I wonder why it is that so many vegetarians/vegans are also agnostics/atheists. It could just be that both groups are more progressive thinkers.
For me, I was raised in a Christian family my whole life and started questioning religion only two years ago, around when I was fifteen or sixteen. The decision was easy once I thought about it. Atheism was the way for me.
I was also raised in a meat-eating family. My parents divorced when I was six. My mother's outlook on food: buy what is cheap and eat it! My father's outlook on food: stuff your face three times a day until you can't sit comfortably, and then stuff your face some more! I started questioning what I ate around the same time. Again, the decision was easy when I actually put thought into it!
It was only a couple of months ago that I seriously started considering my eating habits, and even more recently that I went vegetarian. I have wanted to for some time now, and I'm 98% vegan, trying to go all the way.
I have been a very, very proud atheist since before an age at which most people really even truly consider their own beliefs. Now I am a proud (nearly) vegan, and just as excited about it as I am about any other strong belief I have.
I wonder if the two are connected in any way, especially if it is just me or if anyone else has personal stories about how the two might be connected for them.
I don't know. I was agnostic for years before I went veg. And there are Christian vegetarians who believe veg*anism is part of caring for the earth, as their god has demanded. And there are Jews who believe vegetarianism falls under tikkun olam, caring for the world. For some people, their faith informs their vegetarianism.
However, maybe some vegetarians see some religious organizations as being utterly disrespectful of animals (and women, I might add) and see other problems with religion and decide to ditch taking part in both flawed systems.
That's a very good point... I was also atheist for years before going veg.
Both being flawed systems is a very good point, but for those who see it as part of their religion to honor vegetarianism, is that not the exact opposite? And yet you tend to see more agnostic or atheists who are veg*n than religious veg*ns. Maybe it's just in my experiences?
As a single, liberal, vegetarian, atheist, I meet very few people who are all of the above. I don't know why that is, but it's very uncommon. (I guess that's why I'm still the first one...single.) However, I'd rather be alone and follow my beliefs, than to compromise to be with someone that doesn't share them. Hopefully, some day.......
Wow, I've never heard anyone say that's uncommon. Well, I too am a single, liberal atheist (vegan rather than vegetarian), but perhaps it's because all are minorities, when you think about it (at least where I'm from). Most people are not liberal, most people are not vegetarian, most people are not atheist. So to find someone who is all three I suppose could be an uncommon thing.
I agree, by the way, about not compromising with someone who doesn't share them. I personally would not ever date or marry someone who is not atheist. They would have to be purely amazing and even then I'd get tired of them. I would probably date a non-vegan/vegetarian, but I don't see myself ever marrying one. Perhaps people like us are doomed to live a lonely life. But who knows, in ten years the world might be completely different.
I wish I could agree with you that things will be different in 10 years, but I see the country, as well as the world (Canada, France, Australia) heading down an even more conservative, closed minded path. Catering to the "Joe-Six-Packs" doesn't bode well for the progression of thought in our world.
By the way, I am primarily vegan, but find it next to impossible when travelling to stick by such a diet. I use the lists on Happy Cow, but still frequently find myself in a situation where it's one of three choices: make a meal from some apples and celery from a grocery store, buy something that contains at worst dairy products, or go hungry. How DOES a vegan deal with travelling, or with living where such views are looked upon with disdain?
In honesty, no one really would be able to tell how the world will be in ten years. Sure, we could guess and estimate as much as we want, but think about it. Fifty years ago, blacks weren't allowed in the same schools as whites. A hundred years ago, there weren't computers. Things have come a long way. Blacks used to be treated as animals are treated today. You never know how things might go.
As for traveling, I have no idea. If in that situation, I would settle for the apples and celery myself, but it can be hard. While I've wanted to be for years, I haven't been vegan long enough to have any experience with traveling. I'm also not in a spot financially where I can travel (more than to the store and back that is). Sometimes you just have to do the best you can, I guess.
this is in response to ALY 's post
i know this post is more than 2 years old but i was here today searching for some hope and your comment about how much things have changed in the past 50 years and how we don't know what the world will be like 10 years from now gave me some hope...thank you
I just found these boards, although I've been a Happy Cow supporter for a few years.
I think it's very natural for vegans to also be atheists.
I mean we tend to cut through all the fuzzy stuff and just look at things the way they really are.
Me, I DO love and care about animals so why would I EVER support people or companies
who torture & kill them for a profit by buying their products?
As for religon....what can I say? I don't have any answers as to why we're here or any of that
but just because I don't have any answers, no reason to believe in something that makes absolutely NO sense.
In any case......I've read the posts and it's a real pleasure to meet you all.
I think vegetarians are more likely to be atheists for a couple of reasons. One is that atheists don't believe in special creation. In other words, humans are just one species among many and there's no sharply drawn line (by God) that says stuff on this side of the line is dumb enough to eat and stuff on the other side of the line is too smart to eat. I also think atheists and vegetarians (at least in the US) are more likely to have made conscious decisions about something that a lot of folks just do by default.
I think that people who aren't mainstream and have their own thoughts, decide "Hey, wouldn't this make more sence?" and they actually question things and look deeper into life. As a Vegan and Atheist, I am the minority in my town, full of hunters, hicks, and religous old folks. Although my way of life sets me apart from everyone else and I am often targeted because of it, I feel better because of my choices.
It could be that Atheists do not rely on a book to tell us what is right and wrong.
We can think for ourselves and come to our own conclusions about life, the universe, and everything.
Also, Atheists do not believe that man is made in the image of god. We can see that the egocentric Christian worldview will someday be the end of us all. This freedom also lets us see that we are animal just like the rest. When we see this fact we can then project ourselves onto other animals and think "If I don't want to be eaten then I should not eat my fellow animal.
Could it be that Vegetarians have a higher moral code then most?
Some may not like being equated with animals, but technological intelligence is really the only difference between humans and everybody else.
I've wondered this too. My mom's side of the family are Catholics, and I've always believed in God, but it was last year when I stopped. I still believed in God when I started being a vegetarian, (that was when I was just 9 years old) but that is because I didn't know as much about religion as I do now. So anyways, I'm an Agnostic, and I've found the connection between religion and vegetarianism, though I might be mistaken. I've noticed many Christians (I'm not trying to pinpoint any one person) believe that animals are meant to be eaten (or so it says so in the bible). Now, I know everyone is different, but based on the ones I've met, it appears this way. Many Christians that I've known also cannot stand hippies. I might be completely wrong, but this is how I feel.
I'm not sure that I agree that a higher percentage of vegetarians are atheist than non-vegetarians. But, if it is correct, it's probably from some level of skeptism or independent thinking. In both of these areas, one must be quite independent, as it is outside the norm.
As to the political issue - I think that you will find that liberals are more likely to be atheist and more likely to be vegetarian. I don't know why that is. I'm a Libertarian, so I share some values with liberals (the social values), and wonder if that may be part of the issue. Those who are socially tolerant tend to accept (and possibly be) a bit outside the norm.
I doubt there's anything other than an illusory correlation here. Some reasons I say so just off the cuff are:
* As of this writing there are 84 members of the Christian Vegans and Vegetarians group on this website. (for comparison, there are 112 members of this group--not that many more than the xian group).
* Seventh Day Adventists are vegetarians (or are supposed to be, but like Jews who eat pork, there are non-veg Adventists too).
* The Atheist group in my area (SF Atheists) hold their meetings in a German sausage restaurant (which is why I won't join them. A fellow atheist told me the group is great and that I should just go to the meetings and not eat. I told her I'm tired of being "included" in certain groups only if I stifle one of my basic core values. Isn't that what xians expect atheists to do any time, for example, we hear a politician say "God bless you, and god bless America"?)
I heard that people who have above average intelligence are more likely to be vegetarians, since they think things through alot more. Maybe us vegetarians have just always just been smarter, even as children. Who knows.
It also might be that people just don't know. As an American child I just never questioned what was on my plate, even though I've always been an animal lover. I never made the connection between the cute little pig & the bacon on my plate. If people are educated, most will become vegetarian if they have a concience.