Ethics Of Flesh Eating
( Originally Published 1921 )
The use of flesh as food cannot fail to have its effect upon the work of evangelizing and uplifting mankind. The success of religious work depends largely upon the spiritual tone of the people. While all that is carnal in human beings is fostered and fed by the consumption of the flesh and blood of animals, the work of the gospel will be hindered to that extent. Those who are laboring to lead men to a higher state of spiritual experience should be doubly careful in regard to their own habits in the matter of flesh eating; and professed Christians generally should consider its effect upon their lives and influence.
Spiritual weakness and depression often have a purely physical cause. It is of little use to tell a man about salvation from bad temper unless you tell him some method of deliverance from the clogged and sluggish liver that is the cause of the bad temper. There is little hope of reforming a drunkard by spiritual means only, while he is feeding his craving for liquor by eating flesh and other stimulants; but if he abandons this custom, and adopts a diet of natural and wholesome foods, there is abundance of hope that his deliverance will eventually be accomplished.
History, observation, and experience all go to prove that the strengthening of that which is carnal within us, does not promote our moral and spiritual well-being. That animal food inflames the passions, and arouses all that is pugnacious and cruel, both in men and in animals, when they are fed upon it, is well understood. The founders of various religious orders, and saints, prophets, and reformers in all ages, have recognized this fact, and have endorsed it.
Wherever flesh eating is most prevalent, drunkenness exists to a proportionate degree. The use of meat inflames the mucous coat of the stomach, and thus produces irritation of the nervous system, which results in a craving for stimulation, and is known to be a predisposing cause of drunkenness. Physicians and prominent temperance workers have realized this, as they find that nearly all vegetarians are abstainers from choice, and that scarcely a vegetarian drunkard can be found. Throughout the Holy Scriptures, the eating of flesh and the drinking of wine are often associated together.'
As a result of the stimulating qualities of meats, persons who partake of animal foods, often feel a craving for food soon after a meal. Such a craving, being generally interpreted as hunger, may be regarded as one of the principal causes of overeating, which is one of the most prevalent as well as the most harmful of dietetic indiscretions. Meat eaters, therefore, are found to partake of more meals a day than do vegetarians. Among the millions of Asiatics, a quite general rule is said to be two meals a day, and often only one ; whereas in countries where meat eating is prevalent, "three square meals" a day may be considered the minimum, while four or five a day are common.