The World’s First Vegetarian

The World’s First Vegetarian April 10, 2008

The world’s first vegetarian, Cain*, was also the world’s first murderer. Coincidence? Not according to the folks at the aptly named

In Genesis , Chapter Four, Eve bears Cain and Abel. ‘And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.’ That ‘but’ in the middle of the sentence is the first clue to disapproval. This disapproval is confirmed by verses three to five. Abel and Cain bring offerings to God: Abel of his sheep and Cain, the fruits of the ground. God, we are told, had respect for Abel’s carnivorous offering, but He had no respect for Cain’s vegetarian one.

Never forget – it was the vegetarian Cain who murdered the shepherd Abel.

The website also contains bios on other wicked vegetarians throughout history, such as Hitler, Pol Pot, Charlie Manson, and even Genghis Khan, information as well as other information critical of vegetarianism, PETA, and the animal rights movement generally.

It’s not clear exactly to what extent the website is tongue in cheek (the site links to an article about the Antichrist being a vegetarian, as well as to a WorldNetDaily article entitled “Soy Is Making Kids Gay,” which can’t be taken seriously, but most of the material on the website doesn’t really read like a parody).

Obviously if the website means what it says then it’s more than a little nutty. There’s nothing inherently wrong with not eating meat, nor is there anything necessarily wrongheaded with refusing to do so on moral grounds. Many great saints have been vegetarians, and (to take things down a great many notches) I myself was a semi-vegetarian for a while based on concerns about animal welfare and factory farming of the sort described here. On the other hand, there do seem to be a certain types or justifications for vegetarianism that are based in a deeply flawed moral anthropology. If one doesn’t think that human beings have a special dignity, or that killing an animal is morally no different than killing a person, then it’s not so hard to see how that worldview might make it easier to justify doing awful things to human beings. The fact that Cain grew vegetables undoubtedly had little to do with his being the world’s first murderer, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Peter Singer, one of the world’s most prominent supporters of legal infanticide, was also one of the intellectual founding fathers of the animal rights movement.

*The Bible doesn’t actually say that Cain was a vegetarian. All it says is that he grew vegetables while his brother Abel was a shepherd. And since it is only after the flood that Scripture records God giving humanity animals as food, the logical conclusion (according to a literal interpretation of Scripture) would be that both Cain and Abel would have been vegetarians, and that neither Cain nor Abel but Adam who was the world’s first vegetarian. Whether this would absolve vegetarians in the eyes of the website’s creators, or simply cause them to up the ante (“Fall of Man Due to World’s First Vegetarian”) is unclear.

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