Was Jesus a vegetarian?
Quote [www.all-creatures.org] Jesus-Essenes-Dead Sea Scrolls;
"Like them, Jesus opposed the slaughter of animals at the Jerusalem Temple (John 2:13-16). Like them, he included women as disciples and said that for females, as well as for males, their most important function was spiritual, not biological (Luke 11:27,28). And like these Essenes, Jesus taught, and lived by, the principle of nonviolence. He even went to his death refusing to overcome violence by violence, telling his disciples that those who lived by the sword would die by the sword (Matt. 26:52)
From the beginning, there were always groups of Christians who sought to follow the example of Jesus. But as the centuries went by, principles of nonviolence and the equality of women--along with various other teachings--were expunged from mainstream Christianity. Those who insisted on living out these principles, claiming that only they were the true followers of Christ, were branded as heretics. The churches eliminated their influence by killing them--in a variety of ways.
Another principle by which these "heretics" lived, also reflected Essene teachings. They were vegetarians, and their refusal to eat flesh was a logical extension of the rule of nonviolence. But until the recovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there was no indication that in Jesus' time, vegetarianism was such a viable issue. Previously, it was assumed that this was a practice confined to ascetics and visionaries. But with the discovery of the scrolls, it became known that there was a large, vocal group of Jews--ordinary citizens-- who refused to kill animals and consume their flesh. A group for whom nonviolence was a fundamental principle.
Today, there is a growing movement towards nonviolence in mainstream Christianity. This is reflected in the pacifism of some believers. For them, as for the Christians who lived during the first few centuries after the crucifixion, military service is not an option. For them, the Gospel message of nonviolence rules out killing other human beings--for any reason. And, more recently, there are those Christians whose nonviolence extends to animals, and includes the practice of vegetarianism.
However, many of their fellow church members consider such people to be eccentrics, or troublemakers who are trying to introduce "New Age" lifestyles into Christianity. But as more and more information from sources like the Dead Sea Scrolls is circulated outside academia, it becomes increasingly apparent that nonviolence, a concern for animals and the question of vegetarianism are not "New Age" at all. They were principles of concern among the earliest Christians. "
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