Tuesday

Nothing is Wrong with a Little Mystery

I enjoy good murder mysteries or intense "who done it" plots, but I don't like riddles. In philosophy I enjoy friendly debate over ethical issues and the writings of some of the major philosophers, but questions about the existence of chairs and other inanimate objects are a little too abstract for my taste.

I do not always enjoy the process of discovery like my children do when presented with a riddle. I like solid answers; they enjoy the mystery and the process of discovery.

Endless debates over issues show us that we do not have all of the answers. That's okay, a little mystery never hurt anyone.

I'm not alone in this view. French physicist and philosopher of science Bernard d'Espagnat, who recently won the Templeton Prize for religion (with a nominal purse of 1 million pounds or $1.42 million U.S.), said that "mystery is not something negative that has to be eliminated. On the contrary, it is one of the constitutive elements of being." His work acknowledges that science cannot fully explain "the nature of being," according to the Associated Press.

This does not mean that science should be thrown out. d'Espagnat emphasized that, if anything, science can tell us what the nature of being is not.

The French scientist is also known for his work during the 1960s through 1980s on the development of quantum physics--another mystery I do not understand. Because of his work, d'Espagnat has surmised that the human mind "is capable of perceiving deeper realities." He is "convinced that those among our contemporaries who believe in a spiritual dimension of existence and live up to it are, when all is said, fully right."

That's very interesting. From what little I do understand, quantum physics is the study of what is going on at a sub-atomic level. According to scientists, what goes on in the sub-atomic world is very different than what goes on at our level. It would seem from his study in this area of physics, d'Espagnat understands that what we can see is very different than what we cannot see. He understands that there are different realities out there. That might help explain why I've always thought that the spiritual world is in another dimension that exists right alongside ours.

The spiritual dimension continuously crosses over into our world, we just can't see it. However, I am not thinking of Casper the Ghost flitting about, or the X-Files, or the simply "paranormal," whatever that is. I am looking at, or for, something much more than that.

Those who are a part of the spiritual dimension can see what goes on in our dimension. Perhaps this is why the writer of Hebrews can write about "a great cloud of witnesses." Maybe this is why we can believe in an invisible God and why we "feel" evidence of his spirit surrounding us at certain times.

Another interesting quote came from Physicist Niels Bohr (1885-1962) who said, "Anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory has not understood it."

Indeed. We can also say anyone who is not shocked by the mystery of God has not begun to seek. But just because we don't understand, does not mean that we cannot enjoy both the mystery and the process of discovery. Hmm ... I think I'll ask my kids what riddles they know.