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Dark Night of the Universe, or, Hard To Believe

I am going through one of my periodic struggles with faith and doubt.  Call it end of summer blues, or something more profound.  I have found recent actions by Church leaders testing and trying - my belief in tolerance rubbing against my tendency to become impatient with unkindness and worse.  Then comes news, via the BBC, that the universe will expand "forever" and end up stretched out as a dead, cold, lifeless "wasteland".  If this doesn't sound like a vision of a godless hell (hell being the absence of God), then what is?  Humanists, nihilists, atheists, existentialists - call them what you want - but they are humans - we're all in this strange and frankly disconcerting universe together.  At times its size and complexity inspires (look at the stars etc) - but the ultimate scientific truth is more ghastly and sublime - the sum of everything adds up to an endless nothing, a total nullity.  Of course, the years ahead will first see much else, love, sunlight, 3D television and many pleasures and pitfalls, and poems - but the waiting wasteland at the end of the road is hard to shake off.  Where would God fit into such a universe? Is there another dimension or thirty beyond our own expansive drift into nada?  Is a great benevolence shaping this absolute zero trend?  What hand winds down this clock?  I worry about such things.  I hope there is a haven, a heaven, a future, beyond this bleak frozen horizon.  I am not always sure.  Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

Comments

Beth said…
I've got two tabs open. One is this page, and the other is a friend's page of 'science & religion' quotes:

http://www.facebook.com/?sk=messages&tid=1565149293276#!/note.php?note_id=391188432760

hope that works, don't know what his privacy settings are at. if it doesn't, here's a couple of the nicest ones:

"To interpret man's religion to man's science in not only mutually intelligible, but mutually interdependent terms, remains, as I believe, the great task of our time if we are to see any stable order in events, or make any consistent sense of experience." - Sir Arthur Eddington (1882-1944)

"...the stream of knowledge is heading towards a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine. Mind no longer appears as an accidental intruder into the realm of matter; we are beginning to suspect that we ought rather to hail it as the creator and governor of the realm of matter - not, of course, our individual minds, but the mind in which the atoms out of which our individual minds have grown to exist as thoughts... The new knowledge compels us to revise our hasty first impressions that we had stumbled into a universe which either did not concern itself with life or was actively hostile to life. The old dualism of mind and matter, which was mainly responsible for the supposed hostility, seems likely to disappear, not through matter becoming in any way more shadowy or insubstantial than heretofore, or through mind becoming resolved into a function of the working of matter, but through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind." - Sir James Jeans (1877-1946)
Steven Waling said…
Thank God for doubt. Without doubt, we'd all be crashing planes into buildings. I never trust people who don't doubt their faith.

I shall hold you in the light as we Quakers say.
Jabba the Pizza-Hut said…
I'd go with the (hopefully) long drawn-out drift into nada - doesn't sound too bad as endings go...alternatively you could always go for the big suck theory...
A.F. said…
So who are we in all of this? Small, dazzling
Jewels of consciousness - against the dark.


~ Peter Abbs, from Jewels of Consciousness

Works for me. On most days.
Sheenagh Pugh said…
I'll settle for the ancient blessing: may you die after your parents and before your children. As long as that happens, I don't think afterwards matters much (though I'm convinced we just go back to dust).

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