Jesus’ Lost Religion
by Will Tuttle
I have great news for everyone who feels, deep down, that Jesus must have
been Vegan, and that his original message has been tampered with and suppressed
over the centuries. Keith Akers has written a provocative book, The Lost
Religion of Jesus: Simple Living and Nonviolence in Early Christianity that
convincingly demonstrates that the original teachings of Jesus reflected a
profound commitment to showing mercy and respect to both animals and humans.
Drawing entirely on the earliest written source materials by and about the early
followers of Jesus, who were Jewish people known as Ebionites, Akers
painstakingly and carefully builds his case. His understated writing style and
careful scholarship contrast starkly with the radical nature of the conclusions
which are inescapable: that Jesus and his earliest followers were ethical
vegetarians committed above all to nonviolence and the spiritual harmony of
Akers shows that the reason the early church was so plagued by schisms was
that Paul and others wanted to take the church in a direction almost completely
opposite from what Jesus' teachings actually were. Paul in particular was
antagonistic toward the Veganism that was a core tenet of Jesus' teaching and
Akers skillfully explains many passages in Acts, such as conflicts between Paul
and James, the brother of Jesus, in the light of the earliest writings
attributed to Clement, Epiphanius, Tertullian, and Origen, that point decisively
to the fact that Jesus, James, and Peter were ethical vegetarians, whereas Paul,
Barnabus, and others were not.
Through a detailed historical analysis, Akers shows just how Paul's
non-vegetarian movement was able, often through brutal means, to eventually
eclipse the original thrust of Jesus' teachings regarding nonviolence and why
the original Christians, the Ebionites, were unable to survive.
Then, as now, Veganism's divisive nature is apparent. We owe Keith Akers a
big thank you for his meticulous research, which has such profound
ramifications. If you'd like more confidence in your Vegan WWJD, read this book
and tell your ministers and friends as well. The lost religion of Jesus, though
never completely lost, has been rediscovered. Hallelujah!
The Reverend Will Tuttle is a pianist, composer, recording artist and Zen
This was Will Tuttle’s regular column, "Food For Lovers: Experiencing
the Spiritual Aspects of Vegetarianism," published in VegNews,
September 2001, page 26.