Christmas 2000: a scientific snapshot of God

Expanded from the 12-24-00 Sparks (Nev.) Tribune
Updated 7-12-2012

Copyright © 2012 Woodrow Barlettani for The Daily Sparks Tribune

The last Christmas of the second Christian millennium must not pass without someone mentioning that we've apparently found God and nobody noticed.

Such apathy was forecast by none other than Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger.

Back in his college days, Steiger wrote a short story about the return of God to earth. One day, the electronic readerboard above New York City's Times Square goes out of control.

"God returns to earth here at noon on Friday," the sign repeated hour after hour. All attempts to fix it or shut it down met with failure.

Needless to say, by Friday you couldn't get near the place. Promptly at 12 noon, a huge, black whale appeared, ensconced on the the building above the readerboard.

Mind your Bosons:
God looks nothing like Charlton Heston

Barbwire / Sparks Tribune / 7-8-2012

"I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me."

The crowd stood frozen in stunned silence.

"I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me," said a voice which did not come from the whale, but from everywhere.

The crowd emitted a faint murmur. Some lout hurled a stone up at the whale.

"I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me," the calm but commanding voice continued.

After a few more demands by the whale, the murmur became a rumble, then a roar. Soon came shouts of derision, then ropes trying to pull the whale down. Cops fired tear gas into the crowd, then bullets at the behemoth.

God finally nuked the place in disgust.

Moral of the story: Man will accept no god not made unto man's image and likeness.

The supreme arrogance of our species lies in the conceit that God must look like us. God is the old long-haired white guy with the long nose and beard giving the magic finger to Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Once we establish that God looks like us, 'tis but a small step for some guy to step forward and say he's God or speaks for same.

Thus have millions of lives been lost in pointless wars.

Now come the scientists, age old rivals of the God-men, with a fascinating perspective.

As I noted earlier this month, recent discoveries by astrophysicists show a huge formation of impenetrable mass and energy taking up some 90 percent of the known universe. It validates a long-ago discarded Albert Einstein (1879-1955) theory which basically balances the books of the cosmos.

The huge unknown dark sector cross-cuts the entirety of everything we are and know. It can be argued that the scientists have formed a picture of what some would call God — an entity bringing order to the universe, balancing the matter and energy equation first calculated by Sir Isaac Newton. (1642-1727)

French philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) said "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."

St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) used the obvious orderliness of the universe as proof of the existence of God.

I think both the saint and the philosopher are proving correct, especially about God's sense of humor. Some time ago, physicists identified that the order of the universe proceeds from chaos, a miraculous and unlikely set of chances which produced all that you know and are. So the joke's on Aquinas. The order he used as "proof" is really chaos which by happy happenstance brings the order we witness.

Physics, metaphysics, philosophy and theology thus share one common thread allowing everything to be viewed as inter-related with everything else. Christians will recognize the idea when it's termed "oneness with the Father."

Because God seems a comedian, humorists are often best at interpreting the unknowable.

George Carlin, raised a Catholic, has made a career of harpooning the pomposities of his church. He calls God "The Big Electron," a vibrating, all-present, all-knowing entity.

"It doesn't judge. It doesn't punish. It just is," Carlin says.

Many other religions have a similar belief in the unity of all things seen and unseen.

Like wiseman Carlin, I find it amusing that theologians, who spend lifetimes looking for God, conclude that God is unknowable, an infinite entity the magnificence of which we cannot begin to imagine with our puny minds.

Then, they go right ahead and try to tell us what God is and thinks and does. Now, along come humble scientists with evidence of the existence of such an entity. They also state that they don't have a clue about assessing its properties. Apparently none of the holy men have made the linkage. Leaps of faith are one thing. Leaps of science are supposed to be something else again.

Now, the missing link has possibly been found. The twain have met and nobody wants to admit it. Does God have to put another star in the east to get everyone onto the same page?

Such cosmic calculations crash harder than whales on Times Square when we return to earth to witness the mess we primitive creatures have made of the sliver of God's creation which we inhabit.

We are surrounded with wealth and technology. Our national waistline approaches that of Santa Claus on his best day. Yet, children starve. Disease and want run rampant. Rich and powerful men sit in cigar-stenched rooms plotting how to further enrich themselves.

One Jesus of Nazareth got it right when he said it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

He said so after a wealthy young stud stepped forward saying he wanted to follow Jesus but refused to accept one condition — that he first give away all he owned to the poor.

As Steiger did in his story of the black whale, Jesus was trying to tell us something about ourselves.

Sometime in the next week, on a starry night, go outside and look up. See how small you are in comparison with the vastness of the God who suffuses you.

But rejoice that you are an integral part of it all and it wouldn't be the same or complete without you.

Then, remember to take better care of the little area over which you have been given responsibility.

Jesus and the Big Electron will very probably appreciate it.

Happy holidays.

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Copyright © 2000, 2005, 2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano,a 32-year Nevadan, is a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Sparks (Nev.) Tribune since 1988.

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