The Legend of the Rainbow Warriors by Steven McFadden is part manifesto, part apologetic, part spiritual memoir and – with its distinctive antipathy to certain traditional religions and its bad scholarship -- all New Age.
Author Steven McFadden is a journalist and teacher who began a spiritual journey which led him to compile and compare many myths and folklore of the world dealing with creation, end-world visions, and prophecies of renewed worlds. In his journey, he discovers the holistic myths of the rainbow and serpent common among Australia's indigenous aboriginal people, Tibetan folklore, and Native American tribes, including the Hopi.
These myths inspire him to become involved in ecological and racial issues. Through the wisdom of alternative groups, and the coming of the Harmonic convergence, New World Order, Freemasons, white buffalo, he sees what must be done about the cry of the earth, the silent springs, and the persecution of aboriginal and dark-skinned tribes by the white tribes and their dangerous patriarchal religion Christianity and the search for power and wealth. Now all this is very well and good. But a book which intends to be comparative religion, a call to action, a scientific study of earth, and a justification for dark-skinned races has a lot of road to cover. And it has to be fair and balanced.
But the book is not fair. Nor is it balanced. Among other things done in this book, McFadden seems to equate the white tribes of the world with Christianity/patriarchy/rape of the land. The rainbow and serpent motif are also found in Judeo-Christianity. The writer of Ecclesiastes states that "God has written eternity in the arts of everyone." And I believe there is a Tao of knowledge that all cultures agree upon. But McFadden uses the portions of Judeo-Christianity he considers palatable. For instance, because
"Chernobyl" is the Russian word for the wormwood or mugwort plant, McFadden accepts the Biblical prophecy of Wormwood, an end-time prophecy about the waters of the world being made dangerous and harmful because of a cataclysmic event. But he disregards the rest. In one of his typically questionable facts, he declares that "most of the world's professed religious traditions are relatively recent." He declares Islam to be merely 1500 years old, Christianity 2000 years old and Judaism about 4000 years old. But these religions are all based on folklore and myth also. Why should codifying them make them any less true? The implication is recentness implies untruth. And yet in other sections he implies that the old thinking is passing away and a new age with new thinking is on its way.
This unequal way of dealing with truth is bothersome to readers who see him swallow the myths and legends of other cultures. The reader comes to believe that the key to McFadden's acceptance of certain "truths" seems to be whether or not they are related to the white tribe and to Christianity.
It's a subtle racism, considering the author is white. But it fairly reeks from this book. The rainbow myth speaks of all tribes and McFadden considers himself one of the lucky members of the white tribe who can take up the rainbow tribe's burden and enlighten others. The problem with this is that all tribes whatever their religious and cultural traditions – from ancient slash-and-burn techniques to car emissions -- and wealth are responsible for the earth's shape.
Legend of the Rainbow Warriors is full of vague assertions and scripture twistings. For instance, in one of many instances of questionable quotes from questionable representatives, he writes
"Many of the developments since the summer of 1987 [Harmonic Convergence] have tended to erode the narrow confines of traditional beliefs. For example: "Leaders of Protestant and Catholic clergy concluded that Jesus was not, in fact, the author of the Lord's Prayer, as the gospel proclaims. This prayer, the foundational prayer of the Christians to God the Father, was instead ascribed to an earlier Hebrew teacher named Q. ...Likewise the scholars agree that the predominate narrative strand running through Genesis, ... is a composite of earlier literary sources ...assembled by a writer named ‘J.' In all likelihood, the first writer of the Bible was a woman."
In the same section McFadden also states,
"The Vatican ex-communicated Dominican priest Matthew Fox because his heresy was teaching that ‘women and men must give way to a creation-centered religious vision' ...as opposed to the concept of original sin."
This section is typical of the subtle pseudo-truths that are repeatedly told in this book. The discerning reader might very well beginning ask, "What proof is there that traditional patriarchal religion is eroding? Why is he assuming that Christianity is primarily a religion of the white tribe? What group of Protestants and Catholic clerical scholars? How many? What are their credentials and proof? And what about the opposing opinion and their proofs? Is he implying that the truth spoken by women religious writers of old were raped away from them by men? Or doesn't it matter?"
For those who don't understand Matthew Fox's writings or the Church's concept of original sin –that no one is perfect and human perfection is impossible without God's help – McFadden makes the excommunication appear like a suppression. In addition, most
Protestant priests know about Q. They know that Q was not "another teacher" as McFadden and his unnamed group of scholars declare, but another text, the foundational text on which many of the gospel stories are based – and which most Biblical scholars equate with Mark's gospel. In typical New Age ways, McFadden hints at conspiracies to hide
the truth that will heal the planet. After four or five chapters of this kind of thing, the knowledgeable reader questions McFadden's insights, conclusions and declarations. Is he being purposely and subtly dishonest? Or does he only read those viewpoints which match his --- in capsule form?
McFadden writes that he wrote this book
"to clarify the myth of the rainbow warriors, to explore its connection to present reality, and to inspire people to work toward making the dream real by engaging in an ancient quest: seeking practical ways to bring heaven to earth."
Trust is a hard thing to lose. Readers will plow through an author's book. But they will read the thing with one eyebrow raised. Some readers might accept the fact that the world is in terrible shape. After all, glaciers are melting. But they won't accept this Rainbow Warrior's view. Others might accept the coincidences that flow through the book and seem to be taken by the author and his spiritual guides as divinely-inspired. Others –especially those who believe differently or who believe in demonic deceptions -- might wonder if these folks have thrown discernment out the window. After all, is everything supernatural to be taken as coming from God?
Legend of the Rainbow Warriors is a rhapsodic book for those who like their comparative religion and end-world discussions without the life-giving properties of the salt of discernment.
© 2002 by Carole McDonnell for Curled Up With a Good Book