I am a Muslim. Pork is prohibited in my religion. I also think that it is prohibited in Christianity because of Deuteronomy chapter 14 verse 8. But why do most Christians eat pork? Is it a contradiction?

The pig is also unclean; although it has a divided hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. - Deuteronomy 14:8

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    I hope this will be followed with questions about seafood and the wearing of mixed fibres.
    – RedSonja
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 12:51
  • Interesting that all the unclean animals are carnivorous, I think. And eating pig meat also has a high risk of trichinosis. Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 19:59
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    @MarkStewart rabbits are unclean, also most insects.
    – Tim
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 22:15
  • @MarkStewart nowhere in the First World is that true. Even more importantly... Middle Easterners ate LOTS of pork until chickens replaced them 3000 years ago.
    – RonJohn
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 4:00
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    This has been marked as a duplicate of another question. I'd agree that most of the answers here are duplicates, but that's because they answer a much more general question. But some (in particular mine) do directly address the specific question and from a position that is the exact opposite of the others. ¶ I think the specific question about clean vs. unclean food deserves its own question. ¶ It would be nice if it were possible to mark answers as duplicates rather than the question. Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 17:01

12 Answers 12


Why do most Christians eat pork?

Initially, the prohibition against pork was part of the Law giving to Moses as Deuteronomy 14:7, 8 states.

However, you must not eat the following animals that chew the cud or that have split hooves: the camel, the hare, and the rock badger, because they chew the cud but do not have split hooves. They are unclean for you. 8 Also the pig because it has a split hoof but does not chew the cud. It is unclean for you. You must not eat their flesh or touch their carcasses. (NWT)

Interestingly though when here on earth, Jesus was confronted with a situation that dealt with uncleanness in Mark 7:1-8. Jesus later was explaining to his disciples the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of the time. In his explanation, Jesus made a very interesting statement:

So he said to them: “Are you also without understanding like them? Are you not aware that nothing from outside that enters into a man can defile him, 19 since it enters, not into his heart, but into his stomach, and it passes out into the sewer?” Thus he declared all foods clean.-Mark 7:18, 19 (NWT)[italics mine]

In a vision, the apostle Peter saw a large linen sheet with unclean animals. (Acts 10:9-16) In this vision, a voice spoke to him saying:

“Stop calling defiled the things God has cleansed.”-Acts 10:15 (NWT)

While this vision was to indicate the acceptance of Gentiles (non-Jews) into the congregation of God, this also corroborates Jesus's statement at Mark 7:19.

Later, the apostle Paul addressed the issue of some of those within the Christian congregation having a problem with Gentiles eating foods that were purchased in the local markets. Some of these foods were sometimes 'leftovers' of sacrifices made to false gods or idols. In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul talks about the need to not judge our fellow man about what they eat. Paul also counsels Christians to not stumble or cause problems for fellow Christians by doing things that would make them question their faith.

Ultimately, Christians are no longer under the Mosaic Law. The apostle put it plainly:

“The Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith. But now that the faith has arrived, we are no longer under a tutor.”-Galatians 3:24, 25 (NWT)

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    because they chew the cud but do not have split hooves. - why is this given as a reason? It doesn't make sense intuitively. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 11:49
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    @henning--reinstateMonica This is a reference to the verse before that calls all animals clean that chew the cud AND have split hooves. Whatever that symbol is supposed to represent, that isn't further explained.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 15:16
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    only what comes OUT of men's mouth can defile them (their words and thoughts)
    – Manuki
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 15:28
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    @henning--reinstateMonica - John Bunyan, of Pilgrim's Progress fame, supposed the intended meaning is that those who "do not chew the cud" are those who do not meditate on God's Word and those whose "hooves were not separated" are they who fail to separate unto holiness and away from worldliness - in other words both are needed for a man to be godly - goodreads.com/quotes/… - In the manner of interpretation, John Bunyan is following the Apostle Paul (Deut 25:4; 1 Cor 9:9, 1 Timothy 5:18) Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 16:10

This is part of a larger question about whether/how the Old Testament Law still applies to Christians of today. What does it mean that Jesus fulfilled the law but did not abolish it?

When Christ came, he "fulfilled the Law".

Referring specifically to food, Paul the Apostle explained to early Christians that it was their choice whether or not to eat it. Nothing is inherently unclean. If someone considers it unclean, then that's their judgement to make. He also warned not to let our decision become a stumbling block for others.

Romans 14: 14-15 KJV

14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.


Why do most Christians eat pork, in light of Deuteronomy 14:8? Is this a contradiction?

Looking at Christianity from the outside, one could see that the eating of pork is a contradiction, but in reality it is not.

First of all, the prohibition of abstaining from the flesh of pigs is not part of the Decalogue.

The Ancient People of Israel, the Jews, were and still are under the Old Covenant (Old Testament).

As Christians, we are under the New Covenant, established by Jesus Christ. The New Testament makes up the writings that make up the New Covenant.

In Acts 10:9-16, we can see St. Peter having a vision about eating unclean animals and a voice spoke to him: ”Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” and “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

Peter’s Vision

9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.”

14 “Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied. “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.”

15 The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”

16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.

We can also recall what Our Lord about saying that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him.

11 It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, “Explain the parable to us.” 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” - Matthew 15:11-20

This all said, there are a few Christian denominations that do not consume the animal flesh of pigs.

Food and abstention from food play a very important role in Ethiopian Catholic life and practice. The norms for Catholic practice are set by Ethiopian Orthodox practice, the more dominant religion in Ethiopia. Catholic practices in Ethiopia are less strict than Orthodox, but far stricter than in the Latin Catholic world.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church requires lay people over age 13 to fast for at least 180 days a year (monks and other religious are asked to fast for about 250 days a year) including most Wednesdays and Fridays. Advent fasts last for 40 days, and Lenten fasts last for 56 days. The Orthodox Church describes this regimen as one of the “longest and most austere fasts in the world… Fast generally implies one meal a day to be taken either in the evening or after 2:45 p.m. with total abstention from meat, fats, eggs and dairy products. Instead they use cereals, vegetables and other types of food devoid of fats. Smoking is a breach of the fast.”

Ethiopian Catholics follow many Orthodox fasting rules, fasting twice a week on Wednesdays and Fridays with no food allowed before the end of the noon Mass (i.e. around 2 p.m.), after which they would eat no meat or dairy products — including cheese, butter, or eggs — but can eat and drink most other things, including beer.

In a nod to Jewish ritual practice, kosher-related food taboos play a significant role in the Ethiopian Orthodox church. The staple bread of Ethiopia, injera, is an unleavened, spongy flatbread. Orthodox believers may not eat pork or meat from animals that do not have cloven hoofs or chew their cud.

Many Catholics who diligently observe other elements of the fast indicate that they do not feel bound by the obligation not to eat pork. Other families insist on the injunction. Though leavened bread is not prohibited, unleavened injera is a staple food eaten by all, including Catholics.

Orthodox believers also have their own rituals for slaughtering meat, and require that all meat they eat must have been slaughtered by a Christian. In Addis Ababa, there is one Christian slaughterhouse and one Muslim one, each of which supplies all respective butchers and restaurants. At the Christian slaughterhouse, an Orthodox priest will bless all the animals with a Trinitarian blessing, a pattern that is repeated in other large towns and cities. In the countryside, this may be left to the senior male householders who pray a Trinitarian blessing over the bull, goat, lamb or chicken before its throat is cut. Women may not fill this role. Christian butcher shops always identify themselves with a cross painted on the stall, and Muslim shops are identified with a crescent. In many regions, Orthodox believers may not eat meat blessed by a Catholic (since Catholics may not fully observe the Orthodox fasting rituals), so butchers tend to be Orthodox, and mixed Orthodox-Catholic families work out an arrangement for who blesses an animal for the Meskel feast. During the 40 days of lent, Christian butcher shops are usually closed entirely, and Christian restaurants will not serve meat. - Ethiopian food rituals define Christian experience

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    You say the Jews are still under the old covenant. Sorry, they might still think they are, but they are not as far as their God is concerned, and they cannot not keep now ever since the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. The obligations of the old covenant finished when the Kingdom of God began, which is not (about) food and drink but about righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Rom 14:17). Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 18:47
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    @AndrewShanks They have not accepted the New Covenant, thus they are bound to the Old Law.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 20:07
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    Better to say the Jews think they are bound to the old law.
    – 007
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 0:16

Because most Christians are Gentiles (non-Jews).

A lot of people want to make the Mosaic Law an all-or-nothing proposition. That was the view of some of the early Jewish Christians, who demanded that Christians all become Jews first. This group is more commonly known as Judaizers

Judaizers are Christians who teach it is necessary to adopt Jewish customs and practices, especially those found in the Law of Moses, to be saved.

This term includes groups who claim the necessity of continued obedience to the Law of Moses found in the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible) for gentiles.

This came to a head in Acts 15. Verses 1 and 2 (NIV)

Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

Verse 5

Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.”

Peter gets up and reiterates that God sent salvation to the Gentiles as they were. Paul and Barnabas affirm this. James then says this (19-21)

19 “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”

The point being made here is that Judaism had been around for centuries and clearly had not moved the hearts of most Gentiles. If they had adopted Judaism as a prerequisite (something that Jesus had side-stepped in sending Peter to them as-is in Acts 10) it would have depressed the Christian message. Therefore, they pared the Mosaic Law down to a handful of practices, mostly around sex (Leviticus 18 for the most part) and not adhering to some of the unsavory pagan practices of the day. The rest of the Mosaic Law (including dietary laws like not eating pork) did not apply to Gentile Christians.


You probably want to read the book of Hebrews in the New Testament. It explains the general context that this specific matter falls into, and I think it is right up your alley in this matter.

This is essentially what is communicated by that book regarding your question:

The Bible is made up of the Old Testament and the New Testament. The point of the Bible is Jesus Christ, but there were 4,000 years of human history before He was born. The time just before His birth is where the dividing line is drawn between the Old and New Testaments.

The regulation you're referencing was a part of the Law, which was delivered from God by Moses. But there were already about 2,500 years of human history before the Law was handed down. At that point, Moses delivers the Law, and that's when Judaism begins.

Judaism was a placeholder until the time of Christianity, and even Judaism did not begin until 2.5k years of human history had already passed. Christianity was the point of the whole Bible - both sides of it - but Christianity did not exist until about the time of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So that said, in the Old Testament, God used Judaism as a placeholder, but even that didn't come until after the time of people like Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And when Christianity came into being, Judaism was no longer needed, because it was just a placeholder.

The law that you're referring to in Deuteronomy - and the overall Law in general - was specific to Judaism. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law for us, Himself being the only human that has ever lived without sinning, and He took our place at the cross. We have all failed to live up to God's standard, and so the only way we can get to heaven is through Him having taken our place and receiving the penalty for our sins Himself.

But now - this is finished! He has risen, and placeholders are no longer needed. Christianity is in full effect - the very thing which God was looking forward to in the Old Testament - and so it essentially replaced Judaism. Again, Judaism was a placeholder.

Now, as for the regulation you mentioned, that was part of the Jewish/Mosaic Law. It was tied directly to Judaism itself. Since we are no longer observing Judaism, laws like that are no longer applicable (through and because of Christ and what He has accomplished and done for us in our stead). He has fulfilled the Law for us.

So now we're free from things like that. Those rules were very, very, very serious business when they were applicable. But there were 2,500 years of human history before that, and now there have been 2,000 years of human history after that as well. It is no longer applicable.

If you're wondering about this: Yes, we are still bound by moral code. Yes, we are still absolutely required to love others, treat other people right, worship God only, and so on. That is all still very much applicable, and the New Testament even mentions throwing people out of the church who live too sinfully. However at least most of the ritualistic or very specific regulations, such as the one you're describing, were specific to the Law of Moses, and so they no longer apply.

Now, others have already quoted Scriptures in the New Testament where dietary laws are mentioned and are essentially lifted. But the text above is essentially the way the overall book of Hebrews puts it. Per Stack Exchange, I will point to that book itself as the basic source of information behind this answer.


Preface: I also find pork distasteful and I understand why God forbade eating it, but this answer will explain why the law does not apply to non-Israelites.

Deuteronomy 5:1 is the beginning of the speech that Deut 14:8 is a part of:

And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them. — Deut 5:1

Here we see that Moses was addressing the Israelites specifically. In Leviticus (which parallels Deuteronomy), God addresses them in practically every chapter. Here's one of many similar statements:

And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of Israel, saying ... — Lev 4:1

So we see that these laws were addressed to the Israelites.

An instruction is binding to the person it's addressed to. E.g. if I tell my daughter to take out the trash, I'm not telling all my kids to take out the trash, and I'm not telling my daughter to take out all trash. This verse comes to mind: "do not go beyond what is written".

God does not always share the motives or reasoning behind his instructions to the Israelites. The reasons may be tied to circumstances which were only present in that time and place. We don't know. Maybe the reasoning was risk of disease from "unclean" animals (those that eat blood, feces, etc), or maybe it's aesthetic (maintaining joy by banning disgusting or repulsive foods).

God's (hidden) reasoning may be valid for us today, or it may not be. We don't know. But the main point is: these laws weren't spoken to us, so we don't have to listen to them. But again, let's not be stupid; God had reasons. We should pay attention to the laws in the fear God, fearing that he was right, and his reasons may still be valid. Let's not take God's words lightly.

Then, if we choose to follow this law about pork, we're not doing it because we're bound to these laws, but because we understand the reason why. We are free, and we operate by truth, coming from the Spirit of God.


Some say that Jesus extended the Israelites' commands to all believers (aka Christians) in Matthew 5:19 when he says "whoever relaxes ... these commandments ... will be called least in the kingdom of heaven". But he speaks about commandments. We cannot assume the Law (Deuteronomy, etc) is only commandments.

The contents of the Law are described as containing different types of things. Here is a quick assortment:

  • Luke 1:6 mentions commandments and statutes.
  • Deut 6 mentions commandments, statutes, decrees, testimonies
  • Num 36:13 commandments, rules.
  • 2 Kings 17:37: "And you must always be careful to observe the statutes, ordinances, laws, and commandments He wrote for you."
  • Ephesians 2:15 makes this very clear when it says "[the] commandments [are] expressed in ordinances".

I.e. within an ordinance you find a commandment. Example: to say "rape will be punished by death" is to lay out a punishment of death. A punishment is an ordinance. Also there is a moral truth: rape is wrong (which is a commandment). The commandment is mentioned within the ordinance, but it can exist apart from the ordinance.

So far this is subjective, but 1 Corinthians 7:19 proves that not everything in the Law is a commandment:

"For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God." — 1 Cor 7:19

Paul clearly says "circumcision doesn't matter". But circumcision is a part of the Law. Then he says "keeping God's commandments is what matters". So circumcision is not a commandment. So not everything in the Law is a commandment.

He uses the same Greek word for "commandment" that Jesus used: entolé

God cannot lie

Instructions are not objective statements; they are subjective — the recipient is the subject and the circumstances are part of it.

Scripture clearly says "God cannot lie". But if I say "God have a law to the Israelites, and not to me", I'm not accusing him of lying.

If God does not explain the reason behind the instruction, that's not lying either. Failing to explain every little thing is not lying.

However, not everything in the Law is just an instruction. There are statements of truth. One example is related to incest: "it is depravity" (Leviticus 18:17), or about bestiality: "it is perversion" (Leviticus 18:17). These statement are about truth. However, very similar statements are actually instructions: "All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you." (Leviticus 11:20).

  • I just saw this now, years later... I'm giving an up-vote because of the good explanation of the specific target demographic of the laws for Israelites. About the Matt 5.19 portion, I think (and several of my teachers) that Jesus was talking about the commandments that he was giving in his teaching just then.
    – Conrado
    Commented Jan 8, 2023 at 17:19

Many Christians eat pork because the rule you mention was not given to the Christians, so some Christians do not even know what the prohibition was to begin with, and others do not believe that the rule is for Christians at all.

There was no such people as Christians at the time. Christ had not yet come, by a matter of several thousand years! The law [that you] mentioned in Deuteronomy was given to the Israelites. Since many Christians now are not Israelites, they are not obligated to keep these laws, and indeed are especially prohibited from making these laws a requirement for entrance to discipleship, as Paul says:

...for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galations 2.21)

Many other commandments are repeated/reinforced (and in many cases, even elevated) in the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. For example:

Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4:28)

is a rule for Christians. There are others relating to idolatry and other actions and attitudes. That is, murderers and thieves and so on are not only not excluded from, but they are expressly invited into The Way; but not to then continue in their old practices. Pork-eaters entering The Way, on the other hand, are expressly forbidden to participate in idolatry and blood, but eating (or not) certain kinds of food is left to the conscience of each one, which is instructed to a greater or less degree by the Law, but even more by Love. (Acts 15:19, Romans 14:3, Romans 13:8)

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    Without changing a single word, this argument would similarly apply to murder, theft, idolatry, etc. Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 15:47
  • Despite the content of my own answer, my comment above wasn't intended to disagree with you. I was pointing out that, as written, it is too simple to be considered a good answer on this site. It doesn't specifically address the original question, and, by itself without further explanation, could be an argument against any law given in the OT. For instance, someone could use it to explain why Christians no longer need to honor their parents. Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 17:19
  • @RayButterworth's logic is correct. None of Moses' words in Deuteronomy can be justifiably assigned to anyone other than their intended recipients (addressed specifically in Deut 5:1 — "And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them, “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and the rules that I speak in your hearing today, and you shall learn them and be careful to do them."). To forbid murdering and stealing, etc, I don't think we need the Old Testament, just Jesus' words.
    – Matthias
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 18:52
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    I understand Conrado's take. The key part is «making these laws a requirement for entrance to discipleship», meaning that for salvation there's no works involved. The works come after after. Specially when it comes to food, Romans 14:1-23 addresses that all food is good, that it's ok to eat whatever we want Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 9:59
  • @RayButterworth I edited now, to include a defense of rules for Christians. Cheers!
    – Conrado
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 20:10

Note that despite how the sub-headings might make it appear, this answer is directly opposite to most of the other answers.

Many Christians do abstain from pork and other unclean meat.

Seventh Day Adventists are perhaps the most famous, but they are far from alone in this belief. There is plentiful literature on the subject, such as What Does the Bible Teach About Clean and Unclean Meats?, from a non-SDA church.

The other answers to this question give the standard list of proof texts on this subject, but it is mostly rationalization, using eisegesis to justify eating pork.

Initially, the prohibition against pork was part of the Law given to Moses [so it's binding only on Jews]

The distinction between clean and unclean meat existed long before Moses. Notice God's instruction on what to take aboard the ark:

You shall take with you seven each of every clean animal, a male and his female; two each of animals that are unclean, a male and his female

Noah was the ancestor of all mankind, so if he had to distinguish between clean and unclean meat, it's hardly only a Jewish thing. No more than murder and theft, which were also "given to Moses".

Jesus declared all foods clean

The Pharisees had accused his disciples of eating without first ceremonially washing their hands. Jesus explained that they were hypocrites because a tiny bit of dirt on food would simply pass through and end up purged from the body into the toilet, while figurative dirt (what we listen to) can enter the heart and stay there affecting how we behave.

“Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) — Mark 7:18,19 (NIV)

Notice that the final statement is in parentheses. That's because the statement doesn't appear in the original Greek manuscripts; it has been added by the translators for "clarification". More literal translations, such as the KJV, say:

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

This is Shakespearean English, where "draught" means "latrine" and "meats" means "food".

If Jesus had declared all food clean, or even if the Pharisees only thought that was what he said, they would have reacted far far more for that violation of the law than for minor things like hand washing. Surely such an incident would have been recorded by all four Gospels, but none of them even mention it. That incident didn't happen, and that's because he didn't say it.

Matthew does record the same interaction with the Pharisees, and gives the same conclusion:

“Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” … So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” — Matthew 15:11,16–20

Had Jesus actually declared all meat to be clean, surely Matthew would have recorded it here. But he didn't.

God told Peter that all meat was clean

And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” — Acts 10:13–15

Peter didn't understand what it meant: "Now while Peter wondered within himself what this vision which he had seen meant, …". But later he did realize its meaning:

You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean. — Acts 10:28

Peter understood what the vision meant, but many people today choose to think it means something completely different.

Now notice that Peter said "I have never eaten anything common or unclean.". If Jesus had "declared all foods clean", why would Peter still be refraining from eating it many years later? And why would he, in the vision, have refused to eat it when told to? The only explanation that makes sense, without massive rationalization, is that Jesus never said such a thing.

Peter said that nothing is unclean

People tend to quote the last sentence in this passage without considering the rest:

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. … Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. — Romans 14:1–3,13–14

Peter was talking about new converts, many of whom were vegetarians. Rather than concentrating on teaching the fundamentals of Christianity, many people were more concerned with far less important things, such as getting the converts to eat meat. This was distressing to the converts and they were in danger of leaving the church because of it. Peter wanted his fellow Christians to know that the vegetarians will eventually learn to understand that it's okay to eat meat, but in the meantime they should be left alone so that they can learn the important parts of Christianity first.

In context, Peter's statement is referring to converting vegetarians that don't want to eat clean meat, such as lamb or fish, along with the other people, and the importance of not making them feel uncomfortable about it.

So let no one judge you in food or in drink

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths — Colossians 2:16

Again, people that already believe that pork is edible use this verse to support their position. But in context, it actually means quite the opposite. It is the Christians that are being criticised by vegetarians and ascetics for eating meat, and Paul is telling them not to let those other, non-Christians, judge them against what they consider their own superior morality.

I give a much fuller explanation of this reference in exegesis - Keeping the Sabbath and Colossians 2:16 - Christianity Stack Exchange

It's only Old Testament

Isaiah 66 is considered a messianic prophecy, when Christ returns during the Day of the Lord to rule during the Millennium:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, And the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream. … For behold, the LORD will come with fire And with His chariots, like a whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword The LORD will judge all flesh; And the slain of the LORD shall be many. Those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves, To go to the gardens After an idol in the midst, Eating swine’s flesh and the abomination and the mouse, Shall be consumed together,” says the LORD. — Isaiah 66:12,15–17

This is still some time in our future, but notice that "eating swine's flesh" is one of the things that people are condemned for.


This commandment is a ritual commandment that Jews were supposed to follow as they were God’s chosen country, while most christians aren’t pure jews and aren’t subjected to such rules


Christianity is big like Islam. There are differences in denominations. Most of the denominations cancel much of the Bible regarding local culture, politics, and other circumstances. It is the property of the people's community. In Islam too. Within most of the culture of gentiles, pork was a common food. So, limitations in the Bible were canceled and justification was found through interpretation.

It was accepted in most denominations.

But there are Christian denominations where the whole Bible accepted. There are no contradictions like eating pork. Of course, they do not eat camels too.

  • the reason pork and all other foods can be eaten is found in the New Testament. Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 2:02
  • @egor You're not wrong; there are a bunch of Christian groups that discard important parts of Christian doctrine. It's just that this isn't one of them.
    – nick012000
    Commented Dec 3, 2020 at 12:53
  • @nick012000 what is "Christian doctrine" is it scholastic work? or is it the teaching of Jesus Christ, known from the Bible?
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 10:57
  • @Andrew Shanks Examples? Peter? Did he eat unclean after God shows him reptiles? Or he got an understanding other than many contemporary Christians? Counsel from Jerusalem? They wrote about food. Food is what God allowed. Otherwise, would you eat stones, soil, drink gasoline? Food does not defile. The pork does not defile." But the pork and other unclean are not good for nutrition. This is physiology. God knows physiology and He gives as food that good for food.
    – Egor
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 11:04
  • 1
    @Egor - The Christian Faith does not seek to regulate every aspect of our lives. What we eat, wear, when we worship are matters of conscience. Jesus said it is not what goes into the mouth which defiles but rather what comes out of it. It isn't food & drink going in but words coming out which make us unclean to God. (See biblegateway.com/passage/… ). What makes us clean before God is the blood of Christ which cleanses us from all sin, & Christ's own righteousness which is given the Christian to clothe him and hide his nakedness before God Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 16:12

I think it's because of an incorrect interpretation of Acts 10:9-16. These denominations believe it's talking about eating unclean meat.

13 And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

14 But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16

In fact, this passage clearly proves Peter long after the Jesus crucifixion, did not eat unclean meat as outlined in the laws of Moses. The real meaning to this vision is not about clean or unclean meat laws upheld by early Christians. Its (the vision) true meaning is found just a few verses later...(note in particular vs 28).

25 As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter lifted him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself am also a man.” 27 And as he talked with him, he went in and found many who had come together. 28 Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

  • the O.P's question is pretty self explanatory and my answer is also equally direct...it quotes a well known text that is often used to justify eating pork. The original question was... " why do most Christians eat pork? Is it a contradiction"
    – Adam
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 15:57
  • This is about the estimation of persons. The question is about what to eat or not eat.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 16:44
  • Which denominations hold to this view? Please edit this to explain.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 1, 2020 at 22:26
  • 2
    For a Jewish man to "keep company" with a gentile would involve the sharing of a meal therefore Peter's vision was an instruction about how Peter should view food so that he could correctly esteem all men. Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 13:21
  • 15 And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” 16 cleansing in the Bible refers to baptism "A general definition of the word baptism is “a rite of washing with water as a sign of religious purification and consecration.” This rite was practiced frequently in the Old Testament. It signified purity or cleansing from sin and devotion to God.learnreligions.com/….
    – Adam
    Commented Dec 2, 2020 at 20:55

Some of us Christians believe the Old Testament rules were for our own good. As new creatures in Christ we are not under the Law. Eating pork is not a sin. It is however much like eating shellfish foolish.

  • 2
    Which denomination's views does this answer represent, that eating pork is not sinful but is foolish?
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 6:42
  • Seventh-Day Adventists, Eritrean Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox and some non-denominational Christians including myself. Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 14:10
  • I am a Seventh Day Adventist. I can state that our church absolutely believes eating pork is a sin, it is an unclean meat. We consider that God's remnant people are spiritual Israel. This of course is a Metaphor, however, guiding principles for the Israelites given to them by God at mount Sinai and in the wilderness, such as 10 commandments and clean and unclean meat are still valid today.
    – Adam
    Commented Feb 18, 2021 at 23:02

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