Hi veggies, I'm new to this site and to this group, and just browsing around I noticed that some people were sort of contemplating whether there is a link between atheism and veg*ism.
Why are so many vegetarians also atheist? Obviously not all are, so you can't directly link vegetarianism with atheism or vice versa.
What is more appropriate is to analyze the attitudes towards eating animals within certain religions, most prominently the three major monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
These religions all indicate that animals were put here for the benefit of man. A comprehensive list of animals suitable for consumption and those that are not can be found in each of the holy books.
So, despite whatever qualms an individual may have with the murder of animals, the religious person is able to justify it with divine permission.
Atheists, on the issue of eating meat along with many other issues are unable to "justify" or "wish away" their discomfort and therefore act and live according to their own personal ethics and views of right and wrong.
And that's why I think there is a strong link between atheism and vegetarianism
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/23/2010 05:25AM by angelcat.
Good point. I hear that all the time. "The bible says we can eat meat."
I usually point out that the bible also says we need to kill people who work on Sunday. But that only leads to more justifications and cop-outs...
I have ancestral roots in Myanmar and I'd say the bulk of Buddhist monks there - and probably in most denominations - eat dead protein hacked off murdered creatures, including fish. I had a baptist upbringing in the U.K myself and was amazed to see the general incoherence of most "believers", following their priest around David Koresh style.
I think this gets to the nub of the issue; vegetarians and vegans who've adopted their dietary lifestyle have usually done so primarily for ethical (rather than health) reasons. Similarly scientists like Richard Dawkins have got where they are by using the brains, rather than following a stranger around like a zombie, or deciding they've got to blow someone or something up like a terrorist.
You either decide to use your head or you don't. The religious as compassionate - what a nonsense ! Oh wait, girls and women like animals; farmers from SE Asia use their life savings to lay enslaved child prostitutes in the caucasian world, and the U.S and U.K aren't responsible for disgusting human rights abuses from Vietnam onwards.
Is there an actual link? So far I have found less vegetarian atheists than religious people. Even proportionally to the number of people I know in both groups.
Most veg*ns I know are Buddhists or Hindus, and while it is true many Buddhists are atheists too, the ones I know aren't. As for myself, I turned vegetarian well before I turned atheist.
What might happen instead is that once you break with the tradition of eating animals (or any other deeply rooted tradition), you start thinking outside the box - and perhaps conclude that religion and superstition are nonsense too.
So, while a vegetarian is likely to become an atheist or an agnostic, it seldom happens the other way round.
You may be finding fewer vegetarian atheists than religious vegetarians simply because in today's world it is high risk to admit to being an atheist. Kind of like surveys about smoking pot. Most pot smokers will not admit to their habit out of fear...
As much as I enjoy an optimistic take on people/life/the world/etc, I can't get all YIPPEE about the wishful thinking that Atheist <=> Veg.
I'm an atheist.
I'm a veg.
I'm a scientist.
I know lots of atheist scientists, most of whom eat carcasses. I know very few veg's; but most of the veg's I know kind of gaze at crystals or some other mystical "spiritual" BS.
Counting myself, I personally know precisely two atheist veg scientists. I'm married to the other one.
Maybe most atheists don't try to justify or wish away their discomfort, but I doubt most experience any discomfort as dead-animal-eaters and therefore do not see the need to justify or wish away anything.