COLLIDERS & CATHEDRALS
(This post, inspired by Veronica Barnes).
A few of us were at the Forefront office the other night watching the independent film, "Particle Fever."
Particle Fever is a 2013 documentary film tracking the first round of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider nearGeneva, Switzerland. The film follows the experimental physicists at CERN who run the experiments, as well as the theoretical physicists who attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the LHC's results. The film begins in 2008 with the first firing of the LHC and concludes in 2012 with the successful identification of the Higgs Boson particle.
Whether you're interested in the world of particle physics or not, the film has a lot to say about life - our search for why we "are" and how we got here.
In one scene they show a picture of one of the colliders' four modules where the particle collisions take place and collect data. Veronica saw it and blurted out, "That looks a lot like a cathedral!"
Watch the video below that illustrates this.
"That looks a lot like a cathedral!"
This thought stuck with me all evening. I woke up the next morning with it still on my mind.
For centuries, mankind has stared up at the ceilings of cathedrals during mass, looking for answers to the very same questions those staring at the collider at CERN are trying to answer.
-Why are we here?
-Where did we come from?
-What should we do?
-Where are we going?
-What is the meaning of all of this?
Many would say that the searches of science and faith are opposed to each other.
As a guy who has more than a few friends in the scientific community, I've always experienced the opposite in my conversations with them. I find that we are always talking about this search that we both share- how I am searching as a person of faith and how they are searching as a person of science.
The scientific-search, at face value seems to be more material and intellectual, while the faith-search seems to be more immaterial and (if you will) "spiritual" - yet we are asking the same root-questions.
We are each staring at different "structures" that evoke the same questions.
I find myself eager to understand the perspective of my scientific friends, while my scientific friends seem eager to understand my perspective as a person of faith. The conversation is always stimulating to us both, and we walk away feeling (strangely enough) more complete and close.
Maybe that is the point of all this. Perhaps science and faith are bedfellows. If the religious community and the scientific community can learn to see each other as complementary groups, perhaps there is some sort of overlap in the middle where the thing that people of faith call "God" and the thing that people of science call "The Field" are actually guiding us toward the same destination.
A BIG P.S.!!!!!
Forefront is preparing a series of events that we're calling "Faith, Culture, and Questions" (FCQ). We recognize that there are questions about faith that go way beyond our heads. That's why we're excited to introduce the first speaker in our Faith, Culture, and Questions Series, "Science" Mike McHargue who will be addressing the topics of Sex, Violence, and Drugs through the lenses of science and faith.