Our scientific community is
increasingly comfortable with the concept of the "Big Bang" origin of
our Universe. Under that concept, shortly after the Big Bang, our
Universe consisted of a wave front of energy, expanding away from the
location of the Big Bang, and a fairly large quantity of matter, which
was a disorganized mass of very primitive atoms, like Hydrogen. It
would be fair to characterize that state of affairs as "chaos," which
in Thermodynamics is a disorganized state of matter and/or energy, the
ultimate manifestation of which would be a totally even spread of all
matter and all energy throughout the entirety of the "closed" system,
such that no differential existed which could ever perform any "work."
Out of the chaotic state which existed shortly after the Big Bang, the randomly disbursed gas molecules began to draw themselves together into gas clouds, which then condensed and formed stars, planets, and the other forms of matter which we now know about. The stars, in turn, upon reaching the necessary critical mass, began to generate energy by a process of nuclear fusion, which we now understand somewhat, but have yet to control on a scale smaller than a fusion bomb. At least one of these stars, our own, and probably many more, developed life on at least one of the planets surrounding them.
We know that one of the primary forces which drive the basic gas molecules to collect themselves together and form stars is the force of gravity. We also know so very little about the force of gravity and how it operates. We can describe what it does, and we can mathematically model its strength, but we cannot yet conceive of how it does its job.
Viewed from a mystical sense, the process of evolution is clearly anti-entropic, because it created ever higher and better organized forms of life out of the disordered chaos of the lower forms of life, ending up with at least the development of mankind. But it is still unclear whether our mystical feelings can be supported by scientific facts. Thus, our mystical feelings view the history of our Universe as a process of creating order out of chaos, a process which would clearly be anti-entropic. But the actual scientific evidence in support of our mystical feelings is not so clear cut.
Like so many people before me, I just have to admit that my gut tells me this long process of creation, stars and planets from interstellar gas clouds, life from primordial ooze and lightning strikes, higher forms of life from lower forms of life, intelligence from instinct, is the result of an anti-entropic force which is creating order out of chaos.
But the scientific facts are not all known to support that gut feeling, or to contradict it, either. We can assert that the order developing on Earth comes from a flow of energy from our Sun. But that merely begs the question of how the Sun came to be created in the first place. We are not yet capable of fully answering that question, but it is clear that scientists are working on that problem every day.
If the atheists are correct, then there is no "outside" source of creative flows, and we are each but one form of a temporary and accidental biological contamination in a Universe which is gradually running down to an eventual "heat death." Amazingly enough, for a question with such a deep philosophical meaning, ongoing scientific research ought to provide a clear cut answer to this proposition within the next few decades. Until science provides that answer, I intend to follow my gut feeling, and believe that there IS an outside creative force which is causing order to appear out of chaos; there IS an anti-entropic God force which is our Creator.
Maybe this is my own wishful thinking expressing itself. But, in contrast to all of the other arguments for or against the proposition of God's existence, this theory is at least supported by, and consistent with, our current level of scientific understanding. The atheists can no more prove the ultimate conclusion than can the theists. By declaring myself to be an Agnostic, I align myself with whichever conclusion is eventually reached as a consequence of scientific inquiry. I also accept the most potent debate points which the theists can offer in this debate: the presence of a great deal of order in our Universe, and the apparent creation of increasing amounts of order as time goes by. But I also must acknowledge the fact that the apparent creation of increasing amounts of order may be only an illusion which masks our lack of understanding of the underlying processes which really control our Universe. Only science can provide the Truth, and only in our future.
My position of tentatively accepting the existence of God, until and unless science proves otherwise, is entirely consistent with the progress of scientific inquiry down through the ages. We have always looked first for a theory which explains phenomena which we can clearly perceive. Our first attempt is usually called something like a "working hypothesis." This means a theory which explains the parts which we are certain of, and does not contradict anything else which we are certain of. As research progresses, we refine our concepts and change the name to a theory, and as we become more certain of its correctness in all cases, eventually the name is changed to a law. This process occurred over time for Newton's Laws of Motion.
In my mind, then, the Atheists and the Theists are like two scientific camps which are working to validate their respective, but totally contradictory, theories about God. I now believe that the weight of the evidence is in favor of the existence of God, but I am quite willing to accept scientific proof to the contrary. This is entirely consistent with how all rational intellectual inquiry has proceeded down through the ages.
But the final point which I would like to emphasize is that, just because I believe that God "probably" exists, that does NOT lead to a conclusion that any of the religions which mankind has adopted down through the ages is any more deserving of respect from an intellectual point of view than is any other religious belief system. Each of those belief systems is so clearly tainted with manufactured falsehoods and/or inconsistencies galore that none is deserving of my adherence. In point of fact, even the most prominent of the Christian churches propounds such drivel that it is a wonder anyone believes.
Because we are in the Late Civilization period for our own Western Civilization, I would particularly like to single out the Christian fanatics for outright contempt. They are the clear product of the "Second Religiousness" predicted by Spengler. They arise in a reaction to the increasing disorder in a Civilization after the "death" of the "soul" of that Civilization. As a clearly (and increasingly explicitly) reactionary group, they have little or nothing to offer us but an attempted restoration of order through despotic dictatorships and other despicable means. In a very deep sense, these so-called fundamentalist Christians are themselves the anti-Christ which they claim to oppose. If Christ were here right now, he would denounce them all, as the New Testament clearly proves to me.
So, in conclusion, do not try to take my acceptance of the existence of God as any license to try to convert me back to Christianity, within which I was raised as a child. I reject the modern Christian church as a religious model as much as I reject Hitler as a political model. Both are despicable, in my view, and instead, I search for something which is clearly better for all of mankind.
Even if science ultimately proves that the creative forces which have led me to declare the existence of God are, in fact, reconcilable with all of the various Laws of Thermodynamics, including Entropy, I would still choose to declare a belief in God, unless it could be scientifically proven that no God exists. In any case, given the extreme difficulty with proving any negative concept, I do not expect that to occur.
There is no group of humans, left to their own devices, which has failed to develop a religious doctrine which contains one or more concepts which we of the West would view as God concepts.33 That is at least empirical evidence that mankind needs some sort of God concept as part of its existence.
Theist arguments 1, 3, 11, and 15 (see Book II, Section C) each incorporate some version of that theme. But if we are to knowingly invent God to suit the needs of mankind, then let us at least do it honestly and openly, the way that we promote Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. We should not delude ourselves by claiming an honest belief in something which we have ourselves created from whole cloth. Having not hidden our sleight-of-hand, in the event that science provides a different answer at some time in the future, we can willingly discard a knowing fiction, replace it with real Truth, and not find our essential psyche disrupted in the process.
If history teaches us anything about religion, it is that the fundamental purpose of our religious beliefs is to provide a useful framework within which we can conduct our daily lives. Few religions go so far as to establish any significant larger purpose beyond the salvation of the individual person, which usually results from that person behaving as the "powers that be" would wish. If that is all which religion can provide to mankind, it still may be enough to justify the fabrication of a God concept.
But if we must fabricate a God concept of our own, let it at least be a coherent and comprehensible concept which could survive atheist argument number 3 (see Book II, Section D). Our God concept should also survive atheist argument number 5 (same), and avoid the motivation of people to do evil things "in the name of God." The remaining three atheist arguments may be easily overcome by simply pointing to the necessity which results in a need for SOME God concept in our daily lives, which should at least be the result of some scientific study of our deep psychological needs for that God concept.
The true words of Jesus Christ clearly show that there were only two requirements to be close to the Kingdom of Heaven (see, e. g., Mark 12, 28-34), a love of God and the so-called "Golden Rule." The "Golden Rule" may be derived though a process of inquiry according to philosophical principles. Even Aristotle derived an equivalent expression: "We should behave to our friends as we would wish our friends to behave to us."34 So, if science validates a need for a God concept within mankind, and if Philosophy may be used to derive the Golden Rule, we then find ourselves with the two essential elements of the beliefs of Christ. Further study would probably yield a discovery that such beliefs are at the foundations of virtually all of the world's great religions, and may therefore be said to be the basic religious beliefs of all of mankind.
The ultimate conclusion which I draw from the foregoing it that it would take a great deal of persuasion from science and Philosophy to convince me to become an atheist. I choose to believe in God, although I choose NOT to believe in the fashionable churches of this moment in human history.
33 This sentence is carefully phrased to allow for Buddhist beliefs. If you ask a Buddhist about the existence of God, the Buddhist would most likely declare that Buddhism has no belief in God. But if Westerners study Buddhism, we would find one or more concepts in Buddhism which we would declare to be God concepts. There is such a tremendous cultural gap between Westerners and the Oriental adherents of Buddhism that full communication becomes virtually impossible.
34 From Bartlett's "Familiar Quotations," quoting from Diogenes Laertius, "Lives of Eminent Philosophers," Book V, section 21.
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