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How My Atheism Led to My Vegetarianism

I’ve only been a vegetarian for a few months. I feel almost dishonest to be using the word “vegetarian”, as even within those months I have not had a perfect track record. Perhaps “aspiring vegetarian” would be a better way to put it. Anyway, why would a dedicated steak devourer, bacon gorger and fried chicken consumer such as myself even consider giving up one of the purest pleasures of life?

Same reason I became a Christian: Intellectual integrity.

I feel like the arguments for vegetarianism are more compelling than those for meat eating:

Arguments for Vegetarianism 

  • Meat produces a lot of greenhouse gases, contributing to climate change
  • It’s an inefficient use of resources: the animals consume lots of grain and water before they end up on my plate.
  • In a world where there are humans starving, it seems questionable to give food and water to animals simply for the purpose of turning them into a steak.
  • Deforestation: Forest land is cleared both for raising the animals and for growing their food.
  • Vegetables are good for you!
  • Vegetables are cheap.
  • Animals are sentient beings, they feel pain, have interests, etc.
  • If you do it right, you can be just as healthy, (if not healthier) as a vegetarian.

Arguments for Meat Eating

  • It’s yummy
  • We’ve evolved to be omnivores
  • It’s tradition
  • Health: source of protein, iron

As a person committed to critical thinking, rationality, ethics and integrity, if I cannot justify doing a thing, I don’t do it. And I can’t see any way to justify eating meat. I can get my protein and iron elsewhere, so why should an animal have to die for it and the environment be depleted for it?

I feel like if I am to have any creditability in criticising the hypocrisies and inconsistencies in the actions and beliefs of others (Christians in particular), then I have to be striving to remove them from my own life. Christian or atheist: practice what you preach.