Gnostic Justification for Eating Veal

I don’t eat animals for three main reasons: i) I think they are treated rather horribly on industrial farms; ii) widespread meat production is ecologically unsustainable in a world with 7 billion people; and iii) when I look at a dog and a pig (or a lamb or a cow) I don’t see any real difference between their nervous systems or their souls and I would never eat a dog.

That said, I am a sucker for arguments on behalf of omnivorism and I came across an astounding one while reading the Gnostic text The Gospel of Thomas. In it, Jesus says:

Blessed is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human.

If I am interpreting this correctly, the argument states that it is better for the lion to be eaten by us than to roam free because in that moment between being chewed up and defecated into a toilet, a few lion cells are absorbed and eventually transformed into human flesh and it is only through this glorious union that the lion can ever know God.

Now, I have had many a discussion with Christians who believe that animals are fulfilling God’s destiny when they are eaten by us, but I have never heard the argument that we are doing animals a favour by eating them because we are bringing them closer to God. Admittedly, the Gnostic texts were declared heretical 16 centuries ago; but, nonetheless, I have to admire the chutzpah.

About Jeremy Mercer

Jeremy Mercer is an author and translator who lives in in the Luberon with his fiancée, two children, five cats, two chickens, ten fish, and one pregnant dog. He is currently on the market for a cheap horse. More at
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