Understanding Faith and Belief

          The priest was calmly explaining reality to us.  I understood most of the words.  He was speaking English.  But.  As his sentences became paragraphs and those paragraphs became formulations of complex descriptions...I realized (to my axiomatic dismay) not only was I never going to be able to completely understand what he was attempting to communicate, but—worst of all—I was never going to be able to check his facts.  He was superior.  To me.  To us all (or, at least, to everyone I knew).

          I admire his genius.  He doesn't rub my face in my stupidity.  He tries to make it simple to understand.  He has an easy smile.  I trust that his professors knew what they were doing when they awarded his PhD.  I hope all the people who pay him to flex his brain and all the others who fund his sermons employ incredibly intelligent fact checkers.  I suspect they don't.  I bet they take his intelligence at face value just like I do.

          After the service—if I were given an open book test, permitted to query him at length and then write down his replies, I would still fail that test.  I know I'll never get it.  I'm doomed to being aware that I'm too stupid to formulate the question let alone comprehend my priest's answers.

          I understand where my faith comes from.  And.  Now.  I can speak intelligently about the reason I believe, and what I believe, and why I believe it.  I should, now, be able to more-easily understand others who profess to have faith and believe.  Shouldn't I?

          My priest is theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.  He was explaining the theory of everything.  Eleven dimensions.  Membranes.  An infinite number of parallel universes (a word never supposed to be pluralized, now infinitized).  Incredibly tiny vibrating strings.  The big bang and the spaces that existed before it now explained as two membrane-like waves crashing into each other.  According to Professor Kaku, the math works.  It explains where gravity comes from and why it's weaker compared to the nuclear forces as well as electromagnetism (it bleeds over from a nearby parallel universe).

          My get-the-fuck-outta-here meter is glad it's my priest talking this crazy talk.  Any other priest would never hold my attention.

           He says the math works—but it's the sacrosanct alphanumeric equations scrawled on multiple blackboards in films about geniuses like Good Will Hunting and A Beautiful Mind.  He knows we don't have the mental capacity to translate the equations, let alone follow the computations to their conclusions.  I'm saddened by my inability to visualize the immensely large-and-tiny entities and landscapes Professor Kaku describes.  I'm envious of anyone's ability to visualize eleven dimensions; I can just stretch my mind around four.  Five gets me discombobulated.

           I watch my priest's conviction.  His energy.  He's obviously very eager to teach.  I interpret his body language.  I believe that he, honestly, understands what he is talking about.  I have faith that he's speaking truthfully.

          Could his sermon be fabricated from the same building blocks that Lafayette Hubbard used to construct Scientology?  It's more fantastic than science fiction, but I have faith in Professor Kaku's explanations—that this theory is supported by quantifiable facts.  I also choose to believe that he isn't in the midst of orchestrating a life-long hoax.  My faith is grounded on an assumption that my priest has checked and will continue to check the equations of all his theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and mathematician peers who's combined work is constantly refining what we now believe about our multiverse—a bizarre, infinite, and phantasmagorical reality beyond my ken. 

          Can I get a witness?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Expert,

Are you going to have a follow up post or article about this anytime soon? :)

veach glines said...

Mr. Snide,

Nope.