In celebration of our 100th blog post here at dancingpastthedark, here is an article I very much want you to read. It is, to my mind, the ideal conclusion to our months-long wondering about quantum physics and its relation to NDE and consciousness; but some of you will take one look and begin to whine. Therefore, let me make a one-paragraph speech and then turn you loose to read.
Massive changes are occurring around us, and whoever and wherever we are, as humans we are all trying to describe and understand the same shifts and the same universe. Whether we take the perspective of scientists, especially physicists, finding mathematics the best language, or the perspective of philosophers and theologians, working with words and stories—it is still the same universe. It should be no surprise to find commonalities coming from the two very different approaches. Most of us prefer one or the other approach, but we all need to know something about both. Whatever your perspective, and whether you consider yourself religious, atheist, or any point between or beyond, the linked article has something important to say about our life as part of Western culture in a time of immense change. I think that in this article, published some 15 years ago, Barbara Brown Taylor clearly describes part of the upheaval. If you say you hate math and science, please put away your objections and read the article. If you are still thinking that anyone using the word “God” is talking about a very large, supernatural humanoid somewhere in the sky, know that the author doesn’t think that, and plunge bravely ahead. In other words, whatever your objection, please put it aside for now. You can grumble to me after you’ve read her article. (Insert smiley here.)
To get you started, here is an edited-down introduction:
Physics and Faith
by Barbara Brown Taylor
Among the many compelling reasons for religious people to engage science is the human tendency to base our worldviews on the prevailing physics of the day. Our governments, our schools, our economies and our churches all reflect our understanding of how the world works, and when that understanding changes—as it is changing right now—all those institutions are up for revision. New discoveries in quantum physics are already changing the way some businesses are being managed. New discoveries in human brain research are changing education. Changes may be in store for the church as well.
Newton planted the seeds of a new worldview. He laid down the laws of celestial dynamics. Reducing them to four simple algebraic formulas, he revealed a solar system that worked like a vast machine… made of parts…all obeying the same four laws.
While religion resisted Newton’s metaphor for a while, the illusion of control proved too hard to pass up. Theology became increasingly specialized and systematized. Our “God view” came to resemble our worldview. In this century, even much of our practical theology has also become mechanical and atomistic. Walk into many churches and you will hear God described as a being who behaves almost as predictably as Newton’s universe. Say you believe in God and you will be saved. Sin against God and you will be condemned. Say you are sorry and you will be forgiven. Obey the law and you will be blessed. These are simple and appealing formulae, which make God easy to understand. Pull this lever and a reward will drop down. Do not touch that red button, however, or all hell will break loose. In this clockwork universe, the spiritual quest is reduced to learning the rules in order to minimize personal loss (avoid hell) and maximize personal gain (achieve salvation).…
There is another way to conceive of our life together
There is another way to conceive of our life together…but it requires a different worldview—not a clockwork universe in which individuals function as discrete springs and gears, but one that looks more like a luminous web, in which the whole is far more than the parts. In this universe, there is no such thing as an individual apart from his or her relationships. Every interaction—between people and people, between people. and things, between things and things—changes the face of history. Life on earth cannot be reduced to four sure-fire rules. It is an ever-unfolding mystery that defies precise prediction. Meanwhile, in this universe, there is no such thing as “parts.” The whole is the fundamental unity of reality.
If this sounds like the language of Eastern religion, it is not. It is the language of quantum physics, which is causing a revolution in the way we see our world.
Since I am not a scientist, I am not always sure what I am looking at, nor do I have the theoretical background to discern all the implications of a particular phenomenon, but as a preacher—that is, someone who lives on stories—I find the stories rolling in from the frontiers of the new science as rich in meaning as any stories I know.
According to quantum theory, a subatomic particle that decays into two particles becomes a set of “twins” —a single system with two parts, spinning in opposite directions… Now imagine those two particles flying apart …According to the laws of quantum physics…some unimagined form of communication, faster than the speed of light, would allow each particle to ‘know” and respond to what the other was doing. Since this eerie idea violated his own theory of special relativity, Einstein concluded that quantum theory is wrong
Unhappily for him, subsequent experiments proved that there is indeed some kind of instantaneous, supraliminal communication between quantum particles. Once they have interacted with each other, they have the power to influence each other, no matter how far apart they go. According to quantum physics, this relatedness goes beyond human beings to include the whole creation. Physical reality refuses to be compartmentalized. As hard as we may try to turn it into another kind of machine, it insists on acting like a body, animated by some intelligence that exceeds the speed of light.
See the implications for near-death experience, energy work, any parapsychology, local religious beliefs, reshaping atheistic thinking, reviewing materialism, and more? Please read the whole article.