the animals

Foxes and Goodness and God

I follow a fantastic twitter account, @hourlyFox, which posts one photo of a fox each hour. If you’re on twitter, follow it.

These foxes have taught me a profound truth: goodness is something solid and real. Sometimes I forget this. I start thinking of goodness as being something subjective, existing only in our minds, or as being just relational, existing only between things. But these foxes disprove this.

These foxes are good. God sees foxes, and sees that they are good. And they are not merely good-to-me or good-according-to-me; they are good-in-and-of-themselves. Foxes were good for millions of years before we humans even showed up.

As St Thomas said, “Goodness and being are really the same, and differ only in idea” (ST I, Q.5, Art.1). Foxes remind me of this truth. When we forget this, we can become stupidly small minded, obsessed with ourselves and with other people’s thoughts. When we are the measure and centre of the universe, the source of its meaning, our universe becomes as small as we are, and will suffocate us with its pressure.

It’s not all about me! It’s not even all about us! The universe would still be genuinely good if human beings never existed. Of course, we are good too, but not merely by our own judgments.

All of this does raise the question: who is it good to? Because as much as foxes are good in themselves, I’m not sure if the idea of “good” makes sense in a non-personal context. St Thomas links goodness with desire, which is surely tied to personhood. So can anything really be good in itself?

Yes, by being good in God. I believe that foxes being good in themselves is the same as foxes being good in God’s eyes. In fact, I believe their existence is the same as God’s knowledge/experience of them. God is not separated from reality for there to be a subjective-objective distinction. He is the non-other.

What’s more, the goodness of each fox is a participation-in and revelation-of the goodness of God, that is, God Himself.

Now we must ask: have we just shifted the existential burden onto this “God” character? Is the world small and in itself meaningless to Him, if not to us?

No. We must remember that God is perfectly humble (and this humility is Himself). Like fox cubs at play, He doesn’t act for any end beyond rejoicing in the act itself. It has no greater meaning and it needs no greater meaning. He has no greater meaning and He needs no greater meaning. He is love.

God bless you!


I’ve been a vegetarian a little over a year now. Here’s how and why. About November last year, I watched the film Babe. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a pig, raised on a farm by sheep-dogs, who becomes a sheep-pig. There are two parts that are particularly relevant. At the start, Babe is with his mother in a dark room, until men come and take his mother away to never return. The young pigs think she never returns because the place she’s taken to is so wonderful. The second, is when Babe is told that all the useless animals on the farm are killed and eaten, which makes Babe get depressed. I think on the same day, I read part of Leo Tolstoy’s, ‘The First Step’ (Here’s an extract of it) where he claims that vegetarianism is the first step to righteousness. He mentions visiting a slaughterhouse, watching the processes, and speaking with the workers there, and claims that meat is immoral because it makes men have to go against their moral instincts by killing. All of this set me thinking, and I very soon decided that I was firmly against animal farms, because a creatures entire life was aimed at its death, and the use of its corpse, which I found perverse. A week or two after, I decided not to have any meat or fish, because the killing is the real problem. My early decision was that, as long as I wasn’t sure it was righteous to eat meat, I would abstain.

and he who is making a difference, if he may eat, hath been condemned, because it is not of faith; and all that is not of faith is sin. Romans 14:23

I looked into Christian vegetarianism, and found a lot of information. Some claim that Jesus was a vegetarian, and when he cleared the animals from the temple was protesting animal sacrifice. According to the Bible, everyone up to Noah ate no meat, and some claim they were only allowed after the flood to eat the dead animals left out, to save their lives. There is also a prophecy in Isaiah where the lion will lie down with the lamb. Importantly, God made man vegetarian, and so did not make animals for meat, but for something better. There is a lot more supporting Christian vegetarianism, and if you’re interested, I’ve googled it for you Initially I did a lot of research on nearly every aspect of it. I found out how being vegetarian adds years to your life, how it’s better for the environment, how it helps the hungry by requiring less farmland (and therefore increasing quantity and decreasing the price of food). It seemed to me, meat-eating didn’t have a leg to stand on. God bless you.