Eating Pork Is Morally Unacceptable - Argumentative Essay

Paper Type:  Argumentative essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1220 Words
Date:  2022-11-01


Pork eating raises various ethical issues on the moral acceptability of its consumption. There exist varying conclusions that either justify or condemn some of the multifaceted attitudes toward eating of pork. What informs one not to consume pork can vary depending culture, spiritual belief, and animal rights position they take. Divine command theory is suitable at looking at why it is not morally acceptable to eat pork. This paper seeks to discuss on the challenge the topic statement poses to the divine command theory, the type of statement the topic intends to be, a meta-ethical consequence of the theory and the philosophical challenges it poses.

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The topic statement poses a profound challenge to the divine command theory. In Divine command theory, religious and biblical sources of ethics dictate morals. Additionally, God who is supreme outlines prescriptions and prohibitions through the scripture. Food practices in both Judaism and Islam maintain that eating pork is morally unacceptable. In Islam, the avoidance of pork is a way of keeping Muslim identity (Quran 5:3; 6:145). The primary function is to create an ethnic and religious identity. In the Bible, the earliest prohibition appears in the Hebrews (The Holy Bible, Heb. 14:5-8). The Divine command theory is challenged by the fact that the instructions are explicit in their rejection of pork and other meat. The text states that pigs are forbidden because they do not chew the cud but does not explain why not chewing cud warrants their prohibition. Another challenge posed to the spiritual unacceptability of pork is that ancient Greeks consumed pork. Like Judaism and Islam, who attributed their pork avoidance to divinity, the Greeks attributed their consumption to a high deity.

Moreover, the Greeks considered pigs to be clean and offered them as sacrificial victims. The fact that every culture has its unique way of relating ritually to the natural world means that the statement is restricted only to the culture that adheres to it (Sinnott-Armstrong 101). The statement is ethically contradictory. To expound on this, we must ask whether eating pork is wrong or whether it goes contrary to Gods command. Carson and Moser proposal for a "modified divine command theory" articulate well on this claim (207). Adam proposes that an action is morally wrong if and only if it defies God's command. He argues that the divine command morality assumes that God's commands meet human concept of right and wrong, and the state would only apply if that were the case (Carson and Moser, 207). Considering the comments from the Bible, though unexplained, it would be immoral to eat pork. In the Judeo-Christian context, the term wrong would be used to mean doing contrary to God's command. Adam first statement on what mistakes disputes the immorality of eating pork (Carson and Moser, 208). The statements suggest that a believer's concept of what is wrong is tied to their religious belief and this only works because God's command what believers accept to be right. However, a believer who perceives eating pork to be right would have their concept of morality breakdown, since God commands it to be wrong. Sinnott-Armstrong argument on divine command theory is helpful in understanding the morality of pork eating (112). If the divine command is correct, unacceptability of pork eating cannot be pointed to the harm the consumption causes to pigs, unless we know what God commanded. On the contrary, the immorality of pork eating cannot be attributed to the basis of our moral intuition or that of others. For example, people moral intuition that slaughtering pig is painful to them.

Meta-ethically the divine command that eating pork is morally unacceptable tries to suggest that the command is from God. Some scholars have seen the idea of an impurity such as pork-eating as pre-moral or cultic and not related to real ethics (Sinnott-Armstrong 114). The prohibition would fall into the category of "taboo" ethical sphere. Such categories are maintained in Judaism and Islam. The statement seems to represent basic moral norms that are common in the Islam and Judaism cultures and thus represent a meta-ethic specific for their divine command. It is metaphysically challenging due to the contradictory commands. The Christian theology in is self-differing specifically between the old and new testament. In the Old Testament, the divine command prohibits pork. Conversely, the New Testament explicitly states that it is morally permissible to eat pork. The reversal on these moral obligations highlights the problem facing meta-ethics among Christians.

The topic statement faces several philosophical challenges that both support and rejects it in equal measure. The doctrine of Utilitarianism favors actions that bring about good deeds and reduce suffering in the world (Zerbe et al. 58). Noting eating pork aligns with this doctrine. The case of elephants justifies the case that animals have feelings and experience pain. Research shows that elephants have complicated emotional lives including grieving for loved ones and complex social lives that is depicted in their close family and strong relationships (Zerbe et al. 56).

Other philosophers shift the attention from just the suffering of animals and argue that it is simply wrong to treat animals as resources and business assets. Here, they critic the idea of raising animals purely for organ harvesting or meat production. Tom Regan, a philosopher and animal rights activist, argue that animals, just like humans, have rights and need to be accorded preference, wants and expectations (Zerbe et al. 300). On the contrary, Donald W. Bruckner in supporting the permissibility of eating farmed animals for food follows from the fact that eating certain sort of vegetables is likewise impermissible since they are also produced in ways harmful to them (Bruckner 311). Another philosophical line of thought argues they deserve slaughter as they do not have the same moral status equal to that of humans. Additionally, if animals had the same reasoning in favor of utilitarianism, they would not devour other animals (Bruckner 328). From this arguments, not eating pork is challenged and backed as well.


The morality of pork eating cannot be argued from the divine command theory of ethics. This is because theorist cannot assume such a standard since the theory is made to deny any such independent standard of moral wrongness. (Bruckner 314). The theory cannot appeal to the wrongness of eating pork to show that God could never command pork eating. This dilemma is evident to the contradictory position taken by the bible on the issue. The divine command theory plays an essential role in pointing at the weaknesses of this position. Meta-ethically the theory has shown that the stance by itself arises from taboo, identity-seeking, and custom of the cultures that abide by it (Zerbe et al. 201). Generally, the position that an individual will take depends on their cultural background. For example, Chinese eat dogs because that is their cultural food while an American may not since their cultural background dictates that dogs are pets and not food.

Works Cited

Bruckner, Donald W. "Considerations on the Morality of Meat Consumption: Hunted-Game versus Farm-Raised Animals." Journal of Social Philosophy, vol 38, no. 2, 2007, pp. 311-330. Wiley, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9833.2007.00381.x.

Carson, Thomas L., and Paul K. Moser. "Morality and the good life." (1997).

Sinnott-Armstrong, Walter. Morality Without God?. Oxford University Press Inc, 2011.

The Holy Bible. American Bible Society, 1986.

The Quran. Oxford University Press, 2005.

Zerbe, Wilfred J., Hartel Charmine EJ, and Ashkanasy Neal M, eds. Emotions and organizational dynamism. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2010.

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