Should we find out?

My wife asked me that question about 15 weeks into her pregnancy.

My wife has always been willing to be surprised by the sex of the baby but not me. I need to know. And so we know that our fifth child will be a girl.

That urge to know is such a foundational curiosity it has defined our culture and led to startling technological advancements.

Ironically, one downside I don’t think we’re surprised enough anymore. Our phones tell us who’s calling before we decide whether to pick them up. We go from our home to our car and arrive at our destination without ever seeing anyone unexpected. We hardly ever get to say, “Honey, guess who I bumped into today.” Our children’s games are scheduled weeks in advance. Even on the internet where we have so much of the world open to us we click on just four or five favorites.

Our lives are crammed with stuff we already know, not enough surprises if you ask me.

But the “let’s find out” urge has a dark downside especially obvious and alarming today.

My wife and I don’t ever allow doctors to perform an amniocentesis that could possibly detect diseases in utero. Doctors don’t often tell you that the procedure could itself damage the baby. But for many, the need to know if they’re having the perfect baby outweighs the danger to the baby. Thousands of abortions are performed each year due to the sometimes mistaken results of those tests. ‘Finding out’ in those cases is a catalyst for tragedy.

Scientists create chimeras of 85 percent sheep and 15 percent human DNA just to find out what will happen. Cloning. Embryonic stem cell research. It’s obvious to anyone without a PhD that it’s crazy but it happens every day.

The urge to discover has been our hallmark for centuries. But maybe there’s been too much ‘finding out’ lately and not enough “God only knows.”

I think that very soon we’re going to be forced to make some important decisions, we either bridle our curiosity or gallop into the dangerous unknown blindly. I fear what will happen if we don’t. I hate to sound doomsday-ish but this may be a make or break time for us and I don’t think we’ve been making a lot of good decisions recently as a culture.

Maybe on the next baby (God only knows) we’ll allow ourselves to be surprised about the sex of the baby. It’ll be my little stand. I hope God appreciates it. We’ll find out.