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Religious Dietary Laws


Tonyfinch
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I am, however, part (Native American) Indian and as the years have passed (and after having explored the writings of Rudolf Steiner as well as the practice of Buddhism) the pull of my Native American blood has grown stronger and now seems sufficient. There are only two very simple things to understand:

1) There is the Great Spirit.

2) There is the Great Mystery.

If more people could learn to appreciate the simplicity of the above, and leave intellect and ancestoral differences aside, we might have a better chance to to find peace within ourselves - leading to a better chance for peace in the world around us.

It might also help alleviate religious dietary restrictions. :biggrin:

Nick: A beautiful post. I hope you can see that several of us have tried to widen this discussion to include all religions and the larger question of dietary laws. Your other post, well, it's not as beautiful to me. Maybe you and I can take it to PM and talk about those specific issues, if you don't mind.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The fact that it was posted after our removal of OTC to test our level of tolerance, and not for the sake of intelligent discussion, however, irks me.

Jason - I understand how you feel but food as a means of political, behavioral and moral control over people is a valid topic. It is unfortunate that the thread (and site) is dominated by Jews and that this discussion is happening through the context of kashruth. I wish there were people of other faiths who were participating such as Muslims and Hindus because I am sure they would have a lot to say about the topic. Maybe that will happen tomorrow if Suvir and Monica are around. But I don't know of many Muslim posters which is a sign of management's failure to attract Islamic posters :raz:. Actually Hopleaf is Muslim and maybe he will see the thread and comment.

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Goebbels, Nazi Minister of Propaganda, noted:

"The Fuhrer is deeply religous, though completely anti-Christian. He views Christianity as a symptom of decay. Rightly so. It is a branch of the Jewish race... Both [Judaism and Christianity] have no point of contact to the animal element, and thus, in the end, they will be destroyed. The Fuhrer is a convinced vegetarian, on principle. His arguments cannot be refuted on any serious basis. They are totally unanswerable."

The above speaks to my question of whether any dietary restrictions, constraints or predilictions were encouraged by the nazis. It seems it was politically correct to be a vegetarian in the Third reich.

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It seems it was politically correct to be a vegetarian in the Third reich.

Max, you are a font of great and unusual info!

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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(Nickn @ Jan 1 2003, 06:03 PM)

Another observation from the country boy.

NYC/NJ Jews *rule* this site. Quite clear from this thread. OTC was trashed, and along with it the "America" thread which devolved into this same sort of thing. We now have a substitute.

Admin - how many cooks of Arab background (or from any other) that feel that people of the Jewish persuasion *rule* here will be willing to share their recipes or stories at this website. You want to build this into the #1 worldwide food site? You're gonna have to do better. Getting rid of OTC was a good step. Getting rid of stuff like this should be the next.

Nick

Yo country boy. What else would you like to get rid of while you're at it? And what country is it you are a boy of?

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Is anyone aware of religions where dietary proscription is strict. That is where transgression of the dietary law results in ostracism/expulsion?

I tried the Duchampian semen-on-sacrament which for christian sects which transubstantiate is self-evidently transgressive. What we really want are some anthropologists.

I guess the obvious example is cannibalism where the frisson around the act has aquired an extraordinary force. How about the Aztecs?

Wilma squawks no more

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So much for "free speech site."

Does it ever occur to you, Jason, to phrase things differently, being a moderator/owner/administrator? I mean, how about saying "please don't talk about that post anymore, we're taking care of it," instead of issuing an edict? Your tone just begs for reaction. Maybe that's really your goal, and you like the conflict and the resulting authoritative muscle you can then flex.

Ok, that's all for now. I would have PM'd you, but, well, yeah. I can't, as you well know.

Edited by La Niña (log)
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Well now you're talking taboos. Of course there's cannibalism -- I'm pretty sure every Christian sect rejects it -- but I was thinking more along the lines of any kind of regulation. Lent works for me as a good example, as does the requirement of taking communion. Mormons don't indulge in caffeinated beverages, or at least that's how I understand it. The no-meat-on-Fridays thing in Catholicism is an example whether or not it has been repealed -- indeed the fact that people do it anyway is probably the best possible proof of my theory.

I think Lent and fish-Fridays are a little different. They are both a form of fasting; self-abnegation designed to concentrate the mind on the spiritual. They can be compared to activities like pilgrimage (especially if you do it on your knees), flagellation (only if you don’t enjoy it), wearing hair shirts, celibacy, self-castration and stylitism*. Given the universality of eating it would be odd if elements of this religious asceticism didn’t also touch on food. On the other hand dietary taboos** of Judaism seem much more fundamental to the religion.

Mormons don't count. They're wacky.

*Given that list, maybe I’ll convert.

**Literally: forbidden, esp. because holy or unclean. (Chambers)

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G., in that case, assuming a relative absence of dietary laws in Christianity, what do you think explains Christianity being the exception to the general rule. As far as I can tell, all the other "great" religions have extensive dietary restrictions. Did the Christians figure something out that the rest didn't?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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assuming a relative absence of dietary laws in Christianity

The absence of the kosher/non-kosher division in Christianity is a mystery to me.

The theology/philology seems fairly shaky to me (i.e. late variant readings of the Greek).

Still we have Divinity grade 1 to give us a hand.

Wilma squawks no more

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Found the below from a Google search on the topic:

Dietary Laws

Highlights of the world's major religions:

• BUDDHISM: Eating of fish and meat is allowed, but vegetarianism is encouraged.

• CHRISTIANITY: A few denominations may not eat meat with visible blood. Some denominations restrict diet during Lent.

• HINDUISM: Most Hindus are vegetarians. Cows are sacred and eating of beef is forbidden, although milk consumption is allowed.

• ISLAM: Similar to kosher; no pork, blood, animals found dead, or food sacrificed or offered to idols.

• JUDAISM: Kosher laws forbid eating of pork, reptiles and shellfish, and mixing of meat and dairy; require ritual slaughter.

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Wasn't the question of whether to remain kosher/eat with non-kosher followers of Jesus one of the big divisive questions for the 1st generation of Christians, and wasn't it Paul who sort of settled the question by opening up the religion to just about everyone? I thought that might be the answer -- Paul opening it up to a religious version of the Roman Empire, but you can't parallel the Muslim conquest in the century after Mohammed, where dietary restrictions were retained and imposed upon a diverse population of newcomers to the religion.

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G., in that case, assuming a relative absence of dietary laws in Christianity, what do you think explains Christianity being the exception to the general rule. As far as I can tell, all the other "great" religions have extensive dietary restrictions. Did the Christians figure something out that the rest didn't?

Yes: pork, beef and lobster taste good. But…

Acts 10:9-16

On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:

And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,

And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:

Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.

But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.

This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

The above is a post-facto justification for a pragmatic change in policy for a proselytizing religion in the Roman Empire. If you’re trying to convert Greeks it doesn’t help if you insist they no longer eat what they’re accustomed to (“Oh, yes, we’ll also have to snip you foreskin”.) That's my guess.

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There will be no more discussion of Nick's last post. The management is taking care of it. Thanks.

Jason, I think I can hold up to the heat that I'll take from my last post on this thread without resorting blind retorts on my part. But, do what you think best.

FG, I'll PM you.

Nick

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Can I just say that I did NOT start this thread with the intention of it being a discussion about Jewish dietry laws specifically and there is no mention of Jewishness specifically either in the thread title or in my posts.

I did not start the thread to "test" the moderators or whatever and I'm sorry if that's how they perceive it. I see the issue of dietry laws as a legitimate one for discussion on a food site. As has been said, they are central to many people's lives and I regard that as an interesting subject for discussion and argument.

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I see the issue of dietry laws as a legitimate one for discussion on a food site. As has been said, they are central to many people's lives and I regard that as an interesting subject for discussion and argument.

Tony, I agree with you. Though it would have been interesting to see the thread expanded beyond "dietary laws" to include food that various people around the world hold "sacred" to their being. This could include rice in some cultures, potatoes in others and, for North American Indians, corn (Maize).

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mixing wool & cotton in the same garment

you're joking, right?

I know there are laws written in Leviticus and Deuteronomy that forbid all manner of things, but this is something new to me.

SA

It's wool and linen, actually, but yes it's in there.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/shatnez/

G. Johnson says:

If you’re trying to convert Greeks it doesn’t help if you insist they no longer eat what they’re accustomed to

What, Greek food? No great loss.

Okay, but seriously, how do you explain the success of Islam? It has dietary laws that are roughly as restrictive as those of Judaism. Yet it seems to be roughly as successful as Christianity at expansion and conversion.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Did the Christians figure something out that the rest didn't?

Yup. Hell and eternal damnation is much more powerful than any of this no pork shit. I mean, think about it. Satan? He's a much scarier dude than anything that exists in other religions.

Edited by Max (log)
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Okay, but seriously, how do you explain the success of Islam? It has dietary laws that are roughly as restrictive as those of Judaism. Yet it seems to be roughly as successful as Christianity at expansion and conversion.

Perhaps if you are really poor, and live in a region that is inhospitable for growing food, and only the wealthy have access to such luxuries as meat, and someone tells you that doing without those things is better for you anyway because it makes you pious and holy and "good," and the people who are doing something that you cannot afford to even if you wanted to are "bad," you believe it.

A great many political movements have begun and succeeded by exploiting that same theory.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Okay, but seriously, how do you explain the success of Islam? It has dietary laws that are roughly as restrictive as those of Judaism. Yet it seems to be roughly as successful as Christianity at expansion and conversion.

You have to look at the conditions that the "converts" are living in to understand the success of conversion. The US was deathly afraid of communism in the 50s and 60s because it appealed to the people living in countries where they were oppressed, poor, disease ridden and sucked dry by their rulers. The same conditions apply to the countries where Islam is taking hold. Add the US as "satan" and you have a potent formula for converts.

You can't separate religious mass movements from geopolitics and socio-economics. Christianty, when it took hold in Europe in the midddle ages, was the instrument of the kings and nobility to gain control of the peasant masses. The relationship between the crown and the head of the church was ineluctable.

Edited by Max (log)
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Okay, but seriously, how do you explain the success of Islam? It has dietary laws that are roughly as restrictive as those of Judaism. Yet it seems to be roughly as successful as Christianity at expansion and conversion.

hm, the answer to that depends on the historical era of your choice.

I don't know about you, but I would convert to your favorite religion if a spear was held to my entrails.

Survival tends to do weird things to people. (Ok, I'm not the best candidate for a Christian martyr. Sue me.)

Seriously, in societies that have less emphasis on freedom of individuality, the power of peer pressure takes on an entirely new level of meaning. And even then in Islamic democracies, one could argue that it is the nature of Islam to be the "great leveller of men" so that all are equal before god, thus perpetuating and ensuring a certain standard of social behavior.

SA

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