I must have been about nine when I saw the sheepskins hanging over the abattoir (slaughterhouse) wall. I’d turned vegetarian at the age of eight, after realising that what-was-on-my-plate was who-was-in-the-fields, and I remember feeling embarrassed for the grown-ups, visiting family in Leeds, who’d taken a wrong turning on our Sunday walk. I shouldn’t be seeing this, was my thought.
Christianity and Animals
When I tell church friends that I work in animal theology, I am often met with puzzled looks: ‘Do you mean animals go to heaven?’ Animal theology certainly includes such questions, but has wider concerns: What is animal creation for? To what end did God make them? How are humans supposed to treat them?
Thomas Jay Oord, renowned theologian, philosopher and author, reflects upon the iconic verse John 3:16 and the meaning of God’s love for the whole of creation.
Professor Ryan McLaughlin, lecturer of theology at Siena College, New York, explains how the biblical concept of “dominion” necessitates eating a meat-free diet.
David Clough, Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester, argues that concern for animals is a fundamental aspect of Christian discipleship.
In this transcript from the 2017 Creature Conference, Dr Margaret Adam, theologian, ethicist and visiting tutor at St Stephen’s House, Oxford argues that Christians should care about animals because of who and how they are called to be.
Dr Alma Massaro author, lecturer on animal ethics and member of the Italian Study Center for Christian Vegetarians (CSCV) speaks on whether animals have souls, challenging barriers to peaceable human-animal relationships and how to view animals through innocent eyes.
Revd Dr Trystan Owain Hughes explores the interrelatedness of all living beings and demonstrates how the common origin and essential unity of creation necessitates that every animal is treated with respect, compassion and love.
Professor Ryan McLaughlin, lecturer of theology at Siena College, New York, discusses the theological status of animals, the work of Christ and the practical implications of animal theological concern within the Christian life.
Mary Colwell, public speaker, producer and writer specialising in nature and the environment, reflects upon Thomas Merton, God’s presence within creation and humanity’s connection with the natural world.