Role of Animals in the Christian Religion
The relationship between Christianity and animals is intricate. For many years, the issue has raised numerous and unending debates among Christians, especially in the United States, with different groups having opposing views concerning how animals should be treated. From a broad point of view, the arguments have been between Christian vegetarians and opposing Christians movements.
Traditional Christians believed that human beings are superior to animals. As such, they believed that they could treat animals the way they wanted since they had no moral obligation towards them. According to early theologians, human beings are superior, and it is natural for them to dominate, prey and feed on animals. They believed that God created animals and put humans in charge of them, and therefore, people are allowed to use them in any way they want, whether for food, entertainment, or clothing. They regarded animals as inferior creatures because they lack a soul or the ability to reason like human beings. They only compared animals to human and not as separate and creatures different from the human race.
Modern Christians are more sympathetic about animals. Most of them believe that animals should be treated with kindness. They also believe that mistreating and harming animals is not only morally wrong but also a sin before God. According to them, animals are God’s creatures and just like humans, they can also feel pain and suffering. According to the bible, God wants human and animals to co-exist in peace and harmony, as seen in the garden of Eden.
While some modern Christians do not support the whole idea of animal rights, they tend to accept that there is an unbridgeable gap between animals and people. They acknowledge that animals or at least some animals display some level of awareness and consciousness which warrant some moral consideration.
Dozens of environmental movements in the past few decades have played a significant role in changing how Christians view animals and nature in general. Christian vegetarians are also on the rise. They associate biblical values with everything, including their eating habits. According to the Christian Vegetarian Association, feeding on animals is an act of cruelty to the animals and doing so is supporting violence which is against Christian values.
Christianity is based on one God. However, Christians remain divided on the issues regarding animal welfare. Some believe that God created animals to serve man, while others believe that animals are smart and important creatures in God’s eyes that should be treated with love and respect.