Dig this. In today's paper here in Kansas City, someone on the opinion page lamented the scientific exploration of one of Saturn's moons. It seems that, up on Titan, scientists are looking for a parallel to the origins of life on earth, and apparently, in order to discover said origins of life on earth, "all they have to do is turn to God's holy word, the Bible, and read Genesis." Well, that sure got me thinking.
The first, easy thought that came was (naturally) a smart aleck question, "Which story in Genesis should they read?" There happen to be two stories in Genesis about the origin of life on earth, and they are different from each other. But that, like I said, is the easy way out, a counter-productive smart aleck response, and besides when you enter the rainbow, things are never simply black or white - there is a whole spectum of color to consider.
My second, more difficult thought was this: the reaction against scientific discovery and the reation against cultural diversity are branches on the same vine. They both represent a retreat into fundamentalism based on a fear of what is so rapidly becoming known about the world. As humanity comes into contact with the intimate minutiae of the atom and the immeasurable breadth of outer space, we are astounded and amazed. Likewise, when humanity comes into contact with people with different cultural systems, different values, and different belief systems, we are nearly overwhelmed with the vastness of the variety. We then have basically two options in how to respond: deny it or embrace it.
Those who deny it will tend to retreat into the known, go "back to the basics," affirm the foundations of their own personal epistemology. Those who embrace it are the ones who know what it means to enter the rainbow. I choose to embrace it!
The problem with the denial of scientific discovery is that denying it doesn't make it go away. The problem with denying cultural differences is that denying them doesn't automatically make us all the same. You can choose not to enter the rainbow, but that doesn't make the rainbow disappear.
One last thought: Denying diversity by retreating into fundamentalism is killing the Church. Embrace diversity and you embrace God.
Peace - Andy B.
(By the way, I dare someone to tell me who Cain's (Adam and Eve's murderous son) mother-in-law was.)