Thursday, June 1, 2017

Beef Ban & The Christian Response; How Then Shall We Think?

            Hurricane “beef-ban” has inundated the entire Indian subcontinent. If this ordinance attains fruition, consumption of beef would be scarce or virtually impossible in India.1 Social media is buzzing with frenzied voices arguing for and against the government ordinance to ban the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter.

            This ordinance, which has been announced on the eve of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, could be tinted with religious overtones, for Muslims have traditionally been beef-eaters.2 Ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was elected to govern India, the minority religious groups (Christians and Muslims) have been nervously anticipating curbs to their religious practices. This ordinance fuels the nervousness that similar complications are en route. (The 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque in the city of Ayodhya serves as a painful and a recent antecedent to this nervousness.)

            What’s a reasonable Christian response to this predicament? Here’s my one cent.

            This ordinance need not necessarily be a precursor to further complications endangering the religious practices of the minority religious groups. Hence, our response should be measured, let alone we overreact. From a strict Christian stance, we need not be bitter or angry about this predicament, for Christianity is not all about eating.

            Easier said than done! To not be bitter or angry, in an existential sense, is difficult for a Christian who loves to eat beef. Then there are those who can only afford to eat beef, for beef is generally inexpensive in comparison to seafood, red meat, pork or poultry. To eradicate beef from the lives of these Christians could be construed as an intensification of their poverty or invasion of privacy, to say the least.

            Every Christian is crucified in Christ, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2: 20a, NIV). Hence our response to anything in and of this world should primarily be predicated on our Christianity.

            The government need not be the only entity that eliminates certain pleasures of life. Bad health condition does rob us off our pleasures. Beef is not a recommended cuisine for those suffering from obesity, high cholesterol etc.

            So if a valid reason is all we need to avoid consuming beef, then just as we avoid beef while we suffer from, say, high cholesterol, we could avoid consuming beef, if it hurts the religious sentiments of our Hindu brothers and sisters. The Bible emphasizes this situation without a doubt, “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.” (Romans 14: 19-21, NIV, Emphasis Mine).

            Moreover, the Bible mandates us to love our brothers and sisters; this includes our Hindu brothers and sisters. An entailment of our love for our Hindu brothers and sisters could be to sacrifice our consumption of beef.

            Consider the beef ban in the context of liberal or postmodern Christianity. My fellow Christian brothers and sisters, who are more liberal in their Christian attitude, go ballistic upon conservatives (such as myself) over the issue of homosexuality. My liberal Christian brothers and sisters argue to endorse homosexuality in Christianity, whereas I do not.

            Just as the liberal / postmodern Christian fragment argues passionately to exclude the legitimate hermeneutical thought process of the conservative Christians, why not exclude beef from their kitchen as well? The liberal Christian community loudly proclaims their love for the practicing gay Christians. In the same vein, why not exclude beef because of your love for your Hindu brothers and sisters?

            Well if you are a liberal Christian, you do not have any right whatsoever, to argue against the beef ban. Relativism includes everything. Relativism includes the religious sentiments of your Hindu brothers and sisters. So shut every possible vent and sit tight! Bury your disagreements within yourself. (If you are not a postmodern Christian, please pardon me for my aggression against postmodern Christians. Postmodernism is an insane concept. Those who have studied postmodernism and still subscribe to it deserve some harsh words that could possibly awaken them from their self induced intellectual coma.)

            Do think about this as well. Are you voicing your opinion against the beef-ban because of fear? Do you fear that the worse is yet to come, and hence you are against beef ban?

            Fear cannot rule a Christian’s life (Luke 12: 4 - 6). The Bible teaches that Christians are to expect persecution, ““Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5: 10-12, RSV, Emphasis Mine).

            Whenever we take issue with anyone over anything, let us do so knowing that our sovereign God is in total control. No harm would invade the Christian’s space unless God permits it. If God allows it, let us be certain of HIS sustaining presence.

            We are not fighting flesh and blood. We are fighting powers in the spiritual realm. The key to winning spiritual battles is to be clothed with the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10 - 18). So let us respond to this beef ban while we immerse ourselves in Christ seeking God’s guidance and wisdom to respond appropriately.

            If God has chosen you and me for persecution, no force on earth can prevent persecution from materializing in our life. So let us continue to trust in God and not fear an impending persecution. God will sustain those who are persecuted. The incomparable power that raised Christ from death will sustain us during our moments of suffering.

            Consider those who are in utter poverty or unjustly imprisoned, with little or nothing to eat. Consider the refugees of war and those living in war prone areas of our world. Eating good food may not even be their prayer when their lives are at stake.

            In comparison, we are blessed. So let us employ our blessings to strive for the necessary aspects of our life than the fringe benefits such as eating beef. While expressing our opinions is necessary, let us not lose our peace over this [rather trivial] predicament.

            Peace is a rare commodity in our world. If we are to live in peace, we are to not indulge the forces that do not impact our faith in Christ. Tolerance and sacrifice are necessary to live in peace. As the Bible mandates let us not destroy the work of God for the sake of food (Romans 14: 20).





Ananth Peddi said...

Sure! Christianity is not about eating and drinking! How about preventing a billion brothers and sisters prostrating before an animal?? 😊👍

Raj Richard said...

Bro Ananth, the gospel has to be preached. That is the duty of Christian community. That is all that can be done. The rest is up to each individual.

Denny Benjamin said...

Sorry for the delayed comment, anna. This post really has the aroma of Christ. Love our country men for the sake of the One who died for us. Food doesn't matter.

Raj Richard said...

Thank you, Denny