Hello Everyone-My background is Catholic. My WHOLE family is Catholic. Lately I have been dating a woman that comes from a Non-Denomination Christian church. Well we get in to some conversations about Religion and Science. Honestly I am tired of her saying that her church is pushing to disprove things in other Religions, such as Catholics are wrong on certain things (Christmas, Easter) or the Quran teaches hate against who is not Muslim. Things like that. I am sure she is right on certain topics, but why would a church strive on putting down others when they are supposed to teach Love, Faith and Respect for others? This gets me to question my Religion or any other Religion for that matter. My gut tells me we were created in a just right situation. The Big Bang Theory, Evolution, Science. We see it happening every day in the Universe. New stars and planets forming. I think Earth was eventually created in a "Just Right" situation. BUT! What if "God" did have a hand in creation? How does science explain the beauty of life? Humans were put here on this planet for a reason. Is it an experiment that God is doing to see if we can survive on such a small speck of the Universe? Or is it just science and a "Just Right" situation? In the end I believe that "Things Happen for a Reason". But my problem or questions to you are.....What is that Reason? And why? Would this world survive without Faith in something or someone?
I have asked myself that questions for years, and guess what! Now in my older days I still don't have the answers! I just want to believe that I got wiser with time! The human mind CAN'T grasp what it was not made to grasp ever! It's that simple! We can only have access to some of the clues-- And then again, it's a long, demanding and sometimes at the risk of one's life (the Inquisition since you are catholic!) process and let's always be very humble about our findings. Being catholic, protestant, orthodox or what have you is absolutely no topic here. Please! Please! Please! Let's not mix everything! Shall we talk rather of being of the Christian faith when we are and if we so desire to say to finally bring up our debate to its right dimension?! If you are a believer you know that God's kingdom is vast and that no human word can even start to describe it and that it'll never be accessible to any human mind on the earth, genius or not. BUT it doesn't mean that we have to sit down and be passive about it and live like idiots-- It's there that Mr. Hawking's life long work comes into the picture here and is to be commanded for! A standing ovation and five stars for his "The Grand Design"! P.S. Please forgive my english for it is not my native language.
Hello Armelle! I do greatly appreciate your post. I do wish that one day we can get some facts and answers, but you are probably right. The human mind will probably not be able to grasp it. I hope more will come from everyone who reads my initial post.
Hello Seeker! I try and keep the Faith, but when I try to stop and pray and hope for Faith to intervene nothing happens. For example, my mother passed last December due to an Interstitial Lung Disease (not curable). I prayed and tried to keep Faith, but I lost hope after her passing. True it sounds selfish and of course everything cannot be cured, but she was only 54! There have been other times also, but it seems praying and keeping the Faith is just all for a virtual safety net for the mind. Does anyone agree or disagree? Also the main question that I believe cannot be answered in our lifetime is as seeker says....WHO BAKED THE PIE?
I was raised Catholic and praying was a huge part of my religious beliefs until I became an adult. I saw the pain and suffering in the world and all the real-life situations that were supposed to be acts of God. Some people in world starving, while some had plenty. What type of God inflicts the pain and suffering on a small child? Or causes the elderly to endure the things that are sometimes unbearable for long periods of time before death? Prayer? If God already knows your life's path, what can prayer possibly resolve? God already knows what you going to ask of him anyway! Prayer? Keep it to yourself. It's a waste of time. How can you pray yourself out of a situation that God put in to start with? It's like begging your mother for that piece of candy she's already told you "no... you can't have it".
Ultimately any question concerning religion can only be answered for you, by you. People (rightly) think of religion as a very personal thing. Having said that, I relish the opportunity to weigh in. I was raised in a middle of the road church (Methodist) and relied heavily on faith as a child and young adult, but no more. I have read the bible multiple times and, in trying to understand our world today, read a book on the origins of Islam. This lead me to the origins of religion in general. Combining what I learned with biblical "facts" that just weren't working for me I was able to eventually slip free from "christian indoctrination". I do not "have a problem" with god nor do I have an ax to grind. I simply believe in the scientific method and, FOR ME, it is impossible to be a person of science and a person of faith too.
If there is an omnipotent god that intervenes in the affairs of humankind, then you might ask where was this almighty being during the 1880s and 90s. For that is when Alois Schicklgruber (whose last name was later changed to Hitler) and his wife Klara had six children together. The first two, Gustav and Ida, died aged 2 from diphtheria. The third, Otto, died at birth in 1887. Unfortunately, for the world, the fourth child, Adolph, did not die at birth, and went on to become a monster and scourge of the world. The fifth child, Edmund, died from measles before turning 6. The last and sixth child, Paula, died peacefully in 1960.
So out of these six children, four never reach adulthood. You would think that an all-powerful god that intervenes in the affairs of mankind, could surely have arranged just one little miscarriage and spared the world the slaughter of 50 million innocents that was World War II. Why was Adolph spared when four of his other siblings died as young children? Could it be that there simply is no omnipotent god that intervenes in our everyday lives? Would not such a god have heard the entreaties of 6 million Jews who were facing extermination?
Next time you pray for a new TV, your favourite team to win, or for aunt Hilda to get over her shingles quickly, take a moment to think about little Adolph and why he was allowed entrance into the world when most of his siblings were killed off by the age of six.
But could there be some mysterious force behind the creation of the universe? That is a separate issue for both science and religion to ponder. However, this is a different kind of god altogether from what is the popular conception of God.
You are so right, Mr. Schiff, saying that "--this is a different kind of god altogether from what is the popular conception of god" and I felt so while reading The Grand Design. It is precisely the type of God Mr. Hawkings is pointing at-- Thank you for your helpful post.
Seeker is right, science and religion must co-exist. As a physicist and Emeritus Professor of Materials Science at the University of London(UK), I've tried to demonstrate this in my recent book "Who made God? Searching for a theory of everything". Although published a year ago it actually Who Made God? Searching for a Theory of Everythinganticipates and answers most of Stephen Hawking's erroneous ideas about God and creation.
No, Science and faith as we understand them today will never coexist. According to Ernest Becker we are all motivated by our fear of death. Science and Religion (even though they are both faith oriented) approach our fears of death in different directions. Religion is generally supplicative in nature while Science is more control oriented. For example, religion is frequently marked by prayer and trusting in a supernatural being to overcome our fears associated with death. In contrast, science and technology try to understand the world around us so we can control things and remove uncertainty. As Religion is trusting in the unseeable and Science is controlling they are at odds and will never peacefully coexist. On a sad note, this conflict will increasingly become sharper over the next century and likely lead to some fairly deleterious results.
Hello Joel! Your post was an awakening to everyone who reads it. The big questionn is WHY? We unfortunately do not know and will never know why that happened. As Armelle recently quoted " The human mind CAN'T grasp what it was not made to grasp ever!" I hate to admit defeat to a question that cannot be answered, but do you think we will ever find out the truth of how life began?
Thank you M. Dominguez. I have been thinking about these issues for my entire lifetime. Firstly, we do know why many things happen like volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis that kill vast numbers of innocents indescriminately. These are just a consequence of the fact that the planet we happen to live on is still very geologically active. And Hitler survived because he did not succumb to the childhood circumstances that his four other siblings did. It all makes sense if you do not believe in some devine intervention guiding every single human event. And yes, I do believe that in the not too distant future, science will be able to create life in the laboratory. This may not be such a good thing however, but is likely to happen. The evidence of our evolution from single cell organisms is everywhere and even head lice are evolving as I write this. The tail bone I am slouching on is a remnant from my evolutionary past when my distant ancestors had a tail. But I do admit, the universe is absolutely sublime, it is remarkable that we are even conscious of it, can understand as much as we do, and when I hear Beethoven's 9th symphony I get a chill down my spine. Will we one day understand everything? Probably not and that is the glory of life.
Yet God is supposed to be all powerful and can even alter the laws of Nature at will. And merciful? I'm just trying to make sense of the world and it makes none at all if you assume that there is an omnipotent merciful God that is actively involved in the affairs of Mankind. But it makes perfect sense without any such god. And the untold human suffering due to natural disasters and disease only makes sense without an omnipotent merciful god as well.
Mr. Schiff-- Could an all-powerful god have arranged things as you propose? By the definition of all-powerful, I'd say yes. But it seems you must also ask: Is he forced to do so? Not in the least.
So if you are submitting that his failure to do as you wish (for a good end, I might add) somehow nullifies his existence, I think you still bear some burden of proof. None of the deity figures in any of the world's major faith systems always intervenes in the affairs of men.
So if there is an all-powerful god, what was he doing in the 1880s and 90s? Maybe not existing. Maybe observing man's inhumanity to man. Maybe wondering why future generations would hold little Adolph up as the worst of the worst when his Russian contemporary Josef Stalin killed millions more innocent people.
I don't think I need to prove anything as I am not claiming any divinity that intervenes in the lives of mankind. Quite the contrary. But if you do believe in such a Divine Being, then I think it is you that has to explain why little Adolph was allowed to live when 4 of his siblings did not survive childhood, leading to the slaughter of 50 million people during WWII. We already know about man's inhumanity to man by just looking back at history. We don't need repeated lessons in such matters. And you could very well ask why was not little Josef Stalin struck down in childhood by some simple disease, thus sparing the world of even more untold millions of innocent lives tragically lost. Or where was this omnipotent being during Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, or the recent devastating floods in Pakistan? I find it a very weak response to say that God moves in mysterious ways or some such. I find absolutely no evidence of a hand of God being active in the everyday affairs of mankind, as much as I have looked and continually look for such. Perhaps we can agree: You say that during the 1880s and 90s God was not existing. I say, just stretch that time period a bit in both directions, past and present. As much as I would wish it to be otherwise, there is no one listening. But why do so many people pray if they do not truly believe that someone is listening to their entreaties?