Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, said there is no such thing as objective reality. All we can talk about, he said, is the results of measurements we make.
For the first time since his parents died in a plane crash three decades ago, Brian dropped to his knees in prayer. The world-renowned quantum computer expert struggled to process what he had just unleashed.
“Things used to be so simple,” he remembered his father would say, usually after shaking his head and closing the Sunday Times. Brian understood that statement now more than ever.
Seated next to his invention, the Babylon, a refrigerator sized quantum computer, Brian looked up at the black monolith in awe. The qu-bits inside, or microchips on steroids, were cooled to a temperature approaching absolute zero, enhancing the conductivity and efficiency of Babylon’s processes. The machine hummed eerily with an intelligence and otherworldly presence that blanketed the laboratory.
Moments before, Brian had noticed a dark ripple form four feet above the ground in the center of the facility. The floating black globule spread outward until it opened into a portal the size of a manhole cover. What Brian saw within the portal rocked him to his core.
“That’s im-im-impossible,” Brian stammered, the unbelievable site exacerbated his natural stutter.
“Mom? Dad?” he said, barely audible.
Sara and Alan Simpson, her hand overlapping Alan’s who was firmly gripping the armrest, appeared terrified at first. Then the couple ignored the oxygen masks that dropped from the ceiling compartment, bowed their heads, and quietly recited the Lord’s Prayer.
Brian heard screams and cries from within the airplane, but his parents continued to pray quietly and huddled closer together. The scene appeared bleak, but Brian was not surprised by his parent’s serenity. This fact angered him even more.
Certain details stood out to Brian as he watched the events unfold through the strange inter-dimensional TV screen.
He noticed his mother’s favorite floral dress, the one she chose to wear on her many mission trips across the world.
Alan wore his typical black business suit, accented, as always, by a colorful, strangely patterned tie.
Before his parents left for this particular trip to Hong Kong in May of 2019, Brian remembered that Alan tried to impress him with a tie bearing an unmasked Bruce Wayne kneeling humbly before Jesus’ outstretched hand.
“Focus on the one hero who matters, our Lord and Savior,” Alan said say in true pastor form.
“Savior….yeah, right…” Alan scoffed.
Alan’s sizable ministry in Silicon Valley usually flew under the radar of the mainstream press. This mission trip, however, received an unusual amount of attention because of the civil unrest plaguing Hong Kong.
Prominent members of the Silicon Valley computer industry, celebrity journalists, and former Secretary of State, Dean Watson, flew with the Simpsons and leading clergy to oppose the bill. They also wanted to pressure the Chinese government, and complicit US tech giants, to lift restrictions on the Church, press, and social media.
With so many Silicon Valley types aboard, critics saw the high-profile trip as a thinly veiled attempt by the US to halt China’s march toward technological supremacy. The plane crash raised suspicions of terrorism. Brian’s entire world and faith shattered.
“Things used to be so simple,” Alan would say. Each troubling revelation in the Sunday Times brought him to his knees in prayer. The last article his father read warned of the advancement of quantum computing.
A few days later, his parents perished in the crash.
Brian discarded God and embraced science, hoping to open portals to more palatable alternate realities. Quantum tunneling, the act of subatomic particles passing through an impenetrable barrier, became his obsession.
After defending his dissertation, Brian made an impassioned plea to the Board, “I prayed with all my heart for God to undo what happened to my parents, but to no avail. I now lean on quantum technology to bridge the gap between what the world is and what we want it to be.”
Suddenly, a knock on the door startled Brian and woke him from his dreamlike trance.
“Professor Simpson! You okay, professor?” said Tim, Brian’s graduate assistant, from behind the door.
“Tim?” Brian responded.
He looked back to where the portal had been floating in the air and suddenly snapped shut, sending Brian reeling back on his heels until he collapsed into a heap aside Babylon. The past was brought back in living color, a mere light show fueled by the smartest computer on the planet.
Fighting the painful memories he had buried under years of unanswered prayers, course work, and quantum calculations, Brian fumed over being witness to his parents’ futile attempts to appeal to God their Savior.
“Yes, Tim. I’m okay. I’m just a little drowsy from crunching data,” Brian answered. “Can I help you?”
“It’s Wednesday, Professor….” Tim trailed off. Brian hired the only graduate assistant he knew who studied quantum computing and attended the seminary at the same time. Despite falling away from the faith, Brian felt comfortable in Tim’s presence. Every Wednesday night Tim extended an invitation to Brian to attend Bible study, but in vain.
“Thank you, Tim, but you know the answer to that one…” Brian managed to chuckle.
“Sir?” Tim responded, confused. “Well, I understand if you’re not well, but I’m particularly excited about hearing Pastor Simpson preach tonight!”
Pastor Simpson? Brian thought to himself. What in the world?
“Oh, yeah. Your office door was unlocked so I snagged your favorite tie. I thought you’d want to wear it for this special occasion, if you are up to going, of course,” Tim said.
Brian opened the door so quickly that only quantum physics could explain his apparent bilocation.
“Ah, Professor. Great to see you! Here’s your tie. Ready to head out?” Tim asked.
At the foot of the penitent Bruce Wayne laid the famous Batman cowl, but in small print under that it read “Mark 11:24”
The quantum computer expert and pastor’s son knew the verse well. He whispered it to himself from memory:
“There I say unto you, what things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”