The Ice Cream Eaters – A Parable

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There was once a town where the people ate healthy. They ate natural foods – meats, vegetables, and fruits. As a result the people of the town were healthy and prosperous. Then one day a stranger came to town. He opened something the people had never seen before, an ice cream shop. He told the people they deserved better, tastier things to eat. Told them what they’d been eating for generations was old fashioned. At first few people in the town frequented the shop, choosing instead to keep eating the things they had always eaten. Over time, however, more and more people tried the ice cream and when they saw that it was good for food began to eat more and more of it. Some liked it so much they began to eat nothing but ice cream. These people began to talk to others about the goodness of ice cream and to encourage them to stop eating vegetables and other old fashioned foods.

As time went on, the ice cream eaters became a significant portion of the town’s citizens. They occupied positions of influence and power such as teachers and politicians and ministers. They used that influence to promote ice cream and to marginalize those who still ate the old fashioned food.  After all, ice cream tasted great. Who doesn’t want something like that for the citizens of their town? Clearly only backwards, ignorant people would oppose something people enjoy so much.

One day, the people of the town began to notice they didn’t feel as well as they once had. They didn’t have the energy they’d had before and they often got sick now. Something had to be done. They appealed to their leaders for help.  Looking around, the town council realized the butcher and the green grocer were still operating in their town. That must be the problem. These purveyors of the old fashioned foods were poisoning the citizens! They immediately passed a law making it illegal to sell fresh meats and vegetables and simultaneously introduced three new flavors of ice cream (for the town council now ran the ice cream shop to ensure that everyone was able to exercise his right to have ice cream). The people were greatly relieved and began eagerly to eat the new flavors.

However, things didn’t get better. In fact, they got worse. Not only were people still getting sick but some were now dying. “Why is this happening!” they cried. A few people were bold enough to suggest perhaps it was the ice cream so many people were eating. That, just perhaps, the diet people had eaten years ago was the correct one, the one needed if people in a society were to be happy and healthy.  “Who are you to tell me how to live!” the people screamed. Others responded “how dare you judge my diet. Just because meat and vegetables work for you doesn’t mean I have to eat that way!” The town’s leaders reassured everyone that it was possible to eat nothing but ice cream yet still enjoy all the benefits of eating meats, vegetables and fruits. Laws were quickly passed to prevent vegetable and meat eaters from publicly sharing their views about food so people would not be offended or feel bad about eating as much ice cream as they wanted.

So the people of the town kept on eating ice cream, feeling good about themselves, getting sick and dying.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” – Proverbs 14:12

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