Watching the Hubble Space Telescope at the planetarium gave some great and wondrous insights to our universe. One photo pictured a small segment of space, about one 24-millionth of the whole sky. Within it, almost all of the 3,000 galaxies could be seen, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. Each of these galaxies contains over 100,000,000 stars (i.e., solar systems). Multiply all that by 24,000,000.
On face value, the chances “we” (this island earth) being the only planet supporting life seems shockingly remote. However, Hubble’s discoveries do leave questions. First, if we are products of the universe, where does the universe come from? How do we solve it? Second, where is God? Third, how do I fit into this potentially vast universe?
One could take a ‘scientific’ or ‘religious’ view of our world, dividing the world into believers and nonbelievers. From a straight scientific perspective, religion is wrong. Believing in spirituality is flawed. For those of the moralistic side of religion, one can visually conceptualize God, but simply cannot tolerate the written word as inscribed by leaders of the past. And there are those who believe every word of the Bible is verbatim, every sentence is sacred.
I believe we do this because we are guided. For instance, much of modern day life is run more from an Apple iPhone than by spirit. Think about it, we structure everything, including time. We synchronize encounters. We are a culture of repetition. Our world is an endless cycle of calendars; a way of ensuring each year repeats the same patterns, same themes, same ideas, and same messages. For instance, the Super Bowl occurs in February; NCAA holds it’s madness in March; Thanksgiving in November, Christmas in December; Easter around April; businesses financially budget in either fiscal or calendar years; vacations occur around the same time of year; morning starts early, sleep starts late; seasons occur yearly, etc., etc., etc.
We forget to remember that we are not simply bodies in motion. We are spirit. And when the hand of God or the body of life teaches us lessons, it’s commonly done via the spirit. For instance, the Hubble Space Telescope cannot conceive of the idea of forgiveness, tears of the heart, falling in love, starting anew, starting afresh. You cannot immerse yourself in the water of love when only a physical action backs up a philosophical idea. God is neither.
There is nothing about space itself that offers any insight to the power of humanity or love. Hubble makes no make a room for love. There is no room for generosity. You cannot measure the fulcrum of agape love in a stellar explosion. It’s impossible to understand the mystery of faith watching two solar systems collide. How eerie our world mirrors the universe. The same violence and warfare in the universe affects everything we do – our hopes, dreams, aspirations, fantasies, relationships — and our religion.
Transcending the world of Hubble, the world of God, Nirvana, Allah or Dao lies beyond the reach of words. In our world, only our collective humanity prevents us from bringing faiths (scientific and religious) together. To do so requires a level of compassion far greater than the universe, far more powerful than even the Bible’s written word.
Our view of Santa Claus matures from a byproduct of knowledge and age, whereas our ideas of God remain at a rather infantile level. Selfishness, greed, envy, self-preoccupation and our engrained ability to make ourselves the center of the universe prevents us from the reaching the level of love necessary to create the universe or the very level of love God intended for you and I. We remain woefully ignorant of the hatred produced each and every day.
Buddha had a monk who pestered him constantly about the existence of God and the creation of the world. The Buddha told him that he was like a man who had been shot with a poisoned arrow but refused to have any medical treatment until he had discovered the name of his assailant and what village he came from: he would die before he received this perfectly useless information. One could, the Buddha said, spend many pleasant hours discussing these fascinating topics but this would distract a monk from his main objective: “Because, my disciples, they will not help you, they are not useful in the quest for holiness; they do not lead to peace and to the direct knowledge of Nirvana.”
The quest for God comes from our ability to love one another. Real love transcends everything.