The Macksey Journal


As religion and food affect practically everyone everywhere, studying religious motivations for agricultural and consumption patterns is vital. To understand this topic, food-related views of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Rastafarianism, Hinduism, Orang Asli, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Daoism, and Wicca are analyzed. Most belief systems include taboos on meat, genetic modification, and biocides. The reasoning for their food ethics determined each faith’s categorization as Western or Eastern.

Western-type religions focus on respecting their God’s intentions. Christianity forbids meat, excepting fish, during certain holy seasons to honor God. One sect, Greek Orthodox, requires believers to eat vegan 1-3 days weekly. Judaism and Islam both ban pork, as pigs are thought to contradict God’s plan. Muslims also do not consume genetically-modified foods which contain pig products. Likewise, Rastas ban meat, seasonings, and alcohol so as to honor God’s intentions.

Eastern-type religions focus on respecting living beings. Hindus promote vegetarianism and forbid genetically-modified foods deemed to hurt other life forms. Followers of Orang Asli prescribe to non-industrial methods of acquiring food, including hunting, fishing, gathering, and sustenance farming for their health. Buddhism recommends avoidance of alliums, alcohol, and meat, including eggs, with food being eaten mindfully. Jains are vegetarians and, to ensure no insects have fallen inside, inspect all items before consumption. Sikhs also practice vegetarianism. Daoists favor organic farming, while utilizing other practices attuned to natural cycles. Wicca utilizes the Rede, “Do what you will if it harms none,” so most Wiccans eat vegetarian. Religions worldwide are major influencers in food ethics.