This post is part of the January Interfaith Synchroblog. The theme is “Religion and Science”. Links to all contributors are listed at the end of this post.
Before I begin I just want to make it clear that anyone out there with the least bit of knowledge about quantum physics could easily prove that I don’t know a thing about it. Sure I could talk a little bit about entanglement, which is the quantum physics theory that some form of communication, faster than the speed of light, allows particles that have become entangled to know and respond to what the other one does no matter how far apart they are, or I could talk a little bit about the amazing double slit experiment that basically says nothing is real unless it is observed – but like I said, just “a little bit”. However, in my defense, even Richard Feynman, the American physicist who received the Nobel Prize in 1965 for his contributions to quantum electrodynamics said, “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”
I first became interested in the connection between quantum physics and faith when I read the essay “Physics and Faith: The Luminous Web” by Barbara Brown Taylor. She absolutely astounded me with the way she allowed science to enhance her perception of God and his creation. Below are a few paragraphs from the essay that really spoke to me (you can find the whole thing here):
“When I am dreaming quantum dreams, the picture I see is more like a web of relationships–an infinite web, flung across the vastness of space like a luminous net. It is made of energy, not thread. As I look, I can see light moving through it like a pulse moving through veins. I know the light is an illusion, since what I am seeing moves faster than light, but what I see out there is no different from what I feel inside. There is a living hum that might be coming from my neurons but might just as well be coming from the furnace of the stars. When I look up at them there is a small commotion in my bones, as the ashes of dead stars that house my marrow rise up like metal filings toward the magnet of their living kin.
Where am I in this picture? All over the place. Up there. Down here. Inside my skin and out. Large compared to a virus and small compared to the sun, with a life that is permeable to them both. Am I alone? How could I ever be alone? I am part of the web that is pure relationship, with energy available to me that has been around since the universe was born.
Where is God in this picture? All over the place. Up there. Down here. Inside my skin and out. God is the web, the energy, the space, the light — not captured in them, as if any of those concepts were more real than what unites them, but revealed in that singular, vast net of relationship that animates everything that is.
It is not enough for me to proclaim that God is responsible for all this unity. Instead, I want to proclaim that God is the unity — the very energy, the very intelligence, the very elegance and passion that make it all go. This is the God who is not somewhere (up there, down here) but everywhere”
Like Barbara Brown Taylor, I also dream quantum dreams – dreams of unseen connections and unexplained phenomenon, dreams of a broken world made whole again, dreams of unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation, dreams that allow me to imagine that when science and faith meet, secrets buried in the physical universe will be revealed, secrets that bear witness to the glorious attributes of its creator, secrets that will urge us to seek, to marvel and even to doubt in order that our theology will be edified.
At times science can be alarming for many of us, stripping away answers without providing new ones…and yet I sense that it may be from these uncertain places that a fresh and more robust gospel will emerge. A gospel that is not just scientifically sound and spiritually alive, but a gospel for all things – a whole gospel for the whole world – a gospel that dares to imagine a world where God’s dreams come true.
Here is a list of all the contributors to this synchroblog:
Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be at Notes From Underground
Dreaming Quantum Dreams at Grace Rules
How I Taught Science instead of “Christian” Science at the Evening of Kent
Is Evolution Atheistic? at glocal Christianity
Post-Modernism: A Challenge to Science? at Fr Ted’s Blog
Faith, Reason And Unreason at The Musings of a Confused Man