Thou Shall Not Kill: Vegetarianism in the Christian Faith

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Degree Name

Bachelor of Art in Sociology

Honors Thesis Director

Jennifer Solomon

Honors Thesis Reader 1

Jonathan Marx

Honors Thesis Reader 2

Douglas Eckberg


vegetarianism, biblical, Christianity, animal rights, fundamentalism, denominations


Biblical justifications for a vegetarian diet seem to meet with much adversity within mainstream American culture. Texts suggesting that people were intended to be vegetarians can be found in the Bible. However, this interpretation of Biblical texts has not been widely accepted by Protestant Christianity. This research attempts to identifY social and religious characteristics of people who are vegetarian. Fundamentalism, denomination, belief in the inerrancy of the Bible, and strength of belief in Christianity are examined as factors related to supporting vegetarianism. The General Social Survey's data from 1993 and 1994 were used in this study. The data were analyzed using frequencies, means, cross tabulations. correlations, and regressions. The sample was 57% female and 87% white, the mean age was 46 and the average level of education was 13 years. The study found that, among the independent variables. belief in animal rights, rather than any specific religious views, had the strongest influence on vegetarianism.

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