Well, so did I at one time — think I was an atheist, that is. At least I had good reason: My first exposure to the concept of God was as a young, baptized Catholic. I was told God was the benevolent Creator. But then I was also told He’d spark my ass with lightning bolts if I ate meat on Fridays, lusted after a girl, spanked the monkey or failed to attend Mass on Sunday. In addition, I could expect to spend eternity searing in hellfire for any of those violations and even pettier ones. I couldn’t rationally choose to believe in a God who acted with such whimsy. So I figured I must be an atheist.
Time passed and I found myself to be nine years old and on a Saturday visit with my sister to the old Omaha Public Library on Harney Street. She granted me free rein of the children’s section and I wandered over to a shelf. A big book with a red cover titled Our Friend the Atom caught my eye. It was one of those picture-filled Walt Disney books merging science, art and imagination into an educational experience. It was the first book I ever chose to read and it changed my way of seeing the world.
In a few pages and several minutes, Our Friend the Atom explained that everything I was seeing with my eyes wasn’t really so. Instead of being solid matter, everything around me — the table, walls, the book and even my body — was made of little things called “atoms.” What’s more, those atoms were made of smaller things called nuclei with electrons orbiting wildly around them. Then the book told me something that shook my understanding to the essence.
If an atom’s nucleus were the size of a grapefruit, the book read, and the electron the size of a grape, then to illustrate the perspective, the electron/grape would have to be 300 yards away! An atom is nearly entirely empty space. The upshot was that my body, which seemed so solid, wasn’t at all! Reading further, I learned that the “empty space” wasn’t actually empty but filled with energy. In a twinkling, it was apparent to me that my body was actually made up of energy, not solid matter. I, just like you, am not a body, but energy.
I looked around that room which had seemed so huge to me and imagined that the entire thing and everything in it was just a web of energy. Disney told me. Science said it was so. And that was enough reading for a nine-year-old on that Saturday.
One small step for a kid… So how do we get to God from our friend, the atom? Try this. No atheist out there doubts his or her own consciousness. That is to say, “cogito, ergo sum” likely holds water with most. Even the most spiritually dispossessed would be hard pressed to deny human consciousness exists and would be at a loss to fully explain from whence it comes. Human consciousness is an awe-inspiring reality that buttresses self-awareness.
Our friend the atom and the science that supports its description prove humans are made of energy. The energy that is a human being holds and expresses consciousness.
It’s not a matter of conjecture but a matter of fact that the entire universe, not just humans, is awash with energy. Energy flows through everything in the physical universe. Energy makes up everything in the physical universe. Somehow this energy that flows through all things, even us, is a connected entity. Einstein sought to reconcile its existence by pondering it as a “unified field.” That simply means that all energy is related and can be explained by a singular theory. Our science hasn’t quite gotten there — reconciling the unified field — but it’s not a giant leap.
Stuttering over the “G” word. So as an atheist, I found it difficult to utter the word “g-g-g-god.” I used every trendy term around: Supreme Energy, Divine Creator, Universal Being… anything but the “G” word.
One day in high school physics, Fr. Dressel covered Laws of Thermodynamics. One states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Okay. Thirty minutes later, in theology class, Fr. Thetreau was revisiting the Baltimore Catechism for some ungodly reason. Three main tenets? God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be. God is everywhere. God…cannot be seen with bodily eyes.
It sounded to me like God and energy had pretty much the same qualities. Could it be the Universal Energy that flows through all things and that concept called “God” are one and the same? All that was needed to seal the deal was to consider that this vast energy that flows through the universe has some inkling of self-awareness. If puny little humans insist they have consciousness, is it too much to consider? Hell, it’s just a simple syllogism.
It became a matter of semantics. You can call it Unified Field if you want or you can call it “God.” I’m sure He doesn’t mind. Neither does Disney.
Heartland Healing is a New Age polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. It is not an endorsement of any particular therapy, either by the writer or The Reader. Visit HeartlandHealing.com for past articles.