The worst barrier between humankind and our ability to understand reality is the fact that we cannot ask the greatest of all questions factually. If we ask that question as it is asked in the title of this post, and even if we assume the question refers to the Christian God and not to Vishnu or Amun, no one attempts to give a factual answer!
The Christian God’s existence is presented to us as something we must take on faith. Now, I am open to the idea of a God – I really hope a God exists! – but I am unable to content myself with taking anything on faith. So since I won’t take God’s existence on faith, I am an atheist. There is no God. And where science is concerned, this problem may be worse! Since I am a scientist who wants only facts, I refuse to believe in a Christian God that cannot be considered factually. Which means, of course, that there is no God and everything arose by chance. Now, true, we haven’t yet figured out how consciousness happens in the brain or how life could have begun or why the Big Bang happened, but our believing that none of it needs a God that must be taken on faith alone is a more than sufficient negative answer to make us certain that no God exists.
Neither Christianity nor science is willing to consider the possibility of a factual God. So even if we want a God so badly that we force ourselves to “have faith in God,” every one of us by definition is a factual agnostic. But, good grief, whether there actually is a God has to be the most important facts-based question of all time! Even my believing with all my heart that I have cured cancer or won a major lottery cannot affect either my bank account or whether I will win a Nobel Prize; and even my absolute certainty that no Creator God exists is going to make it one whit more likely that I will be able to figure out how life arose on its own from some primordial goo.
I have written about this problem from various directions as a battle between science and Christianity, as religious nonsense vs. scientific folly. I have laid out arguments, poked fun, and torn my hair out in frustration! I have reported on the work of extraordinary researchers and devoted my life to presenting the evidence. But now I realize I am missing the mark. Since the ongoing battle between science and Christianity is a conversation about beliefs alone, even if one side somehow wins, their millennia-long struggle cannot settle anything!
I suffered this disheartening epiphany as I read a recent article in The Washington Times called “Science’s Godless Problem.” Right up my alley! It begins, “Cosmologist Stephen Hawking made headlines from beyond the grave this October when, seven months after his death, his presumed last book was published bearing these words: ‘There is no God.’ And with that, the already wide gap separating science and religion, physical from spiritual, got a bit wider.”
My first thought was, “Who cares?” Then I realized that is the entire point! If Dr. Hawking had said, “I now can demonstrate based upon extensive evidence that there is no base creative force,” and if he then had made a factual case, that would have been another matter; but it makes no difference to you or me what the person sitting next to us might believe. And Dr. Hawking agrees with me! It turns out that what he had said in his new book – in a section called “Brief Answers to Big Questions” – was this: “We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God. No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.” Thank you, sir! You have made my point.
This article concludes by saying, “A science world with a default premise of No God is a disservice, in the end, to true scientific inquiry.” Well, of course that is perfectly true! But what about a spiritual world that still holds up a “default premise” of an entirely beliefs-based Christian God that has changed not at all in two thousand years? How does that advance the understanding of the seven billion people on earth who need real spiritual advancement now a great deal more than they need another planet or a better cellphone?
Neither science nor Christianity is willing to see this problem, so certainly neither of them will address it. To be frank, their truce suits them both just fine! Each can bash the other for being beliefs-based and closed-minded, while at the same time the enforced ignorance that each of them espouses serves to protect the enforced ignorance of the other. Plato and Aristotle are said to have been the first to divide human inquiry between the spiritual and scientific realms. And so long as the intellectual descendants of those worthies still refuse to call out one another for maintaining this artificial division that frankly never made a lick of sense, their ancient gig can continue. The religion-biased author of that Washington Times article says, “Researchers with the Religion and Public Life Program at Rice University in Texas reported in December of 2015 the state of biologists’ and physicists’ spirituality in eight regions of the world and found: ‘Scientists are indeed more secular — in terms of beliefs and practices — than those in their respective general populations.’ Specifically, 35 percent of U.S. scientists told researchers they were atheists. That’s a third of the researching, teaching, publishing, fund- and grant-receiving scientific population of America — and it comes amid findings from Gallup in 2016 showing about 90 percent of Americans believe in God, and amid a survey from Pew Research in 2017 revealing a third of Americans read the Bible at least once a week. Call it a great divide.”
But it is not a divide. It’s a mutual support system! And the rest of us are left out in the cold.
How might we begin an objective attempt to factually answer that greatest of all questions? All I can tell you is how I answered it. Once scientists are allowed to really go for it, I am sure they will do a much better job! But since my facts-based research has yielded a factually certain God more wonderful than any Christian’s fondest imaginings, I will give you here a brief summary of how I found the genuine God. I used three primary sets of data:
- The testimony of those that we used to think were dead. I began with intensive reading of nearly two hundred years of recorded afterlife communications, concentrating on those received before 1940. I did this as an on-off switch, since if the dead were all reporting different nonsense there must be no afterlife and therefore no God that matters. I recall to this day my utter wonder at finding that the more of these communications I read, the more I was discovering this gigantic and absolutely consistent post-death reality! There were never any outliers. As I say in The Fun of Dying, it was like reading hundreds of communications from two centuries of travelers to Fiji. They all had gone to the same wonderful place!
- The Gospel teachings of Jesus. Christian teachings are man-made nonsense. But we have the recorded words of someone who walked the earth two thousand years ago claiming to know things that he could not have known if there were no factual God. And the testimony of Jesus agrees with the testimony of the dead in sometimes extraordinary detail!
- Quantum-physics-for-dummies books. Even when I had become convinced that there had to be a factual God, none of it was sufficiently real until I could make sense of how God might fit with the reality that seems to be around us. And it turns out that the implications of quantum physics provide a gateway to that understanding.
God is factually real! God is the only thing that is real, and your own mind is inextricably part of that all-powerful and perfectly loving God. And if someone so scientifically clueless as I am was able to find the factual God, then it is time for both Christianity and mainstream science to advance intellectually beyond Plato and Aristotle.
History’s greatest scientists have cared more about facts than scientists do now. Both Albert Einstein and Max Planck found the same God that I did! Planck said, ”I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” And Einstein said, “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” Even poor Dr. Hawking said in a younger, more hopeful day, “What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?… Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” And the great scientist and polymath Nikola Tesla, said, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
It is past time for scientists and Christians to stop their game of keep-away that continues to hide from us the factual answer to this greatest of all questions! God is real, but the genuine God is nothing like the Christian God so in finding the truth they each will lose something while at the same time they both will win. And you and I and all of humankind for ages to come will be the biggest winners!
Icons photo credit: marcoverch <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/149561324@N03/43023752735″>Heiligenbilder in einem Geschäft gegenüber der Kirche Hagios Demetrios</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Hawking photo credit: EpicFireworks <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/30048753@N05/19012579073″>Professor Stephen Hawking Held A Pluto Party</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Sovereignty photo credit: Pamela P. Stroud <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/138014685@N08/42434499704″>Christian Documentary “The One Who Holds Sovereignty Over Everything” Testimony of the Power of God</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>