Photo and Commentary ©2019 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
As a rule, we tend to be afraid of that with which we are unfamiliar. Such is the basic root of prejudice, a judging or generalization about that which we have limited understanding. I’d heard of them before, seen pictures of them, and even read a little about them. But seeing one firsthand for the first time made me stop for a second and debate whether I wanted to pick it up or not.
Leave it to the third grader who was showing me around his school. As we passed by the entryway to his classroom, he and another friend spied two Rhinoceros Beetles in the nearby shrubbery and without a moment’s hesitation picked them up. The male with the biggest horn was the one that was kept as a pet, something not unusual for Asian boys of that age group. They apparently make ideal pets as they are easy to care for, and despite their fearsome looks are totally harmless even though they are among the largest beetles in the world. All of the 300 species that go by that name are members of the scarab beetle family, and can be found around the world on all continents except Antarctica.
One other detail: these beetles are proportionally among the strongest animals on our planet. They reportedly can lift 850 times their own weight. If humans could equal this feat, a man of average weight and height would be able to lift 65 tons!
Scripture offers us an example of how one group can prejudice another, painting an unfair picture which clouds their minds as well: “But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.” (Acts 14:2 NIV) In direct contrast, my third grade companion refrained from offering any statistical information; he simply showed me how much he enjoyed his new discovery.