Wednesday, December 02, 2009

"Immoral doctrines" or "Immoral Persons" vis à vis Speciesism

Some believers in human exceptionalism base the concept in the Abrahamic religions, such as the verse in Genesis 1:26 "Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” " Animal rights advocates argue that dominion refers to stewardship and does not denote any right to mistreat other animals, which is consistent with the Bible. Buddhism, despite its reputation for respect for animals, explicitly accords humans a higher status in the progression of reincarnation. Animals may be reincarnated as humans, but only humans can reach enlightenment. Felipe Fernández-Armesto writes that early hunter-gatherer societies such as the Innu and many animist religions lacked a concept of humanity and placed non-human animals and plants on an equal footing with humans.

Religious and anti-religious anti-speciesists may not be able to get along socially or politically because, as a practical matter, many people may be unable to accept the values that a specific religion promotes (e.g., Islamic attitudes towards women) and will therefore not join that religion. Advocating for religious reasons that animals be accorded social and political rights may seem to require a practical secular justification either because (a) rights can only be established legally by a broad social consensus and social pluralism presents many contrasting religious and nonreligious belief patterns, and (b) arguing from a conceptual foundation that is not broadly accepted may in practice disconfirm what intuitive agreement might already exist on behalf of the personhood and moral status of animals. They may also be unable to accept the fact that those who do not affirm the rights of animals will go to hell or be damned, especially if said nonbelieving specieists are close to the person.
More recently, charges of speciesism against religions, both East and West, have posed a curiously re-discovered intellectually challenge: does one reject speciesist religions or merely the speciesist interpretations by speciesist affiliates who do not fully comprehend the breadth and depth of religious teachings? In other words, are religious teachings that describe the moral fallibility of human life more true because speciesism, a newly-recognized sin, is evident even among religious affiliates?!F1B64BFA99EC136!3682.entry

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