Ask Jonathots … September 3rd, 2015

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I like animals more than people. I own four dogs and volunteer at the animal shelter once a month, and regularly canvas my co-workers to donate to the shelter and also to other animal charities. I dress my doggies for the weather and buy them special cakes for holidays and their birthdays. Two of my co-workers referred to me as “unbalanced” because I treat my dogs like they’re my children. I told them that I think animals are more trustworthy than humans. What do you think?

I am curious about the way you have framed your paragraph and question. In other words, if you had begun your statement by telling me about your delightful four dogs, your work with charities and the fact that you treat these animals as your children, I would have said,”Absolutely fabulous.”

But the fact that you chose to begin your feelings by saying that you like animals more than people does warn me that you are dealing with a neurosis.

I would feel the same about someone who led off by saying they liked people more than animals. My question would be why?

If you truly contend that animals are part of God’s creation and therefore deserve our respect, tenderness and appreciation, that is one thing. But to isolate them off as superior to people–another part of God’s creation–is no different from someone telling me they like gay better than straight, white better than black and female better than male.

The unbalanced part of your personality lies in your need to prefer instead of just honoring.

Honestly, animals are not more trustworthy than humans. I have very few friends–or even enemies–who would eat my dead body if they were locked in a room with me for three days without food.

But animals not only have a purpose, they are symbolistic of what Jesus called “the least of these, my brethren.” They need our care, they need our attention, they deserve our respect, and they also anticipate that we will have the insight to place them in the correct position in our lives.

It’s not that people are better than animals or animals are better than people. It’s just that when you set apart some segment of creation as superior to another segment, you are on the slippery slope of bigotry which lends itself to tyranny.

  • I love animals. I love animals to let them be animals.
  • I love people. I love people enough to let them be people.
  • And I love God. I love God enough to let Him be God.

Because in your hour of need, you can certainly believe that God cares about your situation and will help. There is also the potential that people will come along and assist, based upon their compassion.

But if you’re broken down along the side of the road, your dog will just sit there and bark, waiting for a treat.

 

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