BOOKS: Animals, Ethics & Christianity

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2006:

Animals, Ethics & Christianity
by Matthew Priebe
14069 S. Lincoln Way, Galt, CA 95632, 2005.
73 pages, paperback. $4.00.

This booklet consists of a 45-page essay–plus 28 pages of
footnotes–on the relationship between humankind and other life
forms, assessed not on the basis of rights, but from the perspective
of the Bible.
Priebe questions how a true Christian should treat the
animals over whom humans were given dominion. He argues, citing
Biblical passages, that we should treat animals in the same way that
God treats us. Priebe argues that kind and merciful dominion is
God’s dominion, whereas cruel exploitation, characterising current
human use of animals, is Satan’s dominion.

A Seventh Day Adventist, Priebe also promotes vegetarianism.
Wisely, Priebe deals concisely with the horror of animal
welfare issues. But the first part of the book, where Priebe quotes
from Biblical texts and draws conclusions therefrom, could with
advantage have been both deeper and more extended. The same points
made by Priebe are perhaps more eloquently addressed in Mathew
Scully’s book Dominion, where Scully refers to Biblical texts and
then cites specific examples of institutionalized cruelty, to expose
the contrast.
In a letter to the reviewer, Priebe stressed that Animals,
Ethics & Christianity is aimed at U.S. Christian fundamentalists.
Thus, to avoid alienating literal inspirationists, he wastes no
effort to attack the ritual of animal sacrifice other than to show
that it was abolished in New Testament times.
We see the main value in Priebe’s book as stimulating debate
within churches on issues which are usually devoutly avoided.
–Chris Mercer & Bev Pervan

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