Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Paradise On Earth?

 Do artichokes prove the existence of God?

Every time I eat an artichoke I am affirmed of the existence of God.  It is always amazing to me that we have such a plethora of fruits and vegetables and other foods which simply grow out of the ground for us to eat.

Of course, biologists would point out that many of these food plants were carefully bred over centuries and eons to produce the yields that they do today.  Monsanto Roundup Ready corn was not necessarily a creation of God but one adapted by mankind.

And an economist would surely point out that I am one of the lucky few people on the planet to receive more than enough calories for subsidence on a daily basis.  Most people in this world struggle everyday to make a few pennies, a few rupees, or a few rubles just to get by.  Here in the West we are so fortunate to have too much of everything, yet we complain that everything is not enough.

The Bible tells us that mankind originally started out in the Garden of Eden which was a paradise where everything was available to mankind except the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.  The same religions that tell this story also tell us that even as we struggle to survive here on planet Earth, once we die, we will end up back in Paradise where everything will be free and easy.  According to religion, Paradise is something that we once had or will have in the future but something we will never have in the present.

And this is a great story to tell somebody who is on the brink of starvation because they are being exploited economically.  Go back to the copper mines, they tell us, and eventually you'll have your pie in the sky when you die.

But I think another form of existence is possible, and again maybe the Bible hints at this as well.  We were told to go forth and multiply but also to be the stewards of our planet and manage its resources.  In other words, use our brains to figure out how to make things sustainable for everyone in build a paradise here on Earth.

Maybe most theologians get the Genesis story wrong.  We were not thrown out of the Garden of Eden as punishment for biting on the fruit of knowledge but rather sent out to turn our own planet into a Garden of Eden, based on the knowledge we acquired and now have.  In other words, it is a test.  We bit at the fruit of knowledge and God said, "Fine, go use that knowledge and make your own Paradise!  See how easy it isn't!"

And I think it is possible that we could build a paradise on Earth if we chose to do so.  However,  it seems we spend more time arguing over whose religion is right, which is often just a smokescreen for arguing over who has the rights to minerals or fisheries or land, than figuring out how to best utilize the resources we have for everyone's benefit.

What I do realize, is that personally, I do live in a paradise on Earth, even though much of the population of the United States feels they are put upon and exploited. We are a very lucky segment of the worldwide population to have such wealth and relative ease.

And that's what I think about every time I have an artichoke.