"Didn't Jesus Eat Fish?" This New Vegan Documentary Explores the Relationship Between Faith and Animals

Compassion and morality are key tenets the world over’s religions, and but, some religion leaders typically flip a blind eye to animal exploitation. The feature-length documentary Christspiracy—the newest chapter within the Cowspiracy, What the Well being, and Seaspiracy movie collection—goals to show why spiritual leaders all through the world disregard animal exploitation and the billions of animals slaughtered yearly. 

Co-directed by Kip Andersen (of Cowspiracy and What the Well being fame) and Kameron Waters, Christspiracy is poised for a 2024 launch date. The movie explores the relationships between religions and animals by the lens of philosophy, sociology, and psychology. Finally, Christspiracy seeks to reply the query: “Is there an moral method to kill an animal?”

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For 5 years, Andersen and Waters traveled the world over—making key stops in Rome, Italy; Jerusalem and Nazareth, Israel; New Delhi, India; Oxford, England; Gran Chaco, Paraguay; and Kathmandu, Nepal—to interview theologians, archeologists, Indigenous shamans, farmers, and extra. 

By means of Christspiracy, the filmmakers unveil a “2,000-year coverup,” the teaser reveals. However finally, each Andersen and Waters hope the documentary encourages viewers to assume critically about their very own beliefs. 

“We wish [audiences] to stroll away themselves and asking, ‘What do I actually align with?’ How are they treating others? Does ‘do unto others’ embody animals? It’s actually about asking extra questions and persevering with the dialog. This movie is just the start; let’s department this out,” Andersen tells VegNews. “And naturally, we’d love them to stroll out with a giant dose of compassion for all beings.” 

‘Christspiracy’ and Netflix half methods

Set for launch subsequent yr, Christspiracy has, on the time of writing, raised $384,530 on Kickstarter to help with distribution and securing movie rights. 

Not like most filmmakers, Andersen and Waters have been confronted with a singular dilemma: the co-directors have been tasked with shopping for the movie’s rights again from Netflix. 

“We’re actually tremendous grateful towards Netflix for every thing. We’ve partnered with them on the final three movies,” Andersen explains. Regardless of the profitable working relationship between Andersen and Netflix, the 2 merely didn’t see eye-to-eye when it got here to the co-director’s latest documentary.

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“Proper off the board, [Christspiracy] is a few very difficult topic. As [Waters and I] obtained deeper into the story of Jesus and the Nazareths, we needed to go deeper in that route […] exploring and revealing this 2,000-year coverup,” he says.

“Netflix felt very strongly. They needed to take a distinct path than we did. Netflix needed to take key elements out that we felt have been crucial to inform this story because it wanted to be informed. It grew to become apparent neither of us have been going to [compromise], and so we made the very, very troublesome determination to half methods, launch [Christspiracy] on our personal, and get our movie rights again,” Andersen explains. 

The place to look at ‘Christspiracy’

After fundraising greater than $300,000 in lower than two weeks, the filmmakers have secured the movie’s rights again from Netflix. Now, Andersen and Waters have a brand new stretch aim of $500,000.

Their eyes are additionally set on one other bold aim: one billion views. To assist attain their aim, the filmmakers purpose to launch Christspiracy in theaters, digitally by way of streaming companies, and even locations of worship. An unique streaming platform can also be within the works to assist get the movie in entrance of as many viewers as doable.

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“We’re constructing our personal platform to have the ability to launch it,” Waters tells VegNews. “We’re releasing it all over the place on each platform, however we additionally need to have our personal platform the place it’s actually accessible and in addition construct neighborhood so that folks can activate collectively on that platform.”

Extra funds raised by way of Kickstarter can even assist with advertising efforts, translations, and theater distribution packages. Donations will be made now by December 1, with the donation window formally closing at 5:24pm PST. 

The making of ‘Christspiracy’

Whereas Andersen and Waters have labored on Christspiracy for over 5 years, the seeds for the movie have been laid way back. 

In reality, the co-directors met at a Q&A screening of Andersen’s movie Cowspiracy. A lifelong Christian, Waters started asking questions on animal ethics and faith after partaking within the Daniel Quick, a partial quick by which folks abstain from animal merchandise. 

“It’s a biblical quick that plenty of Protestant Christians do, primarily based on the prophet Daniel, who I realized about as a child,” Waters explains. “Should you’re an grownup, and also you’re ingesting alcohol, you additionally take away that, however you go to easy meals, simply plant-based complete meals. And whilst you do it, you pray and it’s a time to attach nearer to God. And the explanation why is as a result of the prophet Daniel did the identical factor.”

The prophet Daniel, Waters explains, was then examined by the king, who believed the quick was “ridiculous.” 

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“The king examined Daniel in opposition to all the opposite folks within the kingdom and he was more healthy, stronger, and wiser than everybody,” Waters says. After following the quick himself, Waters, too, skilled a wide range of advantages, each bodily and spiritually.

He might bodily really feel the well being advantages of the quick and in addition felt extra linked to his religious path. Nevertheless, this additionally raised moral questions for Waters. “I felt extra linked to my religious path […] however I additionally felt the moral aspect and felt, ‘Yeah, I don’t need to be part of harming different beings. That doesn’t appear very Christ-like.’ However then I used to be like, ‘Properly, wait a minute. Didn’t Jesus eat fish? And supposedly he ate the lamb on the Passover. So how did Jesus do it?’”

Waters started searching for solutions in spiritual scriptures and started posing his questions to non secular specialists. And when the possibility got here to ask Kip Andersen, Waters jumped on the alternative.

Andersen himself was bowled over, and famous this “could possibly be the lacking piece to his earlier movies.” 

Whereas not a non secular movie (“It’s a movie about faith,” Andersen differentiates), making Christspiracy has strengthened Waters’ spirituality. “I’m nonetheless very a lot a follower of Christ. However my understanding of his compassion has expanded,” he says. 

Veganism and faith

Vegetarianism and plant-based consuming have lengthy been tenets of choose religions, maybe most notably in Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. 

Trendy-day activists have additionally utilized faith as a way of advocating for vegan existence. In 2019, vegan activist Genesis Butler urged the Pope to go vegan for Lent in alternate for a $1 million charity donation of his selecting. And simply final month, creator Jonathan Safran Foer visited the Vatican and urged humanity to scale back its meat consumption to assist battle the local weather disaster. 

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“If we settle for the factual actuality that we’re destroying the planet and dooming future generations, however are unable to imagine it and alter our behaviors in significant methods, we reveal ourselves to be simply one other number of denier,” Foer mentioned in his speech.

“We might haven’t any probability of reaching our aim of limiting environmental destruction if people don’t make the very particular person determination to reside in a different way: to drive and fly much less, to eat much less meat, and to do the laborious work of believing in each the disaster we’re creating and our capability to avert it.”

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