11.29.2013

The Human Craving for More:

It's the day after Thanksgiving, here in America.  While the holiday USED to be about being thankful, I'm not so sure any longer.  No doubt, not everybody believes in God, but it's still an opportunity to set aside a day to put on a thankful mindset and celebrate all the good things in life.

Sadly, however, Thanksgiving is growing more and more about what comes the day AFTER -- Black Friday.  Oh the good deals to be had!  Black Friday has driven our society (or has society driven, and even DEMANDED, it?) and economy that it no longer begins on Friday, but the Thursday evening of Thanksgiving day! 

Companies that once touted family values have fallen prey to the almighty dollar.  Employees who once celebrated with family members around the dinner table are now forced to feed the machine.  They are now away from the family institution, and are, instead, working for the greedy corporation. 

On the other side of the planet, however -- in fact, it seems is so far removed from what we experience that it must exist in an altogether different world -- millions of starving people are praying for just one meal.  Today.  While we Westerners clamor for the newest high-def television set with surround-sound theater style amplification, people on the other side of the globe are dying.  We snack on soft pretzels and soda, or sticky-buns and juice; we eat lunch and dinner at restaurants where the average American probably throws away 30% of what sits on his plate.  But this child wastes away with nothing in his stomach.

I wonder.  What if this sick child was lying curled up on his mother's lap outside our nearest retail store?  Would we throw a dollar or two in the bucket so we could continue on about our shopping frenzy, feeling better that we "helped"?  Would we hurry by, ignoring her, acting as though she wasn't there?  How many would dare take them into our own homes?

I wonder what this little child would think if she could see the images of crowds pressing forward for the newest smart phone, or the you-name-it gadget that will either become obsolete in a year, or relegated to the closet of useless toys that never satisfied our human craving for more.

I wonder if you realize that if you can read this, you are among the wealthiest people on the planet.  You have a computer that gives you access to this blog, but 80% of the world's population lives on less than $10 per day (1). That's not an EXTRA 10 bucks they can spend on this or that; that's living expense!  Around the world, 21,000 children die each day due to poverty-related issues (2).  They “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death." (1)

But let's face it, it's relatively easy to read about this.  We can feel a little empathy or even anger, and then move forward with our easy lives just a few minutes later.  But what will we actually do about it? What will YOU do about it?



Sources:

(1) Shah, Anup, "Poverty Facts and Stats", Jan 7, 2013: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

(2) Shah, Anup, "Today, Around 21,000 Children Died Around the World", Sep 24, 2011: http://www.globalissues.org/article/715/today-21000-children-died-around-the-world

5 comments:

  1. There is a profound question just below the surface of your post... "I wonder. What if this sick child was lying curled up on his mother's lap outside our nearest retail store? Would we throw a dollar or two in the bucket so we could continue on about our shopping frenzy, feeling better that we "helped"? Would we hurry by, ignoring her, acting as though she wasn't there? How many would dare take them into our own homes?"

    "I wonder if you realize that if you can read this, you are among the wealthiest people on the planet. You have a computer that gives you access to this blog, but 80% of the world's population lives on less than $10 per day (1). That's not an EXTRA 10 bucks they can spend on this or that; that's living expense! Around the world, 21,000 children die each day due to poverty-related issues (2). They “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death."

    If Christianity is true (again something I don't hold), that sick child is laying curled up right in front of Jesus, and he doesn't bother to throw a dollar. He hurries by, ignoring her as though she wasn't there. He is THE wealthiest person not on the planet - but in the entire Universe - and yet 21,000 children die each day due to poverty-related issues right in front of him. The questions you're asking might be good ones, but why not direct them towards the creator - and why be satisfied with the answer "It's a mystery?" Should anyone be surprised that Christians do the very thing that you're challenging them about, when the one who they seek to emulate is doing the same thing, and worse, because they are literally right under his nose while he allows it to happen? Why is it odd that people think the world revolves around them, when they're supposedly made in the image of a being that thinks the Universe revolves around him?

    This is kind of related to your problem of evil post a while back, and since then I ran across this video where Sam Harris brilliantly draws attention to some very big problems... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-i3mX0YRrjM It's well worth the watch, and the imagery that plays along with it helps to make the point and keep the viewer engaged.

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  2. Hello Mike,

    Nice post.

    Hello Skeptical Magician,

    You made a statement that I must address:

    "a being that things the universe revolves around him"
    - He is the opposite of self-centered. A being that loves so much to go to extraordinary means to save them. This is the antithesis of self-centeredness.

    Friend do not hide your head in the sand. I have one question for you, why are Jesus words the most widely known words on the planet of anyone who has ever walked upon the earth? This is exceptionally astounding in light of the massive persecution of his followers around the time of his death, not to mention the persecution of them since then.

    You no doubt hold the atheistic position, or maybe the agnostic position. Yet are you aware of the historical implications of such a position as this? You are in the company of the brutal communists of Russia and China who use extreme violence in an effort to remove the faithful from the planet, as well as the despicable nazi's. History does not bear a positive image of those who despise the existence of God.

    Take a look my friend at the historical trail left behind those who despise Christ and those who follow him (not merely those who took his name because at the time it was politically expedient - but those who genuinely follow him).

    There has been more good accomplished in the name of Christ throughout history than can be fathomed. Come to think of it I do not remember the last atheist hospital I've encountered, while the number of faith based hospitals is astounding. Oh, and higher education is another thing. Most of our older universities began as Christian and pursued the goal of educating people for the purpose of glorifying God.

    I'm afraid that you may need to open a history book or two.

    Things may not be as you presume them to be.

    Oh, one more thing before I go. The Bible is the best-selling book in history. I'd encourage you to look into it before blasting it. There is a reason it is illegal in many places in the world, because places like Communist China and North Korea do not want their people to read it, lest they see the value in humanity and begin to stand up for each other and for the rights they deserve as humans created in the likeness of God.

    Ok... one last thing before I go:

    Where do you think the most famous sentence in the English language came from?

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights which among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
    (Preamable to the United States Constituion)

    Such ideas are merely the implications of the truths of Scripture played out in the course of history. No wonder the communists want to keep the Bible out of the hands of the people.

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    Replies
    1. "a being that things the universe revolves around him"
      - He is the opposite of self-centered. A being that loves so much to go to extraordinary means to save them. This is the antithesis of self-centeredness."

      What is the ultimate purpose of those who have been saved...? To spend eternity telling the one who you say is the opposite of self-centered how awesome, perfect, spectacular, magnificent, etc. he is. The whole reason they are saved is so they can fulfill their purpose of feeding the ego of a ruler and master - forever. As much as you want to call that the antithesis of self-centeredness - I'm afraid logic shows otherwise.

      The entire rest of what you have said is the logical fallacy of an argument from popularity. Just because something is popular, has been popular, or continues to be popular - it doesn't make it true.

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    2. What if the Being isn't as ego centric as you presume. What if He is astounding and astonishing, marvelous and miraculous, and so much so that praise spontaneously erupts from his people who are infinitely more enamored with him than the never ending flow of tourists are, or ever could be with the Grand Canyon.

      True praise spontaneously erupts. It is not forced, no coerced.

      My magician friend, I am concerned for you that you might miss out on the most spectacular reason for existing and thus miss out on the greatest joy conceivable. There are significant reasons why Christian's have been saying this for millennia.

      "Christianity preaches the infinite worth of that which is seemingly worthless and the infinite worthlessness of that which is seemingly so valued."
      - Deitrich Bonhoeffer

      Peace,

      Ben

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  3. "True praise spontaneously erupts. It is not forced, not coerced."

    According to the Bible, the Christian god seems to view things differently...

    Romans 14:11 "For it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME, And EVERY TONGUE SHALL GIVE PRAISE to God.'”

    Philippians 3:21 "...who will TRANSFORM the body of our humble state INTO CONFORMITY with the body of His glory, BY THE EXERTION OF THE POWER that He has even TO SUBJECT ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF."

    In addition, any being that has a system where it loves you so much that it will burn you alive forever if you don't love it back, is a being that forces and coerces praise out of fear.

    As far as Deitrich Bonhoeffer is concerned - I consider him to be one of the most ironic people in all of human history... Here we have a man who on one hand - rightly fought against an earthly dictator who killed millions of people, cooking many of them alive in ovens, for what amounts to a relatively short amount of time... while at the same time calling for the allegiance to a cosmic dictator, who reportedly will cook tens of billions of people alive in an oven - forever.

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