I’ve read a little bit more and talked to some people about vegetarianism, and I’ve clarified my ideas a little more. The section of AC that I quoted is about the commandment not to eat blood with flesh, since that would be to mix what is holy (blood) with what is profane (flesh) – representatively speaking. This is the next number, AC 1003:
From these things it is now evident that “not to eat flesh with the soul thereof, the blood thereof” is not to mingle profane things with holy. Profane things are not mingled with holy by one’s eating blood with flesh, as the Lord clearly teaches in Matthew:
Not that which entereth into the mouth defileth the man; but that which proceedeth out of the mouth, this defileth the man; for the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart (Matt. 15:11, 18-20).But in the Jewish Church it was forbidden because, as has been said, by the eating of blood with the flesh there was then in heaven represented profanation. All things done in that church were turned in heaven into corresponding representatives-blood into the holy celestial; flesh, outside of the sacrifices, because it signified cupidities, into what is profane; and the eating of both into the mingling of the holy with the profane. For this reason it was then so severely interdicted. But after the coming of the Lord, when external rites were abolished, and thus representatives ceased, such things were no longer turned in heaven into corresponding representatives. For when man becomes internal and is instructed about internal things, external ones are of no account to him. He then knows what the holy is, namely, charity and the faith therefrom. According to these are his external things then regarded, that is to say, according to the amount of charity and faith in the Lord there is in them. Since the coming of the Lord, therefore, man is not regarded in heaven from external things, but from internal ones. And if anyone is regarded from external things it is because he is in simplicity, and in his simplicity there are innocence and charity, which are in his external things, that is, in his external worship, from the Lord, without the man’s knowledge.
The thing that struck me about this particularly are the Lord’s words in the New Testament that declare that what goes into a person does not defile him I think this is important, and it’s convinced me even more that eating meat is not a sin.
Does this mean my newfound vegetarianism is doomed to die an early death? Nope. This is because I still like the attitude that it describes the Most Ancient Church as having: regarding animals as useful providers, rather than as sources of meat, and regarding their products and the products of the vegetable kingdom as food. I don’t think it’s a doctrinal thing, and I don’t even think it’s a conscience thing for me now that I’ve read a little more – it’s more just an attitude toward the world that I’d like to adopt.
I think one of the main problems with vegetarianism is that it can go along with a sense of merit and superiority. That’s also one of the main problems with being Coleman. I don’t think the former will be nearly as hard to deal with as the latter is.
* Edit 10 June 2008 – As I mentioned in a comment to this post, I stopped being quasi-vegetarian shortly after I started. The comment explains why. *