-excerpt from OG’s Speculative Fiction, Issue 14

Beneath the border of France and Switzerland is twenty-seven miles of concrete tunnel. The tunnel is the Large Hadron Collider, man’s most recent attempt to delve into the unknown and possibly destroy the world (yes, I am exaggerating here, but only a bit). Simply, the machine collides beams of protons. One result of such collisions is a possible micro black hole, the same things that suck up everything in outer space and have a gravitational pull so strong that light cannot escape.

All dreams of creating portals to unknown galaxies aside, this could be a dangerous experiment. I am just conjecturing here, but what if they did create a black hole and not so micro as they imagined it would be. It could start sucking up everything, and grow like a hungry little baby…until you and I were sucked in and everything else we love. I would be pretty angry if somebody else did that. They could at least ask before they start throwing around protons like they were baseballs.

Still, scientists have never really asked before they started experimenting. The urge to experiment, the urge to find answers is just too strong. These particular scientists are also hoping the collider will allow them to reproduce the conditions after the “Big Bang.”

Since the beginning of time, man has struggled to understand the world around him. In the early years, much had to be taken on faith. They had to trust that the sun would rise. Trust that rain would come. Trust that their babies would be born safely and healthy. Man’s fear of the unknown and the uncertain turned him toward the heavens, to God and gods, to ancestors and spirits. Anything they thought had control of or could affect the world around them. They sacrificed. They worshipped. They prayed.

With time, man’s perspective changed. Man developed and passed discoveries down, building a framework from which future discoveries could be made. Man no longer needed faith to get rain. He needed to borrow his neighbor’s shovel to dig an irrigation ditch. He could rely on the old woman in the village to make sure his baby was born healthy and that his wife survived. Gradually, man has begun to believe he can find answers to everything if he thinks hard enough, digs deep enough, researches at the right time and place. He no longer needs faith in forces outside his control.

There are still unanswered questions though. What happens when we die? How did this universe, its laws, and the life in it come about? Was there an intelligent designer? Is there other life out there?

Science says these questions must have rational answers, that with time will be proved. The Hadron Collider is one attempt. Faith already knows the answers.

In man’s search, his quest for knowledge, it has become difficult to accept a God that cannot be comprehended or fully realized. But that makes sense if you think about it. With finite minds and understanding, why do we expect that we would understand the majesty and depth of a divine being?

And yet, when tragedy occurs, when death knocks, when sickness invades, we go running back. I do not want to be critical here, I am pointing out that little part of us that keeps going back to faith when things do get out of our control. As one friend has said, science is a few thousand years younger than faith. And faith is there when answers are not.

Science and faith will always be at war. One knows the answer, one seeks an answer. And some men will always seek concrete answers that they can wrap their heads around.

© Seth Crossman