Being an eclectic Pagan I try and make it my business to evaluate different teachings from any religion without bias.. And while I am sure I don’t succeed as often as I would like to, I do manage to give as much attention as I can to the bits of wisdom and scraps of belief that come my way.
One of these bits was presented to me in the opinion of a good friend. A friend of another religion, really a religion all his own, who mixed and matched thoughts and traditions, as many of us do, to create his own niche. His roots lie in Christianity.. And his belief in and view of the ten commandments is what sparked this very paper.
In particular, his interpretation of the sixth commandment, caught my attention. Thou shalt not kill. Simple isn’t it? Don’t kill.. Don’t go shooting anyone.. That’s wrong.. Of course we know that. An it harm none.. The Rede covers that.
My friend takes this commandment a step beyond this point though. Thou shalt not kill ANYTHING! Not people certainly, but also not other animals, not plants, not anything alive. Being born of God/dess, all things have a right to live. Thou shalt not kill. But doesn’t this way of thinking interfere with every aspect of our lives? Are we not to build houses and furniture out of wood, or make saddles and shoes of leather? Thou shalt not kill..
How many things do we have that come to us through the death of another living organism? Killing has been a part of living for humankind since the days of the first people to inhabit the earth. The common practice of eating vegetables or meat, for example, becomes cannibalistic in the eyes of the overzealous follower of the sixth commandment…
Is it even possible for humanity exist without causing the death of a single organism? Even if it were, how many of us are willing to give up eating meat and plants, to stick to a diet of fruits and nuts and berries? Who is going to stop building with wood, writing on paper, using toilet paper, or blowing their nose with tissues for the sake a sparing the tree? It is noble. Even the thought is admirable.. But can it be done? Probably not. Would it be done if it could? Certainly not.
Being the eclectic that I am, I cannot dismiss this commandment with a wave of my hand.. Nor can I abide by it.. I disagree with it. I choose to follow it to a point. I do not kill anyone, and I do not kill any animal or plant unnecessarily. I give thanks for the food on my plate, and the animals, plants, and trees who have given their lives to serve my family and myself in so many ways.
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