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Can Christians Eat Pork? A Look Into History & Theology


Pork is a food taboo for many religions like Jews, some Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and some Christian denominations. In ancient Syria, pigs were prohibited as well as in Phoenicia. The pig and its flesh represented the taboo observed. 

Even though Christianity is also an Abrahamic religion, many don’t follow these aspects of Mosaic law and are allowed to consume pork. Seventh-day Adventists consider pork and other foods forbidden by Jewish law taboo. Jesus addressed His disciples in Mark 7:18-19 and told them that whatever they ate could not affect their hearts and so eating pork was okay because it was an external thing. Pork was introduce in the United States of America after Columbus’s second voyage in which he brought pigs to the continent. It was the beginning of pork eating as bacon and in burgers.

There are various bible verses that have talked about eating pork like 1 Timothy 4:3, Leviticus 11:3, Deuteronomy 14:8, 1 Timothy, Mark 7:18-19. The Quran (Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:17 has also talked about pork and that it is forbidden by the religion. Further, muslims have been forbidden from eating any animal that is dead or the blood.

1. According to The New Testament

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In the Hebrew Bible which is also known as the Old Testament of any Christian Bible, eating pork was considered unclean and it was treated as a disgusting and horrific thing to do. However, some Christians may decide to eat pork because, at some point, God declared it clean.

2. Pork Eat Prohibation is cited in the Bible

In 1 Timothy 4:3, it notes that foods that God created are to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. Many believe that this verse refers to pork. Leviticus 11:3 indicates that animals with divided hooves should not be eaten. This particular verse is what many Christians follow and quote to avoid eating pork. In addition, Deuteronomy 14:8 echoes the same ban as reflected in Leviticus and 1 Timothy.

3. Some Christians Eat Pork

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Most Christians believe pork is unclean because of the exorcism of Legion which was a miracle that was performed by Jesus. The story shows Jesus, son of God, exorcising demons out of a man and into a herd of swine, this caused the swine to run down the hill into a lake. Even though the swine drowned themselves, many still believe that pigs are practically unclean.

4. Pork Eating was Banned Since the Time of Noah and Abraham

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During the time of Noah, God gave human beings a person to eat the flesh and not just some kinds of flesh. In the bible, God said that every moving thing that lives was to be consumed by man. This rule was followed by not only Noah but also Abraham, Issac, Jacob, the Twelve Patriarchs, and everyone that lived around their time. However, in Moses’ time, God took back this rule and said that Jews were allowed to eat a certain kind of animal. 

5. Jewish Law in Pork Eating as part of Christianity

According to the Jewish law, any animal that don’t chew their cud are prohibited from being eaten. The Torah (Pentateuch) has a passage that talks about pork eating that is similar to that in the Bible Leviticus chapter 11 and verse 3. The reason being that pig does not chew it’s cud. Jewish also believe that this is one of the things that differentiates that from other tribes outside the Jewish community as per Tacitus Histories 5.4.1-2. Jewish are known globally that they do not eat pork.

6. Christians Eat Pork depending with their Culture

The associate professor of Public Relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University and a Southern Baptish Ordained Minister had this to say about the perception of many people includeing christians in pork eating “The debate about whether you can eat certain foods and what food you can and should not eat is as old as the Christian text itself, so it’s not a new topic.” He actually stated that there are challenges in meat consumption by Christians and this is not limited to pork only. Therefore, Christians eat pork at their own wish.

7. The Beginning of Eating Pork

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It is in Asia where pork eating began and spread through the neat East to the rest of Europe where Sus Scrofa demosticus took off. United States of America was introudced to pigs by Spain when the first pig was brought to the continent by Columbus during his second voyage. This was the beginning of pig farming and also consumption in the United States. It was used in burgers and also as bacon and people loved it.

8. Muslims Restrictions on Pork Eating

Allah forbides his followers not to eat dead animals or blood or even the flesh of swine (Pork). He says it sinful to eat pork because it is unclean unless it has limitation through transgression according to Quran, Al-Baqarah 2:17. He says if one is in need of eating such as pork, God is forgiving and hence such a person will be forgiven.

9. Pig is Cursed and should not be eaten

Herodotus indicated that the Scythians placed a taboo against the pig. One reason was that the pig could not be given as a sacrifice to God. However, pork meat is popular in South Korea with statistics stating that 59% of 100g are consumed per day. These two statements contradict each other but shows that cultures are diverse. Depending with what your culture believes in, it is okay to go by it.

10. Jesus Declared Everything Clean for Consumption

Jesus declared all foods clean and in particular anything that enters a person from the outside. He said that what is eaten does not defile the soul. In actual fact in the bible Mark 7:18-19, Jesus assured His disciples that whatever enters their bodies cannot make them unclean because it doesn’t go to the heart. This meant that even if one ate pork, it cannot affect the heart because eventually it will get out.