Religion, Bliss, and the God Particle

A 2005 Rice University survey of 1646 faculty researchers around the U.S. showed that about two thirds of them believe in God.  Some of those who said they don’t believe still consider themselves “spiritual.”  I’ve always been puzzled by the scientific supposition that the brain creates consciousness, yet plenty of brain scientists believe in an afterlife–even after the brain has been eaten holey from casket invaders living in the moist earth of cemeteries.

The villain of my novel, Church of the God Particle, carries no such dichotomy baggage.  The Reverend Lucas Ruthlier is a particle physicist and an unabashed believer in a higher power.  And, by God, if anyone impedes his physics experiments, the reverend’s homicidal son will accelerate the arrival of the intruder’s afterlife.

The Large Hadron Supercollider at the CERN laboratories in Switzerland is smashing subatomic particles together, trying to find something called the Higgs Boson, aka God Particle.  It is the singular component of the theorized Higgs Field. Assuming a field of Higgs particles exists, it bestows mass.  Mass is experienced as weight when an object is in a gravitational field.  Such objects include casket worms, you, me, and even planet Earth. Like the resistance of swimming through water, the ubiquitous Higgs Field imparts mass to the subatomic particles of matter as they pass through it.  At least that’s the theory.

Whether or not supercolliders will reveal the existence of God is a concern for Reverend Ruthlier.  He wants the world to believe like he does, as is the case with many believers of many religions.  They want to share their bliss, at least about their faith.  But a mother with a hungry child, no matter how steeped in the faith of her religion she may be, could not be characterized as blissful.  However, the materially-satisfied Reverend Ruthlier, as he leads his congregation toward a rendezvous of physics and religion, is indeed blissful– except for that relentless Texas Ranger following the trail of bodies that leads perilously close to the Church of the God Particle.