Is this a friendly universe?
Highlands TodayEven in this heat, events chill. Albert Einstein asked: "Is this a friendly universe?" It feels like the answer is: "No." That "no" is close: Haiti, Chile, Nashville, the Gulf of Mexico. Each day echoes Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Those who think Murphy optimistic add: "Nothing is that predictable."
Published: June 10, 2010
Published: June 10, 2010
Just after the oil-rig explosion, Tribune writer Elaine Silvestrini wrote that the Florida Legislature won't vote on offshore drilling for another year, that "the accident may have faded from the public psyche by then," unless it affects the tourist-attracting beaches.
Last weekend BP employees picked oil tar blobs from Pensacola Beach as folks frolicked and Jimmy Buffet vowed he'd still build a hotel there. Flu-like symptoms hit oil spill workers and blackened creatures gasped in front of TV cameras.
Turning greed to teachable moments? More than half the federal judges in districts launching most Gulf lawsuits have financial connections to the oil industry. Always alert to hypocrisy, Leonard Pitts observes: "As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-government disciples in massive oil spills." He sees local and state governments crying to the federal government: "Send money; send resources."
And this columnist adds: As there are no atheists in foxholes, it turns out there are no small-God disciples in massive oil spills. Send help, God. Even as Associated Press writers noted that hurricane season began June 1, quoted a fisherman as saying, "It's the end, the apocalypse," reiterated the helplessness of military and oil officials, reported scientists' findings of large underwater plumes of oil stretching for miles in the Gulf's depths, they added: "Churches echo with prayers for a solution."
Is this a friendly universe? Einstein, Nobel Prize winner in physics, concluded it is, based on belief in God's existence, a positive focus. Murphy's Law, either ignorantly or purposefully, concentrates on disorder resulting from the mistakes of men and activities of demons, a negative focus exploding oil wells and unleashing hell.
Another bit of Einstein wisdom: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Her passport stolen in March 2007, Nigeria-born Elizabeth Woleta found her government helpless to free her from a one-year entrapment in the 15-foot section of a Moscow airport terminal called a "legal no man's land." She turned to Jesus Christ, and like Einstein, a friendly universe. Finally, the United Nations acted and Woleta returned to Nigeria where she teaches Bible studies.
The Chilean earthquake knocked planet Earth, not God, off-axis. His answers come in His time: "The Lord is not slow...as some understand slowness...He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish..." (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).
Five hundred years ago the astronomer Copernicus was buried in an unmarked grave, rejected as a heretic by the Catholic Church. On May 22, 2010, Polish priests reburied him as a hero. Copernicus' discovery, the Earth revolves around the Sun, ushered in the modern scientific age. His honor is right on time. The Earth revolves around the Son. It is a friendly Universe.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com.