Archive for June, 2007

I’ve read a little bit more and talked to some people about vegetarianism, and I’ve clarified my ideas a little more. The section of AC that I quoted is about the commandment not to eat blood with flesh, since that would be to mix what is holy (blood) with what is profane (flesh) – representatively speaking. This is the next number, AC 1003:

From these things it is now evident that “not to eat flesh with the soul thereof, the blood thereof” is not to mingle profane things with holy. Profane things are not mingled with holy by one’s eating blood with flesh, as the Lord clearly teaches in Matthew:

Not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth the man; for the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart (Matt. 15:11, 18-20).But in the Jewish Church it was forbidden because, as has been said, by the eating of blood with the flesh there was then in heaven represented profanation. All things done in that church were turned in heaven into corresponding representatives-blood into the holy celestial; flesh, outside of the sacrifices, because it signified cupidities, into what is profane; and the eating of both into the mingling of the holy with the profane. For this reason it was then so severely interdicted. But after the coming of the Lord, when external rites were abolished, and thus representatives ceased, such things were no longer turned in heaven into corresponding representatives. For when man becomes internal and is instructed about internal things, external ones are of no account to him. He then knows what the holy is, namely, charity and the faith therefrom. According to these are his external things then regarded, that is to say, according to the amount of charity and faith in the Lord there is in them. Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, man is not regarded in heaven from external things, but from internal ones. And if anyone is regarded from external things it is because he is in simplicity, and in his simplicity there are innocence and charity, which are in his external things, that is, in his external worship, from the Lord, without the man’s knowledge.

The thing that struck me about this particularly are the Lord’s words in the New Testament that declare that what goes into a person does not defile him I think this is important, and it’s convinced me even more that eating meat is not a sin.

Does this mean my newfound vegetarianism is doomed to die an early death? Nope. This is because I still like the attitude that it describes the Most Ancient Church as having: regarding animals as useful providers, rather than as sources of meat, and regarding their products and the products of the vegetable kingdom as food. I don’t think it’s a doctrinal thing, and I don’t even think it’s a conscience thing for me now that I’ve read a little more – it’s more just an attitude toward the world that I’d like to adopt.

I think one of the main problems with vegetarianism is that it can go along with a sense of merit and superiority. That’s also one of the main problems with being Coleman. I don’t think the former will be nearly as hard to deal with as the latter is.

* Edit 10 June 2008 – As I mentioned in a comment to this post, I stopped being quasi-vegetarian shortly after I started.  The comment explains why. *


Read Full Post »


How would you react if someone told you that in itself, eating meat is profane?  If someone had said this to me yesterday, I think I probably would have said, “Well, it was for the Most Ancient Church, but things have changed, so it’s not really the same thing.”  As it happens, though, someone DID tell me that, and that someone was a pretty good authority.  This is AC 1002 in its entirety:

Shall ye not eat. That this signifies not to mingle together, follows from what has just been said. Eating the flesh of animals, regarded in itself, is something profane, for in the most ancient time they never ate the flesh of any beast or bird, but only seeds, especially bread made from wheat, also the fruit of trees, vegetables, various milks and what was made from them, such as various butters. To kill animals and eat their flesh was to them a wickedness, and like wild beasts. They took from them only service and use, as is evident from Genesis 1:29-30. But in process of time, when men began to be as fierce as wild beasts, and even fiercer, they then for the first time began to kill animals and eat their flesh; and because such was man’s nature, it was permitted him to do this, and is still permitted, to this day; and so far as he does it from conscience, so far it is lawful for him, since his conscience is formed of all that he supposes to be true and thus lawful. No one therefore is at this day condemned because of eating flesh.

I’ve read this before, and it actually led to me not eating meat for about a month or so.  I had forgotten how strongly it was worded, though: it says that eating meat, regarded in itself, is profane – not corresponds to profanity or used to be profane.  It was permitted, and it seems to maintain its status as a permission, rather than the Lord’s will.  So how do we respond to this?  The Lord did eat fish while in the world, and presumably ate lamb at Passover, which leads me to believe that eating meat is not at all a sin.  But at the same time, this passage reminds me of the Lord’s words in the New Testament: “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so.”  I’m not trying to equate eating meat with adultery but rather trying to point out that the Lord does allow things in His laws that are not actually His will if these things would be too hard or would turn people away from Him.

It is something of a leap to say that this is one of those cases, but that is how it seems to me.  I don’t want to say I’m a vegeterian (although I was telling people that earlier today) because I might make exceptions in certain social situations, but as a general rule I’m going to stop eating meat.  I certainly don’t look down on anyone who doesn’t draw the same conclusions I do from the passage, but it would also be a mistake – and not in good conscience – for me to ignore my thoughts on what the passage means.

Note: I don’t think that the eating of flesh being “profane” means that it involves profanation, i.e. the mixing of holy things with unholy things; I think in this case it means “completely worldly”, and the commentary on this statement seems to indicate that it means this with negative connotations.

Read Full Post »

Laws Against Blasphemy?

This is from Divine Providence, n. 136:2 (emphasis added):

The external cannot compel the internal, but the internal can compel the external. Who can be compelled to believe and to love? One can no more be compelled to believe than to think that a thing is so when he thinks that it is not so; and one can no more be compelled to love than to will what he does not will, for belief belongs to the thought and love to the will. There is, however, an internal which may be restrained by the external from speaking ill against the laws of the kingdom, the moralities of life and the sanctities of the Church. To this extent the internal may be compelled by threats and punishments; and it, moreover, is compelled and ought to be. This internal, however, is not the human internal that is properly so-called: it is an internal that man has in common with beasts; and beasts can be compelled. The human internal has its seat above this animal internal; and it is the human internal that is here meant, and it cannot be compelled.

So, should we have laws against speaking against the U.S. law, morality, and religion?  I’m not sure – I’m just putting this out there to hear what other people have to say.

Read Full Post »

I don’t want this blog to turn into a Ron Paul fansite, but I keep coming across Paul-related things that I want to post about.

 Anyway.  A lot of my political thinking is based on a passage from The True Christian Religion, which states in part,

Anyone can see that there is no empire, kingdom, duchy, republic, city or house which lacks the support of laws, to impose order and so control the form of its government. In each case the laws of righteousness occupy the highest place, political laws the second place, and the laws governing the economy the third. If we make a comparison with a man, the laws of righteousness are the head, those of politics the body, those of the economy the clothes. That is why these last can be changed, like clothes. (n. 50)

When I’m deciding who to vote for, policies or beliefs that have a genuine moral element trump the lower policies.  For example, even if Candidate A’s budget-balancing plan is far superior (in my opinion) to Candidate B’s, I’ll vote for Candidate B if Candidate A would support a law that I view to be truly unrighteous.

Now, I think that for the most part, the laws of righteousness are universally agreed upon.  They are fundamental principles, such as the idea that it is wrong to murder.  But there are a few cases where candidates do have different beliefs about laws of righteousness.  And the candidates opinions on these laws trump all the other positions and platforms they might have.

This brings us to my specific point.  I believe that the principle of never attacking until you are attacked is a law of righteousness.  And no matter what a candidate’s other opinions on economic or political policies, this principle takes precedence (unless, of course, their policies would break another law of righteousness).  This is why I will vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary, and why I will probably vote for the Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate if Paul is not the Republican candidate.

This has always been true.  It’s why I voted for the Constitution Party candidate, Michael Peroutka, in the last election, even though I hated his policy on immigration.  But something Ron Paul said earlier tonight in the Republican debate made me appreciate him more than before.  Wolf Blitzer asked him, “What’s the most pressing moral issue in the United States right now?”  Ron Paul replied,

I think it is the acceptance just recently that we now promote preemptive war. I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition. We in the past have always declared war in the defense of our liberties or go to aid somebody, but now we have accepted the principle of preemptive war. We have rejected the just- war theory of Christianity. And now, tonight, we hear that we’re not even willing to remove from the table a preemptive nuclear strike against a country that has done no harm to us directly and is no threat to our national security!

I mean, we have to come to our senses about this issue of war and preemption and go back to traditions and our Constitution and defend our liberties and defend our rights, but not to think that we can change the world by force of arms and to start wars.

I might disagree with him about some of his foreign policy, I might have some doubts about his economic policy, but what matters more to me is his position on preemptive war, and on this issue we’re right on the same page.

(I got his response from The New York Times’ transcript of the debate.  Printing transcripts is the best thing newspapers ever do.)

Read Full Post »