Expensive and time-consuming efforts are being made to rescue and rehabilitate animals threatened by the Gulf oil spill. Do animals have rights? Do animals have souls? What does your faith say about animal consciousness, suffering, sacrifice and stewardship? Dr. Paul Waldau, a lecturer in animal law at Harvard Law School , says, "Religion is a major player in the way humans think about other living beings." What does that mean to you?
Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on June 14, 2010 2:44 PM
I know it is much easier to believe animals have no souls, that they somehow are alive without one, and that their existence is simply to fill our bellies. However, at some point, many of us come to the realization that animals are conscious beings, with desires and fears, aspirations and frustrations.
Animals feel. They have the right to be treated with respect; they respect humans who respect them. The souls of animals seem to have the capacity to get to places in human souls that not even other humans can reach.
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on June 16, 2010 4:19 PM
Religion is the understanding that our lives ought to be governed not only by the ethics and the laws we craft, but by the governance of love that does not want to see any sentient being suffer. And my love for my dog tells me that we will meet again.
Posted by Valerie Elverton Dixon, on June 16, 2010 2:11 PM
Whether animals have consciousness, souls, rights or sacrifice is irrelevant in the face of the fact that animals are God's good creation, which we are required to love as our neighbors. No expense of time or money is too great in caring for these completely innocent victims of human behavior.
Christians need also to be resistant to the metaphysics of "species egalitarianism." Talk of "Brother Sun and Sister Moon" has a nice ring to it, but it gets theologically weird when we start thinking "Brother Horse and Sister Chicken"!
It does not take religion or lack of it to recognize that how we treat other creatures has implications far beyond rescuing pelicans from oil slicks. It extends to animal testing of products for human beings, animals trained to entertain or work for us, and animals raised to be our food.
Posted by Herb Silverman, on June 14, 2010 10:08 PM
Okay, so I'm a compromised pacifist! I won't kill fellow humans, but I will eat meat. I'll admit to being somewhat hypocritical - in the same way that some "pro-lifers" are in favor of capital punishment and many fellow pacifists are okay with abortion.
Posted by Max Carter, on June 14, 2010 3:30 PM
Save & Share:
Doeidgrl: Religion is a human ideology that should not be put onto animals. They live just fine without religion and deserve the same rights as us as ...
Doeidgrl: I was raised Catholic but have since left the church because I believe nature is my religion and the earth is my church. Animals have as mu...
cianwn: I don't believe that any creature possesses a soul, animal or human. I also reject the notion that humans and animals are identical in moral...