On Religion & Animals
The Philosophy of Compassion
...ecclesiastical teaching has kept humanity from evolving to a more harmless
species. By entirely ignoring the necessity for compassion, and quoting certain
discreditable utterances ascribed to Jehovah in the Old Testament, it has been
possible to argue that flesh-eating is morally right and according to the will
We have only to imagine Jesus of Nazareth slaughtering a bull or a fellow
creature to understand the immense, impassable gulf existing between Mithraism
and true Christianity, and the folly and peril of ignoring that guilt and trying
to reconcile the irreconcilable.
Francis of Assisi,
quoted in Life by St. Bonaventura
If you have men who will exclude any of god’s creatures from the shelter of
compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow
John Henry Newman,
Cruelty to animals is as if humans did not love God…there is something so
dreadful, so Satanic, in tormenting those who have never harmed us, and who
cannot defend themselves, who are utterly in our power.”
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts ... yea, they have all
one breath, so that man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the
kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little
child shall lead them ... They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy
mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the
waters cover the sea.
from an interview
In the shelter we recognize that animals have the same right to live as humans
and that “thou shalt not kill” applies to all sentient creation. We realize that
animals are truly a part of God’s creation even as we are and that they share
the same life. We believe that all life comes from God and is therefore sacred,
and that in killing life one kills a part of God. We do not believe that an
animal has a human soul; perhaps it is wrong to say that an animal has a soul at
all. Or a man, for that matter. Perhaps it would be correct to say animals and
men are souls, souls embodied.
The practice of religion involves as a first principle, a loving compassionate
heart for all creatures.
The Age of Reason
The moral duty of man consists in imitating the moral goodness and beneficence
of God manifested in the creation toward all His creatures. Everything of
persecution and revenge between man and man, and everything of cruelty to
animals, is a violation of moral duty.
The Vegetarian Way
Compassion is divine. Cruelty is unspiritual. The human body, which is the
moving temple of the Living God enshrined, is not meant to be made into the
fleshy graveyard of slaughtered animals, creatures who are the dumb, harmless
and innocent brethren of mankind, mutely trusting man, their “superior” keeper.
6th and 7th century
There is no beast on earth, nor fowl that flieth, but the same are a people like
unto you, and to God they shall return.
There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like
about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to other
animals as well as humans, it is all a sham.
I swear that I think now that every living thing without exception has an
eternal soul. I swear that I think there is nothing but immortality.
A man’s religion is a failure if it has not taught him kindness.]
The Story of My Boyhood
Thus godlike sympathy grows and thrives and spreads far beyond the teachings of
churches and schools, where too often the mean, blinding, loveless doctrine is
taught that animals have neither mind nor soul, have no rights that we are bound
to respect, and were made only for man, to be petted, spoiled, slaughtered, or
I have seen with an infinite sad disquietude the souls of animals appear in the
depths of their eyes suddenly, as sad as a human soul; and search for my soul
with tenderness, supplication and terror—and I have felt a deeper pity for the
souls of animals than I have for those of my brothers, because they were without
speech and incapable of coming forth from their semi-night.
It is an intolerable thought that these creatures, with all their capacity for
devotion, affection, loyalty, and suffering should suffer total annihilation at
Yes, we who love God believe that our animals survive the grave. The poor and
sorrowing and suffering victims of man’s cruelties are entitled to an eternal
recompense in the Great Beyond. And god in His mercy will see to it that they
get justice at long last!
The Imitation of Christ
And if thy heart be straight with God, then every creature shall be to thee a
mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine, for there is no creature so little
or so vile, but that sheweth and representeth the goodness of God.
There is more real religion in the man or woman who feeds a hungry animal than
in the miser who builds a church and prays in it.
I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it.
The practice of kindness toward helpless creatures is a sign of development to
the higher reaches of intelligence and sympathy. For, mark you, in every place
there are those who are giving of their time and thought and to the work of
protecting from cruelty and needless suffering the beasts of the field and
streets. And you will invariably find that these people are among the most
progressive and sympathetic and intelligent of a city’s populace. They are the
leaders of every good work. These are the people who make the earth ... more
like what God intended it should be.
June 26, 2015
Finally! Pope Francis Believes
Compassion for Animals Can Help the Environment
Brute Ethics – In-Depth Animal Ethics; moral behaviour & rights