Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dark Matter, Faith

…for we all of us, grave or light, get our thoughts entangled in metaphors, and act fatally on the strength of them.

Middlemarch, I.x

Last night I watched a Ted presentation by a famous string-theory proponent, Brian Greene. He discussed, armed with the trappings of media savvy, the argument for the multiverse, how it’s the only idea which solves certain scientific problems.

To what ends? It is fascinating to contemplate, but mostly in a literary sense, wherein two universes interact and relate in some way. And yet scientific enquiry is important. I believe in curiosity and meditation on the baubles of possibility.

Interesting, though, that earlier on the same night I had read Book I, Chapter X of Middlemarch—“Has the theory of the solar system been advanced by graceful manners and conversational tact?” And I had also been thinking of something R—— and K—— had been discussing—what will the religious do if it is proven that there are other universes with other civilizations? C.S. Lewis discussed this, as I recall.

Does the complexity of the universe cast a shadow over religious faith? Does it open windows to let in air and dispel the dark air? Does it make anything at all of faith? I think it must only affect us to the degree that our religious feelings are built upon static, closed images of the world. For faith to live, there must be openness. But this openness is itself often perceived as a threat to faith. What is the image which comes to mind? The man who built his house upon the sand. If our faith is shaken, it only speaks to the lack of solidity in our foundations. What is left? If there is anything, it must either be so small, and so general as a symbol of everything, that it is bereft of meaning, or it must be something which is, itself, meaning and not mere symbol. I can only conceive of this in terms of hope, love, and intimacy—no matter how cosmic and divine.

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