Why I No Longer Eat Pork as a Christian: My Journey to Understanding Biblical Dietary Laws

When it comes to faith, practice, and nourishment, the decisions we make can sometimes lead to profound changes in our lifestyle. For me, the decision to stop eating pork was not just about personal health or preference; it was a spiritual calling that deeply connected with my Christian faith. I’d like to share with you my journey and the Biblical insights that guided my path away from pork (and all Biblically unclean animals).

Seeking Clarity in Scripture

We look to the Scriptures for guidance in all areas of life. One area often overlooked by Christians are the dietary laws and practices.

In Leviticus 11, we find a detailed God-given diet that classifies animals into two categories: clean and unclean. Leviticus 11:7-8 explicitly mentions the pig as an unclean animal, stating, “And the pig, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. You shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall not touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.”

In the New Testament, it can seem as though these laws have been abolished. The verses I often see mentioned as an argument for eating pork are Mark 7:18-19 where it states:

And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him,  since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

If this verse is to be believed as is, then Deuteronomy 13:4-5 puts forth a question for Christianity. The scripture declares that any individual who encourages the Israelites to stray from God’s commandments is subjected to death.

A cornerstone of the Christian faith is the belief that Yahusha (Jesus) never breached any laws, presenting a dilemma when we consider Mark 7:18-19, where Yahusha (Jesus) supposedly declares all foods clean.

We are left to confront two possibilities here: either Yahusha (Jesus) did contradict the law, or perhaps the translators have overstepped their boundaries. It also, contemplates the question, if Yahusha (Jesus) only fulfilled the law at his crucifixion, how could the food laws have been fulfilled before the cross? Given these inconsistencies, it becomes necessary for me to reject this translation.

Furthermore, the passage in Matthew was not about clean and unclean foods, but about eating with unwashed hands. I support this with a reference to Matthew 15:20, “These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” This indicates that Yahusha (Jesus) was refuting man-made practices rather than revoking the food laws.

Another thing I came to realize is that pigs are not food. Even if all foods are clean, not every creature is intended to be food. Just because you can chew and swallow something doesn’t make it food by biblical definition. If you want to know what is and is not food according to the Bible, I encourage you to read Leviticus 11, which discusses clean and unclean animals.

Health Considerations

Medical research has shown that pork can carry parasites and diseases not as commonly found in other meats. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why YHWH has forbidden his children from consuming pork. Though cooking methods reduce risk, the potential for illnesses like trichinosis and other parasitic infections caused me to question if this was the cleanest meat for my body, which I believe to be a temple of YHWH.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 urges us to honor God with our bodies. After learning more about how pork can affect my health, I felt led to make a decision that would honor this scriptural truth.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

The Impact on My Daily Life

When I first decided to stop eating pork, I thought that it would be a difficult transition. After all, some of my favorite meals included pork. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. And at this point, I’m actually turned off by the thought of eating pork. I consider it an honor and privilege to be able to follow the laws of YHWH.

One thing I’ve learned on this journey is that so many food items that we consume contain pork. From processed foods to restaurant menus, it can sometimes be a challenge to find pork-free items. However, this has also made me more mindful and intentional about my choices, leading me to cook more at home and eat more wholesome meals.

Scanning ingredient lists and menus for non-pork options has become routine, encouraging me to learn what’s actually in my food, explore a variety of cuisines, and discover new favorite dishes.

Moving Forward with Grace and Understanding

Choosing not to eat pork as a Christian is a personal decision and one that I have made through careful consideration of scripture and personal conviction. As believers, we are all walking our own paths and making decisions that align with our understanding of the word and His will for our lives.

While some may find a different interpretation of dietary laws, it’s essential that we approach such topics with grace and understanding, knowing that each of us is seeking to honor YHWH in the way we live.

If you’ve been pondering the role of food in your spiritual life, I hope this account of my journey offers you valuable insights and encouragement.

Our daily choices, including something seemingly mundane like our diets, can indeed reflect our deeper values and beliefs. May your own journey be rich with growth, health, and closeness to YHWH.

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