[Vision2020] How Much Grain do India's Sacred Rats Really Eat?

nickgier at roadrunner.com nickgier at roadrunner.com
Sat May 1 12:23:18 PDT 2010


Needless to say I found Larry Kirkland's recent "Town Crier" column really atrocious.  My Letter to the Editor is first and then his column follows.

Nick Gier

To the Editor:

In his small-minded attempt to defend his own "culture of life" (Letters, 4/28), Larry Kirkland insults one billion Hindus, who have a much more consistent and noble pro-life record than his own Christianity does.

For a person who boasts that his biblical worldview is based on facts, Kirkland's claim that one third of India’s grain production is lost to "sacred rats" is simply false.

According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, 6 percent of all Indian food grains is lost in storage, and not all of that to rodents. The same source also notes that American farmers lose about $900 million each year to rodents. 

Not a month passes that we don't learn more about the deep emotional and mental lives of our fellow souls in the animal world, which supports the biblical view that God gave the same breath of life to the animals as he did to us (Ecc. 3:19-21).

As one of Moscow’s finest environmentalists, Kirkland must know that it is much more efficient and much easier on the environment to derive one's protein directly from grain rather than from grain-fed cattle.  Kirkland should praise the Hindus rather than ridicule them.

In ancient times, when Jews and Christians sought refuge in India, they were welcomed with open arms. When the Portuguese came to India in the early 1500s, they forced the Christians to convert to Catholicism at the point of a sword and killed Hindus at will.  Later the Dutch wiped out all the Jewish trading cities on the Malabar Coast, leaving a mere 4,000 Jews left in India today.

Today’s Hindu fundamentalists borrowed the idea of an exclusivist religion from Christian missionaries, whom they now persecute in the name of "the one true religion," just as Kirkland claims for his world-view. 

Moscow-Pullman Daily News - DNews.com
By Larry Kirkland
April 28, 2010

What does it take to have a "good" worldview? This past Saturday I spent 12 hours at a function dedicated to encouraging a culture of life with an emphasis on recognizing and speaking up for the unborn who do not have a voice in our society.

Many times during the day my thoughts ran to the awareness that others have worldviews that justify killing the unborn or treating others horribly. The Nazis Weltanschauung or worldview justified the Holocaust. Many Americans for a time had a worldview that justified having slaves, and our Supreme Court even declared it legal. Furthermore, because the worldview of many in India considers rats sacred, a third of its grain production is lost to rats while people are starving. Wrong worldviews can have devastating consequences.

Our worldview is our set of beliefs that underlie and shape all our thoughts and actions. Everyone has a worldview whether they recognize it or not. We all have the same facts available to us but can choose drastically different paths of interpretation based on our worldviews.

Our presuppositions, that is the portion of our worldview that we accept by faith, determines the differences. Nazis accepted by faith that Jews were less than human. Many Americans accepted by faith that slaves were less than human. Many Indians accept by faith that rats are sacred. And now many in our society have accepted by faith that babies in the womb are less than human and can be killed.

Developing a "good" worldview requires knowing truth and choosing to follow it. Although presuppositions involve faith, they also should rely on truth.

Perfecting a worldview is a lifelong process. For a time I was deceived and chose to follow a lie that was reflected in my worldview and my actions. As a college student in geological engineering I was taught that the geologic time scale for earth is billions of years and that macro-evolution of species is a fact. I chose to embrace these hypotheses as scientific facts. However, since I also studied the Bible, embracing these academic propositions led me to interpret the first 11 chapters of the Bible as symbolic or poetic and not reflecting reality and truth. Relatively quickly I began to disregard all of the Bible because I could not tell what was real and what was symbolic. My worldview changed dramatically for the worse as I tried to work out the implications of time and chance and no moral authority. Since then, reason based on facts has shown me that scientific evidence does not support macro-evolution of species nor a geological column for earth of billions of years.

I now trust all of the Bible and the God behind it who commissioned some 40 authors to write it over some 1,600 years and yet preserve a consistent unity. God's word, the Bible, has been consistently proven true by archaeology, history and personal experience. Based on these facts, the key presupposition in my worldview is that God created this world, including mankind, who he made vice-regent over the earth to care for it and to populate it. I have much supporting evidence, and scientific advances continue to add support to this presupposition.

God tells us he loves each of us and wants a personal relationship with us, but he will not violate our free choice to seek him and find him or reject him. And that free choice leads to our personal worldview that we will be held responsible for. In extremes, it allows us to commit horrendous acts like genocide, enslaving other persons or killing the pre-born. However, God is also the god of second chances. He gave us the Bible to guide us as we develop our worldviews. When we seek him, he embraces us and promises us guidance as we journey through life. The most important choice any of us will ever make is whether to seek God or to go our own way. When we seek the truth reflected in God's word, our worldview will reflect that truth in how we live and the decisions we make. At this point in my life, I wish I had had a mentor to help me with my worldview when I was a student.

Larry Kirkland is a retired environmental engineer who lives in Moscow. He can be contacted at kirkland8 at verizon.net.

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