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Food for the Gods: Vegetarianism and the World's Religions Paperback – Sep 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: Pythagorean Publishers,U.S. (Sept. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962616923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962616921
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,603,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Combines interviews with vegetarian spiritual leaders from each of the world's religions, essays on vegetarianism and selection of vegetarian recipes.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A New Look at History 4 April 2000
By lindagwen - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rynn Berry's Food for the Gods does a remarkable job of tracing the vegetarian link in the major religions of Hindiusm, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam, and Catholicism, but also to the relatively small but intriguing non-violent religions of India's Jainism and the British Order of the Cross. The history of religion will never look the same after reading this book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A 'cookbook' for the inquisitive mind! 7 Nov. 2005
By Louis Gedo - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a remarkable insight into dietary religious morals and's a 'cookbook' for the inquisitive mind.

If you are a person of faith, this book gives an easy to understand history of how the history of your particular religious faith has been impacted by diet and moral choices of eating habits throughout the ages. Every person of faith restles with matters of principles and moral philosophy....that's why this book is important for you.

If you are not a person of faith but you are intrigued by the issue of a vegan / vegetarian diet and an ethically compassionate life and how this may effect others around you who do follow a religious lifestyle / belief, then it is a very worthwhile book to read and get familiar with. I constantly use this book as a resource in my writing.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Really Good!!! 8 Jun. 2003
By "rkungfumark" - Published on
Format: Paperback
How much do you know about world religions and veganism? How much do you know about your OWN religion and love of animals? This book will educate you quickly about most religions and the basic tenet of all which is to treat all life as sacred. Quite an interesting read...
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Steven H Propp - Published on
Format: Paperback
Author Rynn Berry is also the author of Famous Vegetarians & Their Favorite Recipes: Lives & Lore from Buddha to the Beatles, and co-author of Hitler: Neither Vegetarian Nor Animal Lover. He wrote in the "Acknowledgements" section of this 1998 book, "I had the idea of writing a book of interviews with vegetarian spiritual leaders from each of the world's religions... [I decided] that I should do a book combining both essays and interviews... I decided to add a recipe section incorporating the vegetarian dishes that were particular for each religious tradition." (Pg. i)

He states, "The belief in reincarnation is [a] hallmark of the ahimsa-based 'vegetarian' religions. Indeed, vegetarianism is a corollary of that belief, for if one believes that the soul of a departed relative (dear Aunt Agatha) or of a deceased friend may inhabit the body of an animal, it's hard to see how one could ever acquire a taste for animal flesh." (Pg. 4) He adds, "[Another] hallmark of the 'vegetarian' religions is the manner in which the followers of these faiths convey their food to the mouth. Followers of ahimsa-based religions tend to use chopsticks and fingers; Westerners, on the other hand, use the barbaric instruments of the knife and the fork, which can be turned into weapons." (Pg. 6-7)

He explains, "The Jains were the first religious group, of which we have any record, to affirm the sanctity of animal life... Recognizing that it is impossible to entirely eliminate the amount of harm that we do to other creatures, they believe we must try to mitigate the suffering of other life forms as much as possible---by eating as far down on the scale of pain as possible. This means eating as far down on the FOOD CHAIN as possible. For by consuming one-sensed creatures, we are minimizing the amount of pain we might cause to other beings." (Pg. 15)

In an interview with Hare Krishna leader Steve Rosen, Rosen says, "In ISKCON vegetarianism is a requirement for practitioners, whereas, generally in other traditions it is optional. Thus it is an actively promoted philosophy; ISKCON has opened vegetarian restaurants in every major city of the world. They are immensely popular, opening people up to a broader conception of the vegetarian lifestyle." (Pg. 96)

In his interview with Jewish scholar Robert Kole, Berry observes, "BERRY: Wouldn't it be easier to keep kosher as a vegetarian? For one thing you wouldn't have to use two sets of dishes. KOLE: That's right, you wouldn't. Since you really only have to separate meat from dairy: If you were a lacto-vegetarian, or even a vegan, you would just need one set of dishes." (Pg. 168)

Of the gnostic gospels suppressed by the traditional Christian church, he observes, "The extraordinary thing about these gospels is that they depict a vegetarian Christ... The vegetarian sect of which Jesus was a leader, the Nazoreans... based their vegetarianism on the injunction in Genesis 9:3 not to eat flesh with the life blood therein. Since the ritual incision doesn't completely drain the blood from slaughtered animals, they realized that it was impossible to eat flesh without at the same time ingesting blood. So Jesus and his followers practiced a strict vegetarianism that ... extended to fish." (Pg. 192)

A Franciscan brother observes, "Unfortunately, vegetarianism within the [religious] orders is greatly lacking. Even the Trappists eat fish... I've not seen any trend towards vegetarianism in any of the major orders. There were a great many more monks living as vegetarians in the early days of the Church because the orders were impoverished and the diet of the poor folk was primarily vegetarian." (Pg. 224)

This insightful volume will be of considerable interest to students of world religions, as well as vegetarians and vegans.
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