The committed vegan atheist is a strange creature & no wonder. An atheist has to contend with their belief that they have no life beyond that which they currently experience. If a billion years is compressed into a single year then, proportionally, an 80 year, human lifespan lasts ~2.5 seconds. In other words, looking at the cosmic scale of time, human life is a blip!
The problem with having a blip mentality is that of purpose. You grow for the first, half second & then you decay for the remaing, two seconds & then you return to eternal nothingness. I believe that it's precisely this, conscious or subconscious knowledge, which makes people susceptible to manipulation. If you believe yourself to be alone in the Universe, for just a very short time, then I would imagine that adopting a clear, group identity might have a strong appeal.
Deriving your identity from a group, can lead to a "hive mind" mentality, whereby individual needs are both suppressed & ignored, because the primary need is to belong to the group (colony). This may go some way toward explaining why vegans, when they develop health problems, appear unable, at first (or longer!), to link their health to their diet.
With veganism, it appears that the strongest, binding force is the ethical argument. My problem with that is that the worst practices, of factory farming, are used to ram home the message. So strong is the effect, on many people, that it closes off any appeal to humane, animal husbandry: Animals want to live. Animals have the right to live. No one has the right to kill another, sentient being. There is no, possible way to humanely slaughter an animal. Humans are herbivores, who don't need nutrients from animals. Etc. Etc.
Once the ethical argument is swallowed, the health & environmental arguments fall into place. A purely ethical argument would be a more difficult sell, without the other two elements being true. "Do it for the animals, even though both your health & the environment may suffer", isn't going to wash. The (unholy) trinity of vegan "truths" are used to batter the opposition. Resistance is futile. The Borg collective is at the gates!
I believed in the existence of God before I was 4yo. We were given a 6mo cat (Sally). Immediately, I concluded that Teddy was made by Man & Sally was made by God (& armed by Satan himself!). I read the Holy Bible only when I was 21yo. At the time, I was studying to become a physics teacher so, like a good scientist, I shut out all preconceptions & treated it simply as a collection of ancient writings.
I began with the New Testament & before I got through Matthew's Gospel I had the new mind of a Christian. The penny had dropped & I was very tearful. Just the typical, Christian conversion experience, as I later discovered. It was then time to wade through the Old Testament &, at first, it seemed like another world. Eventually, it all came together, leaving me convinced that I both understood creation & possessed eternal life.
Understanding the Eden story is the key. Get that right & the rest is obvious. So! The six days (phases) of creation end with Adam & Eve. What's the deal? They are given the Garden, to manage as they please. At this point, they are perfect humans, existing in a separate dimension to God. Why? They are given the gift of free will. Their environment is perfect (all the trees to eat of). At this juncture, I have to agree that all animals were herbiverous.
The Tree of Life & The Tree of the knowledge of Good & Evil. If the talking snake makes you roll your eyes then let's leave Satan out of the picture (for now). The two trees represent the acceptance or rejection of God, as the source of life. Eden was a paradise but, once the temptation to challenge God emerged, it was decision time. To pick Tree 1 is to acknowledge God as creator & join Him in His, eternal dimension. To pick Tree 2 is to think that God is unnecessary & to go it alone.
Rejecting God is, effectively, to reject life. Adam & Eve's rejection led to the Fall of Man, which is the tainted world which we inhabit. It's now a mixture; beautiful/ugly, healthy/unhealthy, growing/dying, happy/miserable, rich/poor, thriving/suffering, etc. The solution? After the Fall, God explained how Mankind would get a second chance. A sinless man would pay the price, on behalf of Mankind, thus allowing access, once again, to the possibility of choosing eternal life.
Jesus Christ was that man, who was God in the flesh (The Tree of Life). To a Christian, having faith in Jesus Christ is to choose The Tree of Life, thus accepting the gift of eternal life, which Adam & Eve rejected. This, tainted world, is a temporary phase & having to kill "stuff", in order to survive, comes with the territory. One day (soon?) it will all come good & we'll all resort to being eternal vegans. Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy steak & eggs, from the most ethical sources which I can find.
I believe that it was Richard Dawkins who coined the phrase "The God of the Gaps". He argues that Mankind ascribes all, unexplained phenomena to God but that, as science continues to provide rational explanations, for such phenomena, God is gradually being squeezed out. A simple extrapolation, of scientific advances, will soon, finally kick God out of the park.
OT God is also demonized as a mysogenistic, genocidal maniac. However, going back to the blip timescale, if God is real, He is able to restore anyone & everyone, to eternal life. He only "offed" people who were getting in the way of His plan.
Michael Shermer also thinks that he can disprove the God of the Christians. One of his arguments is that many religions involved stories of both floods & virgin births, long before "Christianity". However, that aligns with the Holy Bible narrative, in which Adam & Eve were told about the solution, immediately after their poor decision. That knowledge would have also been known by the descendants of Noah (after the flood). The evidence which supposedly undermines Christian faith, actually supports it.
Man rejected God (the Eden story) so here we are. Not so fast! Man rejected God (became separated from Him) but He had a plan. He chose a people through whom He would work out that plan. That was the religious era, of one, true religion.
Once Jesus died, upon the cross, religion died too, as the separation, of God from Man, also died. Faith replaced religion. That's what the NT explains. It's hardly rocket science (which isn't that difficult, in theory). You either believe or you don't.
What if you don't believe? Three verses, then an explanation.
1. John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
2. Luke 5:32 (NIV) "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
3. Revelation 20:13 (NIV) The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.
The above, three verses sum up Christian faith. Taken together, not just Christians are rewarded with eternal life, although it is Christ who judges all. Christian faith is a "heads up" gift. Those who have it avoid the final judgement. The temporal cost of such a faith? Mockery. Hatred. Who cares? Eternal life is worth it. Dawkins would accuse us of suffering from "The God Delusion" but, as an evolutionary biologist (not a hard, physical scientist), what does he know?
By improving health, empowering women, population growth comes down. - Bill Gates (b.1955).