I love dark energy. Love it. Dark matter, too. I have no idea what they are, but it’d be weird if I did, because no one does, not even all those crazy-smart astrophysicists who hypothesize their existence. All anyone knows is, dark energy in all likelihood accounts for about 68 percent of the universe (68 percent! that’s a passing grade in some places!), and dark matter takes up 27 percent, leaving plain ol’ ordinary matter, the mundane, run-of-the-mill, observable, occasionally stinky crap, to take up a mere 5 percent. I won’t even venture a guess on how much of that 5 percent is found in McDonald’s value meals. A lot.
I’ve been Catholic for 24 years. Been a Christian for 30 or so. Believed in God for almost 40. Before that, following the lead of my atheistic father and agnostic mother, I believed only in the goodness of humanity and the largeness of creation. But I tell you what: those beliefs remain the essence of my faith. As frustrated as I am by my failure to see the future, as sidelined as I am by my tendency to fret, I’m relieved to know that I don’t actually know a thing. It’s a gift to realize the full scope of what I can’t see with my squinty eyes and hear with my whistling ears and grasp with my pointy head: at least 95 percent of all existence. That’s a shitload of stuff I won’t ever understand. Thank God! There’s more to life than value meals!
We can all agree on this point, right? Whether we believe in a deity or dark matter?
Me, I’m down with both. I don’t believe that science and faith are incompatible. Faith, to me, is not an obeisance to the known but an acknowledgment of the unknown, an abandonment to it, an against-all-odds conviction that a limitless Unseen lurks and envelops us. In describing the universe and its mysteries, scientists delve into that Unseen and assign it properties, laws, shape.
I assign it character, too. I assign it love. I can’t see it, but I’m sure it’s there.