I know, I know. It sounds like the first line of a joke. But this is something much more interesting – I’m going to talk about two social taboos that make us all cringe when we hear them. God and religion.
But what about the pomegranate? Hold on and you will see.
Let me start off by saying that I’m not going to address my own personal beliefs on God and religion. They are mine. I think those subjects should be more like underwear than bling. Keep them private and meaningful rather than show them off as if they might make a difference to anybody else’s life.
Okay, moving on. Why would I want to talk about this? Haven’t these two subjects been the catalyst for some of the biggest atrocities humanity has decided to wage against itself? Yes. That’s why I’m doing it. It’s sensitive, it’s polarizing, and I think it’s some pretty silly shit. People’s beliefs should be like the spleen – something internal that shouldn’t have an impact on others or change the others view that individual. “I heard that Mark’s spleen isn’t shaped like mine, I don’t think I’m going to hang out with him anymore.” Stupid right?
From this point on, when I talk about God, I am referring to the belief in a God, in few Gods, in the Goddess, in harder to describe beliefs about an omnicient being, or simply the belief in something greater than us.
This is where pomegranate comes in.
Let’s assume that the human population is like a room full of people. The belief in God is a pomegranate. Most of the people in the room have tasted a pomegranate. Some of the people have not tasted a pomegranate, nor do they have the desire to taste a pomegranate. Nothing weird yet, right? Now let’s have the people who have tasted the pomegranate describe how a pomegranate tastes. What kinds of responses are we going to get? This exact question was given to a number of people, and here are only a few of the answers;
-Sweet and tart
-like a cherry and raspberry
We still don’t have a problem do we? I don’t think so. This is just about fruit. But what if it wasn’t? What if these people believed that the pomegranate was the key to health? Do you think we would have the “sweet and tart” person telling the “bitter” person that they in fact have NEVER tasted a pomegranate because their understanding or perception of the fruit isn’t identical? Probably not. Would we have the “like a cherry and raspberry” person persecuting the “bright” person because their view of a pomegranate wasn’t as precise and exact as theirs?
Then why in the hell do we have this problem with the belief in God? Just how different is this concept of perception? Fundamentally I think there is NO difference in the way we as humans see and interpret things and concepts, whether it’s the belief in God or the flavor of a pomegranate. We all have different backgrounds, life experiences, and ways of perceiving things around us just like people have different “gustatory perceptions”. Taste is when a substance in the mouth reacts chemically with receptors. If we can’t expect to have all of humanity taste things and interpret flavors the exact same way, why do we expect other people to have the same interpretation of something as complicated as a belief in God?
If that’s not enough for you, let’s throw religion into the mix. What is religion? It’s a system of beliefs. Using the same analogy, I would say that religion is a recipe for making pomegranate dessert. We are protective of the things we like and enjoy. We are often fiercely protective of our choices – favorite football teams, favorite brand of vehicle, favorite beer, and belief systems. I’m going to refer to a belief system as a recipe.
Now that we have a recipe for something as complicated as a pomegranate dessert, what do we do with it? Some people keep their recipes as a family secret. That’s great. Some people like to share their deserts. That’s great. Share it. But MAYBE we should keep a few things in mind:
1> People that don’t eat pomegranates aren’t going to be interested in your recipe. Simple as that. Trying to force them to accept a recipe is stupid. If you really care about your recipe, or want to share pomegranates with them, wait for those people to ask to try it. The fact that this person doesn’t eat pomegranates has NO impact on you and your relationship with your pomegranate.
2> People that do eat pomegranates usually have a preferred recipe. Trying to convince them that their recipe isn’t any good is foolish. Let’s go as far as assuming you have the world’s best recipe for pomegranate. It has been scientifically proven. Is forcing it down their throats going to get them to accept your recipe? No! Maybe you should keep your recipe, let them see how much you enjoy your recipe, and IF they show interest in your recipe then by all means, break it out for them. kudos.
I’ve grown tired of hearing undue significance placed on a person’s beliefs. Beliefs have never harmed others. Actions based on beliefs have, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
My own personal beliefs are my own. If my belief in a God is like my underwear, I don’t expect you to care about it. If I’m an atheist then I’m probably wearing a kilt as a true Scotsman would. My point is simple. It’s my pomegranate. I will describe its flavor the way I want and I will give you the same courtesy. For those people who continue to pass judgment and make assumptions on perceptions or views that are different from their own, I say that is some pretty silly shit. Drag yourself into the 21st century and leave my pomegranate alone.
Comments are always welcome.