Original Research

Feeding holy bodies: A study on the social meanings of a vegetarian diet to Seventh-day Adventist church pioneers

Ruben Sánchez, Ramon Gelabert, Yasna Badilla, Carlos Del Valle
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 3 | a3080 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i3.3080 | © 2016 Ruben Sánchez, Ramon Gelabert, Yasna Badilla, Carlos Del Valle | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 June 2015 | Published: 10 June 2016

About the author(s)

Ruben Sánchez, School of Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidad de La Frontera, Chile
Ramon Gelabert, Research Director, Universidad Adventista de Chile, Chile
Yasna Badilla, School of Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidad de La Frontera, Chile
Carlos Del Valle, School of Education, Social Sciences and Humanities, Universidad de La Frontera, Chile


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Abstract

Ten years ago National Geographic magazine reported that the Loma Linda Seventh-day Adventist population is one of the communities in the world that lives longer and with a higher quality of life thanks in part to the biological benefits of a vegetarian diet. Along with National Geographic, other media outlets have reported since then that the Adventist religious community considers a plant-based diet a very important factor for a healthy lifestyle. Adventists have been promoting this type of diet worldwide for more than 150 years. This article is an attempt to understand from a social-scientific perspective the origin of the importance they lend to diet and see whether this helps explain why approximately 150 years after the founding of the church, diet remains crucial for Adventists around the world. The conclusion proposed is that Adventists understood the adoption of a plant-based diet as a special divine instruction in order to nourish their new identity as a special people differentiated from the rest of society. This was possible through a desecularisation of diet that placed food in the moral category of the Adventist belief system.

Keywords: Seventh-day Adventist Church; vegetarian diet; religion; health; desecularisation; identity


Keywords

Seventh-day Adventist Church; vegetarian diet; religion; health; desecularisation; identity

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Crossref Citations

1. The Global Influence of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church on Diet
Jim Banta, Jerry Lee, Georgia Hodgkin, Zane Yi, Andrea Fanica, Joan Sabate
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doi: 10.3390/rel9090251