Cytrix wrote:But be aware that labels create that idea of 'other' (on both sides!) and others can easily take offense.
Bingo. You've hit the nail on the head.
I don't eat meat because I think the way animals are slaughtered--see the latest Human Association into Tyson on Yahoo! just yesterday--is morally wrong. As others have said, others who do eat meat sometimes get offended by this, feeling judged.
Cytrix, you--and others--have said you eat meat when others offer it to you, because you feel doing otherwise is rude. That, too, is judgment. You judge it morally wrong to possibly offend others, and some people who think that way acted angry at we vegetarians who don't do as THEY do.
If others aren't going to change their eating habits to suit me, why would I change mine to suit them? If I'm not eating meat in front of them and that means I'm being rude, doesn't that mean them eating meat in front of me means they're judging me and my lifestyle too ("how stupid!" "how sentimental!")? Doesn't telling me I'm being rude--not you, Cytrix, but speaking generally in this thread--judge me and my actions? How is that judgment of my actions less rude, more right, than my judgment for myself?
Cytrix, you're right, people WILL feel judged. This gives me two choices: I can hide who I am and what I believe to be sensitive to those around me or I can be true to myself and accept that sometimes people will be hurt. Making that choice requires making a judgment, and I've made it, just as those who think I'm rude for making that judgment have made their own judgment.
If anyone can think of a way to solve the above without making any judgment at any point about anyone or ever offending anybody, that'll be a pretty incredible feat. In the meantime, I want to be as polite and understanding to as many people as I can, while living in a way that won't make me hate myself, which means no eating meat, either alone or with others.
"Am I missing something?" asked Annabelle.
"I think you're missing a lot of things," Jimmy replied.
-From "Demon of Renaissance Drive"