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Food for Thought


Larger Version.

Who recognizes it?


Alan MacNeill?

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19 Responses to Food for Thought

  1. 1

    That looks like a delicious menu of animals you got there DaveScot :)

  2. Well, I’m no art historian, but I’ll give it a shot.

    On the right, we have a group of fierce carnivorous animals alongside peaceful herbivorous ones — the lion lying down with the lamb, almost literally. Small children are there, too, unmolested by the fierce carnivores. This part of the picture reminds one of Genesis 1, after Creation but before the Fall.

    On the left, we have two groups of people, who look like early colonists and natives of North America, in peaceful conversation.

    The whole scene is very idyllic.

    It would appear to portray a certain European attitude toward the New World, soon after it was discovered. Some Europeans, if I recall, believed that the New World was an unspoiled place, innocent, unlike the corrupt Old World. How they reconciled this notion with the Fall, which was presumably global, I don’t know, but I believe that some of them regarded the New World as an Edenic place.

    Of course, the lamb is not being eaten by the carnivores, a picture which fits in not only with the end verses of Genesis 1, but with the ideal world of somebody who frequently posts here, where nobody is eating any meat. (If the lions and tigers don’t need it, then surely the humans in the picture don’t, either.)

    I have no idea who the artist is, or the country of origin of the work. The costumes on the Europeans look 18th-centuryish, so I would guess the work itself is 18th or 19th century. The colonists look British or Dutch, so I’d guess the painter was from one of those places, but he could be a later American, simply recalling earlier days.

    How did I do?


  3. godslanguage

    Carnivores, I’m told, don’t taste very good.

  4. T

    You did pretty good. It’s mid-19th century American folk art. The artist made over 60 variants on this theme and they’re on display in such places as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    The artist was also a minister in a Christian religious sect that has had a continuous presence in America since the 17th century.

    You missed a bit of detail in the lower right. An ox and a bear both eating corn. At least I think that’s an ox. An unusual selection of plant and animal as the bible refers to a lion eating straw as an oxen. I’m not sure what significance there is in the substitutions.

    “Allan MacNeill” is an important clue.

  5. You’re calling MacNeill a Hicks?
    That’s gotta hurt :-)

  6. trib

    No, IIRC Allan MacNeill has said his personal philosophy is well aligned with some modern Quakers. I’m presuming the Quakers who’ve evolved into universalist-like beliefs.

    I bring up the Quakers because they’re a peace-church which teaches non-violence (including non-violence against animals), often promote a vegetarian diet, and believe the primary experience of God is personal through something called “the inner light” and place scripture in a position secondary to personal experience.

    I also mention it because where I grew up is in close enough proximity to modern Quakers (Pennsylvania) so that I’ve always been aware of them and hence they also exerted an influence on my personal philosophy.

    While orginally very much Christian when they first formed around 1650 in England some of the modern Quakers have become universalist with agnostics and so-called spiritual atheists in their ranks. All you really have to do for those is have the inner light experience and where your light is in loose agreement with certain transcendent moral codes that tend to be common in most faiths and even in people who lack faith in anything except the inner light.

  7. Dave,

    The only reason to believe anything is because it’s true and the point is not to seek but to find.

    When George Fox was starting things the inner light was Jesus, and the inner light remains Jesus.

    Tolerance is good and legalism is bad but without the foundation the structure crumbles and is replaced by just a mere tent carrying an honored name, perhaps even run by the competition.

    The emphasis becomes the superficial. “Good” works replaces true love and the “good” is determined by what is fashionable.

    I’m not anti-Quaker and I’ve known fine Quakers, whom I consider Christians. OTOH, some of the types that come from our local meeting houses (and we have a lot around here) seem to have replaced religion with politics. They are rather intolerant of and extremely judgmental about those who politics are different, and they don’t seem to want to apply the principle of non-violence to the unborn.

    And they aren’t very courageous. They have no problem speaking out against what is unpopular with the image-makers but scurry when a real problem needs addressing.

    But I certainly respect the principles of Quakerism and I would much prefer a religious association such as that to one in which one is subjected to weekly harangues by someone who doesn’t know scripture very well (or history or economics or human nature).

  8. 8

    Sounds like a rehash of gnosticism. Are you switching from “I don’t know anything” (just going by your profile here) to “I have special, personal revelation and if you don’t believe what I do than obviously you haven’t had the real experience”? What would you say to me if I told you I believe something “because an angel appeared to me and told me so”? What the Quakers believe is to me indistinguishable from that.

  9. 9

    Dave, since you accept no standard (correct me if I’m wrong) than it is impossible to argue with you. An argument from personal experience is not falsifiable. So for purposes of discussion I suggest that we make the assumption the Bible is in fact the Word of God as most Christians believe. You stated earlier that any position can be supported by interpreting the Bible. I happen to have some understanding of what you mean, but let’s try it. Support vegetarianism from the Bible. I would like to see how strong a case can be made for that.

    Or is this post your realization that the Bible can’t support that position so you are trying to reduce its authority?

  10. And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.

    Isaiah 11:6

  11. The more complete passage:

    6 The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.

    7 The cow will feed with the bear,
    their young will lie down together,
    and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

    8 The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.

    9 They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

    I did not recognize the painting, but the passage allowed me to google to the painter.

    It would be hard to deny that the passage in Issiah was the inspiration for th painting.

  12. 12

    This sounds more like a prediction than a command, wouldn’t you say?

  13. tragicmishap @ 12:

    This sounds more like a prediction than a command?

    Absolutely correct.

    The chapter is prophetic and the language largely figurative. It is in no way a command nor an imperative on human morality, only that at a future time under Christ’s rule (ostensibly the eternal kingdom) conditions will be such that humans (and animals) will be safe from the ravages of violence.

    DaveScot: As I alluded in your thread, proper interpretation of scripture requires recognition of the different contexts (literal, figurative, allegorical, symbolic, spiritual, physical, historical, prophetic and judgement) and a consistent hermeneutic. You seemingly have implied in your image that the Bible commands vegetarianism and that command is applicable now, neither of which is true. There is no such command (only a figurative description of state of non-violence) and that description is of a future time, not the present, nor is there any exhortation that it is the responisbility of Christians (or bible believers) to bring about that described state.

    Your cherry-picking does you a diservice. Will you next argue Christians believe the earth is flat because Isa 11:12 says it has four corners? Come on… you are smarter than this. Step up.

  14. Charles

    If you know that God intended man to live as a vegetarian and only freely permitted him to kill after man became a sinner, why would you want to live that way if you don’t have to? I’ll tell you why. Because your animal instinct to kill and eat flesh is stronger than your desire to live as God intended you to live.

    But hey, keep on killing and flesh eating if it pleases the animal desire in you. God said you could, or at least someone who claimed to speak for God said it was okay, so knock yourself out. If you’re wrong then that’s going to be a matter you’ll be dealing with on judgement day. Good luck with that.

  15. DaveScot @ 14:

    If you know that God intended man to live as a vegetarian and only allowed him to kill after man became a sinner,

    And where precisely does God say this? Kindly cite chapter, verse (and version), please, that I may get on the same page from which you’re reading.

  16. Charles,

    Say what? That he intended you to live where there was no flesh eating? That’s described in the Garden of Eden and then beyond that in a promise that God would restore the world to a state of perfection where there would be no death or destruction, and stuff like the lion eating straw as an oxen.

    I don’t really understand how anyone who’s read any of the bible at all could have missed those things. They’re rather important plot elements, to say the least.

    It’s pretty clear how the God of Abraham intended mankind to live in the very beginning of time (Eden) and how it would be restored again at the end of time. I don’t see any reason why it isn’t a good idea to try to get back to that as much as we can on our own recognizance. We’re like a rebellious child and had to learn the hard way.

    If I were to speculate on how scientism might be added into this I’d suggest that the way God is going to remove death and destruction from the world, the fulfillment of the biggest promise, is through giving us the ability to figure out the mechanics of life (reverse engineer it) so that we can someday just fix everything through genetic modification. For the life of me I see nothing in the way of bio-engineering being able to restore the living world to paradise. It’s not really that far off if Moore’s Law applies to synthetic biology. It appears to me that Moore’s Law does apply. If there was no intelligence designing life in the past it still remains that there’s an intelligent agency tinking with life today and that this technology is more significant than fire & agriculture combined.

    God helps those who help themselves. ~various authors

  17. since you accept no standard (correct me if I’m wrong) than it is impossible to argue with you

    On matters of faith it is impossible to win an argument, period. It’s really rather a lot of woolgathering. But that’s not to say I’ve got anything against woolgatherers… it’s interesting and there are worse ways to kill time.

  18. DaveScot @ 16:

    That he intended you to live where there was no flesh eating? That’s described in the Garden of Eden and then beyond that in a promise that God would restore the world to a state of perfection where there would be no death or destruction, and the lion eating straw as an oxen.

    You cite seemingly Gen 1:29 and then Isa 11, conveniently skipping Gen 9:1-3 “Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant.”

    I don’t really understand how anyone who’s read any of the bible at all could have missed those things.

    I didn’t miss them. I wanted to see if or how consistently you’d use them to defend your position.

    Note that you rely on the author of Gen 1 for your ‘God intended man to be a vegetarian’ argument but you then inconsistently argued “God said you could, or at least someone who claimed to speak for God said it was okay, so knock yourself out.” That same “someone” wrote both Gen 1 and Gen 9 but you disingenuously rely upon the one and impune the other.

    And how is any of this a defense of your earlier assertion that:

    Every time you kill another living thing that isn’t harming you in any way you’re doing something that Christ avoided like the plague. No killing of anything is a common thread in many religions including, properly interpreted, Christianity.

    But Christ did not so ‘avoid like the plague killing living things’, as God in Gen 1 permitted of plants and in Gen 9 further permitted of animals.

    If you knew God in Gen 1 allowed plants (living things) to be killed for food and if you knew in Gen 9 God further allowed animals (including fatted calves and fish) to be killed for food, as Christ also acknowledged, how do you construe Christ (God the Son) as teaching strict vegetarianism and how does that support your argument against a Tao or a transcendent moral standard?

    How is it that you treat scripture like your personal philosophical buffet, inconsistently picking only what suits your a priori assumptions and then “seasoning” them further to suit your taste, while dismissing the very same sources when they refute your cherry-picked and distorted assumptions?

    And lastly how do you, a nonbeliever of Christ and the bible, believe Christ and the bible makes your argument? How is it you rely upon that in which you do not believe?

  19. Religious tolerance is getting into short supply here.

    How sad.

    Comments are now closed.