Recently I made a seemingly innocent comment on Facebook that Flakes are my favorite chocolate. Outrage followed. How dare I as a Christian eat chocolate that is Halal certified?
So let’s talk about that.
First up: What is Halal?
Halal is an Arabic word that means “permissible”.
Muslims are not allowed to eat foods explicitly prohibited in Islam. These include:
- Pig meat (Nooooo imagine life without bacon)
- Meat of an animal that has died of natural causes, or as a result of strangling or beating
- Blood in liquid form
(From an article on the ABC Website)
Muslims choose to eat halal food because it meets requirements that they believe make it suitable for consumption. Halal originates from rules set out in the Qur’an and the Hadith which have been followed throughout generations of Islamic practice. For Muslim consumers, knowing how the food was produced is an important consideration.
As a concept, Halal does not only pertain to food. Halal means “permissible” and can refer to any aspect of life covered by the teachings of Islam. Halal is a part of sharia as a system of morals to guide Muslims’ actions and behavior, but this should not be confused with halal as part of a codified system of sharia law. Halal prescriptions might be considered by observant Muslims to be religious obligations, but Australia is a secular country and halal forms no part of any Australian law.
So let me sum up…Halal merely says that a food item can be consumed by a Muslim.
Ok so here is what I think:-
1) I can eat Halal food and it doesn’t matter.
Let me quote 1 Corinthians 8:1-8
Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.
4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
7 However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. 8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
Hey now re read Verse 8.
8 But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse.
So people, I am pretty sure Verse 8 sums it up.
Let me making it slightly clearer by quoting from the Message Paraphrase Version.
4-6 Some people say, quite rightly, that idols have no actual existence, that there’s nothing to them, that there is no God other than our one God, that no matter how many of these so-called gods are named and worshiped they still don’t add up to anything but a tall story. They say—again, quite rightly—that there is only one God the Father, that everything comes from him, and that he wants us to live for him. Also, they say that there is only one Master—Jesus the Messiah—and that everything is for his sake, including us. Yes. It’s true.
7 In strict logic, then, nothing happened to the meat when it was offered up to an idol. It’s just like any other meat.
Substitute ‘Flake’ for meat and there you have it…..A theological framework to eat Flakes.
Can somebody give me a Hallelujah or an Amen?
2) There are bigger issues that we should rage about when it comes to Chocolate?
Let’s talk about the Prophet Amos. He prophesied strongly against systemic injustice in a very prosperous era of the Nation of Israel.
“Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ’Bring, that we may drink!’“ (Amos 4:1)
The ‘cows of Bashan’ were rich women who were apparently oppressing the poor and crushing the needy. How were they doing this by what they were drinking? Well the wine they were asking their husbands to bring to them, was being produced by exploitative labour practices. So the very fact that they were drinking this wine, God was holding them to account. God was saying they were ‘crushing the needy and oppressing the poor’, by using products produced in non ethical ways.
How does this relate to us today and our Flake journey? Well 40% of the world’s cocoa is produced in the Ivory Coast. Cocoa is what is used to produce Chocolate. Right now in the Ivory Coast there are 15,000 child slave labourers, some as young as 11, working 16 hours a day to produce the main ingredient of chocolate, so Westerners like you and I can eat things like Flakes. Now the producers of Flake, Cadburys, do say that they source their cocoa ethically and some of their chocolate bars carry the Fair Trade symbol….I do note though, that not all their chocolates carry the symbol. Makes me wonder exactly how much of their cocoa is ethically sourced.
So what’s the bigger deal in the economy of God when it comes to chocolate? Halal certification or the ethical sourcing of it’s main ingredient?
I suggest it’s the latter.
Well the bible actually suggests it’s the latter.
3) I assume those outraged by my love of Flakes refuse to eat anything at all Halal Certified.
Here is a list of some of the popular brands in Australia that carry the Halal certification.
- Coco Pops
- Just Right.
- Coon Cheese.
- All products of Sarah Lee.
- Nescafe Coffee
- International Roast.
- Kraft Peanut Butter.
- Weis Ice Cream Bars.
- Macleans Toothpaste
For me personally, I am going to continue to enjoy all these products and any other Halal certified as I am not letting Islam control my life.
To stop using anything Halal certified, aren’t you giving the worshippers of Allah, power over what you can and can’t eat. To me that sounds dumb. I eat Vegemite. Jesus is still the Messiah and I didn’t even think of a Muslim at breakfast this morning.
As I write this blog, I know that I am going to be accused of being on soft Islam. So let me say clearly, I hate the Islamic push into the Western World. I hate the intimidation that comes on Christian leaders, Politicians, and anyone who may slightly resist the Islamisation of Australia and indeed the world. I would certainly hate to see Sharia law ever become part of the Australian way of life. But if I eat a Flake Chocolate, am I condemning the world to the worship of Allah?
I suggest no!
Are we better served to be outraged at the systemic injustice in the production of Chocolate.
I suggest yes.
Anyway, that’s what I think,
You may be interesting in some of my other Islam orientated Blogs:-
- How Islam Treats Women – Reviewing Four Books on This Topic.
- Honour Killings–Are they rooted in Islam?
- My Sermon Notes on Islam – Essential Basic Information
- And Now The Courts of Australia Silently Scream Allahu Akbar
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