“Laboratories are useful, but reflection for us must always start from experience.”
-Pope Francis I, August, 2013 interview with Civilta Cattolica
This is the Cyber Age. The world population of cell phones, tablets, and laptops exceeds that of people. We can see and be seen, hear and be heard, communicate with anyone anywhere, and all in the flick of an eyebrow. We can span the world in hours, send satellites to the far reaches of the Universe, and challenge the average life span with modern medicine. Humanity reigns supreme in command. The notion of God is not a factor in the daily life of many. Is faith, then, and belief in a deity an anachronistic throwback to the time when humans feared the elements, seeking to appease the unknown with supplication and sacrifice? Is faith necessary in the Cyber Age, or is it a relic of the myths and terrors of the past?
Think for a moment. Do we need faith in anything? Of course we do. We exercise great faith every time we flick an electric light switch, fly in an airplane, cross a bridge, or cross a street on a ‘walk’ signal. Faith is a common commodity as we use the systems created for us and by us in our everyday existence. Faith in such systems us even greater in the Cyber Age as we depend more and more on others for all the things we need to live — shelter, food, heat, light, and on and on. Much if it we cannot understand, or even see. For example, most people use cell phones. Just exactly how do they work? What if they stop working? What could cause that? What can we do about it?
Or consider turning in a light switch. What if it doesn’t work? What if there is no power? We have faith that there will be power, and if not, that it will be fixed. On what basis do we have such faith? Essentially, from our experience in the past, on our understanding of the systems in place to provide power, and on our accumulated knowledge of how to make such systems work. In fact, it isn’t so much faith, as confidence and knowledge that power will be available when we push the “on” switch.
Consider another example. We walk or drive across a bridge. We have faith that the bridge will not collapse. Why? Because we have accumulated knowledge and experience in how to build bridges that stay up and support the loads upon them. Once again it is confidence and knowledge developed over significant periods of time that we know how to build safe bridges.
As a final example, consider the new darling of science and engineering, nano bodies. These are so small it takes an electron microscope to see them. We can make nano bodies that are cubes with a side that opens and closes on a electronic signal. These cubes can be filled with medication, and the nano bodies can be implanted in a specific location of the body, where the gates will open and the medication will be released. None of this can be seen. We can measure the effects, but we must have confidence — or faith — that what we believe is happening in truth does happen.
We can go on and on with countless examples in every walk of life today where we place great faith in the performance of systems that we are confident were properly designed, built, and implemented. In fact, we have such faith in all the products and systems of the Cyber Age.
Now consider the existence of God. We are told there is a God, that that God created the universe, and that we are creatures of that God. Yet that God cannot be seen. But we can see the effects if an unknown and invisible force created the universe. The evidence is all around us if we are open to it.
The universe exists. Where did it come from? When was it formed? These are two simple questions. It’s highly improbable that it all came from nothing. Then where did the mass or material that makes up the universe come from? We know that mass and energy are interchangeable. Einstein’s famous formula says it is so.
E=MC2, where C is the speed of light, which we believe is a constant. Even if it is not, there is still the Mass-Energy relationship. We have many proofs that such a relationship exists. Nuclear energy is the living proof of such a relationship. In that example, a radioactive mass is converted into energy. The same science tells us that energy can create mass. Hence an infinite source of energy could have created all the mass that makes up the universe. That energy source existed before the universe. That energy source is beyond all the natural laws of science as we can logically deduce them. That energy source is beyond natural, or supernatural. We label it God. We can have confidence in this deduction because we can see the universe all about us.
Our scientific and mathematical observations and calculations say billions of years ago. Then the energy force existed before then. Where did it come from? The answer lies outside the realm of our knowledge and experience. It is outside nature. Once again, it is what we would call supernatural. We have called it God!
We don’t know anything about this supernatural force except to logically determine what its attributes are from what we know.
Our scientific findings, and our mathematical logic allow us to see the relationship between mass and energy, and the derivation of one from the other and vice-versa. We can demonstrate that repetitively, as we have and do with nuclear power. We can have confidence, or faith, in that scientific finding. The same principles of observation, mathematical reasoning, and deductive logic have led to the determination of the existence of God before the universe, and before we measure time. We can have confidence, or faith, then, in the existence of God.
This is Faith in the Cyber Age. The scientific process that led to the creation of the Cyber Age can be used to justify our confidence or faith in the tenets and creed of our religious belief. Faith is neither a stranger nor unnecessary in the Cyber Age.