What Animals Can Teach Us About God


Image: Wild chimp in Gombe, Doug88888, Flickr

There is a new player in the animal rights game...one that could be a game changer. It seems that when the topic of animal rights comes up, emotions are stirred on all sides. Millions support the basic supposition of PETA that animals have rights. Some go to extremes bordering on terrorism against homo sapiens in the interest of protecting other species. And people often turn to religion to defend their position.

Does man have dominion over all that is created on Earth? Or is man the only animal that was ejected from the Garden of Eden -- thus the path to better knowledge of God leads through the animals? And what would Jesus eat? Now, there is team seeking to find the answers by integrating theology and science into a single philosophy: introducing the Institute for Theological Zoology.
Image: Rainer Hagencord and Jane Goodall, Institute of Theological Zoology
Institute of Theological Zoology Established
Under the leadership of Rainer Hagencord and patronage of Jane Goodall, the Institute of Theological Zoology has set itself the goal of interpreting the position of animals in God's creation with a strong basis in both scienctific knowledge and theological foundation. Hagencord points out the alienation of man from animal with a quote from Rupert Sheldrakes :

The animals that today live close to humans can be divided into two categories: One category is the pet that we spoil with feed, to which the second category has been made.

Hagencord came upon the idea for the Institute of Thological Zoology when he was working on his Ph.D thesis entitled "The animal: A Challenge for Christian Anthropology. Arguments for a Change of Perspectice from a Theological and Behavioural Biologist view."


Image: Institute of Theological Zoology
Jesus Was Not a Vegetarian
The Instititute has certainly set itself into the middle of a raging battle. Is it possible to understand the scientific viewpoint, and re-interpret the Biblical writings in light of these discoveries? The conflicts drive Hagencord to seek answers. For example, how can we understand the animal world in relation to the Garden of Eden when we look at the condition of animals living in their own manure, never seeing the blue of sky, and suffering to breath under their own growth-hormone induced weight? Do animals have souls? And can a person with Christian views eat meat? On this point Hagencord does not hesitate. "The Biblical texts in this regard are clear: Jesus was not a vegetarian. But one must have reverence and ask how the animals that I eat have lived," he explained to a reporter for the Suddeutsche Zeitung (German).

More on biology and theology:
Animals Blessed in Madrid for Holiday of Patron SaintEnvironmentalism: Movement, Philosophy, Ethic, or What?
Will "Green Religion" Save Us or Sink Us?

Tags: Animals | Ethical | Germany | Religion

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