19 August 2007

Why 13.7 Billions Years Has Increased My Faith and Made My Groin Tingle



a WMAP map of the Universe




When I was a child, I grew up in the mountains near Boulder Colorado, and I'd lay out on a hill in our backyard at night sometimes and stare at the sky for hours contemplating God, aliens, and Star Wars (Episodes IV,V,VI).

Although I became an actor, I took astronomy in college and the only person who got a higher grade than me was some guy going into astrophysics; and I beat him on the final exam. Yes I was one of those nerds who woke up at 5am on a Nebraska winter morning and braved 40 below wind-chill to get a good look at the Orion Nebula. I even took an old 8" telescope home (back the mountains near Boulder) for the entire summer because my professor trusted me enough to do so.

And then, for some reason, it went away for a while. I don't know why, but somewhere in the process of life, I forgot the wonders of the universe. And as a friend of mine put it; when he gazes at the stars he gets a tingle in his groin thinking of the awesomeness of The One. So, on a purely scientific level, I lost the groin tingle.

I'm happy to say now, that it's back. Thanks to listening to Alex Filippenko - Astronomy professor at Berkeley online, watching NASA TV, listening to Astronomycast, reading library books, spending late nights outside Fort Collins, and having a friend with a sweet telescope.

I've had twenty years of catching up since that college course, and being obsessive compulsive, I feel like I'm coming along at warp speed (ugh, pun in the worst way). And here's the point of all this:

1. It's increased my faith.

- When we understand that even if we are not the only ones in the universe, the chances of us even being here are so minuscule, some higher being must have played a part.
- With the recent discovery from COBE and WMAP (Satellites) that confirm the background radiation of the Universe points to a big bang from a singularity about 13.7 billion years ago, I am awestruck at the handy work of a mighty creator (I have yet to find anything that makes any sort of sense in a young creation theory, and thus a young creation has not increased my faith, but 13.7 billion years has. For those who think differently, I hold nothing against them).
- With the recent bizarre discoveries of quantum mechanics we understand - or rather don't understand - that on a subatomic level, something doesn't exist unless we observe it. This gets to the point where philosophy and physics begin to cross paths which is sometimes frustrating for both parties, but can also lead to conclusions by some that say that the Universe exists in order to be observed. This can beg the question, "Who is the ultimate observer?"
- As a scientist one must at some point apply Occam's Razor, which states, "The simplest explanation tends to be the right one." To me, and I do admit it's a matter of personal philosophy and faith, that the simplest answer is that a Creator exists.

2. It's a missional opportunity.

- I'm joining an amateur astronomy club here, and I'm excited to share my geek passion with others who have the same passion. It's a relational "third space" for me.
- This will give me the chance to build relationships with people that spend nights gazing at the sky, and then sleep in on Sunday mornings.
- This also give me a chance to learn from others about the Cosmos, thus increasing my faith. People who see Occam's razor differently than I, can still help me in my faith, by their sharing of knowledge.

In fact I plan to listen much more than I speak. One of my pet peeves are people who think they know what they are talking about concerning creation and then sound like idiots. I am fully aware that internet college classes and library books are a far cry from college astronomy in 1988 taken by an actor. Like Mark Twain says, "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

So, I'm off to meet people, feel that groin tingle, and see what God does.

1 comment:

paul said...

you're a star :)