In a lot of these posts I've hinted at the reasons why Christians go vegan particularly when discussing the historical context of Christians and diets. But to give a more concise understanding I thought I would lay out the bullet points here:
Why Christians Go Vegan:
1) To avoid gluttony- In the Bible, there is a story of a rich man and poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus is hungry and has sores all over his body. He would give anything to eat the scraps from the rich man's table, but when they both die, it is Lazarus who is exulted and the rich man made low. This is one example of many pointing out the dangers of gluttony.
In the West, we eat and consume a lot of food including an abundance of animal-based foods. It's both the quantity and the quality. For some individuals there is an obsession with certain foods like bacon so they practice detachment and if necessary avoidance of certain foods to avoid gluttony.
2) For health- Franklin Graham, arguably one of the world's most famous Evangelicals, went vegan at the beginning of the year. He cites health as his motivation for going vegan, and he also mentions that in the book of Daniel, Daniel eats a strictly vegan diet for 10 days and is said to look well afterwards. This is commonly referred to as the Daniel Diet.
3) Out of tradition- I won't get too detailed here as I wrote an entire blog post on the various traditions of fasting and diet from different Christian groups. Suffices to say that it is traditional and in some cases it is an obligation as there are directives from your local Bishop.
4) Stewardship- Most people have this feeling that cows are raised happily grazing on grass and that chickens are freely peeking in the yard, but the reality is that much of our animal-based food is not raised this way. They are usually raised and slaughtered in horrendous conditions. Animals are being mistreated. Much of the animals are in terrible shape and shouldn't even be consumed. This is what has fueled the organic and free-range movements. Some people find that they can't afford such food or only sparingly so they simply eat a vegan diet instead.
5) For the planet- Another aspect of stewardship is taking care of the eco-system. Large parts of the rainforest and other eco-systems have been cleared away as pasture and grazing land.
6) In the beginning- In the book of Genesis before the Fall, God told Adam and Eve to eat only the plants. Post-fall was the introduction of animal products (you recall God putting together animal skins for Adam and Eve). Some have taken the approach that we should live like we were commanded pre-Fall to set ourselves apart from the sinful world.
7) Love of Neighbor- There are people who are responsible for processing of these factory farmed animals. There are also people who live close to factory farms and end up with contaminated wells and soils. My own grandmother experienced severe sickness when her well water was polluted by live stock.
8) As a personal penance- Fasting or abstaining from certain foods is a good personal penance (which is essentially why I've gone vegan for Lent). So long as going vegan doesn't inhibit your other obligations then it is a moral good. You don't have to do this just during Lent or Advent. You can do it at other times as well as long as those other times are not supposed to be times of Feasting such as the Easter season.
Keep in mind that eating animal-based foods is not in and of itself immoral. Certainly it could be immoral for an individual (as in the case of gluttony) or groups of individuals (in the case of ignoring a Bishop's directive). So we should frame the avoidance of animal-based foods/products as being because of the sin of disobedience or gluttony etc. rather than the erroneous sin of eating animals. Does this make sense?
What I ate Today:
Breakfast- bagel with vegan chocolate-peanut butter
Snack: Cliff bar