Beliefs, Religion and Reason – A perspective of Hindu Atheist

October 19, 2008

Vegeterianism and Hindus

Filed under: beliefs — Aniket @ 1:45 pm
Tags: ,

Ask any Hindu why he is vegetarian and he will say killing animals and eating meat is cruelty. He will brag about his compassion and feelings for animals. The overly sentimental one will even go to an extent of saying if you can not give someone a life at least don’t take it away.
It is very easy to debunk a blind follower of faith, but real need is to expose the pseudo rationalists. They spent all their wits to devise rationale behind prescription of religious ethic. They don’t reach the conclusion based on rationale, they know the conclusion and then they design the logic to suit the end result.
If I confront such a counterfeit rationalist, a typical conversation will go like this,
“Why are you vegetarian?”
“Because I don’t want to kill someone to fill my stomach.”
“Are you religious?”
“Not much. I go to temple once in a while.”
“Are you vegetarian because your religion prescribes that as a moral practice?”
He will be completely taken aback and say,”No. No way man. I am vegetarian because I am not cruel.”
How emphatically he wants to pretend that he is a rationalist! What a phoney scum!
The conversation continues ..
“So I suppose you think animals have life, plants don’t?”
“Err…no, not like that. But you have to eat something to survive.”
“Why not eat only fruits and milk? That doesn’t kill any life.”
“I think so. But that is too idealist. I want to be little practical.”
“So you want to be practical and by that you mean you are okay to except your ‘cruelty rule’ to an extent you don’t violate the religious ethic. In short, you want to conform to religious prescription.”
“Not exactly. I believe in the logic behind it.”
“I am eating beef. The cow is already dead, I take the onus of the sin. Can you take a spoonful from my plate?”
“When you don’t follow certain things religiously, on rare occasions you make an exception. Can you not even take a byte of beef just to prove a point?”
At this point the rational face of the hypocrite will crack wide open and he’ll burst into something like,” Look it’s a matter of my faith. Let’s not argue. You’re hurting my beliefs.”
“That’s fine. All I wanted to hear was it’s a matter of your faith. You denied that in the beginning. The attempt to find rationale behind something you follow dogmatically is a mere hypocrisy. Enjoy your faith. Amen!”



  1. Good post, and I like the premise of your blog. I’ll be back…

    But I have a question. I am vegetarian and an atheist, and so my vegetarianism isn’t based on religion at all. I have to wonder, couldn’t there be Hindu’s who are also vegetarian for reasons other than their religion? I mean even if their religion is a factor in their choice to be vegetarian, that doesn’t mean it is the only factor.

    For example, my reasons for being a vegetarian are as follows: the meat industry is bad for the environment, you can feed more people with a field of plants than with an equal-sized field of animals, the meat industry as it exists in the US is disgusting (mass produced, over-drugged, poo-covered dead animals are not for me, thanks), and I find it easier to eat a healthful diet without meat than with. Couldn’t a Hindu person also have these reasons?

    I guess all this stems not from defending Hindu’s for blindly following some teaching of a religion they don’t really follow carefully, but rather from my personal belief that you shouldn’t try to convince vegetarians to eat meat if they don’t want to. 🙂

    Take care,

    Comment by Shayna — October 22, 2008 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  2. @Shayna
    The purpose of the post was definitely NOT to promote non-vegetarianism. I am also vegetarian because I don’t like non-veggie food. I’m born in hardcore veggie family and that’s the way my taste has developed. But I eat meat occasionally including beef, just to prove the point. But mostly I love veggie food.

    The point is when you don’t follow something *religiously* you are always open to make an occasional exception. But when you follow something religiously, you never ever make even the slightest exception. Many Hindus are veggie for purely religious reasons. But at the same time they are too eager to mask their belief under disguise of rational thinking.

    Of course there are few (and really very very few) like you who are veggie for principles and non-religious reasons. You are not the rule, your are the exception.

    Thanks for you comments by the way.

    Comment by Aniket K — October 22, 2008 @ 6:02 pm | Reply

  3. […] a month back, i had written a post about vegetarianism and Hindus. Although, vegetarianism is ethically superior practice, if one follows vegetarianism only for […]

    Pingback by Atheism, Darwinianism and Vegetarianism « Beliefs, Religion and Reason - A perspective of Hindu Atheist — November 30, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  4. The vegetarian for religious reasons is like “Only Indian Cows are holy” stance- have heard that too.

    Comment by Allytude — February 8, 2009 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  5. You can be a vegetarian and still not believe in a religion at all I mean I’m a vegetarian and I’m not religious so therefor you can be a vegetarian

    Comment by Susan — November 25, 2012 @ 8:23 am | Reply

  6. Good post. Although you got one thing wrong. Taking away a life alone is not ahimsa. It is causing physical and even emotional pain that is also ahimsa. Plants don’t experience pain as we know it. So do we avoid eating something by taking its life even if it is incapable of experiencing suffering? unless you want to argue the plant somehow possess a nervous system it doesn’t seem like a valid argument to to say that ‘one should refrain from consuming plants because it kills the plant’.
    another thing is that most Hindus growing up do not like the taste or smell of meat oarfish. So if one were to offer cooked insects or dog meat to someone who does not wish to consume it, does that make the person not wanting to consume the offered meat guilty of having a ‘holier than thou’ attitude?

    Comment by advayd — April 9, 2013 @ 6:40 am | Reply

  7. Having said what I said in my previous post it is still true that several Hindus do believe that their souls will get contaminated if they consume meat. There are others such as myself who would not feel as bad if we unintentionally consumed meat. However your idea of eating an animal that is already dead is not so much an issue of ahimsa but an issue of hygiene! Finally how are we ever supposed to know that an animal died because of natural causes considering that all of the meat that’s sold in the market comes from massive slaughterhouses?

    Comment by advayd — April 9, 2013 @ 6:52 am | Reply

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