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Science Magazine Claims West’s ‘Aversion’ To Cannibalism Is Rooted in Racism, Colonialism, And Christianity

Modern Western society lives by the motto “Do what’s right for you.” And if that’s the ethic of the day, every “social taboo” must fall to give way to doing what’s right for you. It also means that one culture—like the West—can’t judge another culture—like the Aghori, a Hindu sect—even if they reportedly occasionally eat people “in pursuit of transcendence.” It’s part of living in a time like the judges, when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25), because there is no recognized ultimate authority.

This kind of thinking popped up in a New Scientist piece titled, “Is it time for a more subtle view on the ultimate taboo: cannibalism?” The byline reads,

New archaeological evidence shows that ancient humans ate each other surprisingly often – sometimes for compassionate reasons. The finds give us an opportunity to reassess our views on the practice.

So is cannibalism a big deal? Well, the author of this article argues that “ethically, cannibalism poses fewer issues than you might imagine. If a body can be bequeathed with consent to medical science, why can’t it be left to feed the hungry?” This, of course, ignores the chasm between respectfully using a deceased body to further medical science and treating it as just the carcass of an animal, ready for the soup pot!

Of course, most people don’t have New Scientist’s cavalier view of things. And the author offers a reason why.

Our aversion has been explained in various ways. Perhaps it is down to the fact that, in Western religious traditions, bodies are seen as the seat of the soul and have a whiff of the sacred. Or maybe it is culturally ingrained, with roots in early modern colonialism, when racist stereotypes of the cannibal were concocted to justify subjugation. These came to represent the “other” to Western societies – and revulsion towards cannibalism became a tenet of their moral conscience.

So our “aversion” to eating other people is a leftover of Western colonialism, racism, and Christianity! Basically, this argument is “wokeism” applied to cannibalism (of all things!). But I would agree that an aversion to cannibalism is based in Christianity (however, it is also written on our consciences). You see, if we’re just animals, like the secular evolutionary worldview believes, the human body is no different from that of a cow, a dog, or a fish. So why care if one human eats another? Why show reverence and respect for the body of the deceased? Why not just put it in a soup? After all, animals don’t show respect for other animals!

Humans have an aversion to cannibalism because we know that humans are different from cows, dogs, and fish. Even those who claim humans are animals intuitively know there’s a vast chasm separating us and the animal kingdom. It’s obvious, and it’s written in our hearts. That’s why we grieve over murder but don’t demand a lion be given life in prison for killing a baby gazelle. Humans are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), but animals are not. Humans may have a body like a mammal’s body, but they are not animals—they are special and separate from the animals.

Cannibalism is wrong in all cultures today and in all past cultures, not because of some taboo we need to just get over but because people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Our bodies aren’t our own, but they belong to God (1 Corinthians 6:19). He cares about the body, not just about the soul! That’s why the human body should be treated with respect and care, living or not, because that person reflects God’s image and is the ultimate pinnacle of his creative work.

No, we don’t need a more subtle view on cannibalism. We need a more biblical view of both the body and the soul!


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