Friday, December 08, 2006

Smart Fish?

I remember as a kid always thinking that of all the animals or fish in the world, fish had to be the dumbest. I don't know if I thought this because it helped me justify my family's extensive fishing, catching, and ultimately eating or if I was pondering something significant.

As I grew older, I found myself thinking that since God put humans on the earth to eat the animals and fish--they mustn't be too bright or smart. Afterall, they are people food.

But as I've grown older, I find myself at odds with the thinking of my youth as I discover that animals and fish often surprise me in their brilliance. And, when a new discovery comes along such as the apes who use various tools or this story about different species of fish hunting together, the thought confronts my personal theology in a way that makes me rethink human domination. I mean, when I read about those fish that were caught of the Korean waters that looked like human faces, I found myself saying, "Dang, this is freaky!" What I find myself thinking more and more, is that we humans may not be here to just eat whatever we want, but rather it might be something more. And as a Christian, that something more seems to confront traditional thinking about the role of humans on this earth.

As a Christian, I also end up wondering about the sacredness of all life. Does this mean I should become a vegetarian? I dunno. I think on these things and find myself asking whether or not I am being responsible when it comes to dining on the creatures of the earth. If all life is sacred, then does eating that life affect its and my own sacredness? The native Americans honored the lives of the buffalo and other animals when they ate them or used their skins for clothing or shelter. If I am going to honor life, should I be more like the native Americans? Or, does it matter at all?

A while back I watched a YouTube video about a preacher explaining that all animals do not have souls--only humans do. Such a thinking then would surely justify our abuse of the animals we raise and consume. Afterall, if they did have a soul, would we be guilty of murder? Or, at least, in dishonoring the sacredness of the relationship of animal to human?

I don't have an answer--but at least writing about it, I feel less like a hypocrite. I mean, tonight I ate a casserole of shrimp and wild rice. Still, pondering my relationship with the wild is something I've put off for too long. I think I will start by spending some time learning how people of various tribes and nations have interpreted life and its holiness.

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