Why I am thankful for Halal food

This article written as a reply to: http://www.dcclothesline.com/2015/03/13/cadbury-chocolates-go-halal/ “Last Sunday was the third Sunday of Lent, which means Easter isn’t far away, heralded by the return of those cute TV commercials for Cadbury Easter egg and bunny chocolates. But did you know that those Cadbury Easter chocolates are halal certified?”

When Christians see that food is Halal certified (prepared and prayed over by a Muslim), they immediately become defensive and reject it outright. But why? It is beneficial to take a step back and really turn this sudden appearance of Halal food everywhere into a Bible-based learning experience.

Most Christians do not follow the Bible’s instructions for food (clean and unclean meat). Even still, for most Christians and even Messianic believers who follow Yehovah’s instructions on what to eat, they still do not quite get the idea of clean-killed animals. I didn’t get that idea for a long time, until recently when the Halal sign in a restaurant made me think: “Muslims really stick to their scriptures with regards to diet. While I do not eat unclean meat like pork and certain seafood, I wondered if I was really following my own Scriptures’ instructions correctly.

Yehovah makes it clear what is to be eaten and not eaten (Leviticus 11; Deuteronomy 14). The Bible makes it even more clear in Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and even in the New Testament book of Acts (15:20; 15:29; 21:25) that animals must not be strangled, but they must be killed in a way to drain out the blood. While many Messianic believers and some Christians avoid pork and shellfish, they still eat beef or chicken that has been soaking in blood for several days. Halal food is clean-killed in this manner.

The argument for avoiding Halal food is that in the killing process, meat is prayed over in the name of Allah rather than in the name of Yehovah. But those who live by both the Old and New Testaments should remember what Paul stated, that idols are no gods at all (19:26), therefore Allah does not really have power over that food that you are about to consume. Regarding food that has been offered on an altar to an idol, Paul makes it abundantly clear that believers should absolutely refuse. But this is different from praying over it in the killing process. During the killing process, you are not there to encourage or confirm the prayer made over the animal. But if you eat from the altar, you are openly engaging in idolatry.

In my part of the world, altars are still everywhere, and the butchers and fruit sellers sell food that has already been offered to idols. For my case, Paul said not to even ask if it has been at an altar so that I by not asking, I save my conscience and also do not give the idol any regard (1 Corinthians 10:27). The only real conditions for food is that it is holy according to the Word of God and blessed by your own prayer (1 Timothy 4:5).

However, regarding the chocolate bunnies in this article, I wouldn’t be caught dead with them; well, I wouldn’t eat them anyway. First, chocolate candy kills the body due to its sugar content, maybe not quickly but it does, whether by diabetes, obesity, or cancer. Raw pure cocoa is actually healthy and easy to prepare. Second, it’s an Easter bunny. Why would I give recognition to the Babylonian sex goddess (see: Easter)?

So, all in all, while Halal does originate from a different religion, it still provides meat that is in accordance with the food laws in God’s Word – and by God I mean Yehovah.

About Jonathan Lankford

Jonathan has a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Bible with a concentration in missions and intercultural communication. He also earned his Master's in Business Quality Management (MBQPM) and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master's in Education (MEd) focusing on Administration. He has been an educator since 2007, teaching English and humanities in Vietnamese universities. He currently holds the position of Associate Registrar at Tan Tao University, Vietnam.
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