In the last installment reviewing Joel Salatin’s impactful message given at Patrick Henry College, we spoke about consistency in Christian attitudes towards our faith, farming, and food. Much of having a consistent approach to life issues comes from having the right worldview, something Salatin also addressed in his message.
Listen to the speech audio here.[audio:http://truefoodsolutions.com/Joel-Salatin-Food-and-Christian-credibility.mp3]
He advocates looking at patterns in the Bible and in nature to give us wisdom for our agricultural actions. This is a simple method for evaluating the virtue of things that are done in commercial, industrialized agriculture. We don’t need to know the science behind everything, Joel Salatin says; we just need to know whether it is practical and natural. For instance, feeding carrion to herbivores breeds strange diseases and bacteria outbreaks—but we don’t need to do an experiment, or know all the data surrounding it, to know that it is unwise. Herbivores such as cows do not eat dead meat in their natural settings, so they should not be given dead meat in factory farms. If they are given dead meat, we can conjecture that there might be a problem, which there is—mad cow disease and more.
Without the philosophy of looking to Scripture and nature first, Joel Salatin declares that “we will never know what science to embrace.” Without being grounded by a paradigm, we would never know whether to wait decades for results to be realized and tests to be run. We would never limit ourselves to boundaries in genetic manipulation of animals, plants, and even human embryos. Science will run amuck at the least, and amoral at the worst, where there is no proper philosophy guiding the decisions made. Our paradigm, or our template, Joel Salatin says, “protects us from the amoral world of modern science.”
Look at how chickens are raised in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). They are debeaked and declawed. Now think, did God create chickens with beaks and claws so that they could be debeaked and declawed? Perhaps something is wrong in a paradigm where chickens are debeaked and declawed! What do chickens normally do in their natural environment? Scratch and peck at the ground. Staying rooted in a proper philosophy will help us to see CAFOs for what they are: unnatural, unwise, harmful, and potentially dangerous ways to raise chickens.
While modern science wants to know everything and attempt everything, Joel Salatin asks if we shouldn’t leave room for mystery? While it is man’s honor to search out a matter, it is the glory of God to conceal it and to hold on to the secret things of His creation (Proverbs 25:2 and Deuteronomy 29:29). Man has manufactured "foods" that he literally cannot metabolize, as Salatin exclaims. Whatever happened to simplicity? Whatever happened to the wonder of appreciating complexity in nature without trying to imitate it or exploit it? Salatin shares that there are two creeds regarding food in our culture: 1) That food is inanimate, and 2) that food is life. Seeing it as the latter—as something that we might not fully understand but must respect and appreciate and cultivate—is the manifestation of having a proper worldview. Let’s build a paradigm that asks, “Just because we can, should we?” and a paradigm where what we do matches up to what we believe.