A couple of Twitter posts from Richard Dawkins caught my attention this morning. Dawkins is a well known British scientist who is also a staunch atheist, and someone who seems to jump at every opportunity to dismiss and demean any group who believes in God, creation (by God), or anyone who questions the theory of evolution. I am not saying he is a bad person, because I am sure he is not. He strikes me as a very conscientious and intelligent (obviously) individual, even though he may come across as very arrogant to people of faith. I believe in God, so obviously, I don’t agree with Dawkins on some very important issues. I also don’t like how people like Dawkins and atheist entertainers like Ricky Gervais communicate their atheist view point in a way that paints ALL believers as loons (let’s face it, there are some loons, but come on…)
So why do I follow these guys on Twitter? I don’t know…I don’t like being lumped into a bucket of God believing “idiots,” but hell, I think Gervais is a brilliant actor, writer, and I just really like his comedy…so I like to see his observations. I wasn’t so sure about why I followed Dawkins until I read the posts this morning regarding huge American serving portions and the amount of food we waste. See below…
And there you have it. At first, I was a bit offended. Who is this Brit to be complaining about our food portions? I like it when I go into a good restaurant and I don’t come out still hungry. But the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with it, grating as his words were.
I pondered this HP=W (huge portions = waste) phenomenon on my way to work this morning. I recalled a time when I started a new school in 5th grade….I hadn’t been in the country that long from my native El Salvador although by this time I was a fluent English speaker. I remember being befuddled when I saw kids wasting buckets of cafeteria food. Stuff I considered good too: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, lasagna, etc. Too many kids would take 2-3 bites of something and dump 90% of the remaining food into trash bins. I know cafeteria food has a bad rap, but I must say, it wasn’t THAT bad (with the exception of the canned spinach.) I remember thinking, even as a young kid, what a waste! How could people throw away this much food! There are starving kids in the world! Etc, etc. I did come from a foreign culture, so it was very shocking to me.
Fast forward some years later, when I discovered the wonders of the Chinese and Indian buffets….and later, places like King’s Table or Hometown Buffet, where I constantly saw people get mountains of food only to pick at it, throw it away, and get something else. I actually thought (and think) this is more than just waste, but even sin. I am not harping against people that go to buffets, I love buffets myself, but is it necessary to have an all access pass to a ton of food? Never mind the food waste, how about just the blatant attack on our health?
So as much as I disagree on issues like the existence of God with Mr. Dawkins, and as arrogant as he comes off when dismissing my beliefs as nonsensical myths, I have to say that I agree with him about how wasteful we are as a society. We are so self consumed that we fail to see the harm we do to the environment and even ourselves. We are so preoccupied with self gratification that we learn behaviors like stuffing our face even when we don’t need it only to gain obesity and a multitude of health problems down the road.
So yes, as arrogant as Dawkins’ tweets seem (to folks who don’t agree with him), I ask you to consider this issue of waste in our lives and our culture, and the learned behavior that has caused us to accept the mantra “more is better.” We should be more responsible about this, especially as Christians, or people of faith. We have been entrusted to care for our environment, our natural resources, and ourselves. Our body really is a temple and not a garbage bin. I tell you what–every time I look in the mirror and see the huge gut I’m carrying, I will think of those tweets. I know when something is true, even when I don’t like it.