Trying to find Jesus? Ask your local quantum physicist for directions.
For many years, the path to God was assumed to lie in the forest of organized religion. While no subject could be of greater debate, there is a new and widespread movement (for lack of a better word) toward the relationship between mankind and spirituality, and it rests in the palm of mathematical discipline. The long-time adversaries of religion and science are now coming together in a fashion both bizarre and reconciliatory.
Any one person or group claiming to know the one true way to God must surely be mistrusted, for a God that man defines couldn't be much of a God. Each person, ostensibly given the choice of free will by the big G-unit in the sky, has the right to choose their own conception of God. This may prompt devout Christians to inform me that anyone who doesn't accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is going straight to hell for eternal damnation, but then all religions claim similar such things. They can't all be right, despite what their unassailable book may assert.
This is what makes the idea of God through science so appealing. It doesn't claim perfection, nor does it threaten non-believers with eternal damnation in a transparent attempt to control them and their pocketbooks. It simply presents a window into things nearly inconceivable and thoroughly breathtaking, things that any human being can see is clearly the work of a universal power. The findings and theories made by scientists in recent years bear the undeniable mark of God.
The big news? The sure sign of a higher power in the universe? Here it is!
*** Drumroll ***
Strings. Yes, strings … and a few other things.
It goes like this: At one time, the world was made up of molecules, or so we thought. Then scientists discovered atoms, then particles - protons, neutrons, electrons. It was thought for quite some time that these particles were the smallest things in the universe. Then came the quarks. Quarks were once thought to be the fundamental building blocks of all matter, and if I tried to explain exactly what they are and how they work, I'd probably confuse myself more than you, the reader.
Quarks (and their opposite, antiquarks - everything in physics seems to need an "anti" thing as well) cannot actually be seen, as they are too small. But, according to scientists, they have to exist, because their effects can be seen, and the math leads to the inescapable conclusion that they are real. We just have to have faith that they exist.
At first, the scientists who proposed these theories were either ignored or thought to be crackpots. Now, the scientists who are dealing with this theory are thought to be the foremost experts in quantum physics mechanics and are respected world wide, winning Nobel Prizes and such.
The theory is string theory, and if quarks were small and confusing, strings trump quarks like a banshee. It is believed - for now, until the next big ... err … small thing comes along - that strings are not only the building blocks of all matter in the universe, but they also connect every thing to each other. Remember "The Force" from Star Wars? The connecting, ethereal and omnipresent power that, in the words of Obi Wan, "surrounds us, penetrates us and binds the galaxy together." Strings are kind of like that, except we are also made up of them, not just surrounded by them. They are simply in all things, and all things are constructed of them.
These strings are exactly like they sound. They are generally thought to come in two shapes: end-to-end like a sewing thread and circular like a rubber band. However, they are not straight; instead, they squiggle, pulsate and vibrate, similarly to the strings of a guitar, or any other stringed instrument, in play.
Just how small are they? If a particle such as a proton were enlarged to the size of our entire solar system, one string would be about the size of an average tree. Now that's small.
If you thought that this is all very strange and difficult to understand (and believe me, I'm with you), then you're in for a real surprise. This is where things get really bizarre. It is believed that there are other dimensions. Yes, other dimensions, like in The Twilight Zone. Depending on which string theory you believe (and there are five accepted theories, which scientists are trying to flesh out), there are anywhere from eleven to twenty-six dimensions, existing parallel to our reality as we understand it.
My question is; how did I get stuck in this dimension, and is another me living in a harem tent as a prince, just 10-35 meters away? I never get that kind of luck.
At this point, you may wonder what any of this has to do with God. Somewhere along the way, science and religion split. One may assume that this was always so, with scientists being labeled as heretics during the middle ages and the Renaissance. Galileo lived out his final days under house arrest for some of his ideas which the church did not appreciate.
Yet, Sir Isaac Newton operated according to the notion that the universe was created by an all-powerful God at some distinct instant in the past, and that this universe was ordered according to a permanent collection of laws. Einstein, though certainly not religious in any traditional or organized fashion, often talked of God, most notably in his famous quote, "God does not play dice".
As it turns out, God does play dice, and the dice are loaded.
To be continued ...
Evan Redmon is a manager of a public golf course in Washington, D.C. and writes a few things about stuff sometimes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you really want.