely religious. It was, after all, God’s decree that women were inferior to men, blacks to whites, homosexuals to heterosexuals, et cetera.
So what about non-human animals? Well, according to even many of the more reasonable of the religious, non-human animals are God’s creation too. But, just like women and Africans and Native Americans, they were made, by design, to be inferior. After all, they don’t have souls right? And it’s not like they have the capacity to suffer in any meaningful sense. So by God’s will, let’s carve them up how we see fit.
Of course, anyone who is mildly familiar with evolution, animal behavior, or anyone who’s ever owned a pet is well aware that the claims often made by the religious regarding non-human animals are almost always false. I mean, it’s hard to claim that human beings are the only species with a moral intuition when altruism has been exhibited numerous times in the non-human animal kingdom, or that non-human animals are incapable of complex emotions like love, empathy, sadness, anger, et cetera.
So, why haven’t more Atheists and Humanists embraced vegetarianism/veganism? Why have we been blind to this particular portion of religious dogma?
Read the rest here.