On a Vegan Atheology
By, Kim Socha, Professor of English at Normandale Community College
Religious arguments for animal rights and liberation are fairly common in the literature on the animal question and the animal condition. Meanwhile, although many core texts of the movement are written by atheists, arguments considering animal liberation from a deliberately secular perspective are few—this is despite the academic studies and anecdotal evidence proving the animal rights movement to be secular. Subsequently, with the movement established as overwhelmingly atheistic/agnostic, and with arguments in favor on non-human animals arising from the freethought community, this presentation argues the timing is ripe to use secular ethics as a purposeful baseline for animal liberation theory, which I term a vegan atheology. The purpose of such an oeuvre is two-fold: to establish religion as inherently antithetical to animal liberation and to challenge non-vegan atheists and agnostics to see their speciesism as a remnant of the religious ideologies they claim to eschew. With select passages from my book Animal Liberation and Atheism: Dismantling the Procrustean Bed as a foundation, this presentation considers how humans can disengage from anthropocentric and speciesist mythologies—including those that flourish amongst atheists—so that needless violence against all beings and the environment may diminish.
Kim Socha, Ph.D, is author of Women, Destruction, and the Avant-Garde: A Paradigm for Animal Liberation (2011) and Animal Liberation and Atheism: Dismantling the Procrustean Bed (2014). She has also served as contributing editor to Confronting Animal Exploitation: Grassroots Essays on Liberation and Veganism (2013) and Defining Critical Animal Studies: A Social Justice Approach for Liberation (2014). She is an animal advocate, social justice activist, and English professor.