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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Why can't christians eat bats? Why are they unclean birds?


I know bats aren't birds. Why does the bible state bats are unclean birds?

24 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    First of all, Christians can eat anything (Mark 7:18-20; Acts 10:9-16; 1 Tim. 4:3-4). It was the Old Testament Jews who where forbidden from eating certain animals.

    Moses specifically forbade the Israelites to eat bats (Leviticus 11:19). The wisdom of this instruction is demonstrated by the fact that bats often carry rabies. While it is true that many animals are susceptible to rabies, bats are especially so. The American College of Emergency Physicians documented that between 1992 and 2002, rabies passed from bats caused 24 of the 26 human deaths from rabies in the United States. In the Science Daily article describing this research, “Robert V. Gibbons, MD, MPH, of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, MD., reviewed the 24 cases of humans with bat rabies.” From his research, he advised “the public to seek emergency care for preventive treatment for rabies if direct contact with a bat occurs." Moses’ instruction to avoid bats coincides perfectly with modern research.

    Some people ask, why does the Bible call bats, “birds”? First let’s look at the passage: Leviticus 11:13, 19, "These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds [5775]; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard… and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat."

    Now, You need to remember that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, not English. Let’s look at the Hebrew for “bird”:

    5775 owph

    1) flying creatures, fowl, insects, birds

    1a) fowl, birds

    1b) winged insects

    This word in Hebrew doesn’t just refer to birds unless the context demands it. Yet this is referring to things that are “winged.” In certain contexts this may be better translated as “flying creatures.” The same word is used just a few verses later in conjunction with the Hebrew word for “crawling/creeping things” (e.g. insects).

    As we can see from Scripture and the Hebrew, a bat is not a bird, but is a “flying/winged creature.” A translation that would make more sense would be:

    Leviticus 11:13, 19, "These, moreover, you shall detest among the flying creatures; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard… and the stork, the heron in its kinds, and the hoopoe, and the bat."

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  • 1 decade ago


    A bat is a mammal in the order Chiroptera. Their most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight (other mammals, such as flying squirrels and gliding phalangers, can glide for limited distances but are not capable of true sustainable flight). The word Chiroptera can be translated from the Greek words for "hand wing," as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand with a membrane (patagium) between the fingers that also stretches between hand and body.

    There are estimated to be about 1,100 species of bats worldwide, accounting for about 20% of all mammal species. About 70% of bats are insectivores. Of the remainder, most feed on fruits and their juices; three species sustain themselves with blood and some prey on vertebrates. These bats include the leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae) of Central America and South America, and the related bulldog bats (Noctilionidae) that feed on fish. At least two known species of bat feed on other bats: the Spectral Bat, also called the American False Vampire bat, and the Ghost Bat of Australia. One species, the Greater Noctule bat, is believed to catch and eat small birds in the air. Despite the cold weather, there are 6 species of bats in Alaska.

    Some of the smaller bat species are important pollinators of some tropical flowers. Indeed, many tropical plants are now found to be totally dependent on them, not just for pollination, but for spreading their seeds by eating the resulting fruits. This role explains environmental concerns when a bat is introduced in a new setting. Tenerife provides a recent example with the introduction of the Egyptian fruit bat.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I'm a Christian and I can eat anything I want to - I am not limited in diet as a Jewish or Muslim person would be. That being said - I still probably would not eat a bat just because I am unfamiliar with them as a food source. I like chicken and beef! :) But I would not condemn you if you wanted to try bat - I just most likely would not join you! :)

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  • 1 decade ago

    Eating or not eating bats have nothing to do with religion. It all depends on how one is raised to eat limited choices of food on the table and regular meals a day.I know plenty of my relative who eat fish but will never touch the head as I do. I also have nephews who cannot eat chicken that he saw how it was prepared at home. We used to live in a farm where we dress chicken from killing to removing its feather, gizzards and everything inside to cooking and finally to the dining table.

    As for bats, this a delicacyy from adventurous but I do not think it is a popular food in many great cities except the exotic places in the country sides.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Christians were not told to abstain from eating bats. Eat them if you want to but, no thank you for me. The writer of Leviticus, although inspired by God, was unfamiliar with the way that humans classify mammals and birds in these times.

    Please ask who, what, where, why and when while reading Bible passages in order to understand. These were instructions for the Israelites.

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  • 1 decade ago

    A bat isn't classified in the same category as birds are. Bats are mammals, birds lay eggs... continued studying on your part is highly recommended.


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  • Teresa
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    1. Jews follow old testament law when it comes to food practices - not Christians

    2. the laws for food were intended for disease prevention- remember, they were written like 6,000 years ago, before the USDA standards

    3. Why would anyone want to eat bat? Out of all the things to complain about not eating - pig, shellfish, whatever! But bat? really?

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  • 1 decade ago

    A bat is a mammal not a bird.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Bats aren't birds they are a form of rodent.

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  • 3 years ago

    because of the fact God became conversing Hebrew, no longer English. In Hebrew, the be conscious often translated as "chook" honestly merely skill "flying element." This incorporates quite a few bugs to boot. Likewise, the be conscious often translated as "fish" merely skill "swimming element," that's the place the whale/fish confusion is offered in interior the story approximately Jonah--it would not honestly specify despite if the creature is a mammal or a fish, because of the fact the classic Hebrews did no longer distinguish issues the comparable way as we do. you will to boot say the classic Greeks thought the sky became gray, or specific tribespeople think of that flowers are blue.

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