September 11, 2006
Today's topic: Why I cannot be an atheist
I think it is understandably difficult or irrational for someone who takes scientific evidence about the nature and origin of humankind seriously to take many of the explanations of origin that many but not necessarily all of the major world religions presuppose. I am inclined to believe the truth of science over the presumptions of religious scribes who wrote centuries before the development of the sophisticated scientific tools for measurement that we have today. But I do not assume that because a religious text may be erroneous, that so to is belief in God. So I wonder: is there a philosophical reason why I can believe in God and not be conflicted by science?
The most common scientific critique of god creating a universe I find uses an explanation of existence as the result of random forces at the moment of the birth of the universe. I won't argue with that, scientists have observed that this is probably true. Sure the universe could have been entirely random in it's formation, and threw the random process of evolution, humankind has become what humankind is at this time. ...So does that imply a lack of a reason, or lack of a meaning, or lack of a purpose for human existence; in which case would probably make a relationship with/belief in God irrelevant? I think not, and the reason I think not is because that any explanation/observation of the creation of all that we understand to be the universe does not answer one root question about the existence of everything: Why can there be anything whatsoever?
The really important question to me is not 'how' or 'why' a universe may have sprang out of nothingness*, but why there is a possibility for such an occurrence, or any occurance for that matter, to happen. It is the possibility that the universe(s) could have been created, not the mechanics of how it did, that I find to be the most intrinsic reason for there to be a God.
Basically, the fact that the universe(s) is explainable as a random fabrication of physical forces and energy and matter and space-time, does not answer why the possibility of such an occurrence(s) exists. And the very possibility of something as awesome and magnificent as the universe(s), in my humble opinion, is only possible if some divine creative force intended for that possibility to exist.
*a note about nothingness: I cannot conceive of nothingness. Just like I cannot visualize a color that is not contained in the visible color spectrum. That may be only a limitation of the way I have evolved. But I doubt that anyone has the capability to truly conceptualize 'nothingness.' After all, the way we have evolved allows us only to understand things in terms of space, time, and the observable laws of nature. So I have two questions: (1) Is nothingness possible within or outside a universe full of substance? (2) What really is nothingness?