I normally don’t write about what I see in movies, but after watching “Food Inc.” at Cine Theatre in downtown Athens, GA, I have to write about this one.  As a follower of Jesus I am convicted about how relatively little thought I have given to the subject of food, particularly where it comes from and who is part of the process.  It’s not that I haven’t thought about it at all, my wife and I had started buying organic milk and vegetables in recent months.  But I had not put all the pieces together, and this movie was a big step toward seeing the bigger picture.

If you don’t know me, it is important that you know that I am a carnivore extraordinaire!  When the film said that the average American eats over 200 pounds of meat a year, I said, “YES!”.   I generally make it a point to eat meat at least once a day and rarely go without.  I love to grill!  Some of you are right with me and others of you are probably revolted at my carnivorous appetite.  But those are the facts about me…and now on with the issues at hand.

After watching “Food Inc.” I am convinced that this issue is not a preference issue, but rather it is an ethical issue.  And for those who are followers of Jesus our Christian ethics must examine this important area of life.  Why?  Because we all eat – and many of us do so multiple times a day.  And all of this eating means that many people and animals are directly affected by the choices we and businesses make.

Of course the main issue is on the people side of things.  My conclusion is that people are heavily exploited when it comes to food.  Not just a few people, but masses of people.  Migrant workers are particularly exploited by the system.  I’m left just being angry about this part of the equation.  The source of the anger is compassion.  Remember how Jesus looked out at the masses with compassion.  Before going into other elements let me just say that if you don’t have compassion for humanity then you aren’t very much like Jesus.  If you are not burdened for the people and nations of the world, then you aren’t very much like Jesus.  You need to ask him for a new heart, new eyes, and new ears, so that you may see as He sees, and be compassionate as He is!

Here are the issues:

How does my food consumption affect the lives of other humans?  Can I change my eating habits in a way that helps people?

Should there be standards for how animals are raised and killed for food?  Does the Bible have anything to say about this?

How can I make those I feed safer based on how I buy food?

What should my perspective be on laws concerning immigration, the patenting of life, farm bills, and safety as related to the food industry?

Are there certain companies I should avoid buying from or owning stock in?

What other difficult issues come into play?

I’ll do my best to give some direction or at least point us to those who have a good direction on these issues.

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How do we decide what is right and wrong when it comes to issues of morality and ethics? I believe God gave us His Word which directly tells us the answer to most questions of morality and ethics and the principles for all of them. But let’s suppose your society doesn’t have the Bible. Could you still know without a doubt whether something was right or wrong? The answer is yes, because God has given us the ability to reason these things out. The problem is that most people do not want to use the reasoning abilities God gave us to come to an answer. They want to use one of two approaches. The first approach is, “Well I feel it should be like this…” The second approach is, “Well society or this part of society validates this….” The problem with both approaches is that the answer can go back and forth depending on how you feel that day or the current trend in society. We cannot be sure that either approach will find a good answer.

A question we can ask will answer our moral and ethical dilemmas and questions. Here it is: “If 100% of the people in society did “x”, what would the consequences be?”

Example: Say you are very angry at your neighbor – to the point you want to murder him. So you can ask yourself the question, “If 100% of the people in my society committed murder, what would the consequences be?” Well the answer is obvious that your society would be a dreadful place to live and that it would destroy itself. A few strong people would be left running around – trying to be the last one standing.

The moral question in a macro perspective gives the answer to your micro (personal) moral question. You can use this question for all questions of morality and ethcis: should I lie, should i steal, should i have an affair, should i move my property boundary? etc…
The great thing is this question also works in the positive: should I love, should I be generous, should I care about my neighbor, should I be faithful? etc….