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08 January 2011

Food Fobia - SHOULD CHRISTIANS EAT HALAL MEAT?


The following article by Dr Patrick Sookhdeo was first published in Evangelicals Now in December 2010.

All over the UK today, supermarket chains, shops and restaurants are selling halal meat. We may find it on the menu at our children’s school or the local hospital, or be offered it when we go to a sporting event. If we go for a meal with Muslim friends, any meat we are served will probably be halal. It can be hard to avoid eating this meat, especially as if is often not labelled as halal and little information is available to the consumer.
Halal meat is prepared according to rules laid down in Islamic sharia law. The word “halal” means “permitted”, so halal food is anything that sharia allows people to eat. The animals have to be slaughtered in a particular way, whereby the blood is drained out of the living (and normally conscious) animal, while an Islamic prayer is spoken over them.
This teaching is derived from the Quran.
O you who believe! Eat of the good and pure things We have provided you with, and render thanks to Allah if it is He alone Whom you really worship.  He has forbidden you only (to eat carrion) that which dies of itself, the blood, the flesh of swine and that over (the sacrifice of) which the name of someone other than Allah has been invoked.” (Q 2:172-3)
And do not eat that on which Allah’s name has not been pronounced.” (Q 6:121)
Halal meat raises serious questions for Christians. Is it acceptable for us to eat meat that has been killed in the name of Allah or sacrificed in an Islamic festival? Might it be all right to do so in some contexts but not in others? What are the Biblical principles that should guide our decisions?
Full story: 

Analysis of Food Phobia:

Bible on Food: Originally the Creator granted the use of the vegetable world for food to man (Ge 1:29), with the exception mentioned (Ge 2:17). The use of animal food was probably not unknown to the antediluvians. There is, however, a distinct law on the subject given to Noah after the Deluge (Ge 9:2-5). Various articles of food used in the patriarchal age are mentioned in Ge 18:6-8; 25:34; 27:3-4; 43:11. Regarding the food of the Israelites in Egypt, see Ex 16:3; Nu 11:5. In the wilderness their ordinary food was miraculously supplied in the manna. They had also quails (Ex 16:11-13; Nu 11:31).In the law of Moses there are special regulations as to the animals to be used for food (Le 11:1-47; De 14:3-21). The Jews were also forbidden to use as food anything that had been consecrated to idols (Ex 34:15), or animals that had died of disease or had been torn by wild beasts (Ex 22:31; Le 22:8). (See also for other restrictions Ex 23:19; 29:13-22; Le 3:4-9; 9:18-19; 22:8; De 14:21.) But beyond these restrictions they had a large grant from God (De 14:26; 32:13-14). Food was prepared for use in various ways. The cereals were sometimes eaten without any preparation (Le 23:14; De 23:25; 2Ki 4:42). Vegetables were cooked by boiling (Ge 25:30,34; 2Ki 4:38-39), and thus also other articles of food were prepared for use (Ge 27:4; Pr 23:3; Eze 24:10; Lu 24:42; Joh 21:9). Food was also prepared by roasting (Ex 12:8; Le 2:14). [Easton's Bible Dictionary]
Acts 15:29 That you abstain from anything offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if you keep yourselves, you shall do well. Farewell.
John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible: In all those Churches which never did acknowledge the bishop of Rome’s authority, it never was allowed to eat blood; nor is it allowed at this day. This is the plain fact; let men reason as plausibly as they please on one side or the other. From which keeping yourselves ye will do well – That is, ye will find a blessing. This gentle manner of concluding was worthy the apostolical wisdom and goodness. But how soon did succeeding councils of inferior authority change it into the style of anathemas! Forms which have proved an occasion of consecrating some of the most devilish passions under the most sacred names; and like some ill-adjusted weapons of war, are most likely to hurt the hand from which they are thrown.
Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from defilements of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood
Deuteronomy 14:21 You shall not eat of anything that dies of itself:
Leviticus 17:14  You shall eat the blood of no kind of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eats it shall be cut off.
[because the blood was not gone out of it.(Matthew Poole's Commentary on the Holy Bible)]
See also (Deuteronomy;14:21),”(Genesis;9:4) Leviticus 17:14-15, Deuteronomy 12:16, 1Samuel 14:33 and also at Revelation 2:14.
Swine is regarded as the most unclean and the most abhorred of all animals (Le 11:7; Isa 65:4; 66:3,17; Lu 15:15-16). A herd of swine were drowned in the Sea of Galilee by Jesus Christ  (Lu 8:32-33). Spoken of figuratively in Mt 7:6 (see Pr 11:22). It is frequently mentioned as a wild animal, and is evidently the wild boar (Arab. khanzir), which is common among the marshes of the Jordan valley (Ps 80:13).
Pork is prohibited in Bible: “And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you.”(Leviticus;11:7-8) also Deuteronomy 14:8 & Isaiah 65:2-5.
The Jews consume  Kosher food. Kosher foods are those that conform to the regulations of the Jewish Halakhic law framework. These rules form the main aspect of kashrut, Jewish dietary laws. A list of some Kosher foods are found in the book of Leviticus. There are also certain Kosher rules which are found there. Kosher food is found in all the major stores in Europe and USA, the Christians never raised objections.

The Biblical Dietary Law, followed by Jesus Christ dismissed through A Dream of a Hungry Person!

Acts 10:9-15 On the next day, as they went on their journey, and drew near unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet held at the four corners, and let down to the earth: In which were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean. And the voice spoke unto him again the second time, What God has cleansed, that call not common.
“Think not that I have come to destroy the Law [of Moses]… :I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 5: 17).
“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord.” (Matthew;10:24)
Paul was charged in Jerusalem temple for teaching against Law [Act:21:24-25] and to purify himself, declaring “keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication” (Acts:21:25). Paul accepted, so he resorted to purifying rituals (Act:21:26-28). However he was spotted by Jews who had known his wrong doings. But the self proclaimed 13th disciple, who never met Jesus Christ in his life time ultimately cancelled the Law (Romans;7:6, Galatians;2:19). Paul regarded nothing as unclean of itself (Ro 14:14,20; Tit 1:15), yet no man should violate the scruples of his own conscience or that of his brother.
Romans 14:20-21 it is evil for that man who eats with offense. It is good neither to eat meat, nor to drink wine, nor anything by which your brother stumbles, or is offended, or is made weak.

Islamic Halal Food:

This permission to Muslims to partake of the food of the followers of other revealed religions excludes, of course, the forbidden categories of meat enumerated in  Qur’an;5:3 . As a matter of fact, the Law of Moses, too, forbids them explicitly; and there is no statement whatsoever in the Gospels to the effect that these prohibitions were cancelled by Jesus: on the contrary, he is reported to have said: “Think not that I have come to destroy the Law [of Moses]… :I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Matthew 5: 17).
Qur’an Declares:
Qur’an; 5:5: Today, all the good things of life have been made lawful to you. And the food of People of Book  [Jews and Christians] is lawful to you, and your food is lawful to them. And [lawful to you are], in wedlock, women from among those who believe [in this divine writ], and, in wedlock, women from among those who have been vouchsafed revelation before your time – provided that you give them their dowers, taking them in honest wedlock, not in fornication, nor as secret love-companions.
Qur’an; 5:3: FORBIDDEN to you is carrion, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that over which any name other than God’s has been invoked, and the animal that has been strangled, or beaten to death, or killed by a fall, or gored to death, or savaged by a beast of prey, save that which you [yourselves] may have slaughtered while it was still alive; and [forbidden to you is] all that has been slaughtered on idolatrous altars.
The Islamic method of slaughter of animal drains out all blood form the body as only artery is cut with sharp knife the heart continues to pump out blood. The blood is also harmful medically agreed. In Islam the animal is slaughtered by pronouncing the name of God, the God of Abraham, Jacob, Ishmael, Mosses, Jesus Christ and the universe.

Conclusion:

  1. 1. Thus, the latitude enjoyed by post-Pauline followers of Jesus in respect of food does not correspond to what he himself practiced and enjoined.
  2. For Muslims the food of Jews and Christians is permissible to eat if it is in line with the teachings of Old Testament, Gospel of Jesus Christ and Qur’an.
  3. 3. There is nothing wrong for Christians to eat the Halal Islamic food as it is in line with the food eaten by Jesus Christ and dietary laws of Bible.
  4. 4. Even the according to post Jesus teachings of the Church, the Halal Islamic food stands permissible to Christians [Romans 14:20-21, Acts 10:9-15 ]
  5. Kosher food is found in all the major stores in Europe and USA, the Christians never raised objections to this Jewish food, for the people much less in numbers than Muslims living there.
  6. The FOOD PHOBIA is unfounded, to be rejected.
Source: http://wp.me/p1dL2Q-8o
For all Phobias: http://islamphobia.wordpress.com
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