Monday, July 31, 2006

The Devils's Advocate: God Doesn't Share

The Devil's Advocate
Part 1:
God Doesn't Share

by Christopher O'Kennon

There is a Haitian saying, which I certainly can't pronounce, that translates into: "God doesn't share." What it means is that, God gave mankind all the world as a resource. But it's our job to divvy up those resources.

We haven't done a very good job.

But more on that later.

I'm a typical white American. Middle income bracket, overweight, and overly concerned with my own importance. I like to think of myself as open minded, and anyone who thinks otherwise is flat-out wrong. And an idiot. And probably a communist.

My religious views until recently have been very similar to the apostle Paul before he ran into Jesus on a deserted street. Meaning, for you heathens, I've spent a great deal of energy trying to prove that God is mean spirited, ill-tempered, childish, and doesn't exist. But, also like Paul, various personal events have suggested I may be a tad overreaching. And that, to hate something is to acknowledge that it exists.

Regardless, I recently had the scales removed from my eyes, and decided to do what I could to help promote the common good. So for those of you who think I may be the wrong person to begin pressing towards making the world a better place, I take another page from Paul's book: "Do as I say, not as I do." or, in my case, as I did.

That out of the way, I'm going to attempt to share my feelings regarding the sorry state of this planet, what we've done to it, and what we should do to fix it.

More than 800 million people in the world go to bed hungry every day. 300 million of them are children. Of these 300 million children, more than 90 percent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency. Every year 6 million children die from malnutrition before their 5th birthday.

Every 3.6 seconds another person dies of starvation, and the large majority are children under the age of 5. In the time it took you to read that sentence, odds are two people have died of starvation. There goes another one. And another.

Every 30 seconds an African child dies of malaria. Malaria, for God's sake.

9.3 percent of Virginia lives in poverty.

5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases.

Every minute, a woman somewhere dies in pregnancy or childbirth. An estimated 529,000 each year.

For lack of better word, "What the f*ck?"

It's the 21st Century. When I was growing up, the 21st Century was the era of Buck Rogers, World Peace, Flying Cities, and Utopia. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Sure, we have phones from Star Trek, computers from 2001: A Space Odyssey, and women (not an office-safe link) from Cherry 2000.

We should be doing better.

Back to the "God doesn't share" thing. It's just a matter of chance that most Americans were born in the richest country in the world, give or take a few yen. Similarly, it's just chance that someone born in Haiti was born in a sea of poverty and violence. It could just have easily gone the other way. Just as cosmic circumstances could always roll the die again and drop us all back into the stone age. Think it couldn't happen? Ever do the research on what would happen if an average sized meteor struck DC? Or a good sized solar flare simulated an EM pulse over the continental US? Or any other number of possible slate-wipers.

I'm not going to try and argue that helping the rest of the world - or even our own issues of poverty - is or is not profitable. I'm not going to argue strategic military issues, economic growth, or democratic security. I'm just going to suggest that maybe we should help straighten out the planet because it's the right thing to do.

But if you need more reasons, then think about how much better your childhood would have been if your mom could never have told you to eat your brussel sprouts because "children in China were starving."

more to come...

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