Gospel of the Vegetarian Christ
I've often wondered
what it would have been like to have lived two thousand years ago and broken
bread with Jesus. What a meal that would have been. Was Jesus a meat
eater, or vegetarian? Who would have butchered the chicken or calf? Not me. I
cannot imagine Jesus taking the life of any living creature. Snap a chicken's
neck? Watch a fish gasp for breath and die? I just cannot picture Christ
showing that kind of lack of compassion to any living creature. Can you? Cut
a lamb's throat? Separating a calf from his mother and then taking his life
by slicing through the jugular and carotid as his arterial spray stains
the floor? As there were no refrigerators, where would meat eaters of
biblical times have stored the leftovers?
My vision of that meal includes
a table filled with fruits, and a salad buffet containing marinated
vegetables, nuts, legumes. All of the foods would have been vine ripened,
fresh, colorful, fragrant. Such a meal would be the first breakfast and the
last supper, and all meals in between.
A few years ago, I received a
letter from a college lecturer, philosopher, and animal rights advocate, Gary
Yourofsky. Gary included passages from ancient scrolls which I found to be
Yourofsky cites the teachings of Jesus, according to
Matthew. The Gospel of the Nazarene extends Matthew's familiar biblical
chapter. Having read and studied numerous religious texts including the Old
and New Testaments and Dead Sea Scrolls, I accept that there are various
interpretations and different levels of belief and rejections of such
texts, according to one's religious philosophy. This is not an attempt to
promote debate. It merely is a sharing of a text that reflects great
compassion. This version meshes with my own personal vision of universal
Should you wish to discuss the following with Yourofsky, I
provide contact info at the conclusion of this column.
The following is attributed to Jesus:
"Verily I say unto you, for this
end have I come into the world: that I may put away all blood offerings
and the eating of the flesh of the beasts and the birds that are slain by
In the beginning the Creator gave to all the fruits of the trees,
and the seeds and the herbs for food; but those who loved themselves more
than the Lord or their fellows, corrupted their ways and brought diseases
into their bodies, and filled the earth with lust and violence. Not by the
shedding of innocent blood, therefore, but by living a righteous life
shall you find peace.
Blessed are they who keep this Law, for the
Creator is manifest in all creatures and all creatures live in the Creator."
The Gospel of the Nazarenes. 75:9-14; the words of Jesus
verbatim scroll preserved by the Mt. Carmel branch of the Essenes
(Carmelites) was found in Tibet in the latter part of the first century.
This text pre-dates the writings of the New Testament.
texts appear in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were discovered in 1947.
current copy of The Gospel of the Nazarenes can be obtained from Essene
Vision Books, P.O. Box 1080, Patagonia, AZ 85624; 520-394-2060
Contact Gary Yourofsky