I Ain’t Sinnin’; It’s Made of Veggies

Veggies and Fireworks

On Sunday night, July 3rd, after a wonderful evening service in which I preached on the love of God (for everyone), my family and I went to Collegedale, TN, to watch fireworks. We had a wonderful, patriotic evening, complete with fresh cotton candy, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Oh, my bad…cotton candy and veggies on bread.

There are few things more “American” than a Fourth of July celebration with hamburgers and hot dogs. On the other hand, if you plan to attend an event like this in a Seventh-Day Adventist utopia (such as Collegedale), don’t plan on eating the real thing (at least not at an outdoor event where most of the vendors are church-related). Many Adventists do not eat meat (at least the ones I’ve known), nor do they typically consume any beverages containing caffeine. So, while watching fireworks this year, I ate veggies on a bun, while drinking a Dr. Pepper with no ability to keep me awake while driving home. I could have died, you know.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought the burgers were very tasty, and the hot dog I had wasn’t bad. As a matter of fact, the burger was excellent, especially when I added a generous sprinkling of some spices they had sitting on the table. However, the whole idea of “veggie burgers” and “veggie dogs” got me to thinking. Unfortunately, that’s what gets me into trouble.

Why Not the Real Thing?

Why don’t vegetarians eat meat? Well, according to who you ask, the reason could be anything from wanting to be healthier, to not wanting to make a cow cry. Some feel that it is their religious obligation to not eat meat, while others are just animal lovers that would rather pet a critter than chew on its leg.

Are there any health benefits from not eating beef or pork? Sure, there are some. Are there any Biblical commands regarding meat that apply to us today? I don’t think so, but others have the right to their misinterpretation (said with a wink). Regardless, many choose not to eat meat because they think it is just plain wrong. A sin. An abomination. Well….

Then Why Fake It?

Surely I am not the only one who thinks that it is a little hypocritical to condemn eating meat, only to eat things that look and taste exactly like it. It seems like an attempt to have your righteousness, while eating your sin, too. Now, I’m not talking about the strictly health-conscious folk, but the ones that think eating ol’ Bessie is akin to eating Aunt Bessie.

I don’t understand. I don’t see the point. Isn’t eating something that looks and tastes as close to the real thing sorta like saying, “I know what sin tastes like, and this tastes like sin, but it’s OK, cause it’s fake.” Is it all about flavor? Or, is it that you want your sin, but can only stomach the appearance of it? If you were only concerned with the nutritional value of a veggie burger, then why make the taste, texture, and appearance identical to the real thing? Probably because a veggie burger that looked like an ear of corn or a turnip would not have the same appeal.

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:22

It only makes sense to me that if you are going call something evil, then you should not promote its pleasures. For instance, why would a Jew, someone who is fanatically opposed to eating pork, order several slices of imitation bacon for his bagel? Why would a Vegan, who was opposed to eating beef, order something that looks, smells, tastes, and feel exactly like a hamburger? It implies that their love for the look and taste of these foods is greater than their concern for what others may think.

“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” – 1 Corinthians 8:13

It seems to me that at the heart of the matter is a desire to try to satisfy the demands of the Law, while at the same time the desires of the flesh. The problem is that when we lust after what we can’t have, then we are guilty of the sin itself (Matt. 5:28).

This is an example of legalism at work. The legalist justifies his actions by boasting he is keeping the Law, but in his heart continues to desire the pleasures of unrighteousness; all the while, seeing himself as more right with God than his neighbor.

Deeper Application

As a believer, do you oppose adultery, fornication, idolatry, perversion, etc.? Do you oppose demonism and witchcraft? Do you oppose abuse, rape, murder, and lawlessness of all kinds? Or do you secretly desire these things, fulfilling your fantasies through illicit music, books, and movies? No, you wouldn’t do those things, would you? But do you get as close to the experience as you can without actually consuming the meat?

Just something to think about.

Note: The above article is meant to illustrate truth through honest questions and humor. In no way do I mean to presume that every Adventist is a legalist, or that every vegetarian is off his rocker. Please forgive me if you are offended by any over-simplification of one’s food preferences. However, if you are a legalist,ย well, what can I say?

15 Comments

Filed under America, Christian Living, Food, General Observations, legalism

15 responses to “I Ain’t Sinnin’; It’s Made of Veggies

  1. Out of Eden Ministries

    Would it be rude if I said I don’t like you today?
    Good post, darn it. (and yes…I AM more righteous for not saying the word I wanted to say. lol.)
    I jest (sort of). Excellent. Really.

  2. Personally I never understood the Biblical aspects that some use to avoid eating meat.. I mean, if you are hungry, and you have children who are hungry and someone offers you up food, do you turn it away because it is offensive to you (for me it’s okra) or do you choose to live another day by eating that hotdog..(with or withour sauerkraut)…Great post,…I loved it.

  3. Anonymous

    Wow,
    I have never considered myself legalistic, but proudly say I have been a veg-head for over 17 years now! My reason is it is healthier but as a child I was traumatized and could not stand to kill an animal. Furthermore it is NOT because of legalisim, nor Adventist, nor Jew! I find it humorous your perspectives and find them rather uninformed. I grew up in a family that converted from southern baptist and pentecostal to Seventh Day Adventist… You are sadly mistaken and your comments are a little misconstrued!

    Perhaps I could enlighten you on both reasons and give you scriptural backings as to why Adventist and Jews elect not to eat certain types of meat(NAMELY PORK) very few are true vegetarians and most certainly not all vegans. There are health benefits, but I am sure you are not that uninformed…But, let me ask you about something else I read, what about this new super food made out of feces that is so popular and apparently tasty…(UGH) Would you rather starve or would you rather eat it to survive?(LOL-WOW) And if so would you rather it look like human excrement or would you rather it look like a burger? I mean after all it has been deemed one of the most beneficial proteins and nutrients out there!

    I get what you are saying… But I think that we should back off of discriminating and being so hypocritically judge mental and legalistic ourselves, before writing about others choices to do something outside of the “American Norm” Did you know that in most other countries the people eat far less meat, even if they have the luxuries of doing so. It is far healthier, especially these days to eat less meat. Do you know that it virtually eliminates your risk of certain types of cancer such as stomach and colon cancer to be a vegetarian! Not to mention the introduction of hormones, (hence the reason in early development and certain other cancers) and 78% of the antibiotics you consume in your lifetime will be from meat, which in turn affects your bodies ability to fight infection and disease. Just saying!

    Back to your analogy of the Deeper application… I do like how you tied that in to your blog… But is it not far more legalistic and wrong to assume judge others without being an honest human being and saying yes, sadly we do these things even when we sit back and judge others because we do not hold the same values, traditions or beliefs!? “This is an example of legalism at work. Man justifies his actions by saying he is keeping the Law, but in his heart continues to desire the pleasures of unrighteousness. All the while, the legalist, the fake meat-eater, sees himself as more right with God than his neighbor.” Was Jesus not tempted? The thing is we will all be tempted, but we do not necessarily desire evil just because we delight in other things WITHOUT SINNING!” So is it wrong to listen to Christian Rock or rap because it is similar to other things? BUT IT TALKS ABOUT JESUS & SAVES LIVES??? Is this NOT LEGALISM A IS BEST to make such strong accusations without knowing what you are talking about & assuming that your ways are better because you MUST KNOW THEIR HEART??? I am just saying is this NOT GODS JOB?

    Just a little FUN from a different perspective! I love the Lord with all my heart! how can you set back and tell the diabetic they are wrong because they eat sugar free foods? Can’t they enjoy the sweet taste without the increase in sugar levels? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Same difference right?!

    • Dear person with no name,

      Thank you very much for your comment. I am so happy that someone finally challenged me on something ๐Ÿ˜‰ . Please feel free to come back anytime to express your side of the story. Now, please let me respond.

      Your observation is correct when you accuse me of over-generalizing. I am fully aware that not all Adventists are complete vegetarians. Having had friends and family that are Adventist, I KNOW that to be true. My observations and comments may have seemed like I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I actually do.

      You see, this post, first off, was meant to be humorous, not scientific. It was not meant to be a thesis on the Adventist faith, nor a defamation of healthy food choices. On the other hand, it was a post meant to address the seeming hypocrisy of calling something a sim, but doing everything you can to partake in it. It was meant to make people think deeper about this.

      Secondly, I understand that eating meat all the time can be unhealthy. Even dogs need some fiber in their diet. However, I do believe there is plenty of biblical evidence supporting the freedom to eat meat if one so chooses.

      Thirdly, if I ever come across as legalistic, please forgive me. Please understand that I am “recovering,” hence the name of my blog.

      Next, it is not legalism or judgmental to call something sin when it is in black and white. It is legalistic, however, when we accuse someone of being unrighteous before God based on our own standards which are not clearly defined in Scripture. There is a such thing as righteous judgment (John 7:24). It is therefore not being legalistic to point out sinful behavior, even if another tries to justify their actions by saying, “That’s not my tradition.” It’s called “preaching the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2).

      Seriously, I am aware that my post may have been unfair to a certain degree. I did make seemingly blanket statements about Adventists. If that offended you, then I apologize. It was only my intention to point out the irony of calling something evil, only to hold on to the “appearance.” It was not my desire to say “veggie” burgers are wrong. It was my intention to question the justification behind calling something “evil,” only to turn around and attempt to enjoy all the pleasures provided by that “evil.”

      Now, you mentioned some other things, too. You talked about Christian music and sugar-free candy. I do not think that either one of those fit with my post. With regards to the candy, diabetics, like my mother, do not typically think it is sinful. They would love to have a Jolly Rancher or a Snickers every now and then. Their abstinence, however, is not based on a belief that candy is sinful, but that it is harmful for them. I have never heard a diabetic stand up and preach that everyone who eats the sugary, made-in-hell concoctions were in danger of judgment. I have never had one accuse me of being ungodly for having a piece of fudge. To be specific, I have never had a diabetic tell me eating sugar is a sin, then turn around and give me something that looks and tastes just like it.

      You do bring up an interesting point when you mention Christian music, however. For the record, I listen to music of all kinds, as long as it does not promote a sinful lifestyle or glorify ungodliness. Music is something God created, not the Devil. Satan is responsible for corrupting it and using it for his own advantage. If a Christian can worship God in spirit and in truth while playing a cherry sunburst Les Paul, then praise the Lord! If a Christian can whack away on bongos and bring glory to Jesus, then I say, “Whack away, brother!” But this is the thing, if a Christian is playing “Christian rock” only because he 1) can’t get a gig in a bar doing the worldly stuff; 2) is trying to impress someone of the opposite sex; 3) thinks that style is necessary in order to fool lost kids into thinking Jesus is cool, or 4) desires to receive glory and honor that is only due our Savior, then he has a problem.

      • Russell Bantin

        I know that this post is 4 years old.. but I can’t help myself…lol

        You said about sugar, “Their abstinence, however, is not based on a belief that candy is sinful, but that it is harmful for them”

        Funny, I like the perspective that things are sinful BECAUSE they are naturally bad for us ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Thanks, Russell, for stopping by, even if you are 4 years late ๐Ÿ˜‰ However, I was talking about diabetics in that part of the comment, so if I diabetic believed a sugary candy was harmful even in moderation, then of course saying it was sinful because it’s harmful would apply. But really, it all comes down to a matter of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith…candy, in this case…is sin (Rom. 14:23).

      • Russell Bantin

        Whether they think it is destructive or not.. If it is destructive in nature it is sin… Now, whether it is accounted to them is up to God.. I believe in the grace of God to cover even our foolish decisions… He has the remedy. GOD IS GOOD!

      • I’ll say we’re close enough. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for your thoughts.

      • Russell Bantin

        I really appreciate your blog and your viewpoint. Glad I stumbled upon it.

  4. Dale Slater

    Great post.; I have had this very argument with a die hard vegan before. I could not get her to understand that her chicken stir fry tofu was hypocritical. She eventually gave up her sinful argument and stated that being a vegan was just healthier. This same woman carried around a “suitcase” full of vitamins, minerals, roots, weeds, bark…etc. that she bought at the local village market because she was anemic and critically low in many of our bodies necessary vitamin levels. i cant help but grin thinking that while my savior was hanging on the cross for the entire worlds salvation he thought to himself that this act of grace and love is not enough for man but that we also need to make sure our burgers were veggie burgers.

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  7. I am 31 and an Adventist all my life. I have been questioning my beliefs a lot lately. I don’t understand the way vegetarianism is pushed so hard among Adventists. I know that more than half of SDAs are NOT vegetarians. Even those who are veggie eat meat on occassion. In some cultures, vegetarians are hard to find among SDAs.
    The Bible allows us to eat meat if we choose. SDAs haven’t made vegetarianism a requirement. Yet they feel that the less animal products they use, the closer they can be go God. That’s what is on the books, but not everyone thinks about that. Ellen White also said that those who wish to be saved at the very end will have to give up meat, since it won’t be safe to eat.
    I have been questioning whether or not Ellen White was of God. God never said such things in the Bible. I’ve also never known anyone that got seriously ill from eating a piece of meat.

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