Kobe Christ Burgers: A conversation about whether Jesus was a vegetarian

A drawing of Jesus holding a cheeseburger.
As an observant Jew, Jesus probably didn't actually eat cheeseburgers. Image by Josh Taylor, at JoshTaylor.net

In the course of my travels, I’ve come across a short list of notable vegetarians from the Roman Empire. It’s a rather short list–just two names:

  • Tertullian
  • Jesus Christ (disputed)

Thanks to the wonders of Google technology, I was able to share this with my friend Alison who, as the omnivorous daughter of missionaries, had some thoughts I promised to post. If jokes about Jesus being a vegetarian are your bag, then hit the jump.

Alison: But he ate fish! I’m pretty sure that means he was not a vegetarian.

Me: Some vegetarians eat fish. If they don’t know what the word “vegetarian” means.

Alison: I think it was weird to be a vegetarian at the time—it definitely would have been noted. It was noted in the book of Daniel, when Daniel went through his experimental vegetarian stage. Oh! I just did a quick search and I would like to call your attention to some Q&A’s from this site: http://www.jesusveg.com/

Jesus with a lamb
Image courtesy--and I swear I'm not making this up--JesusVeg.com

Me: He’s going to eat that lamb, isn’t he?

Alison: Question 1:

Doesn’t Jesus eat fish after the resurrection, help the fisherman catch fish, and serve fish during the multiplication miracle?

First, regardless of whether the fish in these events are actual fish, Christians today must ask ourselves, considering the fact that we have absolutely no physical justification for consuming the flesh of any animals, why we would chose to do so.

Me: Whether they were actual fish?

Alison: can i interest you in a metaphorical fish?

Me: Are they implying that Swedish Fish were common in Roman-occupied Judea?

Alison: Moving on:

Additionally, there are no scriptures in which Jesus eats lamb, which he would surely have eaten at Passover, had he not been a vegetarian.

Alison: Have I told you about the meat I’ve eaten today? No? Then by this logic, I must be a vegetarian!

Me: Makes sense to me. Not mentioning it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Plus, the only Passover we see in scripture is the one where Jesus is trying desperately to get the fact that he’s about to be killed into the heads of his disciples. A lot of commentators like to note that the Bible doesn’t mention there being lamb at the table, and say that that’s because Jesus was trying to get them to understand that he himself was the sacrificial lamb.

Alison: But why didn’t they list the menu, then? And clearly, the concept of eating his flesh and drinking his blood is just the sort of idea we’d hear from a vegetarian. (Although, then again: he did call himself the BREAD of life, not the STEAK of life.)

Me: Steak of life? Can you imagine how expensive that would be for the church?

Alison: How about, “I am the tofu of life,” then, perhaps?

Me: That might be better. Plus, man, something is just odd about high-end restaurants offering Kobe Jesus Burgers

Alison: No, think about it: seitan = Satan. Therefore, Satan is a vegetarian, and thusly Jesus must not be. End of discussion.

Thanks for indulging me and letting me keep the promise I made to post that conversation. I’ll be back later this weekend with something lighter and another entry in 15 Books.

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