Animals in the Bible and Church

Cats–If cat ownership had existed in Biblical times, it would’ve been more of an African phenomenon. That’s if we’re referring to those cats. I suspect lions elicited ambivalent feelings, being both majestic and cruel to livestock. Jesus and Satan have been compared to lions. I suspect this same ambivalence would transferred onto cats proper in later Christianity and Islam (if we include demonology and Alevism).

Dogs–I said many times over that cats and dogs are rather ambivalent animals in that they’re owned by both clergy and witches alike. Dogs elicited ambivalent feelings but by being both pets (in the looser sense of the word of being working animals) and feral vermin especially whenever they hunt animals at will. (Or if you will, being annoying like with cats.)

Goats–Yet another ambivalent animal which’s also useful for many things like wool, leather, meat and ritual sacrifice especially in olden times and in Islam. Yet they can be tricky to manage but I think Mr Charles Stewart beat me to it. Likely he knows more about goats than I do. Unsurprisingly, especially in some places goats (though useful) are associated with Satan.

Pigs–The fourth ambivalent animal. They’re commonly kept as livestock for various reasons but are sometimes loathed for being dirty. Often commonly associated with greed, though Germans seem especially obsessed with them at some point or another (so do the Chinese as the character for home is a pig under a roof).

They’re even associated with witchcraft in Russia, especially whenever a witch becomes a pig herself in addition to cats and dogs being your usual suspects. Pigs are also associated with witchcraft in some Philippine and Islamic circles.

Though to be fair, both Russia and Philippines have substantial Muslim populations with Catherine the Great sponsoring Muslim clergy and Philippines’s that Islamised (new converts as well as formerly Muslim populations).

Monkeys–The fifth ambivalent animal in that they’re often linked to witchcraft (whether as witch, demon or devil guises or as familiars which’s also found in Islamic demonology), malfactors (Egyptians) and have been owned by both nobility and clergy. (Monkeys are also ambivalent in Thailand, being both valuable in agriculture, cared by Buddhist clergy and loathed for being pests.)

It seemed the monkeys tending to prefigure in European, Philippine and Indonesian demonology tend to be macaques though baboons aren’t uncommon (they’re a popular feature of South African, Swazi and Zimbabwean demonology) and there’s belief in gorilla witchcraft among some Cameroonians. Another aspect of simian ambiguity’s simply the uncanny valley.

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