The Milky Way Galaxy
On a recent interview, Richard Dawkins (the darling of the evangelistic atheist movement) stated that faith was belief in something without evidence. Belief in something without evidence, he said, is a dangerous thing. He went on to say that religious fundamentalists would harness science and probably end life as we know it in the 21st century.
I am always struck by what consists of evidence. When I witness the stars at night, the kindness of both strangers and loved ones, watch parents tenderly care for their children, people fight endlessly for the weak and down trodden, I ask myself, what more evidence of the love of God do you need? How can one witness the miracle of life, of the cohesiveness of the universe and think this is all random? What also confounds me is that compared to the age and wisdom of the galaxy, how do you think that one human mind can figure this all out and dismiss the mystery behind it?
When I was much younger, I was on a blind date with a young Lawyer. As the evening progressed the topic of religion came up. My date remarked that he did not believe in such nonsense, that he had survived a terrible car accident with his former girlfriend who exclaimed how grateful to God she was that they had not suffered injuries after their car hydroplaned into oncoming traffic. He responded that it was beyond him that God would have altered the laws of physics just for their benefit. I asked, genuinely curious, "Well, what would God have to do to impress you?" He stammered, that he had never thought of it that way. Needless to say, I never heard from him again.
The Milky Way Galaxy has been known by that name since the dawn of time. No one knows who gave it the name. In Latin it is known as Via Lactiva or the Way of Milk. With our technological advancements in astronomy and telescopes, we now have a greater understanding of the Universe that has cradled our world since the dawn of time. It is thought that the Milky Way has 100 - 400 Billion Stars, and 50 Billion planets. The Milky Way is part of what is called the "Local Group" of Galaxies, and we are part of 200 Billion Galaxies. Maybe this name, the Way of Milk, was given by those who knew the universe was our nourishment, all life came from this band of light.
For me, all science comes from God, who is as the Aramaic Translation calls the Our Father as "The Divine Originating Mystery." What we see now is a dim mirror, Paul tells us, but some day we will understand all. For me it is no accident that the Black Madonna's are placed along "The Way of the Stars" as a reminder of the vast heavens from which our souls come.
My faith has much evidence, it lies in the revelations before me through the natural world, human endeavour and the arts. It goes beyond comfort, to a deep certainty, in spite of pain and trials, that there is meaning, context, purpose and love in the universe. It is not religious fundamentalists that are killing the planet, it is a science that ignores the morality and wisdom of the universe, that seeks to place itself above God. I believe when we actually see the divine in all of creation, we will have a science and technology that will be used for good. Until then, I have faith that goodness will reign, and justice will flow like a mighty river. My temporary home is on this beautiful planet filled with great creativity, but my home is with the Father, in his beautiful mansion where he has a place for me. It is up to my efforts to open my heart to the possibility. This is where my evidence based faith lies. I hope you find the peace this knowledge brings.