Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Christ Had Room for Quantum Physics

Found this at MsquaredT blog. And I’m quoting it nearly in full here because even though I’m not a Moby fan, I think both he and Pastor Matt Thomas have some really good _questions_ for today’s church.

First, Moby:
so, do you think that it’s time to invent a new religion?
i mean, i know that sounds absurd and absurdly presumptuous.
but what do we know now that is different from what we
knew ages ago?
that the universe is gigantic?
that the universe is old?
that we are made up of matter that used to be other things?
that our actions are seemingly insignificant from a universal perspective?
that matter, at it’s most basic level, doesn’t do what
we think it would/should do?
i sound flippant.
but really, given what we know about the universe and about ourselves, isn’t it absurd to hold on to conventional ideas about our significance and identity and relevance and so on?
again, i sound flippant.
i don’t mean to.
but it’s hard to describe this in a journal(not blog)entry.
i actually think that the teachings of christ accomodate most of the new ways in which we perceive ourselves and our world.
the problem is that although the teachings of christ accomodate this, contemporary christianity does not.
here’s more seriousness dressed up as flippancy:
christ: acknowledging quantum realities.
christiantiy: depressingly newtonian.
does that make any sense?
well, to me it does.
and to some of you it might make sense, also.
i’m sorry that i’m being light and flippant.
i should just be straightforward.
we know things about our universe and about our world and about ourselves that make our previously held ideas about human significance utterly absurd. in order to move forward we need to accept that how we understand ourselves in the future has to be informed by what we know about ourselves from a quantum perspective.
and luckily, there’s not a christian(or new testament)perspective that compels us to hold on to much of tradition.
many christians might disagree, but i would ask them to cite scripture to support their dissent.
i know, ‘quantum perspective’ sounds nonsensical and nerdy.
but we need to move on(no political pun intended).
we all know better.
we’re all holding on to past conceptions of human endeavours and human significance, and they’re outdated and erroneous and anachronistic.
our human significance is both far greater and far smaller than anything than we’ve hitherto recognized.
that is the truth.

Pastor Matt Thomas:
The quantum perspective radically changed how we perceive the world; our structures have not yet dealt with that fact - even though quantum’s been around for nearly 100 years. Instead, we’ve told Jesus Christ that he cannot deal with this world, that he’s all about the next. We make going to heaven, i.e., getting the h*ll out of here, the end goal of faith, rather than “love God with your whole being and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

But Jesus... was perfectly content with living in the smallest of quantum probabilities, and somehow knew how to access them - so that water could be walked upon, sight could be restored, the lame could be made to walk, and death could bring new life. Oh, yes, and locked doors could be passed through.

With Newton, these are abberations; with quantum, these are distinct possibilities, however improbable. Nevertheless, we don’t expect these things to occur. We don’t believe that they will happen, nor, to one extent or another, do we really want them to. They’ll stir things up too much.

The abomination of desolation has happened several times in Jewish history. It's not a one-time event. The last time it happened was 70 A.D.

As for Moby, yes, he's confused, no doubt. If you can get past the irritating e.e. cummings writing style, I think there's something important there.

I won't drone on and on, but I think this knowledge could change how you witness, worship, pray, and even how you view answers to prayer. Like, do you really believe God is omnipresent and omnipotent?

I'm just beginning to explore this more deeply -- the bridge between mysticism and science. The Eastern Orthodox tradition, which is brand new to me, seems to have thought this through in ways the Western church has not. A deep sense of longing for communion with the Spirit and study of John Wesley has led me to explore the Eastern tradition. I'm slowly reading the Philokalia right now, and pondering ideas like Panentheism.

I don't know yet where it will lead, nor whether I agree with these things. But blogging gives you a chance to express these ideas and explore them with others.
Thanks for the link!

I'm fascinated with this conversation myself. I guess the main question I'm asking is whether our theology (i.e., the corporate reflections on the faith of Jesus Christ) has been expressed in one philosophical framework that needs examination now that we live in another.
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