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Stephen Hawking: “Science Will Win”

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World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking says “science will win” in a recent interview with ABC news’ Diane Sawyer. From the interview:

But exploring the origins of time inevitably leads to questions about the ultimate origins of everything and what, if anything, is behind it all.

“What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God,” Hawking told Sawyer. “They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.”

When Sawyer asked if there was a way to reconcile religion and science, Hawking said, “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

Near the end of the interview, Hawking offers up advice to his children and says “”One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up work. Work gives you meaning and purpose and life is empty without it,” he said. “Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.”

But, at the outset of the interview, Hawking admits existence is a mystery to him. “When asked by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer about the biggest mystery he’d like solved, he said, “I want to know why the universe exists, why there is something greater than nothing.”

Hawking’s interview is just another example of the total cognitive dissonance that seems so prevalent among scientists who are also atheists. On the one hand, Hawking has no problem attributing everything in the cosmos to the blind, purposeless forces of matter and energy interacting through eons of time through chance and/or necessity. He gazes in amazement at the vast richness of the cosmos and wants to know the most basic of all questions: “why?” But then in the next breath, he dismisses as “most impossible” what is probably the only actual answer to the question.

The “why” question I would like to have answered is why scientists who are also atheists (or philosophical natrualists), ask “why?” On a worldview that explains everything in completely naturalistic terms as the end product of blind, purposeless forces, asking “why” seems almost silly. The only possible answer is “because, that’s how all those blind, purposeless interactions worked out.” As a scientist, surely even Hawking must know that science can only investigate the ‘how” and not the “why”.

This cognitive dissonance is also evident in his advice to his kids that work gives meaning and purpose to life. Has Hawking discovered some way that these same blind, purposeless forces can attribute meaning to life through work that heretofore no one knew about, or does he think he can give life meaning and purpose through work just because he says so? It is difficult to see what grounds his notion of giving life meaning and purpose apart from his own preference and say so.

Hawking, like so many others, claims the high road of science and scientific reasoning, and proudly proclaims “science will win!”, but seems to leave reason at the door when it comes to actually trying to make sense of the world. And all this time we’re told it is the religious “faith-heads” (as Dawkins so endearingly refers to theists) who have tossed reason out the window!

46 Replies to “Stephen Hawking: “Science Will Win”

  1. 1
    Ekstasis says:

    Hawking says “There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works.”

    I did not realize that religion and science were like two teams competing in some sort of tournament, where one must win and the other lose? Wow, who would of thunk it.

    Maybe Hawking and others like him are getting on in age, and realizing that their spiritual life is a big zero, or close to it, they must rationalize that religion is empty. They don’t know what they don’t know, and are a bit afraid, and therefore play the sour grapes card. That is human nature, evolved or unevolved, for you.

    By the way, science has no authority, and religion is only about authority? Am I missing something? When I, at those quiet and open moments, am enraptured into the heavens in a manner that is as glorous as it is ineffable, I do not need an atheist to write it off as adherence to some authority that is obviously flawed, as is their inference.

    Sadly they don’t get it.

  2. 2
    Phaedros says:

    Hawking, An atheist, can only misrepresent religion. At least, from my experience, christianity is not about the authority of the Church but based on the witness of my heart to the Truth of Jesus Christ and the knowledge based on the lives of Chrostian martyrs that they died for what they, and I, know to be true.

  3. 3
    Phaedros says:

    By the way the philosophy that “work gives meaning to life” seems a bit close to “through work, freedom,” doesnt’t it?

  4. 4
    DonaldM says:

    Phaedros in #3 – Hadn’t thought of that – lol.

    Ekstasis

    I did not realize that religion and science were like two teams competing in some sort of tournament, where one must win and the other lose? Wow, who would of thunk it.

    Exactly. The trend of the past 20 years or so is for those on the atheist/naturalist/materialist side of the spectrum to couch the entire discussion in terms of some sort of competition. And, of course, we all know that science, being fact, will always trump religion, being values…the fact/value split so often mentioned. Hence, Hawking’s triumphant “science will win” mantra.

    But note the inherent presupposition that undergirds that very notion – that only materialist, naturalist explanations will do when it comes to explaining any observed phenomenon in nature. Thus given some observation and given a naturalistic explanation for it alongside a supernatural explanation we must always A) choose between them as if they were competitors and B)always give preference to the naturalistic explanation. But where the actual evidence that grounds and justifies that competition and that preference lies, no one seems to know. As Hawking et.al. continue to proclaim the triumphant “science will win” mantra, the actual presuppositions behind the mantra go largely unnoticed.

  5. 5
    uoflcard says:

    How one can base his/her entire worldview on simply observation and reason and then declare the inexistence of God based on this is beyond me:

    When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.

    What observation, law, experiment, calculation or peer-reviewed article backs up this religious statement?

    Obviously it is not a scientific statement (even though “science will win” and it is the supposed foundation of an atheist’s life, other than other vague, unfounded assertions, like “work gives meaning to life”). But beyond that, it does not even defy what many theists believe:

    Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    Mr. Hawking, you are fully aware of the brilliance and wonder found throughout nature, more so than nearly 100% of the rest of humans in history. You are certainly without excuse.

  6. 6
    Bantay says:

    1. Instead of offering positive evidence that God does not exist, evidently it’s much easier for Hawking to just redefine other people’s God to some ambiguous, make-believe Hawking-preferred definition.

    2.What god or God is Hawking referring to? Is he making some argument against all gods, or just the Judeo-Christian God? His alluding to a God one can have a relationship with, I think he is alluding to the Judeo-Christian God. In which case, his following statement only demonstrates his own faith (yes! faith!) that human beings are a. accidental and 2. insignificant and 3. the vastness of the universe is some kind of cause in and of itself….which is kinda like saying we got lucky. That doesn’t sound very scientific to me, but maybe it’s sufficient for those who believe every word this gentleman (Hawking) says.

    3. He needs to sit down with William Lane Craig and deal with the Resurrection.

    4. The premise of Diane Sawyer’s question is faulty to begin with. T

    here is no need for science and religion to be reconciled. Modern science began and was motivated by religious thinkers, individuals who believed God existed and who was in general terms responsible for the entire creation. At present, it requires faith to believe that everything that exists does so on the basis of coming from nothing, for no purpose or reason and that the apparent design in the universe is simply chance, undirected natural causes. Looks to me like science and faith are getting along quite well these days.

    And besides…What about religion has “not worked”, and, what positive evidence for unguided, natural processes has demonstrated itself to be exclusive of design? The master science popularizer is once again, using faith in his own personal, philosophical agenda. And he’s entitled to it. Just don’t try to cram that philosophical naturalist, atheism implying bunk down school children’s throats in public school science class at taxpayer expense.

    And lastly, Hawking says “science, which is based on observation and reason.”

    Many religions are based on authority, but Hawking continues to dodge and weave. He wants to subtly attack “religion” and then later alludes to it being a “relationship” (alluding to Christianity), and now claims it is based on “authority” ?? Authority or relationship? It can’t be the Judeo-Christian faith he is referring to, since the Christian’s so-called “relationship” with God is voluntary and based on love, not a coercion.

    I’m convinced that Hawking doesn’t have a problem with faith. If he did, he wouldn’t have faith in his own faith. Rather, he has a problem with the Judeo-Christian faith. If he insists on observation, may I suggest that he consider the eye-witness accounts of the Resurrected Jesus Christ, the dramatic, radical transformation of a small group of cowardly followers into individuals willing to boldly proclaim and subsequently die for the resurrection they claimed to have observed (remember, people don’t knowingly die for a lie, but they will for something they believe is true). I doubt Hawking would die for his present faith, but I know that faith in Jesus Christ would be worth proclaiming, once personally experienced.

  7. 7
    tgpeeler says:

    How tragic is this? As uolfcord notes, Hawking is probably more capable of really understanding, at a fundamental level, God’s creation than more than a handful, if that, of people in human history. And what does he do with that amazement and wonder? Throw it in the trash.

    The thing is, it’s not about religion vs. science, it’s about WHAT IS TRUE. Religion isn’t about revelation, either. Well, religion may be but Christianity is about the person of Jesus Christ, who lived in space and time and was witnessed (I think in science that’s what they call empirical evidence) by thousands of people. Read the book of Acts and time after time after time references to witness (see, hear, touch, i.e. empirical data) are made. Christianity isn’t about the authority of revelation, either. The Bible records the reasons, the evidences, why we believe the truth of Christ’s claims. John 20:31 says, of itself, “but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.”

    Well, one thing is for certain. He is either Messiah or he is not. Place your cosmic all in bets, sports fans. But I’d investigate carefully before I rejected the claims of Jesus. The consequences for getting this one wrong are pretty significant.

  8. 8
    zeroseven says:

    Phaedros @ 2,

    If you were born and bred in Tehran or in an idigenous tribe in the Amazon basin do you think the truth of Jesus Christ would be revealed in your heart? For that matter, if you had been deposited on a deserted island as a baby and spent your whole life there with no contact with any other people, do you think you would know anything about Jesus? And if not, why not?

    It seems to me obvious that all religions are man made and based on authority. Otherwise why do people (almost without exception) grow up believing in the religion of those around them?

  9. 9
    steveO says:

    Christy Brown (accomplished author of “My Left Foot” fame) who suffered from cerebral palsy and couldn’t walk and had great difficulty talking, once wrote that he enjoyed watching people getting drunk. Seeing them slur their words and lose control of their bodies made him feel comfortable.

    It also seems to me, at least, that misrepresenting religion and attempting to deprive others of the gift of faith seems to make some atheists feel comfortable and perhaps feel less vexed that others can experience something that they – for whatever reason – cannot.

  10. 10
    Granville Sewell says:

    When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.

    When you look at a world map, Cambridge University is really a tiny, tiny place, why would anything that is said there be considered significant?

  11. 11
    AussieID says:

    Granville: A great point about Cambridge Uni’s physical comparison to the Earth!

    In the same vein, how about Stephen Hawking’s own physical space as just another human being of the nearly 7 billion of us on Earth.

    Considered as such, he and any commentary he makes should be considered as just another 1/7 000 000 000 utterance.

    I wonder if he sees it that way?

  12. 12
    DonaldM says:

    Granville

    When you look at a world map, Cambridge University is really a tiny, tiny place, why would anything that is said there be considered significant?

    Thanks. I really needed a good laugh today, Granville, and you just gave me one! I am definitely going to using this line in the future with various institution names substituted as required, of course.

  13. 13
    bornagain77 says:

    well at the risk of being boring I have to comment on this:

    “When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible.”

    But really how insignificant is a human life in the cosmos?:

    Here we see that the earth is central in the universe:

    The Known Universe by AMNH
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U

    Though this is a vast step up from being completely insignificant for the earth, Materialists, I’ve pointed this centrality out to, are quick to say every 3-D point is central in the 4-D expanding space-time universe. But this is still a very interesting point and turns the Copernican principle of mediocrity on its head for the earth. We do appear to have some significance after all even from the materialists point of view though they are loathe to admit it for some reason. But it gets even more interesting once we get into the details. It turns out that a limited 3-D universe of 10^79 atoms is unable to maintain centrality for every point in the 4-D expanding space-time of the universe, from radically points of observation in the 3-D universe, without breaking the symmetry for the 3-D 10^79 atom universe. Thus 4-D space-time is insufficient to account for the centrality we observe i.e. to maintain 3-D symmetry of centrality, from radically different points of observation in the universe, what quantum mechanics is telling us is true must in fact be true. i.e. In order for us to maintain consistent 3-D symmetry in the universe, from different points of observation in the universe, the non-local quantum information waves, as photons are known to travel in space, must indeed collapse to each point of “observation” in the universe. The centrality we see in the video is not really the earth that is central, it is in fact the exact point of observation of the WMAP satellite orbiting the earth that is central in the universe. Another satellite, in another part of the universe, would have given its own unique point of centrality. What is more interesting is that the different satellite would give its unique point of 3-D centrality with a very interesting “rearrangement” of the 10^79 atoms so as to maintain its centrality.

  14. 14
    Granville Sewell says:

    Donald,

    When you reuse the line, don’t credit me, I’m afraid I plagiarized it, but don’t remember who I stole it from. I just remember the last time I heard it, the university was Yale.

  15. 15
    JDH says:

    Every time I read about an atheist trying to instill meaning into materialism it just confirms the existence of God.

    Materialism can have no purpose. Purpose can not evolve. Intelligences can invent new purpose out of thin air, but it is just a contrivance. Just think about all the brouhaha over the World Cup. Its a game. But rules are invented and a great purpose “Win the World Cup” can seem really real. But we know the truth that, in the end, it’s still just a game.

    Hawking wants badly for there to be a “why”. Does he not see that this is extremely strong evidence for God. Why should there be a being that can argue in the abstract?. Why should their exist a being who can contemplate God? Why should their be beings that make and remember moral judgments? Is not this the very image of God on display for all of us? Its definitely not a proof, but it is strong evidence.

  16. 16
    mullerpr says:

    There is a serious lack of logical consistency in the minds of the people that purport to be leading the last assault against theism.

    I think that the actual war is materialist science against philosophy (logic, epistemic certainty, etc.). And it comes down to materialist science trying to pull itself out of the mud by pulling on its own shoelaces.

    Irrational behavior is only a property of mind. The laws of nature will not bend to accommodate materialist science.

    The significance of this is portrayed by Antony Flew’s change of heart and Jerry Fodor’s critique of natural selection.

  17. 17
    Alex73 says:

    It is not science competing with religion. It is atheism, under the thin mask of science, competing with theism.

  18. 18
    allanius says:

    Science won’t win. Turns out there is an irreducible difference between observer and thing observed, called intellect, which leads to the age-old divide between theory and observation. God has played an amusing little trick on man. The very thing we use to glorify ourselves is also the principal barrier between ourselves and God. “All is vanity.”

  19. 19
    tragic mishap says:

    I thought Hawking was the guy who had this great “something comes from nothing” theory involving imaginary numbers and such. I guess he doesn’t buy his own theory.

  20. 20
    DonaldM says:

    Granville

    When you reuse the line, don’t credit me, I’m afraid I plagiarized it, but don’t remember who I stole it from. I just remember the last time I heard it, the university was Yale.

    Not to worry. Besides, don’t you know the 3 steps of taking someone else’s line? 1)Granville once said 2) somebody once said 3)I’ve always said…

    I’m up to #2 now.

  21. 21
    Clive Hayden says:

    zeroseven,

    It seems to me obvious that all religions are man made and based on authority. Otherwise why do people (almost without exception) grow up believing in the religion of those around them?

    Did you grow up in Atheistville?

  22. 22
    Clive Hayden says:

    zeroseven,

    If you were born and bred in Tehran or in an idigenous tribe in the Amazon basin do you think the truth of Jesus Christ would be revealed in your heart? For that matter, if you had been deposited on a deserted island as a baby and spent your whole life there with no contact with any other people, do you think you would know anything about Jesus? And if not, why not?

    Are you familiar with Cornelius in the New Testament? That story should answer your question. I direct you to it, because you should read the actual scriptures that are about Jesus is you want to talk about Jesus.

  23. 23
    critter says:

    3. He needs to sit down with William Lane Craig and deal with the Resurrection.

    Did you just say a man who has been wheelchair bound for 40 years needs to sit down?

  24. 24
    Phaedros says:

    It’s a figure of speech, get over it.

  25. 25
    zeroseven says:

    Clive Hayden,

    “Did you grow up in Atheistville?”.

    No, religious background – Christian.

    I looked up Cornelius. He lived in the area where Christianity began. Clearly he would have heard about it. In fact he was apparently tutored in it by Simon Peter.

    My question is different. Take the desert island example. Do you really believe that person could know anything about the Christian story? Is there a report anywhere of a person who is verified to have had no contact with Christians and the outside world (eg a Papua New Guinean highlander) who suddenly converted to Christianity? And if not, why not?

  26. 26
    Clive Hayden says:

    zeroseven,

    I looked up Cornelius. He lived in the area where Christianity began. Clearly he would have heard about it. In fact he was apparently tutored in it by Simon Peter.

    He was an unsaved Gentile, who prayed to God and gave alms, and God was pleased with him, and sent an angel to tell Peter to go to Cornelius to preach the Gospel. Your question fits this example, for here we have a man using general revelation of God to pray to God and using general revelation from God in our moral sensibilities to give alms, and God was pleased with him and sent him a disciple to preach the Gospel. This also happens in visions and dreams according to scripture, so yes, any man anywhere adhering even to general revelation (natural theology) can receive the knowledge of salvation if God wills it to happen. Even on a desert island.

  27. 27
    bornagain77 says:

    zeroseven here is one example:

    Monk and Jesus Miracle Story
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLEW3heQwA

    here is the transcript:

    The Buddhist Monk and Jesus
    Excerpt: Monk “And then the man turned and he walked away, going toward the door. And when he got to the door, he turned back around, and he said,

    Jesus: ‘My name is Jesus.

    Monk: “Now, I had never heard that name before, so I didn’t know who Jesus was. He didn’t tell me anything else about himself, only his name. And then I think I must have fallen asleep again. But later on in the night, I felt warmth in my leg. By morning, I had feeling. And when the doctors came to prep me for surgery, my leg was healed.”
    http://www.asiastories.com/?p=7

    Here is another story that is somewhat related:

    Hindu Woman asks Jesus to Make Himself Real – HE DID!!! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKp8w1qR5XM

    a few more notes:

    Real Life Miracles – Blind See; Dead Raised; Deaf Hear – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4596829

    Heidi Baker – Real Life Miracles From God – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4596832

  28. 28
    zeroseven says:

    Thanks Clive and BA77,

    But it’s still not what I am looking for. The Monk and the Hindu woman presumably had heard of Jesus (well, the Monk actually met him). And anyway those stories don’t sound like historically accurate accounts. And Cornelius certainly received word about the teachings of Christ. It seems to me that people only become Christians (or any religion) when they have been told about it by other people. I just wonder why this is so.

    Also, BA77, why has God never helped an amputee? No doubt you have considered this question but it puzzles me. If God can heal diseases through prayer and fix legs, and there are many cases of cancer etc allegedly being cured, why no limbs growing back?

  29. 29
    bornagain77 says:

    zeroseven, I don’t know maybe there have been cases of amputees getting new limbs, but just as with the monk story you would not believe it either would you? zeroseven your going to have to break down sometime and honestly seek Christ for yourself since you clearly do not accept the earnest testimony that it given to you. You are much like Thomas who would not believe Christ was resurrected until he had actually touched Christ. Myself I reached out to God at a moment of despair in my life and He was there for me in that time of need, not in an overwhelming way such as physically seeing Him but in, none-the-less, a tangible way that left no doubt about His reality for me.

  30. 30
    bornagain77 says:

    Speaking of amputees zeroseven:

    Message of hope from Nick Vujicic
    http://connect.tangle.com/view.....a1bbc7e85b

    The most inspirational video you will ever see — Nick Vujicic
    http://connect.tangle.com/view.....cf04df1865

    You know zeroseven it is the entire Darwinian materialistic framework that constantly tries to demean the value of a man, junk organs, junk DNA, allowing such horrors as eugenics, abortion, and euthanasia into society that would have been unheard of prior to the general acceptance of Darwin’s pseudo theory i.e. there was no firm anchor to a souls worth in society any more. Whereas as Christian nation, that part of our heritage that hasn’t been overcome by judicial fiat, we know exactly where our “objective” moral worth is derived:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    Rascal Flatts – Unstoppable [Olympics Mix]
    http://www.tangle.com/view_vid.....83eaad6701

    Francesca Battistelli – Beautiful, Beautiful (Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbCfyZHSQbE

  31. 31
    DonaldM says:

    zeroseven

    But it’s still not what I am looking for. The Monk and the Hindu woman presumably had heard of Jesus (well, the Monk actually met him). And anyway those stories don’t sound like historically accurate accounts. And Cornelius certainly received word about the teachings of Christ. It seems to me that people only become Christians (or any religion) when they have been told about it by other people. I just wonder why this is so.

    There is two things here. One is how one responds to general revelation and experience. To use your deserted island example, it is quite possible that someone living in that situation would come to belief in God even if they had no name for Him. The Apostle Paul deal with this is Romans Ch 1 where he said that “the truth about God was made plain to them by what they could see…” Paul is making the case that those claiming there is no God are ignoring their own experience and the evidence right in front of them.

    Professor Jay Budziszewski has entire book entitled What We Can’t Not Know that deals with this. Basically his argument – and is a very compelling one – is that knowledge of God is something that we simply can not NOT know.

    Yet, despite the general revelation – what nature itself is telling us, what the very evidence of nature is telling us – Hawking and others (ie Dawkins), stand in front of the evidence and rail against it proclaiming “NO!!! There is no God…most impossible!!” And all the while offering nothing remotely resembling a logical argument to defend their denial.

    The second point in answer to your question as to why people don’t respond to Jesus until they hear about him is precisely for that reason. Until they are told the story, they do not know exactly what it is they have known to be true intuitively. Even the apostle Paul asked “How shall they hear unless someone tells them?” This is not a denial of the efficacy of general revelation, but is rather an affirmation that once the gospel story is told, then the person will respond. And one reason for that is because they’ve already sensed it by what they have seen and experienced every day.

    So, when I read comments like those I mentioned in my OP, I don’t think they are denying the evidence; rather, I think they are denying what they know almost instinctively that the evidence is actually telling them. It would take an entire additional discussion thread to discuss why they (the atheists) go to such lengths to ignore the evidence and live in their denial.

  32. 32
    aqeels says:

    zeroseven said –

    “If you were born and bred in Tehran or in an idigenous tribe in the Amazon basin do you think the truth of Jesus Christ would be revealed in your heart?”

    Interesting that you mention Tehran. Are you aware that muslims regard Jesus as a righteous prophet and that he is already “in their hearts”.

    Just pointed out the obvious to help alleviate your state education and obvious bias.

  33. 33
    aqeels says:

    Seriously though zeroseven makes an interesting point that needs a response.

    To paraphrase Dawkins, “stirring music, and lofty towers might help a bit, but by the far the biggest factor in dertermining your religion is the accident of bith”.

    This is a hard pill to swallow and seems to be what zeroseven is saying. On the surface it seems to demonstrate the illogicity of religion. However it is ultimately a mute point.

    Throughout history God has sent many prophets amongst the people to lay down the foundations of a universal moral code for man to live by. Each prophet came at differing times but fundamentally preached the same message. It is ultimatley man who has perverted this message and has divided both society and the universal code. This is why we have a plethora of religions and sects. To simply dismiss this as man made might be true in a certain sense but it does not remove the truth that messengers were sent and they did preach to mankind to bring him closer to the uncaused creator.

    I beleive that God will judge man fairly. If a child is born into a houehold that is completely athiest, then he/she will be at a disadvantage of finding some form of spirtuality than someone who was born into religion. God is just and not a weight of an atom will man be wronged, so all circumstances will be considered. However, there is no excuse for someone not to question there faith or lack off, and to ask searching questions that may lead them to truth whatever that may be. Ultimatley it is about intention.

    God knows the hearts of man.

  34. 34
    aqeels says:

    And BA77 – I beleive you found God in your moment of need. I too found God in a similar experience. You chose to call him Christ whilst I chose to call him the God that is unlike any simlitude.

  35. 35
    Gaz says:

    DonaldM (31),

    “To use your deserted island example, it is quite possible that someone living in that situation would come to belief in God even if they had no name for Him.”

    Possible, but not likely. In fact, we have evidence from peoples that have lived on remote islands. The evidence suggests that – as in pretty much everywhere else in the world – any religion that arises tends to take on characteristics that are driven by the circumstances apertaining on that island, whether political, material or whatever. Cargo cults in the Pacific are particularly interesting: Japanese and American troops (particularly the latter) arrive on islands bringing all sorts of goods with them, then war finishes and they leave. So the islanders establish rituals they saw their “gods” doing – setting up things that look like radio aerials, even pseudo runways – to try to get the goods flowing back to them. Fascinating stuff. There’s even a cargo cult that worships Prince Philip!!

    “Professor Jay Budziszewski has entire book entitled What We Can’t Not Know that deals with this. Basically his argument – and is a very compelling one – is that knowledge of God is something that we simply can not NOT know.”

    The flaw in the Professor’s thinking is in the title – if we can’t NOT know it then why does he need to write a book telling us what we must, by definition, already know? The reason is that the Professor is wrong – not only do we NOT know it but examples we have – such as cargo cults – show why. Humans may well have aneed to believe in something to satisfy political, material or other concerns, but that something is not necessarily God.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    bornagain77 says:

    aqeels, Why I can understand and respect your definition of God to the unfathomable greatness that is God, this does not negate the truth that God chose to cleanse and justify us, so that we may be able to have a eternal personal relationship with Him in his unfathomable greatness in heaven, through the death and resurrection Of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ.

    “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

    “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

    “For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.” Colossians 1:19-22

    “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8

    I don’t know aqeel, perhaps you don’t see a need for God to have to redeem us through the work of Christ and you feel that God is so great that he can just snap his fingers and everything will be OK for you to waltz into enter heaven upon your death from this earth. Myself I think you should rightly fear the glory and power of God that you readily recognize, and humbly accept the atoning sacrifice he has made for our fallen state so that you may be able to stand before the holy and just God you readily admit to. There certainly is powerful and undeniable evidence for the resurrection of Christ from the dead, so my question to you is, just who do you think you are to tell God exactly how He is to justify us so that we may stand before Him?

  38. 38
    bornagain77 says:

    Aqeels in further note to your “all prophets lead to heaven” belief. I would like to point to some fairly rigorous studies of Near Death Experiences in foreign cultures to counter your belief:

    Near-Death Experiences in Thailand: Discussion of case histories By Todd Murphy, 1999:
    Excerpt: We would suggest that the near-constant comparisons with the most frequently reported types of NDEs tends to blind researchers to the features of NDEs which are absent in these NDEs. Tunnels are rare, if not absent. The panoramic Life Review appears to be absent. Instead, our collection shows people reviewing just a few karmically-significant incidents. Perhaps they symbolize behavioral tendencies, the results of which are then experienced as determinative of their rebirths. These incidents are read out to them from a book. There is no Being of Light in these Thai NDEs, although The Buddha does appear in a symbolic form, in case #6. Yama is present during this truncated Life Review, as is the Being of Light during Western life reviews, but Yama is anything but a being of light. In popular Thai depictions, he is shown as a wrathful being, and is most often remembered in Thai culture for his power to condemn one to hell. Some of the functions of Angels and guides are also filled by Yamatoots. They guide, lead tours of hell, and are even seen to grant requests made by the experient.
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindes.htm

    A Comparative view of Tibetan and Western Near-Death Experiences by Lawrence Epstein University of Washington:

    Excerpt: Episode 5: The OBE systematically stresses the ‘das-log’s discomfiture, pain, disappointment, anger and disillusionment with others and with the moral worth of the world at large. The acquisition of a yid-lus and the ability to travel instantaneously are also found here.
    Episode 6: The ‘das-log, usually accompanied by a supernatural guide, tours bar-do, where he witnesses painful scenes and meets others known to him. They give him messages to take back.
    Episode 7: The ‘das-log witnesses trials in and tours hell. The crimes and punishments of others are explained to him. Tortured souls also ask him to take back messages to the living.

    India Cross-cultural study by Dr. Ian Stevenson of the University of Virginia Medical School and Dr. Satwant Pasricha of the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India
    Excerpt: “Suddenly I saw two big pots of boiling water, although there was no fire, no firewood, and no fireplace. Then, the man pushed me with his hand and said, “You’d better hurry up and go back.” When he touched me, I suddenly became aware of how hot his hand was. Then I realised why the pots were boiling. The heat was coming from his hands! When I regained consciousness, I had a severe burning sensation in my left arm.” Mangal still had a mark on his left arm that he claims was a result of the burning. About a quarter of Dr Pasricha’s interviewees reported such marks.

    The Japanese find death a depressing experience – From an item by Peter Hadfield in the New Scientist (Nov. 30th 1991)
    Excerpt: A study in Japan shows that even in death the Japanese have an original way of looking at things. Instead of seeing ‘tunnels of light’ or having ‘out of body’ experiences, near-dead patients in Japanese hospitals tend to see rather less romantic images, according to researchers at Kyorin University. According to a report in the Mainichi newspaper, a group of doctors from Kyorin has spent the past year documenting the near-death experiences of 17 patients. They had all been resuscitated from comas caused by heart attacks, strokes, asthma or drug poisoning. All had shown minimal signs of life during the coma. Yoshia Hata, who led the team, said that eight of the 17 recalled ‘dreams’, many featuring rivers or ponds. Five of those patients had dreams which involved fear, pain and suffering.

    One 50-year-old asthmatic man said he had seen himself wade into a reservoir and do a handstand in the shallows. ‘Then I walked out of the water and took some deep breaths. In the dream, I was repeating this over and over.’

    Another patient, a 73-year-old woman with cardiac arrest, saw a cloud filled with dead people. ‘It was a dark, gloomy day. I was chanting sutras. I believed they could be saved if they chanted sutras, so that is what I was telling them to do.’

    Most of the group said they had never heard of Near-Death Experiences before.
    http://www.pureinsight.org/node/4

    Dr. Satwant Pasricha Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore, India, findings of a survey of NDEs conducted in a region of southern India. A population of 17,192 persons was surveyed and 2,207 respondents were interviewed for identification of NDE cases. Twenty-six persons were reported to have died and revived; 16 (62%) of these having had NDEs. Thus the prevalence rate of NDEs is found to be less than 1 in a thousand for the general population of India. Whereas the rate in America is commonly given to be 5% (1 in twenty) for the general population.

    Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in a Melanesian Society by Dorothy E. Counts:
    Excerpt: “When you were in your village you claimed to be an important man. But in this little place you have been eaten up by a knife, a dog, and a pig. And now fire will utterly destroy you.” When the loudspeaker had finished, a fire blazed up and destroyed the remains.
    http://anthropology.uwaterloo......Death.html

    There seem to be great cultural differences in beliefs about NDEs. In an Australian study, 58 percent of participants interpreted an NDE vignette as possible evidence of life after death and 15 percent thought they were dreams or hallucinations. (Kellehear & Heaven, 1989). This is in stark contrast to a Chinese study in which 58 percent believed they were dreams or hallucinations and 9 percent believed they were evidence of life after death (Kellehear, Heaven, & Gao, 1990)

    Several studies (Pasricha, 1986, Schorer, 1985-86) & Kellehear, 1993) Murphy 1999,2001) have indicated that the phenomenologies of NDEs is culture-bound. (Of Note: Judeo-Christian Culture NDEs are by far the most pleasant “phenomena”)
    http://www.shaktitechnology.com/thaindestxt.htm

    Researching Muslim NDEs, on the web at the NDERF home page, I find that there are only a handful of Muslim NDE experiences out of the thousands of NDE’s they have listed on their web site. There is only one really deep Muslim NDE in which there is a reference to “the Light”. Not surprisingly, this NDE occurred to a teenage boy. In the handful of somewhat deep adult Muslim NDEs that I have read about, the Muslim NDES never mentioned “the Light”, “Supreme Being” or a “Being of Light”. If this holds steady for all adult Muslim NDEs, then this will fall into stark contrast to the majority of deep Judeo/Christian NDE testimonies of adults for the western world.

    Greyson and Bush (1996) classified 50 Western reports of distressing NDEs into three types:
    * The most common type included the same features as the pleasurable type such as an out-of-body experience and rapid movement through a tunnel or void toward a light but the NDEr, usually because of feeling out of control of what was happening, experienced the features as frightening.
    * The second, less common type included an acute awareness of nonexistence or of being completely alone forever in an absolute void. Sometimes the person received a totally convincing message that the real world including themselves never really existed. (note* according to one preliminary study, a similar type of this NDE may be very common among the Buddhist culture of China)
    * The third and rarest type included hellish imagery such as an ugly or foreboding landscape; demonic beings; loud, annoying noises; frightening animals; and other beings in extreme distress. Only rarely have such NDErs themselves felt personally tormented.

    Distressing Near-Death Experiences:
    The estimated incidence of distressing NDEs (dNDEs) for western cultures has ranged from 1% to 15% of all NDEs (Bonenfant, 2001). The results of prospective studies in which the researchers interviewed everyone who experienced cardiac arrest in one or more hospitals during a period of at least several months are noteworthy. In the four prospective studies conducted between 1984 and 2001, involving a total of 130 NDErs, none reported distressing experiences. This finding seems to confirm that the experience is relatively rare in western cultures.

    Hindu Woman asks Jesus to Make Himself Real – HE DID!!! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKp8w1qR5XM

    Monk and Jesus Miracle Story
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iOLEW3heQwA

    here is the transcript:

    The Buddhist Monk and Jesus
    Excerpt: Monk “And then the man turned and he walked away, going toward the door. And when he got to the door, he turned back around, and he said,

    Jesus: ‘My name is Jesus.

    Monk: “Now, I had never heard that name before, so I didn’t know who Jesus was. He didn’t tell me anything else about himself, only his name. And then I think I must have fallen asleep again. But later on in the night, I felt warmth in my leg. By morning, I had feeling. And when the doctors came to prep me for surgery, my leg was healed.”

  39. 39
    DonaldM says:

    Gaz

    The flaw in the Professor’s thinking is in the title – if we can’t NOT know it then why does he need to write a book telling us what we must, by definition, already know? The reason is that the Professor is wrong – not only do we NOT know it but examples we have – such as cargo cults – show why. Humans may well have aneed to believe in something to satisfy political, material or other concerns, but that something is not necessarily God.

    I have to respectfully disagree. You put your finger right on it…humans innately have a need to believe in something…why? As Budzewzeski points out it is because it is “written on our hearts.” That doesn’t mean we’ll innately know all the facts or get all the theology right. But it does suggest that we do know, instinctively that there is something more..someONE more. It is something we simply can not NOT know.

    Just because the cargo cults (and I have read about these with interest) seem to have got some things mixed up doesn’t mean that there is no God. And it certainly doesn’t follow from that the possibility that people left alone on a deserted or remote island won’t find God either. Contrary to what you write, I find the existence of cargo cults as pretty strong evidence that Budzeszewski correct.

  40. 40
    zeroseven says:

    DonaldM @31,

    I am not talking about a general belief in God or Gods. You will find that occurring in every society and as Gaz suggests that belief is generally adapted to fit the local environment. No, I mean why doesn’t God/Jesus Christ talk directly to that person on the island and tell them about the crucifiction and the ressurection? Why do they have to wait until they meet someone who has heard it from someone else to tell them? This is not a very effective way of spreading a message (hence not many Christians in Tehran). And yes Aqeels, I know Jesus is a prophet in Islam but he’s not THE prophet and he’s not divine.

  41. 41
    DonaldM says:

    zeroseven

    I am not talking about a general belief in God or Gods. You will find that occurring in every society and as Gaz suggests that belief is generally adapted to fit the local environment. No, I mean why doesn’t God/Jesus Christ talk directly to that person on the island and tell them about the crucifiction and the ressurection? Why do they have to wait until they meet someone who has heard it from someone else to tell them? This is not a very effective way of spreading a message (hence not many Christians in Tehran)…

    I don’t see how you come to that conclusion given that there are currently and have been since the time of Christ, billions of Christians, all who came to belief through the spreading of the Gospel beginning with about a dozen guys.

    Secondly, if Christ were to appear to every person and explain the Gospel to them in person, then clearly it would be impossible to not believe. What room for free will if God sets up the circumstances such that only an insane or brain damaged person would reject belief? The evidence of nature, natural law coupled with the testimonies of billions of believers since the time of Christ, plus the scriptures all make a pretty powerful and effective form of communication, while leaving each person the freedom to make their own choice!

  42. 42
    Cabal says:

    Just one thought: Take a sample of dubious scriptures, add a number of believers – is that a qualifying argument for truth?

    If we wanted to, we could convert the entire world population int believers in any sort of evidently untrue things; would their huge numbers make the nonsense true?

    There’s got to be some real substance underlying what we believe, or maybe not?

  43. 43
    bornagain77 says:

    Cabal you state:

    “There’s got to be some real substance underlying what we believe, or maybe not?”

    This could be interesting,,,

    Since materialism is falsified, what do you suppose is the “real substance” at the basis of reality?

  44. 44
    DonaldM says:

    Cabal

    Just one thought: Take a sample of dubious scriptures, add a number of believers – is that a qualifying argument for truth?

    If we wanted to, we could convert the entire world population int believers in any sort of evidently untrue things; would their huge numbers make the nonsense true?

    The only way this argument works is if the premise of “dubious scriptures” or “nonsense” is actually true. I know of no one in history who has successfully established that! Conversely, if those scriptures really are true, then the belief of those billions is totally justified and does indeed serve as a powerful witness to that.

  45. 45
    above says:

    It’s truly a sad day when a man like hawking is so devoid of understanding and reason as to make such absurd claims in regards to opinions different than his own.

    If we are to ignore his atheistic circular logic as seen in the comment regarding his interpretation of God, for it is pure nonsense and ignorance, we are left with:

    1. The presumption that existence is purposeless followed by a delusional attempt to create meaning out of nothing. Workoholic = meaning?

    2.False dichotomy between religion and science

    3.Inability to comprehend the meaning of faith (at the backdrop of evidence and reason) as seen in Biblical narratives and theological literature. Strawman fallacies galore

    4.Wishful thinking pertaining to science’s win over religion. Freud might have to say something about hawking’s wish fulfilling needs. hawking is also guilty of arguing from the future, another logical fallacy.

    5.He confuses scientific realism with scientific instrumentalism. An error he commits very often in his interpretive work. A glaring example would be in his hartle-hawking anrrative

    6.Still waiting for his exposition of why his faith in materialism is warranted

    7.And the list goes on…

  46. 46
    above says:

    @Donald

    -“we all know that science, being fact”

    Sorry Donald. I’m going to disagree with you. Science is not fact. Science is a tentative human interpretation.

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