In the wide world of academia, there are scholars who like to push the limits of convention and conformity in an attempt to gain some recognition and attention that might not otherwise be available.
Surely this is the case for two British psychologists who recently wrote an academic piece entitled: “Cannibalism is found throughout the animal kingdom – so why is it the ultimate taboo for humans.”
Is the question rhetorical or are the authors serious?
The answer to that question is downright disturbing.
At its core, the article seems to argue that since other animals, even mammals and chimps, eat their own, why should it be such a taboo for humans to do the same? Throughout the article, the authors provide examples of animals that have eaten their own species, like bears and lions. They also mention that certain groups, like the Fore people of Papua New Guinea, consume their dead as part of the funeral rights and were “demonized” for it.
Shockingly, a CNN reporter even (allegedly) ate a piece of human brain and drank alcohol from a human skull for a show called “Believer,” which documented an eclectic array of spiritual traditions from around the globe.
“We suspect that we could adapt to (eating) human flesh if need be,” the authors wrote. “Many people develop disgust for all kinds of meat, while morticians and surgeons quickly adapt to the initially difficult experience of handling dead bodies.”
The content of the article is horrifically disturbing. After all, the psychologists are actually suggesting that cannibalism could be a potential food source for people in the future.
Are these projections far-fetched, a ghoulishly dystopian snapshot of a fictionalized world? Or should we be genuinely concerned?
Yes and yes.
When you reduce humans to the level of the animal kingdom it logically follows that cannibalism could follow.
Of course, humans and animals are not the same. Despite how cute your dog is (mine’s adorable), the life of a dog is not comparable to the life of a person. As human beings, we’re created in the image of God to have a personal relationship with Him, and thus our lives are infinitely more valuable as image bearers of our Creator.
We also believe that God gave humans dominion over the “fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (1:26, ESV).
We are made in the image of God, and our lives and bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), not the meal of deranged people interested challenging cultural norms for kicks.