The Gaps

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I think God is real. In defense of my lifelong atheism, I will argue that he is not infallible. I was his mistake.

I was a good atheist once. I had all my theological arguments ready, tucked away in the rebellious part of my brain I reserved for such things. I never had the satisfaction of disillusioning a believer of their ludicrous notion of a God. It was for the best.

The instant I died, I knew something was amiss. One instant, I was slipping on the edge of a wet stair and falling to my death, and the next, I was at the top of the stairs, staggered by the spectacle of my death.

I tried to convince myself it never happened, that the pain of my broken vertebrae and the long seconds of suffocation were a product of my overactive imagination. Had I imagined putting on my raincoat too? Not eager to proceed down the stairs, I turned back down the hallway to my apartment. Inside, I saw my saw my raincoat handing from the coatrack.

“Back so soon?” my girlfriend asked. She sat cross-legged on the couch with a book in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

I smiled. “Forgot my raincoat.”

Her brow furrowed, and then I noticed the brilliant shaft of sunlight in which she sat. I followed it to the balcony window and stared out at the cloudless sky and the parking lot across the street. There had been puddles there before, I was sure of it.

“Did I say raincoat? I meant kiss.”

That was the end of it. The entire incident had been nothing more than a vivid daydream.

I died twice more over the next two years.

The first time was during a mugging, one in which I failed to hand over my wallet in a timely manner. Bleeding out from the resulting stab wound was not something I could have imagined.

When my vision faded to black, and I could no longer make out the frantic face of the paramedic above me, I was on my feet again, blinking. The man who had mugged me was walking toward me. He locked eyes with me, slipped his hand inside his coat, and frowned. He patted his pockets, but came away with nothing. I watched him walk past me and tried not to hyperventilate.

A year later, I was run down by a car at a crosswalk. I barely registered my death before I was alive again, turning my head in the direction of squealing tires. The teen gripping the wheel was white-faced and wide-eyed as his cellphone clattered to the dash. He stopped inches from me.

Best I could figure, after years of research and no small amount of therapy, we die all the time. Every close call might have turned out far worse. Somehow, something moves us to a reality where our deaths never happened, and we are none-the-wiser.

Thus, the argument that formed the crux of my atheism was torn apart. You’ve probably heard it before. If there was a benevolent God, why would he allow terrible things to happen to good people? Why would he let children die? It turns out, they might not die after all. Everyone has a chance to live from birth to natural death, but on a path through many different realities.

My second favorite argument against the existence of God is called the God of the Gaps. With every leap in our understanding of the world, God shrinks further into the gaps in our knowledge. Only there, in the places we don’t understand, can he work his magic. I might be right about this one.

If there is a God, I think he exists in a place that science cannot touch: randomness. Particles in the quantum realm often exist in a state of uncertainty. For a time, a particle can be in two different locations, doing two different things. The Multiple Worlds Theory suggests that two universes diverge at such a time, creating a reality in which one occurs and the other does not.

With one small nudge, God could shift the consciousness of a dead man into a reality where it never rained that day, and he never slipped on a wet stair, or into a reality where a would-be mugger misplaced his knife. By some fluke or oversight, he moved my consciousness to this parallel reality a bit too late, allowing me to experience the fate I so narrowly avoided.

My study of physics has provided more comfort than any therapist, but there are lingering questions that keep me awake at night.

Where will I go when my realities run out, and I die my last death? Perhaps science will solve the mysteries of the quantum world and give me an answer. When they pull back the curtain of that last gap in our understanding, what will they find?

Does God exist? There are only two possibilities: Yes or no, and both of them terrify me.

About the Author: 
Philip Kramer, is a Biomedical Researcher currently living in Seattle. After obtaining his doctorate, he was driven to incorporate science into his writing in an effort to bring more realism to modern fiction, sci-fi, and fantasy. He has three completed but unpublished novels with many more in development.