News circled the globe last week that scientists at the CERN supercollider on the French-Swiss border had confirmed the existence of the fabled Higgs Boson.
Nicknamed the “God particle,” the subatomic phantom is best described as the glue holding everything together from stardust to us.
In his bestseller “A Brief History of Time,” physicist Stephen Hawking noted that we have no idea what happened before the Big Bang or if there exist universes outside the one we inhabit. God could have snapped her ethereal fingers and popped existence into existence.
If there exist open-minded, liberal atheists and agnostics, they should pay attention.
We’ve apparently found God and nobody noticed, I wrote on 24 Dec. 2000.
Such apathy was forecast by none other than Oscar-winning actor Rod Steiger.
Back in college, he wrote a short story.
One day, the electronic readerboard above New York City’s Times Square went 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 noon, a huge black whale appeared above the readerboard.
“I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me.”
“I am the Lord, your God. Bow down and worship me,” said a voice that came not from the whale, but from everywhere.
The multitudes emitted a murmur. Some lout cast the first stone.
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.
Recent discoveries 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 that basically balances the books of the cosmos.
The huge unknown dark sector cross-cuts the entirety of everything. It can be argued that 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 afraid to laugh.”
St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) used the obvious orderliness of the universe as proof of the existence of God.
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 that 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 termed “oneness with the Father.”
Because God seems a comedian, humorists are often best at interpreting the unknowable.
Raised a Catholic, George Carlin (1937-2008) made a career of harpooning the pomposities of his church. He called God “The Big Electron,” a vibrating, all-present, all-knowing entity.
“It doesn’t judge. It doesn’t punish. It just is,” Carlin said.
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 we inhabit.
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.
Like Steiger, Jesus tried 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.
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Be well. Raise hell.
Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.