Friday, 21 July 2017

May Christians eat black pudding?

Photo by Grinner, CC BY-SA 3.0
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this. 

I'd also be interested to hear if, as a Christian, you've ever genuinely considered the question.

Before I get to the reasons you might want to think about it, here are two opinions I'm not going to consider at all:

  1. God doesn't exist, so it doesn't matter anyway. This is both untrue and off topic.
  2. God never cares about what people eat. You may argue that's true now but there certainly at least dietary laws in the Old Testament. It is not beyond God to care about what we put in our bodies.

So why might eating black pudding be forbidden for the Christian?

  1. Black pudding is a kind of sausage, particularly popular in the north of England and Scotland. The reason I'm bringing this up is that it is made, in part, from pork blood.
  2. Pork is clearly declared allowable for Christians (including Jewish Christians) to eat, in Peter's vision (Acts 10). This is part of what might be called the ceremonial law of Israel (in the law revealed to Moses), which dealt particularly with setting the Israelites apart from the nations around them. As gentiles and Jewish new testament believers are united into one new humanity (the Church), these clean/unclean distinctions no longer exist.
  3. Restrictions on eating blood, however, do not solely belong to the ceremonial law. In Genesis 9, Noah is, for the first time, allowed to kill and eat animals - even ones that would later become unclean. Yet God bans him from eating animals with 'the lifeblood' in them.
  4. In Acts 15, the first Christian council, gentiles are recognised as belonging to the Church in the way I point out above. But they are specifically banned from eating blood (amongst other things).
  5. The early Church (post Bible times) seemed to follow this command as well.
Now - there are possible counter-arguments, which I won't go into. But this may be an interesting case study in how you think about the requirements of being a Christian, and how (if at all) you approach the task of living out your faith.

I'll come out as saying that I think the answer is 'no' - Christians ought not to eat black pudding or anything else with the lifeblood in it. Small, residual amounts of blood (e.g. blood left in capillaries) is a different matter (this is hinted at in the Bible) - I'm talking about the large quantities pumping round arteries and veins.

I do like the food - but I haven't bought or eaten it since.

I'd be really interested to know:

a) if, as a Christian, you've ever considered this
and b) if so, what was your conclusion (and reasoning).

Show of hands in the comments?