A Little Question for Our Believer Friends

Malcolm Friedman

It is this writer’s opinion that most people have given little thought to the magnitude of the universe in which their lives play out, so—if I may be forgiven a small exercise in pedantry—I would like to start by simply trying to get a grasp of what the number one trillion actually represents: If you had a deck of a trillion playing cards instead of the usual fifty-two, do you have any idea how far it would reach? About the length of a football field? A block or two? A mile? Ten miles? Actually it would extend approximately 190,000 miles—close to four-fifths of the way to the moon.

Now, if you substituted a mile for each of those approximately 1/100-of-an-inch-thick playing cards and then multiplied by six, you would have the approximate distance of a light-year: six trillion miles—that’s six followed by twelve zeroes (6,000,000,000,000). Try to keep this reference in mind while considering the following.

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