15 June 2004

From the Mailbag

I was very intrigued by your blog [post] re: eating meat. If I understand your blog, you are saying that because there is a risk (albeit remote) of hurting another, one must consider whether the harm to eating flesh is morally justifiable. Implicit in this argument is the idea that there may, perhaps, be an act of immorality involved in the eating of flesh, and that to be moral, an agent must consider the possibility. (Although I don’t understand how the act of cogitation renders another act moral or not; either it is moral to eat flesh or it is not. If you cogitate and reach an incorrect conclusion, you are behaving both immorally and in error.)

I argue that you have turned it around. Your idea would be valid if there were any reason to assume that animals are anything other than fodder. There can be a risk of immorally harming an animal only if an animal is somehow imbued with sentience, or a soul, or some element of morality. Since animals have none of these elements there is no reason to give thought to eating one any more than there is a need to give thought to eating an ear of corn.

This begs the question: Is there a need to consider the morality of eating corn or animals? I can’t see how there can possibly be. Whether you accept (as I do) the Word of God as it pertains to man’s use of the earth, or if you believe that man is a product solely of the flesh, you have to accept that man is, if nothing else, a product of the natural order. Man’s actions are no more unnatural than any other animal’s, and therefore man’s morality in eating other creatures is no less an issue than any other creature’s consumption of another. Is a wolf immoral for eating a lamb? It seems to me that if I have to consider the morality of consuming a wolf, then the element of sentience that a wolf may possess that would make eating him immoral also places the wolf in the position of behaving immorally when it consumes flesh, which is absurd.

Warmest regards,
Mark T. Gibson
Rockvale, TN

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