Ghana: Not Everyone Can Be Vegan or Vegetarian(2)

15 December 2021
opinion

This is the concluding part of the article published on December 13, 2021 issue of the paper.

We recall an encoun-ter with a strong Jewish Con-servative Vegan Naturopath, who always had problem with Dr. Nyarkotey Obu's diet. She talked and acted weirdly anytime she saw meat on his meal. We do understand her, as conser-vative Naturopaths have a different mind-set about him. They have no knowledge and do not want to do anything with proponents of mod-ern Naturopathic Medicine.

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON VEGANISM AND VEGETARIANISM

Spirituality has been established as part of Naturopathic Medicine and with Dr. Nyarkotey Obu being a Theologian, we decided to look at the biblical perspective of veg-anism and what we found was very astonishing.

So the Apostle Paul said:

"One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables or herb". (Romans 14:2 NIV).

Did you hear that? This is plainly a vegetarian scruple that Paul was dealing with; and there is no evi-dence, as some fancy, that they had become so merely by the efforts to avoid eating meat sacrificed to idols; because, in many private situations, no such problem would have been involved. It goes without question that they were wrong in making such a dietary act a reli-gious matter; but they had evident-ly done so.

Paul taught that "every crea-ture of God is" good for food (1 Timothy 4:1-5), and Jesus himself had made "all meats clean" (Mark 7:19). The nature of the weakness of those brethren is thus inherent in the fact that, either through ig-norance or prejudice, they had not received the teaching of Christ and his apostles on the matters in ques-tion. This was a serious weakness; but, in fairness, it must be noted that the apostles themselves had difficulty receiving the full light on this question. Peter, for example, long after Pentecost, still insisted that he had never eaten "anything common or unclean," indicating that be still kept to the scruples of Judaism (Acts 10:14). It has always been an easy error for people to fall into the notion that they might attain heaven on the basis of a certain kind of diet.

It is expressly declared of Daniel when in Babylon, that he lived on pulse and water, that he might not "defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank;" Daniel 1:8-16.

This is not dealing with nutri-tion, of course. This arises out of the background of the early church in which there was a real moral question about eating meat. Not only were there the Jewish restric-tions against certain forms of meat; Jews did not eat pork, and even beef and lamb had to be kosher; but it had to be slain in a certain way. So, a Jew, or even one raised as a Jew, after he became a Christian, always had great emotional difficul-ty in eating meat.

Look down not on those who eat meat

So Paul said: "The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, (Romans 14:3a NIV)" That is the first thing. In other words, the strong must not reject the one who is still strug-gling, who is still weak.

The word "looks" down here is really a word that means "push him out." The strong must not push him out; they must not exclude him.

That involves several things: First, it means that he must not think about him in a disdainful or contemptuous way. He must not let himself look down on these people.

WITH REGARDS

TO THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE

With regards to nature cure, it is time we do not look down on nature as well. It is time for us as a nation to pay much attention to our natural health remedies and promote them. Those who believe in mainstream medicine should not look down on proponents of nature's cure for God accept them; and this is the basis of biblical medicine. There is also no need to argue about which system of healthcare is the best or supreme.

Paul says, "The strong must not reject the weak." You must not think wrongly about him. You must not say wrong things about him. You must not ridicule him. India and others are making a lot of monies from their natural health industry so why do we ridicule ours as well?

THE ROLE OF THE

CHURCH AND PASTORAL MEDICINE

We believe that pastors, and the church in entirety, should start preaching and advocating for Nature cure. They should not look down on natural medicine. It is the deal now. We must not form little cliques within the healthcare industry that shut out people from accessing natural medicines or with people who have different view-points on healthcare.

We must not think of one group as being set free while this group over here is very narrow and we have nothing to do with them. This is wrong, and Paul clearly says so. In fact, he implies that if any of the so-called strong exclude weaker brothers, look down on them, treat them as though they are second-class Christians, they have simply proved that they are just as weak in the faith as the ones they have denied. Strength in the faith means more than understanding truth.

It means living in a loving way with those who are weak: The truly strong in the faith will never put down those who are still struggling. On the other hand, the apostle goes on:

The man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has ac-cepted him. (Romans 14:3b NIV). Here is the other side of it. Those who believe in mainstream medi-cine must not look down on those who believe in natural medicine. Those who believe in Traditional Naturopathy or what others also refer to as original medicine should not be at loggerheads with pro-ponent of modern Naturopathic Medicine which employs modern scientific methods in handling pa-tient as described in the dictionary of occupational titles, USA.

Those who think it is morally wrong for a Christian to drink wine or beer must not look down on those who feel free to do so. They must not judge them. The word "condemn" means "to sit in judgment" on them and it involves several things. We absolutely love this quote:

One man considers one day more sacred than another; anoth-er man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully con-vinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord, and gives thanks to God.

For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to him-self alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. (Romans 14:5-8 NIV).

TAKE HOME

Though vegan and vegetari-an diets do have some scientific evidence supporting it, the truth is that veganism or vegetarianism is not for everyone as the Apostle Paul admonishes us in the bible.

One must also not critique whoever decides to be a vegan or vegetarian. The vegan or vegetar-ian must also not look down on those who decide not be like that. Despite past glory demonstrated by the vegan diet, one study by Mahase, (2019) published in the medical journal The BMJ, found plant-based diets could come with a previously unrecognized health risk. There are also emerging stud-ies from the UK linking vegan diet to higher stroke increase.

Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu is an honorary Professor and a strong advocate of modern Naturopathic Medicine in Ghana. He also holds MBA and a Chartered Management Consultant (ChMC), Chartered Institute of Management Consultant, Canada. Nyarkotey is also a theologian with MA in theology whose thesis looks at the role of prayer as complementary medicine. He is the President, Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine and currently, final year LLB law student. Lawrencia Aggrey-Bluwey is a Clinical Nurse, Health Services Manager and an Assistant Lecturer with the Department of Health Administration and Education, University of Education, Winneba, and is currently a PhD student in Health Policy and Management at the University of Ghana Business School. Email: collegeofholisticmedicine@ gmail.com

BY DR. RAPHAEL NYARKOTEY

OBU, PHD & LAWRENCIA

AGGREY-BLUWEY

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