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Within ancient Jewish culture, your name wasn’t simply what you are called; rather it spoke of your very essence. To ask someone’s name was to ask ‘who are you?’ Therefore the giving of a new name was to bestow someone with a new identity.
Stephen H. Webb is a retired Professor of Religion and Philosophy and independent scholar who adjuncts at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He speaks to Sarx about valuing creation, human-animal relationships and the coming together of Christian Theologians and Animals Welfare advocates.
David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics, at the University of Chester talks to Sarx about his passion for animal theology, Karl Barth and his commitment to a peaceable diet.
The government has re-stated its plans to have a free vote on repealing the 2004 Hunting Act, which means it could once again become legal to hunt wild animals with dogs in England and Wales.
The reintroduction of hunting would mean terrifying and painful deaths – not just foxes, but deer and hares, too. Yet why should this concern Christians?
Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) was undoubtedly a man of many talents. Born in the German territory of Alsace-Lorraine, later to become Haut-Rhin, France, Schweitzer gained prominence as a musical scholar, organist and medical missionary in Africa.
He is remembered primarily for his work as a theologian, the cornerstone of his work being, the concept of “Reverence for Life” or Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben, a phrase which came to him on a boat trip on the Ogooué River in French Equatorial Africa (now Gabon).
This idea arose from his conviction that Western civilization was decaying because it had abandoned the affirmation of life as its ethical foundation.
Advocating on behalf of animal welfare in today’s society can be a tough challenge.
The widespread, anthropocentric tradition of indifference towards animals has led to many Christians becoming strangers to the idea of actively showing compassion to other species.
Thankfully, there are exceptions to this rule, most notably that of William Wilberforce.
Even though I grew up in a family that wasn’t quite typically Chinese (we emigrated to Australia), you cannot help having an enthusiastic attitude to food – something to be enjoyed, with family and friends, should always be over-catered by a factor of three, should require at least two processes of cooking, preferably with vivid sound effects and spectacular visual display.
My parents weren’t lavish in buying expensive food, but they did always try to provide plenty of it – volume and variety. Even when I visit them new, the kitchen is never empty.
I suppose I started to question my eating habits after realising that humans are using the world’s resources at a faster rate than it can supply them for us. If everyone on earth consumed its resources at the level the most affluent nations in the west were, we would need six worlds to sustain us – clearly untenable. This started my interest in ethical living and trying to put it into practice.