There was one interesting idea presented by Ken Ham in this debate I’ve been writing about (1,2,3) and it was about vegetarianism. Usually, it’s one of our main issues with Christians – for all their talk about unparalleled love they can’t include animals into their circle. When it’s time to eat love transforms into rare, medium, or well-done. I don’t know if Ken himself is a vegetarian and I don’t think he promoted vegetarian lifestyle but his point was important nevertheless.
He insisted that in the Kingdom of God all animals were vegetarian.
That immediately jolted Bill Nye into action and his fans haven’t stopped since. I won’t be surprised that there’s a vegetarian lion meme out there already.
On the surface, argument Bill Nye gave was simple – look at lion’s teeth, they are not meant for munching on grass, they are teeth of a carnivore. Ken Ham wasn’t rattled in the least and went into a counterattack. He gave example of bears whose teeth are similar to those of lions but their primary diet is vegetarian. He also mentioned Australian fruit bat which looks like one scary vampire monster but eats only fruit:
He capitalized on the assumption that sharp teeth indicate meat eaters and that it is only an assumption, and that it again boils down to the question of interpretation. Data is the same, observations are the same, logic is the same, instruments are the same, only our interpretations are different. Very Krishna conscious argument, IMO.
Sadly, it didn’t register and critics still make fun of these veggie lions. Ken insists that according to the Bible there was no killing in Eden and there was no killing for food before flood either. All animals and humans lived in perfect harmony. Unfortunately, after the flood there was a specific permission given to consume meat and nothing can stop Christians since then.
Whatever, I like the idea of vegetarian lions on Vaikuṇṭha even though I suspect it might not be actually so. Does Lord Rāmacandra hunt in the spiritual world? I won’t be surprised if He does even if He can’t possibly be exiled into the forest there. As a kṣatriya He must have outlets to display His prowess and so there must be some fighting and probably some killing, too.
This makes me think – what if some devotees serve the Lord in the mood of His “enemies”, as playmates who are very happy to lose in the mock up battles? It’s not as outrageous as it appears at first – Krishna Himself likes to play with his friends and there are winners and losers in their games. They are only children, of course, but why should we rule out that adult forms of the Lord engage in a pretty serious combat and there are devotees who are more than happy to “die” at His hands?
Without material attachments to their bodies there’s no sense of death there and there’s no death because their spiritual bodies cannot be killed but the mood is there, the mood of surrendering to the superior power of the Lord. Why not? If that what makes the Lord happy – why can’t we “die” for Him?
If we accept such possibility then from here there’s only one step to dying at the hands of Lord’s devotees while they prepare to battle with the Lord Himself. It’s reasonable to expect that Lord’s opponents in the battles get their training the usual way – by practicing combat and hunting. If that’s what they need to master their fighting skills then why shouldn’t there be servants who help them by losing them in training? One could say – oh, it’s just training, but real training requires real challenges and so it’s possible that there are servants of the servants of the servants there who are eager to die if that ultimately leads to Lord’s pleasure.
Okay, this might account for hunting and combat, not for carnivorous animals, but who says that animals in the spiritual world can’t challenge the Lord to combat, too? I think it’s quite possible that the Lord has to kill lions with His bare hands as some kind of passage into adulthood ceremony like they did in Sparta. Lions need practice fighting and killing, too, so they might practice catching spiritual zebras.
Thinking of it this way, I don’t see the necessity for vegetarianism in the spiritual world. No one really dies there anyway, it’s just one possible mood of service – giving your life for the pleasure of the Lord.
Maybe Kṛṣṇa doesn’t engage in such pastimes but other forms of the Lord might. After all, if it exists here it must exist there, too, albeit in a pure spiritual form that is not contaminated by attachments or desire for self-defense. I mean the spiritual world wouldn’t be perfect if we had something here that they don’t have over there, especially moods of service.
Or maybe if the Lord desires to engage in combat He simply comes down here and tears apart Hiraṇyakaśipu or any designated demon. Six Gosvāmīs didn’t write about these particular rasas and, in fact, devotional service by definition is favorable, not inimical to the Lord. Yet what if the Lord is a kṣatriya?
Well, these speculations can be endless, and so, apparently, my coverage of this darned debate. What did I learn today? That there could be full representation of the entire animal kingdom in the spiritual world but these animals don’t need to kill each other to survive, yet if killing serves the pleasure of the Lord then it could be possible. Same goes for human devotees there, too, and it all stems from non-attachment to one’s body and impossibility of being actually killed.
I’ve also reminded myself that spiritual world must be better than material universe in each and every aspect so whatever we have here must be present there, too, but not in the form of things, in the form of moods of service. Not bad for one day, I think, and I still haven’t finished with this debate.