Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Giving Voice

I have a special memory of being told creation stories. I remember only a few details of the creation stories themselves. I can try to reconstruct it. What struck me in the telling wasn't so much the actual stories but the way Lani and Lono took turns at telling them.

I think Lono started it by telling the Christian story of genesis. Lani countered by saying that other people had a different idea of what happened, and he told of how all there is sprang out of the primordial god Kanaloa.

Rather than argue which of the two of those ideas was right, Lono said there were still others who had a different idea. He told another story from the tradition, how the sky god Lani and the earth goddess Papa made love and Papa gave birth to the other gods and eventually Kane, who made people from rocks.

Rather than argue which of those three ideas was right, Lani said that there was another view, that was like that, but said that Kane made people out of clay.

Lono said that there was widespread agreement that men were made from clay, which was why the red clay was sacred, as well as the color red, but actually there was another view, that it wasn't men who were made from the clay, it was the taro plant, and men later descended from the tarot plant over many generations.

Pretty soon the words, "but other people say" had me in stitches every time I heard it.

I understood the joke. Anyone who says they know how the world began is wrong. Nobody was there to see it. But that doesn't prevent us from talking about it. The real creation is the recreation that happens every time you tell it a new way.

Whenever I hear Creationists and Evolutionists debating I remember that conversation, and laugh all over again.

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