"God and Schrödinger’s Cat"
Imagine there’s a cat placed in a box with radioactive material. You cannot see into the box, and the cat has a 50/50 of a chance of dying from the radioactive material in an hour. The hour goes by, and you open the box, and the answer is unveiled to you; the cat is either dead or alive. But there is a moment right before you open the box where the cat is simultaneously dead and alive.
This is an oversimplified version of the thought experiment created by Erwin Schrödinger to describe Superposition in Quantum Physics or how a particle can exist in two positions at the same time. I’m not going to pretend I even remotely understand quantum physics, but the thought experiment is an analogy of an idea about the existence of God.
Let’s take an inanimate object such as the Declaration of Independence. Stripped of its symbolism and history and what’s left is just a parchment of animal skin and ink. Fundamentally, it’s just a piece of paper. Now add back it’s immense symbolism and history and imagine yourself standing in front of it at the National Archives museum, all alone with the Declaration. Wouldn’t you feel awe and wonder from being in front of a country’s sacred document? You would probably imagine each Founding Father signing this parchment, followed by the history of how it was handed down from each generation to preserve the symbolism of the birth of a country. Even if you don’t care for American history, you would still feel astonishment for being so close to the Declaration.
Now imagine you are holding the Declaration in your hands. You would feel equal parts amazement and fear from holding such a powerfully symbolic object. You can feel the indentation made from the strokes of the ink, the rough animal skin and the wise and powerful words staring back at you. An immense uneasiness falls over you because of its fragility and the fear of damaging it.
Now, imagine you ripping the Declaration of Independence in half. Wouldn’t immense guilt fall upon you? A terrifying dread over the repercussions of destroying a symbolic scripture of an entire country. Even if you hate America, you can still appreciate the immense power and symbolism that one parchment has for a people’s history and government. And the intense hatred you would feel from millions of people over your destruction of the Declaration of Independence.
Even though at its core, the Declaration of Independence is just tanned animal skin and ink with a wise, intelligent and a daring statement imprinted on it; it holds an intangible power over an entire country. Though this power is unmeasurable, it can be felt, and it is real.
How does the Declaration Independence analogy and Schrödinger’s Cat apply to the existence of God? Now substitute the Declaration of Independence with an idea. An idea by itself is just an idea and nothing more. But an idea given to a population gains power. It’s intangible but still exists. It’s real in the sense that it is in the minds of the population which causes great change and influence over people.
God may just be an idea; a story made real by people. The story of God was created by the first existential thoughts we had as a species but at the same time those thoughts, beliefs, created humanity. The stories of religion helped shaped society, justice, and our potential while at the same time causing war, destruction, and maybe at times hindering our potential when its beheld by dogma. Though God is a story or idea, the concept of it is real. We made God real. The Idea of God can never be destroyed as long as there is a population. But you can feel the tension, loss or disconnect if you distance yourself from the idea of God. The inverse is also true because too much belief in the idea of God blinds people to what’s rational, ethical and beneficial for the population; it can even hurt the people they love.
What is God? God represents humanities full potential. What we could become if we embraced what we find in the God’s we worship. And with God being humanities potential, it has the power to judge us. To show you the error of your ways and your faults when you truly submit to it.
Love and God are also the same. Although intangible, Love can be witnessed and felt and the absence of it causes humanity to deteriorate into depression, suicide, and violence.
Maybe a better analogy would be a twist to the timeless question: what came first, consciousness or God?
I believe in the divine. I believe in the mystery of faith and humanity. I believe that an object/idea/story is just what it is on to itself and nothing more until there is symbolic belief behind it. But once belief is added to it from a large enough population, the object/idea/story becomes something more then what it was. God, like Schrödinger’s Cat, is superpositioned in a state of reality and dreams. It’s when we open the box within do we see if God is real or not.