…or according to some articles about Stephen Hawking’s new book: there is no evidence that God was involved in the creation of the world. Uproar! The Arch bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said to the Times : “Belief in God is not about plugging a gap in explaining how one thing relates to another within the Universe. It is the belief that there is an intelligent, living agent on whose activity everything ultimately depends for its existence.” Meanwhile Lord Sacks, the rabbi, defends religion with a ” religion is about interpretation and unlike science not about explanation.”
It is funny isn’t it? Especially the latter as there are enough wars being fought over what presumably is, just a difference in interpretation. But let’s go back to the comment of the Archbishop that belief is not about plugging a gap in explaining. Even if you don’t agree with the last bit of his comment that there is an intelligent agent on whose activity everything depends on existence – this could be true or not true. Does it matter? Believing, faith surely has nothing to do with imperial testing at all? You cannot change what someone believes is true, you can show a person the other side of things and they might change their mind but that is still their choice. If they want to believe that the earth is flat – the earth sure is flat to them. Believing has very little to do with truth in the imperial sense. (It’s not dissimilar to love, which the majority – even the cynics – will admit to have experienced at some stage, but does it exist? Can you prove it?)
Like love, believing is more than a logical or sensorial experience, it is a personal experience, indeed an interpretation. We are living in the 21st Century and I suggest a more open-minded view on religion as by now we must realise that no one will be a winner in any war over religion. (Plus how can we be so selfish in this world and pretend that we are saving other people’s souls for the next? If you are worried about overpopulation of the earth, what chance does Heaven stand after over 2000 years? Do we have to ask Abraham to budge up a little? )I have even been told that the three main religions don’t even differ that much in foundation, it is just a different – what’s that word again, ah yes – interpretation. Yet, what do I know…
Over the years people have died for their God(s), some even being tortured to change their minds. Bearing in mind that pain is usually considered bad and preferably avoided, you have to admire the strength people can get from believing. I always thought that it would be ironic if there turns out to be one God and one Heaven: all those crusaders fighting the muslims, on both sides lives are lost and then it turns out they are all queuing up for the same gates: Surprise! (Or as one of my friends once said: Imagine you believe in Heaven all your life, then you die and then there turns out to be nothing! Where do you go from there?!)
I am sure that when Stephen’s book comes out, it will cause uproar and ripples through religious corners. Still if we hold back on the fatwas for a second, we might read what he says: There seems to be no evidence that God was involved in the creation of the Universe. This does not equal the sentence: There is no God.
As a little post-scriptum: let’s think about the phenomenon that is Stephen Hawking – that brain in that body. The man who is kept alive by the grace of modern science, who instead of automatically dismissing God and religion, thinks about it and researches it. The scientist in search for God. Perhaps that is almost divine poetry.