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Sin and vegetarianism - Off in the distance
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May 2016
 

The Bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 12:59
Subject: Sin and vegetarianism
Security: Public
There seem to be a tradition that although vegetarians may not eat beef, port pork, chicken and other such products of mammals and birds, that they can still eat fish. (Whether they can eat alligator, turtle, locusts, snails or other creatures is not something I've yet found out.) Like many others, I've often wondered about the origin of this, since it seems a bit weird, but the other evening, I think I encountered a plausible reason.

It appears that it comes down to the Christian tradition of fasting. Supposedly, the reason for 'not eating meat' during Lent, or on a Friday, or if you're a monk or the like, is that eating meat is indirectly partaking of the original sin. Animals reproduce by breeding, and in the case of mammals and birds, breeding involves copulation. If copulation is sinful, then the product of copulation - even that of animals - is also to some extent sinful, and therefore their flesh should be avoided.

Fish, on the other hand, do not copulate. Therefore, the flesh of fish is not the product of sin. And thus it is permitted to eat fish.

Okay ...

(Though whoever categorised whales as fish never went out with the sperm whalers. And also not all piscine species use the eggs-and-milt approach.)

Edit: for silly typo - thanks Feòrag.
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oldbloke
User: oldbloke
Date: 2010-02-18 13:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That may influence some vegetarians, and if that includes the Vegetarian Authorities it'll filter down somewhat, but I suspect most modern day veggies are unaware of such concerns and it comes down to fish not having legs and not doing the baby-animal-big-eyes thang.

Me, I'll eat anything that can't explain Pythagoras's Theorem.
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The Bellinghman
User: bellinghman
Date: 2010-02-18 13:51 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I've met some pretty cute fish, to be honest. There's an aquarium in Helsinki where there's one particular large tank full of various swimming species, from pollack and cod through to various dogfish and rays.

Come feeding time, the rays and dogfish will be begging at the surface, and will look plaintively towards any visitors leaning over the edge.

(The cod and pollack, though, are positively bovine - no, that's unfair to cows - totally oblivious to what may be happening.)
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Alex McLintock
User: alexmc
Date: 2010-02-18 14:30 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
And then you say "I'll have that one" and they cook it for you :-)
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