Animal Studies Journal


What does Christianity say about other animals? For many people, Jesus-followers and others alike, this is a settled question. The tradition’s long and ongoing history of justifying, participating in and even encouraging indiscriminate violence against other animals makes it one of, if not the most, anti-animal religions. But is it the case that Christianity has little to no intrinsic resources to denounce and dismantle systemic and individual cruelty toward other creatures? Is a biblically grounded approach to other animals’ self-determination and thriving really a lost cause? This essay argues from an Anabaptist/Mennonite theological orientation influenced by various anti-oppression politics that there are resources within the tradition to disturb prevailing ways of conceiving and relating to other animals. It begins with a brief personal reflection about the author’s journey into this perspective and continues with a re/examination of sacrifice, incarnation and the animal nature of God that places other animals at the forefront.