Let’s go walk on water too

Dear Editor,

  “My metaphysics is not as thick as yours,” I answered after being asked by a man of the cloth if I knew Jesus Christ was the son of God. The sermon by this clergyman with an audience of one lasted for about 30 minutes, during which he espoused the significance and superiority of Christ, advocating for obedience to his teachings and ultimately to acknowledge that he was the son of God.

  I was silent for the most part throughout this homily, cognizant of the air of zero tolerance for secular views and interpretations which could be misconstrued as Anti- Christ. However, towards the end of what I considered was an act of voluntarily allowing oneself to be imposed upon, I did specify that I believe a historical Jesus Christ existed sometime in 4 BC, just the same as I believe Josephine was the wife of the Emperor Napoleon.

  Whether Christ was the son of god I am unable to prove or disprove, which leaves me like so many others sitting on the fence. I reasonably require more than blind faith and the repetition of mantras to be persuaded, as belief that exists in a vacuum amounts to nothing but confidence without clarity.

  Christianity is predicated on the possibility of resurrection. Central to the belief in the dualism of Jesus Christ as both human and divine is absolute faith in the “miracles” he performed, particularly him walking on water, which hitherto has not been repeated during the course of our short history. But “why?” continues to be the recurring question.

  Familiarity with the writings of Michel Foucault may provide some insight into the monopoly of this act by Jesus Christ. Foucault was one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century who wrote amply on the relationship between power and knowledge, expounding on the subtle workings of the two. He understood succinctly that knowledge begets power and vice versa. Foucault showed the dynamics of their operations in social institutions, structures and religion. He knew suppressing knowledge was historically one of the most efficient ways to gain power.

  If in fact Jesus Christ did literally walk on water as witnessed by his disciples and this act could be repeated under the conditions mandated by the scientific principle of verification, where then does this leave the divinity of Christ? If the knowledge for the repetition of this act does in fact exist, then it is possible that this “phenomenon” can be replicated by us Homo Sapiens, given the appropriate conditions.

  It is ironic and almost funny how the same faith which convinces some among us, buttressing their belief that Christ did walk on water, somehow works negatively against them crushing any notion that such an occurrence is humanly possible. So much for the psychology of belief and our religious impulse to worship.

  Our finitude at times condemns us to employ faith in the face of matters we seem incapable of knowing and understanding, rendering us insignificant. But it is also this same finitude which compels us to instinctively seek out explanations to aid in our comprehension of our own limits, capabilities and abilities. Given this inclination to inquire and discover, what account can we give as it relates to the possibility of us walking on water?

  Science isn’t necessarily the only reliable way to know something, since it’s a given that all truths are not evidential, empirically based and perceptible. However, it is useful in that and as far as it provides us with explanations for the “whys” we invariably ask.

  On the other hand, faith in a religious context is restricted to the spiritual and supernatural domains. The two (faith and science) need not contradict each other, since they peruse different worlds – one material, the other immaterial. Faith encourages us to believe in the absence of evidence, but since man by nature is a knowing animal we are continually spiralling towards science to appease this impulsive desire to know.

  The advent of quantum mechanics, a sub-discipline and branch of physics which looks at the conduct of matter on an atomic and subatomic level, has made inroads albeit in small increments into a possible description of Christ’s walk on water. Have you ever wondered how small animals, insects, and birds are able to walk on water? It’s a miracle, isn’t it? Well, it need not be since, it can be explained by the water’s surface tension, which is the force created when water molecules cling to each other producing the resultant effect of supporting the weight of these small creatures.

  Humans, however, are unable to achieve this feat simply because these forces are much too weak to support larger weights and water-walkers. So, until such time that we are able to alter our bodily properties or that of the water we will continue to sink.

  Now that the discovery of the concept of water surface tension holds in theory some hope of actualizing one of Christ’s most coveted marvels, let’s shelf it for the time being and go across to Mr. Erwin Schrodinger and his Schrodinger’s cat thought experiment.

  Schrodinger hypothesises that if you place a cat inside of a sealed box together with arbitrary triggering mechanisms which can randomly set off a sequence of events leading to the death of the cat, it’s difficult to say at any precise point in time whether the cat is dead or alive without it being observed. Hence he inferred that the cat must be in a state of quantum superposition (the cat is in more than one state at the same time – both dead and alive). It’s only after the box has been opened and the cat is observed, then and only then can it be categorised as being dead or alive, not both, it’s in a pure state, not multiple. All the other possible states that the cat can be in collapse at the point of observation.

  The aforementioned thought experiment alludes to the fact that an object can be in an amalgamation of multiple states simultaneously. In consideration of this view, human beings like other physical bodies and objects are clumps of matter sharing similar properties such as volume, pressure, mass, density, etcetera.

  Could Christ have been in possession of the knowledge which enabled him to deliberately alter the properties of his body to a state where his weight became so light that it was supported by the same weak forces which made it possible for snails to walk on water? Did he by design withhold this knowledge, replacing it instead with the concept of faith, being acutely aware of the relationship between knowledge and power? Did he intentionally suppress one in order to gain the other? If he is the omniscient (knowing all things, inclusive of the water-walkers handbook of secrets) being his followers make him out to be, then he must have known Peter would have sunk because Peter, like the most religious among us, was miserably in short supply of this abstract currency called faith.

  To date I haven’t witnessed or heard of mountains relocating at the command of the most self-righteous human beings in our midst, and all that seems to be required in order to achieve this feat is a mustard-seed quota of faith. Apparently Christ kept the knowledge and gave us faith instead so as to eternally keep us in the realm of the unknown, guaranteeing his everlasting dominion until he “returns”.


Orlando Patterson