When it comes to living more compassionately, renowned evangelist Franklin Graham has seen the light. With the start of the new year, he started a new way of eating, announcing through social media that he is going vegan!

To help Graham with the transition, PETA sent him a vegan starter kit filled with goodies—he was pleasantly surprised to learn that Oreos are vegan.

Graham said that he switched to cruelty-free foods to reach his health goals, but the preacher noted that scripture set a precedent for plant-based eating, saying, “Remember in the Bible, Daniel went on a complete vegetable diet and after 10 days his appearance was better than the others who hadn’t.”

While any reason to go vegan is a great one, the Bible makes a strong case for every Christian to consider animals as companions, not food. Perhaps Graham is beginning to recognize how atrocious killing animals for their flesh is. He tweeted a photo of a decapitated pig head with the message, “Can you believe I used to eat this??”

Like Graham, many other Christians have realized that going vegan is a powerful way to become closer to God. Christians have been called on to be merciful stewards of God’s creation, but there’s nothing merciful or Christ-like about the way that animals are abused on farms and in slaughterhouses, where they are routinely mutilated without painkillers and denied everything that’s natural and important to them.

Going vegan is a return to God’s intention.

The Bible is clear that God’s design for the world is for animals and humans to exist peacefully with one another, and for humans to be caretakers, not killers.

In a 2002 interview, when asked about the rights of animals, Pope Benedict XVI said, “That is a very serious question. At any rate, we can see that they are given into our care, that we cannot just do whatever we want with them. Animals, too, are God’s creatures . . . . Certainly, a sort of industrial use of creatures, so that geese are fed in such a way as to produce as large a liver as possible, or hens live so packed together that they become just caricatures of birds, this degrading of living creatures to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible.”

The overarching message of scripture is that humans need to care for God’s creation. Breeding and killing animals by the billions just so that we can eat them is the opposite of this and just one example of the many ways that we’re getting dominion wrong.

Slaughtering animals for food necessitates violence and death. Three times a day, we can make the world a more compassionate place simply by leaving animals off our plates.

Need help going vegan? Order your free vegan starter kit today!