Andrew Linzey

British theologian, priest and animal rights activist

Andrew Linzey (born 2 February 1952) is a British Anglican priest, theologian, author, and prominent figure in the Christian vegetarian movement. He is a member of the Faculty of Theology at the University of Oxford, and held the world’s first academic post in Ethics, Theology and Animal Welfare, the Bede Jarret Senior Research Fellowship at Blackfriars Hall.

Andrew Linzey and his dog

Quotes edit

Animal Theology (1994) edit

Animal Theology, Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ISBN 0-252-06467-4
  • Creation exists for its Creator. Years of anthropocentrism have almost completely obscured this simple but fundamental point. What follows from this is that animals should not be seen simply as means to human ends. The key to grasping this theology is the abandoning of the common but deeply erroneous view that animals exist in a wholly instrumental relationship to human beings.
    • p. 24
  • God's nature is love, and since God loves creation, it follows that what is genuinely given and purposed by that love must acquire some right in relation to the Creator.
    • p. 24
  • The biblical case for vegetarianism does not rest on the view that killing may never be allowable in the eyes of God, rather on the view that killing is always a grave matter. When we have to kill to live we may do so, but when we do not, we should live otherwise. It is vital to appreciate the force of this argument. In past ages many – including undoubtedly the biblical writers themselves – have thought that killing for food was essential in order to live. But … we now know that – at least for those now living in the rich West – it is perfectly possible to sustain a healthy diet without any recourse to flesh products. … Those individuals who opt for vegetarianism can do so in the knowledge that they are living closer to the biblical ideal of peaceableness than their carnivorous contemporaries. The point should not be minimized. In many ways it is difficult to know how we can live more peaceably in a world striven by violence and greed and consumerism. Individuals often feel powerless in the face of great social forces beyond even democratic control. To opt for a vegetarian life-style is to take one practical step towards living in peace with the rest of creation. One step towards reducing the rate of institutionalized killing in the world today.
    • pp. 131-132

Animal Gospel: Christian Faith as if Animals Mattered (1998) edit

Animal Gospel, Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000. ISBN 0-664-22193-9
  • Far too often, Christians have accepted the common secular view that we are the masters of animals, their rulers or owners — utterly forgetting that the dominion promised to humanity is a deputized dominion, in which we are to stand before creation as God's vice-regents, putting into effect not our own egotistical wants but God's own law of love and mercy. And yet, when one begins to challenge our despotic treatment of animals — whether killing for sport, the ruthless export trade, or (to take the latest example) the quite obscene slaughter of thousands of seals for their penises, to be sold as aphrodisiacs in Europe and Asia — again and again, one has to face this humanistic dogma: If it benefits humanity, it must be right.
    • p. 12
  • The power of God is redefined in Jesus as practical costly service extending to those who are beyond the normal boundaries of human concern: the diseased, the poor, the oppressed, the outcast. If humans are to claim a lordship over creation, then it can only be a lordship of service. There can be no lordship without service. According to the theological doctrine of animal rights, then, humans are to be the servant species — the species given power, opportunity, and privilege to give themselves, nay sacrifice themselves, for the weaker, suffering creatures.
    • p. 39
  • After all, animal rightists have not invented the vision of the wolf lying down with the lamb in Isaiah 11:6, or the universal command to be vegetarian in Genesis 1:29, or indeed the vision of the earth in a state of childbirth awaiting its deliverance from suffering in Romans 8: in these, and in other ways, animal rightists can claim to be rediscovering and reactualizing visionary elements already present within the Western religious tradition.
    • pp. 54-55
  • Commentators — even, and especially, Christian ones — frequently lapse into a kind of moral parochialism when it comes to discussions about animals, as if God only cared for one of the millions of species in the created world. This, in turn, has led to a practical form of idolatry. By "idolatry" I mean here the deification of the human species by regarding human beings as the sole, main, or even exclusive concern of God the Creator.
    • p. 115

Quotes about Andrew Linzey edit

  • Rev. Dr. Linzey suggests, like St. Francis, that human beings should act not as the master species, but as the servant species. Christ came as a humble servant and called us to love and serve one another and not to harm anyone. Linzey suggests that the Gospel call to service includes selfless service and justice not only to the poor and oppressed, but to all creation, including animals. In this, we become more Christlike.
  • The groundbreaking work of Andrew Linzey has established animals as beings essential to the theological agenda.
    • Rachel Muers and David Grumett, About Eating and Believing (London: T&T Clark, 2008, ISBN 978-0-567-03284-3), Introduction, p. 5

External links edit

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