The association PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is known for its refusal to differentiate between humans and animals in dignity and rights. It has just published a vegan version of Genesis which must appeal to the younger generation.
The appearance of ChatGPT allows the rapid writing of novels, but also to rewrite voluminous works in a very short time. PETA chose to use it to modify the first book of the Bible, the genesis.
Indeed, the message of this opening is very little antispecist since it assigns to man a special place in Creation, that of master of the Earth, according to verses 26 to 28 of the first chapter:
"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created [...] God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth , and subjugate it; and rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every animal that moves on the earth."
The rest of the Genesis account mentions animal sacrifices and the making of clothing from animal skins. A difference in treatment between humans and animals unacceptable to PETA and its president Ingrid Newkirk:
“The Bible has long been used to justify all forms of oppression, so we used ChatGPT to make it clear that a loving God would never condone exploitation or cruelty to animals. only needed six days to create the whole world, but we realized it would take us years to rewrite the whole Bible, so we started with the first book."
In this new version of Genesis, "free from cruelty", animals are no longer "beasts" but "beings" or "creatures". The human characters wear clothes made of plant fibers and not animal skin.
No more obedience test for Abraham
In addition, Abraham and Sarah expand their home by welcoming a dog named Herbie. And, during a walk with their dog, the couple plans to help abandoned animals and counter commercial breeding:
"While walking with Herbie, Sarah and Abraham thought about the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations rather than buying them from breeders. They talked about how the buying a dog or cat from a breeder or pet store contributes to the pet overpopulation crisis, as countless dogs and cats in shelters wait to enter loving homes while that breeders continue to produce more puppies and kittens for profit."
Besides introducing animal concerns into the narrative, PETA has completely erased the obedience test imposed on Abraham by God. According to the Bible, God asks Abraham to go to the land of Moriah to offer him his child Isaac as a holocaust after having promised him that he would have abundant descendants through this son.
Seeing Abraham's faith, an angel stops his hand and gives him a ram for sacrifice. In PETA's version, Abraham goes to the land of Moriah and befriends a lamb in order to show his respect for God's creation.
The association which sells this book for $3,99 hopes it will appeal to Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2010), 73% of whom identify as animal rights activists.
In an article preceding this revisited version of the Bible, the Christian site Got Questions is concerned about the confusion between benevolence towards animals and antispeciesism under the title "Can a Christian support PETA?"
Recalling that Newkirk said that "in matters of pain, love, joy, loneliness and fear, a rat is [worth, editor's note] a pig, a dog, a boy. Everyone values their life and fights threat.", Got Questions talks about an unbiblical confusion:
"If PETA's sole concern were the humane treatment of animals, Christians might warmly support its goals. However, PETA goes much further and grants rights to animals that parallel those of humans [...] Such statements drive PETA's goals to extreme levels that Bible-honoring Christians cannot tolerate. People are not animals."