commentary: Our Genetically Altered Foods (Part Two)
A Challenge Impossible to Avoid
John W. Ritenbaugh
Given 17-Nov-12; Sermon #1130c; 13 minutes
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on how people react to impending economic scarcities, observes that moving into the present and living expediency replaces focusing on the future. If we allow expediency to become the dominant factor in our decision-making, we will ignore the future and our responsibilities to follow God's health laws. America's tampering with GMO and hybridization has caused our citizenry to become obese, succumbing to degenerative diseases. Today, we do not face an immediate lack of food. But we definitely face a situation where the only food we can acquire does not function in the way God designed it to function. In fact, many foods today destroy, rather than create, health and well-being. Given the widespread nature of today's food problem, our wisest—and in fact our only effective—choice is to develop a close relationship with God in order to ask Him to cleanse and purify the foods we eat.
Well, this is going to be the second of three commentaries that I plan on giving on food. The one that I gave two weeks ago gave what I believe is the only viable solution for us to put into practice, and that is to make use of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Within the past two weeks, an interesting email pertaining to choices that we must make came into my inbox. It was not about a specific point, but a general choice regarding whether we should do something right now because we might not be able to later on. The source was an article that appeared in Science magazine. At issue in this study was to get a general idea of how people act or react in anticipation of a scarcity of something. The motivation for this study arose from the economic crisis that the United States is in, and it asked, "Do people who are chronically poor react differently to a looming crisis from those who are not chronically poor?"
The tests devised were fairly well structured, and a broad group of people were tested. The tests showed that regardless of race, gender, age, political affiliation, or economic level, almost everybody reacted in virtually the same way in the face of a lack of resources. The general reaction: Forget the future; take care of the present.
The general principle involved here is something that we face almost constantly because our responsibility to God, once we are called, is to live by faith and to use our time to seek Him in order to come to know Him. In this relationship, we face a constantly diminishing amount of time. Each tick of the clock brings us closer to a scarcity of time that ends either with our death or Christ's return.
This reality is why the Bible has a fairly strong sense of urgency within its pages. How do you react? Will we, like most people in this test, forget about the future we are preparing for by concentrating on the present? Or, will we adjust and instead live in the present, never forgetting the future, allowing it to actually, practically dominate how we make choices in the present?
Now, let's apply this. As we are learning, a perfect storm regarding health issues is building. Virtually all purity, as compared to the way things were whenever God created Adam and Eve, is lost. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and now the food that we eat are constantly becoming more defiled. Do we just ignore the warnings, the flags that are being raised, saying, "Well, I'm going to die anyway, so I'll just go out oblivious to the dangers"? Well, no, brethren, we cannot do that if we fear God, because He has given us a charge. This charge is at least part of the reason why He gave food laws, among other things.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 summarizes our responsibility. It's not the only verse that speaks about food by a long shot, but it summarizes:
I Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
How can we glorify God in our body if we are knowingly feeding it poison? If we fear God, we cannot just walk away from this challenge as though it means nothing. It's right here that we are faced with the reality that there is no way that we can possibly meet and beat this challenge on our own. That is why I said last time that the solution to this dilemma lies in the relationship with Jesus Christ.
Evelyn and I first became aware of the problem building in the early sixties, when we learned of how the dairy industry manipulated the government into the pasteurization of all milk so that virtually all milk is processed and distributed through them. Well, pasteurized milk is a poor nutritional substitute for raw milk, and the public's health pays the price.
In the seventies, we began receiving warnings regarding our fruits and vegetables being pesticide- and insecticide contaminated. At the same time, the fluoridation and chlorination of water, and greater knowledge of chemical levels in food used for coloring, preserving, and enhancing taste were made known. And again, it's the public's health that is the loser because our bodies have a difficult time ridding themselves of the toxicity from these additives, and occurrences of certain degenerative diseases began to increase.
And now, because of the combination of hybridization and genetic manipulation, we are faced with what is probably the most insidious danger of all. Modern hybridized wheat began to be planted in the 1970s, and now we know that it is a major trigger of obesity and celiac diseases, because it artificially stimulates your appetite, always demanding more and more food for your body.
The average American is now 20 pounds heavier than the average American in 1990, and at the rate that we are going, by 2020, each American will be 40 pounds heavier than the 1990 model. The United States of America has been rated as the most obese nation on earth.
GMO corn, with its insect-killing Bt gene, is a major, major threat. Most European countries have banned it, but not the United States, and it's banned there because it is so dangerous to human health. By contrast, 50% of all corn grown in the United States is the GMO variety. It is grown in all 50 states, from Florida to Alaska, and it is harvested all year round. There is a constant supply of it hitting the market. Twenty-five percent of all corn produced, and all soybeans produced, are fed to cattle. The cattle cannot digest Bt either, but it is absorbed into their meat and we eat the BT when we eat the beef.
Scores of processed foods contained GMO grains added to them, and the Bt gene is passed on to us through them when we eat these processed products. In addition to corn, sugar beets, potatoes....Do you know that they are genetically modifying potatoes so that they will carry a vaccine that is going to inhibit cholera? We really need that. Tomatoes are GMOs. Ninety percent of all soybeans are GMOs. Papayas....Would you believe that that aspartame, that artificial sugar, is produced by genetic combining? Zucchini, yellow squash, cotton, rapeseed (from which we get rapeseed oil and canola oil) are all extracted? And would you believe that a GMO salmon is on the way to the dinner table? And then, finally, there are the dairy cattle which are injected with the rGBH hormone.
Right here is the rub. These products are so readily available, and yet labeling is banned in the present, and so people are blind to the dangers. In order to avoid them, one must search out very carefully, pay higher prices for organic, which many and many, many more cannot afford to grow on their own. This present trap is virtually impossible to escape because of where we live (in the city), the amount of land needed to grow your own (acres of ground), the time to grow them and care for the plants, and to provide for ourselves. So what can you do? And that's why I came up with what I believe is the one overall solution, and this is rightly using our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Evelyn and I have been aware of this growing problem for decades, and so of others. But it was not until the latest revelations regarding the spoiling of wheat through hybridization and the GMO issue that the concern has reached this level.
I do not want to set myself up as an example, because I believe that God wants us to be individually and knowledgeably responsible children of His. And I am most certainly not going to condemn you for what you choose to do regarding yourself and your family. You should know your situation better than anyone, and this may be the only choice that you have before you. So, this may seem like a contradiction, but I am not what I would call 'worried' about it for two reasons. One is my own experiences with God, and the other is directly tied to the Bible. More next week.