Darwiniana

History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Armstrong, Axial ethos, vegetarianism

June 12th, 2006 · 1 Comment

Armstrong’s tiresome attempt to sausage up the Axial Age diversity into some common denominator, the ‘Axial ethos’, should be put to the test. I doubt if, put to the test, anyone would much care for some of the Axial ‘breakthroughs’: vegetarianism.

Buddhism started as a strictly vegetarian religion. But the monotheisms, perhaps because they were destined to move through more primitive cultures never achieved a similar level. So where’s the Axial ethos?
What’s the take on this for the next set of religions in the Second Axial Age? A bouncing ball getting lower and lower? Would anyone dare to found a vegetarian religion anymore? Would anyone dare to not found a vegetarian religion.
Note that vegetarianism, by and large, even died out in Buddhism itself. Don’t compromise with that, surely.

Actually, Buddhism made a series of compromises (next to the obvious influences of proto-Jainism), it seems. A monk could accept meat if a villager put it in his begging bowl, for example (the beginning of the end?).
Rajneesh told a story of a debate in the sangha on the question of whether a monk could eat a piece of meat that drops from a bird’s claws into his begging bowl. I don’t think secular moderns are cut out for this level of religion. They are ready prey for certain sufi sharks who enjoy corrupting vegetarians: here’s the logic: You are human, and forbid murder, but you will kill for food, if the creature is an ‘animal’. But to sufis man as man is an ‘animal’, and using you logic on you, takes you as ‘food’, a game with a funny meaning, beware.

Moral: there are no religions that aren’t vegetarian. That could be a fanatic statement, but the point is that you can’t advance by retreating to a lesser level.

Maybe the sharks will take over the second Axial Age, a special religion for fans of MacDonalds.

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Note: the mention of ‘Jainism’ as a religion is misleading. Before Mahavir and his contemporary Buddha there were 23 Jain teertankers leading up the last: Mahavir. After the last of the teertankers what we call Jainism came into existence, and this was something quite different.

Tags: Evolution

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 panasianbiz // Jun 22, 2006 at 2:00 pm

    I stumbled upon this blog while I was doing some online research. I was quite intrigued by the argument made. I’m not sure how the non-vegetarian religions of the world would respond to the statement that all religions (and, therefore, anyone trying to advance to a higher level) is vegetarian. I think that is something to aspire to, but I’m not sure most religions, nor most of the religious, are there yet.

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