Monday, October 20, 2008

When Pets are Sin

My conclusion: most, but not all, American pets should be euthanized. Not because pets are "sinful" in themselves. The question is not "Are pets bad?" but "Is there anything better we could be doing with the money and time we currently spend on our pets?"

In most cases, I believe the answer is a resounding YES.

There are some cases where pets are clearly necessary. Seeing-eye dogs. K-9 units that catch criminals and sniff for drugs. Guard dogs. Barn cats that keep the mouse population under control. You can, no doubt, expand this list.

But still, the uncomfortable fact remains that most American pets are kept for emotional, not physical reasons. We have them for companionship and diversion.

Think of all the wonderful things that could have been done with the $41.2 billion dollars Americans spent on pets in 2007! How many children could this have fed, clothed, educated, or treated?

It is true that pets make ideal companions and help reduce stress. To many Americans, however, they have become substitutes for human relationships. Human relationships are painful. We sin. Dogs don't. And a dog will never confront you about sin in your life. God uses the pain of conflict in human relationships to sand off the rough edges of our character. A pet may make you a happier person but it will not make you (or your neighbor) a holier person. Which do you want more?

Animals can also help us to marvel at the creativity of God. We should indeed take time to marvel at the intricacies of God's design, which include the cat's retractable claws and the dog's sensitive nose. But there are much less expensive (and might I add, more natural) ways to obtain this wonder than taking food from starving people. If you want to marvel at God's creation, go to the zoo or take a walk in the woods.

So put the pet to sleep. Give the money to the people who really need it. And use the spare time to get to know your neighbor.

"He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy: then it was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?" declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 22:16, NASB)

Am I being too radical? Please write back with your thoughts. My main goal is not to convince you that I am right, but to cause you to consider before God whether you are using your money and time as wisely as you could.

For a wealth of statistics on pet ownership in the US that should sicken any conscience, visit the American Pet Products Association here.


  1. Daniel, this posting has put you outside the realm of Christian teaching and most who read it will no longer value any testimony you may give for Christ. Instead they will consider you one of those fringe elements who create such a negative image of Christianity. I expect many of them will think you need psychological help after reading this.

    I suggest you do a search for those who lives have been saved by their pets, or those who have prayed in times of loneliness and found that God's answer to their prayer was a faithful and loving pet. After all, who created those animals? God used a donkey to speak to Balaam and points out that the lamb and wolf will dwell together during the millennial reign. I believe today God's love is often reflected in the unconditional love our pets give us.

    You and I have had more than one conversation and I hope you take my comments as they are intended. In this article you have said people should kill the pets they love in order to give more to those in need. Why not sell your computer to do the same? Why not sell you home and live in a tent or something with less overhead? Many people in California are being forced to live in their cars due to the lack of AFFORDABLE housing even though they have jobs. What about the huge building programs of Churches? In the New Testament there was never a congregation with a building. They met in buildings or homes which were available. Why not have your church sell their building and meet at another public building? These suggestions probably sound as offbeat or crazy to you as telling someone to kill a pet they love sounds to most who are reading this.

    The Scripture teaches you to guard your testimony and reputation. Think about this and how this article affects yours. No where does the Scripture teach that having a pet is sinful. It's not even hinted as such anywhere in the Bible. You are entitled to your opinion, but wisdom teaches us that unless it's necessary to our principles we may better serve God by keeping our opinions to ourselves.

    Rev. Tim Stewart

  2. I have never seen a piece of script more capable of driving people away from the christian faith. Who writes rubbish like this anyway?

  3. Your article on pets seems a bit extreme, especially in light of the health benefits and companionship pets offer. As with anything, pets can become an obsession and excessive amounts of money and emotion poured into them. A pet's unconditional love can certainly be as convicting as any words spoken in correction by a human being. I think of the scripture where God tells Job to look to the animals and be taught by them. Job 12:7 For ask now the animals and they will teach you that God does not deal with His creatures according to their character: ask the birds of the air and they will tell you. Go on down to Job 12:10 - In His hand is the life of every living thing ... let's not be too quick to lay aside our stewardship of His creation.

  4. I think all the breathing creatures should praise God, pets are breathing creatures, so they must live!!