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Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says
Stephen Hawking at the World Science Festival in New York in 2010.
May 17th, 2011
01:44 PM ET

Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week.

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail," the physicist said in an interview published Sunday in Britain's Guardian newspaper. "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

Hawking, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - a terminal and debilitating illness that causes loss of mobility and impairs speech - at age 21 and was not expected to live long after, also talked with The Guardian about his own mortality.

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," said Hawking, 69. "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first."

In a book published last year, Hawking wrote that God did not create the universe, in what he said was an attempt to banish a divine creator from physics.

Hawking says in the book "The Grand Design" that given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

"Spontaneous creation is the reason why there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist," he wrote in the introduction of the book, which was published in September.

"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper (fuse) and set the universe going," Hawking wrote.

CNN's Richard Greene contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Britain • Death • Heaven

soundoff (4,469 Responses)
  1. Husker65

    Last time I checked, computers did not have souls. Where does that energy go?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Bruce

      Prove the existance of a soul in one thing and the non-existance of it in another.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Husker65

      Does a computer express emotion like the sorrow I feel for you?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • rob

      Of course computers can express emotion. Do a google patent search for "emotional emulation".

      Why presume the negative when you can actually find the answer in a few simple clicks on this wonderful thing called the internet? Or is that just a matter of excessive faith in one's own understanding?

      May 17, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • Husker65

      Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but it's still imitation. Who programmed humans to feel emotion? I know who patented/created the emotional emulator . . . humans.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • rob

      Husker,

      If humans "feel" emotion, who "programmed" them to do so is irrelevant, the fact is that humans feel emotion. If a computer tells you that it feels an emotion, it does not matter whom programmed it, it feels it nontheless. You are suggesting that computers have no souls, by analogy to your (now shown to be false) implication that computers do not express emotion. However, as it is apparent that emotion can exist regardless of the cause of the emotion, it is not apparent that you can conclude that a computer has no soul, simply because you can or cannot divine who or what created it.

      In the spirit of Bertrand's tea cup, I propose that computers can and do possess souls. You cannot prove otherwise, you can only claim faith to the contrary. Whether or not you choose to accept this is irrelevant, it has as much factual basis as the presumption that any person possesses a soul.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Grr82cu2

      The matter of a human "soul" versus a computer "soul" is overlooking one very simple matter.

      In the story of creation – Adam was said to become a living "soul" – not a living being with a soul.

      Simply stated, the argument that man has an "eternal" or "immortal" soul comes from the inclusion of Greek mythology into what now masquerades as "Christianity" – not OT or NT. All that "Adam" was – his life, his mind, his anatomy, EVERYTHING – was the "soul" because HE was the living "soul".

      Look it up 🙂

      May 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • UMD13

      Law of conservation of energy- energy cannot be created or destroyed...

      May 21, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • Jen

      Well, in the case of human bodies, that energy when you die is biodegradable so it returns to the earth for worm food and then plant food(if you don't bury yourself in a concrete block) In the case of computers we manufactured, that energy is stored within the plastic and toxic remains until a little child in a third world country is forced to pull it out of a junk heap for the capacitors.

      June 5, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  2. MeowMix

    Stephen Hawking is God. And He is just.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  3. Burbank

    Then what is going to happen to all those religious nuts that think they are going to be sucked up to heaven in the rapture scheduled for this Saturday? Don't buy a Lotto ticket, your number might win just as the rapture is happening. I can hear the cries now.... Noooooo!

    May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • AtheistIsTheOnlyWay

      I REALLY, REALLY wish I knew one of those thick-headed sheep so when the day comes and nothing happens I want to laugh in his face so hard...

      May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Oddly enough, EVERY ONE of them has turned down my request to 'keep an eye on' what's left of their stuff after they are picked up in the rapture....like they're going to need it?!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  4. Jack

    Thank Heaven we can still click the heels of our red shoes together for solace in difficult times and the totally ignorant still have their magic beans to prove there is indeed a heaven.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Jack

      Ha, Ha, Ho, Ho! Magic beans and red slippers! Funny!

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Debbie

    What authority is he to speak on spiritual things? He's a physicist, not a spirtual leader. He can't speak of things which he can't see with his humanistic eyes. His statements are irresponsible and one-dimensional. I feel sorry for those who actually believe what he's saying. Heaven is not for people afraid of the dark, Christians actually look forward to going to heaven and we are not afraid. Maybe he's afraid because he is going into the dark. Heaven is full of light and a joyful place, he must be speaking about another place.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • amphiox

      If humans, a physical thing, can go to heaven, then heaven must also, by definition, be at least in part, physical. And if it is, at least in part, physical, or has, at least sometimes, interactions with physical things like humans, then Hawking is fully within his purview as a physicist to comment on it.

      Similarly, a soul, if it interacts in any way shape or form with a physical thing, like a human brain or human body, must also, by definition, be, at least in part, physical. And that part that is physical or interacts with the physical is subject to scientific inquiry.

      That which is purely spiritual, which does not interact in any meaningful way with the physical, cannot be subject to science, but is also wholly irrelevant. Because that which does not interact with anything physical cannot have any meaningful effect on anything physical.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Debbie

      Amphiox, our physical bodies do not go to heaven, but our spirits do, so Hawking has no authority to speak on this like I said. Your finite mind just can't grasp something infinite like God. I think your intellect and your ego is in the way of seeing beyond the physical and that's sad. I pity you.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Debbie

      You asked: "What authority is he to speak on spiritual things? He's a physicist, not a spirtual leader. He can't speak of things which he can't see with his humanistic eyes. "

      Whose authority does he need? Turn your television on right now, and you will behold a plethora of buffoons speaking on spiritual things. Things, which they cannot even prove exist. Things that they don't even agree with one another on.

      A so-called spiritual leader can't see anything any better, than any other human. All believers use selective observation to convince themselves and others, that what they believe is real. Why do the "visions" of the different leaders differ? Isn't there just one true god? One truth? Hmmm...

      Which god, and what that god wants is not universally agreed upon. There are something like 12 major religions and about 38,000 different denominations of Christianity. Religious opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one.

      You said: "His statements are irresponsible and one-dimensional. I feel sorry for those who actually believe what he's saying. Heaven is not for people afraid of the dark, Christians actually look forward to going to heaven and we are not afraid. Maybe he's afraid because he is going into the dark. Heaven is full of light and a joyful place, he must be speaking about another place."

      Again, you have NO PROOF that heaven even exists. Let alone that it is always lit up. Have you been to Vegas? You are just regurgitating a fable. You should start your prattle with: "Once Upon a Time".

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Debbie

      reply to:@Debbie

      You asked: "What authority is he to speak on spiritual things? He's a physicist, not a spirtual leader. He can't speak of things which he can't see with his humanistic eyes. "

      Whose authority does he need? Turn your television on right now, and you will behold a plethora of buffoons speaking on spiritual things. Things, which they cannot even prove exist. Things that they don't even agree with one another on.

      A so-called spiritual leader can't see anything any better, than any other human. All believers use selective observation to convince themselves and others, that what they believe is real. Why do the "visions" of the different leaders differ? Isn't there just one true god? One truth? Hmmm...

      Which god, and what that god wants is not universally agreed upon. There are something like 12 major religions and about 38,000 different denominations of Christianity. Religious opinions are like anuses. Everybody has one.

      You said: "His statements are irresponsible and one-dimensional. I feel sorry for those who actually believe what he's saying. Heaven is not for people afraid of the dark, Christians actually look forward to going to heaven and we are not afraid. Maybe he's afraid because he is going into the dark. Heaven is full of light and a joyful place, he must be speaking about another place."

      Again, you have NO PROOF that heaven even exists. Let alone that it is always lit up. Have you been to Vegas? You are just regurgitating a fable. You should start your prattle with: "Once Upon a Time".

      Cheers!

      ______________
      I have experienced God and he's no fairy tale to me, I'm not "regurgitating" anything. The proof I have of heaven, you don't even believe in, it's called the Bible. It's pointless trying to hash this out with an atheists. Maybe you do believe in God and his name is Stephen Hawking. Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Debbie

      I'm actually surprised at the Atheists on here. I thought most of you were smart and knew the Bible so you can have a better argument. How can you defend your nonbelief if you don't even know the "other side"? If you did know the Bible then I wouldn't have to explain things like "why light represents heaven and God" or that "our bodies don't go to heaven, or spirits do". That's elementary Biblical stuff but you guys don't even know it. You're fighting this with your opinions, at least I can cite the Bible as my source, you have no source, just your pessimistic, humanistic opinions.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • SyracuseNZ

      @Debbie
      re: your proof is the bible

      Debbie, how can your proof of Heaven be from the bible, if the bible was written by humans. I won't even get into how many revisions that book had, and the type of people it was written by...

      So to make it very clear what I am saying here: ***Debbie is saying that her proof of a Heaven was written by fellow believers***. Surely this just means that you are making up your own rules to suit you?

      You then go on to try and discredit atheism – aren't you doing exactly what you accuse atheists of doing to you?

      And how has 'knowing the bible' made you smarter, Debbie? You talk aboutthe bible as though the information in it is fact! I'm sure you don't read a good book on your topic of choosing and see it as fact, do you? Religion does not teach you to question things too greatly....and I bet you think that's because 'God' works in mysterious ways, right? How convenient, yet again.

      I can only imagine that the reason religion doesn't want you questioning it is because they a./ dont have the answers b./ people might stop believing.

      Anyway, my rant amongst all of these comments comes to pretty much the same conclusion:

      Atheists don't believe because our minds tell us to find proof, either through personal experience or science. This can be proof FOR or AGAINST, we don't care – we just like the truth even if it's ugly.

      Religious people – believe because they cannot stand the idea of dying and ceasing to exist in any shape or form (including spiritual).

      Even if there REALLY is a God that exists, and he is as i.e. Christians say....there is no way I am going to bow down to him and pray *just so I can bid for a spot in Heaven* – that is a sad existence indeed. How is God perfect is he suffers from sin also? He has Wrath, no? This means he is vengeful and holds grudges – already he's gone against 'his own teachings' (which were written by ...guess who... Man!!). The idea is laughable and you religious folk need to grow up and stop believing in fairy tales.

      May 18, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • Jen

      God is your brain on drugs, check it out: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104240746

      June 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  6. LRD

    I have proof of life after death. What proof does Hawking have?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • AthiestIsTheOnlyWay

      Oh really? And would you care to show us this proof? (no, waving a bible is not proof)

      May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • YaThink

      What proof?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      LRD wrote: "I have proof of life after death. What proof does Hawking have?"

      Really? What is it? Some fairy tale in a so-called "New Testament" ??? As for empty graves... I believe Harry Houdini did that trick many times in his career... Was he the Messiah that Orthodox Jews had been expecting?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rob

      PraiseTheLard wrote: "I believe Harry Houdini did that trick"

      Do you not know the difference between a magic trick, and a miracle? When you figure that out, I doubt you'll use "PraiseTheLard" as your name. The difference has to do with the source of the power. Moses performed miracles. Pharoh's magicians performed magic. Can you figure it out?

      May 31, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  7. AthiestIsTheOnlyWay

    Whenever an Atheist posts on a pro-god thread the religious boneheads get all riled up and say that there's no need for Atheists posting in their pro-god thread.

    Yet those pro-god sheep have no problem posting in a thread that is Atheist based.

    Another hypocritical moment brought to you by religion.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • SDN

      I'm an atheist as well, but I am curious about your choice of screen names. "The only way"? Says who?

      May 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  8. Benny

    If I am just here then I die and that is it-why follow any rules–kill, steal , cheat-why not ? I am just going to die anyway and then thats it. If no moral compass –why follow any laws or rules. Live for yourself totally

    May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Steve

      Simple: Because you're not the only one that's just here.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Corey

      Why give up on your life simply because there is no god? You should strive for the best existence you have, while increasing happiness for everyone. Religion is not needed to do this. Religion does not create morality, humans do. There is evidence of this in seeing that humans wrote the bible, and humans interpret the bible. Humans disregard things in the bible they consider "unethical" such as killing one's brother. No god, or fairy tale religion is required.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Stevie7

      I don't need fear of eternal punishment to have morality. We live in a civil society – laws and a system have justice have replaced the big eye in the sky.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • xactomundo

      It sounds like your moral compass uses fear as the magnet. Not all of us are like you...

      May 17, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  9. americansunrise

    I feel sorry for all of you non-believers. I HAVE SEEN the deaf hear, the lame made whole and walk, the blind made to see – and all by the invisible hand of God! I hope and pray you come to your senses and find the truth! If Hawkings is SO brilliant – then why hasn't he been able to discover a cure for his disease in the past 49-years? I've seen God at work – we are not to question GOD – just to BELIEVE!

    May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, why hasn't he. Given his extensive training in regenerative neurology!!! The fact that you would even say something so purile, almost made me ignore you. I already wish I had.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • AthiestIsTheOnlyWay

      Yeah? Then why the hell (pun intended) doesn't this god thing heal an amputee? How many severed arms have you seen grow back?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The answer is obvious – while god loves the blind, he hates amputees.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      What? How many arms, legs, eyes and so forth were replaced? if you really believed that, then we can assume that you and those in your charge do not except are modern medicine, or any other modern technology?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      "I've seen God at work – we are not to question GOD – just to BELIEVE!'
      Who did you get to translate that from the original, "Baaaa......Baaaaaa ba baaaaaahh, BAAAH!!!"
      Excellent work!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Jimbo-Bob

      What you fail to understand is that athiest and agnostics can't believe in god because they would just be lying if they said they did just like 90% of you that won't admit it. We agnostics and athiest are realist and true to ourselves, therefore we have no problem saying "yeah, I question this" and therefore ask all kinds of questions you would consider a sin. I gaurentee the majority of the people in your church ask in their heads "with thousands of religions around the globe why is ours the only correct one?" If you question you are agnostic and if you don't question you don't think too much. Therefore the majority of religious people are agnostic liars trying to please their peers and family by not mentioning the unmentionable. We as atheiest/agnostics can't stop our brains from asking questions and trying to find those answers, so it's not so simple as to just throw your arms up and say "I believe", because then we would be liars.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • AtheistIsTheOnlyWay

      Fred, that comment is the thread's best! Love it! 🙂

      May 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Mark

      My mom wholeheartedly believed, and prayed nightly to be cured of her breast cancer, or at least to be spared the intense pain. God is either not there, or he's a dick.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • golfer

      at Mark,
      I am sorry to hear about your mom. I have a rare cancer and have been treated (chemo/radiation). It's been almost a year and so far it has not reappeared. OF course, tomorrow can bring another battle. I say this to you so that you know I have total empathy for your mom. I am not sure if your mom is still here but if God took her home isn't that a good thing? Doesn;t that mean she no longer suffers? Doesn;t that mean her paryer was answered? If your mom is still here and battling cancer, doesn't that mean that God is hearing her prayer and allowing her to live a little longer? Also, we are here to be used by God for HIS glory, not ours. Maybe your mom is being used by God to turn non-believers into believers. Maybe God is trying to reach you through your mom. This world is about Him, not us. WHen we have perfect lives and everything goes well, it is easy to believe in a good God, but imagine if your mom's faith is soooo strong even in suffering, how much more that speaks about a good God.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Mark

      @golfer: I wish you all the best in your battle. If faith and prayer is helpful for you during this time, as it was for my mom in a time when she had nothing else, then far be it for me to dissuade you.

      My anger is with this idea of a god who answers prayers. Everyone dies; I cannot be angry about that. However, there was no need for my mom to suffer as she did. God did not answer her prayers. I can only conclude that either he is not there, or he is there and chose to let my mom suffer - and he forced her family and friends to helplessly watch her suffering.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • golfer

      at Mark,
      I am so very sorry for your loss and for the pain you had to endure. This world is in constant battle between good and evil. Yes, there is evil and suffering in this world. Good people suffer, and some evil people live pain-free lives. But there is a final judgement day. Once Adam and Eve disobeyed GOd we were punished by having a physical death. So yes, we all die.Even God's only son came to take on the wrath of our sins so that we could have everlasting life if we believe. Imagine a perfect man taking on pain and suffering by being practically beaten to death beyond imagination. Because your mom suffered does not mean there isn't a God or doesn't care. He allowed the suffering for reasons you may never know, but if she believed in His gift of salvation through Christ, then her prayers are answered because she is now in the presence of the Holy One, dancing and singing and praising Him. She is a perfect godly being now. She is whole and no longer broken by cancer. She will forever be in paradise. That is God's promise to us, not that we will never have hard times or sufferings, but that He will get us through those times and eventually when we physically die we will become a glorified body in His presence for eternity. I do understand your anger though. I have a daughter and I would never want her to experience what you went through. No parent ever wants to see their child suffer or be in pain watching them die. That is one prayer I have, not to suffer...not necessarily because it will hurt me but because of how much it hurts the loved ones who can do nothing but watch in agony. But again, these pains and sufferings on earth are brought about by evil and our sinfulness (i'm not saying your mother brought this on at all, i am generalizing about human nature). God allows it, but He also gave His son to conquer evil once and for all and to give us entrance into heaven. I will sincerely pray for you and for you to find peace. Christ will take your cares and burdens, He will make your load light and will comfort you.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
  10. John _Atlanta GA

    Science flies you to the moon,
    Religion flies you into a building!

    May 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • GrogInOhio

      Oh my... consider that stolen and without attribution.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • NeverBeenBrainwashed

      That's a sad but very true quote. Good people do good things, bad people do bad things. But only religion can make a good person do an evil thing.

      May 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • Rrro

      Yeah that Mother Teresa look what religion made her do, how terrible!

      May 18, 2011 at 11:23 am |
  11. Bob

    Which evolved first, the camel's hump or the need for it?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      They developed at the same time. Welcome to thinking.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Demarlo

      This is way more helpful than anything else I\'ve lokoed at.

      October 8, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • osxnerjldd

      FIHbcy syqokexlaapa

      October 11, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  12. JohnQuest

    Ron, the reason is that sometimes those belief causes harm to others. Think Taliban, the Republican Party, Hitler and the Catholic Church (Inquisition), their beliefs caused them to Steal, Hurt and Kill Millions (maybe Billions) of people.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • vbscript2

      Why is it news that Hawking said what he's said for years again? Hawking isn't God. I don't really care what his religious views are.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  13. Benny

    atheist don't have any good holidays unless you count groundhog day

    May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Stevie7

      And Christians have co-opted the holidays of other religions (see: Christmas, Easter). And it's not like Christmas is all that religious any more anyways, at least not in this country.

      I guess that somehow Thanksgiving, Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the 4th of July no longer count as secular holidays. Guess I missed the memo.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • Anon

      Actually, we just take the Christian ones, which they put on all the wrong dates (hint: Jesus was born in July), and turned them into commercial holidays.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Kris

      Uhhhhhh......Excuse me! HALLOWEEN, is the BOMB!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > atheist don't have any good holidays unless you count groundhog day

      Correction, atheists don't have their good holidays spoiled by having to go to church. 🙂

      I prefer to have my days off be idiocy free.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  14. Hitch

    Foaming of the mouth by Adelina in 5,4,3,2,1....

    May 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  15. Wonder

    Ah the bitterness of the Atheist! When history proves, as it always does ,that what we thought to be brilliance is really just dribble, what will you base your eternity on then?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Drinker

      You mean dribble like the bible?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Where is the bitterness? He's not clinging to delusions. Where's the bitterness in that? He doesn't need the comfort of a non-existent afterlife to be happy. How is that bitter?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • RAWoD

      Eternity has nothing to do with you or me or whatever fairy-tales you want to believe in.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Wonder
      Becuase the Church is infallible and was absolutely correct about heliocentrism, young earth creationism, flat earth, demonic possession as the cause of illness etc. ad nauseum.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Ah the bitterness of the Atheist! When history proves, as it always does ,that what we thought to be brilliance is really just dribble, what will you base your eternity on then?

      We think about religion sir. Does that mean it'll turn to dribble too?

      Let me help you. You see, when people who aren't morons post arguments they first thing "Gee, I wonder if anyone could easily refute this statement by applying it to my own position." Like I just did now.

      The second step is to say "Gee, I wonder if my argument can easily be shown to be wrong." To that I respond that we think on our observations of gravity, which have remained consistent and not turned to dribble over thousands of years.

      Your argument is moronic and laughable. My 12 year old cousin could put forth a better showing.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • SDN

      I'm an atheist, but I'm only bitter about the historical world-scale suffering and death that religious quibbling through the ages has caused. When religion provides comfort and relief, I'm one of it's biggest fans.

      I would add that Stephen Hawking, in some degree due to his affliction, has developed and demonstrated one of the worlds great theoretical minds. The vast majority of respected scientists, in physics and various other disciplines have great admiration for his work.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Ben

      Why are you so arrogant to assume that you even have an "eternity"? Please don't tell me your hedging your bets on a book written by MEN, non of whom had any idea the world was round nor had personal contact with Jesus himself, 300 years after his death then consolidated by a man who wanted to rule Rome and the rest of the world USING christianity as his basis. That argument holds no water against those who employ common sense in their views of this world.

      May 17, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  16. JohnQuest

    Steve, Steve, Steve, I tend to agree with Colin. The idea of God (in whatever flavor you take your God) is based on religion that was created by man. If you do not agree please explain why there are different flavors of God, even within one religion, the Trinity, even our morality is far beyond our religious text?

    May 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @JohnQuest

      You said: "Steve, Steve, Steve, I tend to agree with Colin. The idea of God (in whatever flavor you take your God) is based on religion that was created by man. If you do not agree please explain why there are different flavors of God, even within one religion, the Trinity, even our morality is far beyond our religious text?"

      Yes! I have also asked this question as well as others:

      One of the most compelling reasons for rejecting god, is the fact that there are so many versions of god(s). Some, not even human (The elephant-faced god – Ganesha etc.). Each religion, each denomination of each religion, defines god's wants differently. All of these religions cannot be right. But they can all be wrong.
      Perhaps man has not yet found the one true god, or perhaps He does not exist.

      Why would the Christian god leave room for confusion? If He exists, wouldn't He want everyone to know He exists and is the one true god?

      1 Timothy 2: 3 – 5 says the Christian god does desire this:

      3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
      4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
      5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

      1. If the Christian God existed, this fact would be obvious.
      So obvious in fact, that EVERYONE, or nearly everyone would believe in His existence. There would be only worshipers of the one true Christian god.

      2. The Christian God's existence is not, in fact, obvious.
      This fact is evidenced by all the different religions, plus us nasty atheists.

      3. Therefore, the Christian God is very unlikely to exist.

      In the same vein as the above, notice how many denominations of Christianity there are (~ 38,000).

      Each denomination can show you scripture, that "proves" they understand the wants of Jesus/god.

      All of the denominations could not be correctly interpreting the bible. Many are contradictory.
      Many of these denominations believe only their members will be saved.

      If the Christian god exists, and He is all knowing and all powerful and all good, why didn't He provide a bible that could not be misinterpreted? That everyone's comprehension of His wants would be the same?

      ambiguity – a word or expression that can be understood in two or more possible ways : an ambiguous word or expression.

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible.

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god is very unlikely to exist.

      Another reason to reject the idea of a god, is because there appears to be no need for one. Each hour of each day, science fills another gap in man's knowledge, that god once filled.
      We don't want to postulate what isn't necessary.

      John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

      If the Christian god so loves the world, why does he allow / cause so much suffering? Disease, famine, floods, earthquakes etc. ad infinitum, ad nauseum. ?

      I can explain the existence of these horrors as being due to natural causes, and evolution but my explanation fails when I include an all loving Creator in the equation. I keep getting a "Can't divide by zero" error.

      Christians say their god is omnibenevolent (all good); omnipotent (all powerful); omniscient ( all knowing)

      1. If the Christian god is all good, He would want to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      2. If the Christian god is all powerful, He would be able to rid the world of suffering / evil.

      3. Yet, evil persists.

      Therefore, Either the Christian god does not care, or He does not exist.

      The Christian god is said to be omniscient and omnipotent. But these attributes are not compatible.

      If the Christian god is all knowing, if the future can be known, then even god would be bound by events in the future. Everything would be predetermined.

      1. If the Christian god, knows what will happen in the future, and does something else...then, He is not all knowing.

      2. If the Christian god knows the future and cannot change it, then He is not all powerful.

      3. The attributes attributed to the Christian god conflict with one another. The Christian god cannot exist.

      Evolution, with its evidence of transitional fossils, geological column, DNA evidence, vestigial organs etc., is very damning to the biblical Creation Story.

      If god created all the organisms on the planet, then He must have created even the diseases that have caused and are causing so much death and misery for humans and animals. He would have had to fashion the tick and the flea. The mosquito and blood flukes. And worms that bore into a child's eye.

      How could an all good god do such a thing? Why would He spend His time creating gruesome things to cause human suffering? Yet, these horrors exist. And if god didn't create them, who did?

      Evolution explains the diversity of the planet's organisms, including the pathogens and the parasites that have caused so much human death and misery.

      If the Creation Story is a fable, then Adam and Eve did not exist.
      If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there was no original sin.
      If there was no original sin, then it cannot be the reason god allows so much suffering in the world.
      If there was no original sin, then there was no need for a redeemer.
      If there was no redeemer, then Christianity is a based on a false premise.
      If the Creation story is a myth, then there is no reason to believe any of the bible.
      LOL, which is why the fundies fight so hard against evolution.

      The Christian god is no more likely to exist than unicorns, satyrs, fiery serpents, or talking snakes.

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • maude

      god gave you "Free Will" to live as you choose. You believe in evil, you are evil. If you believe in nothing, you are nothing. If you believe the good, you are good and next to god.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      The God of the Bible's properties do not allow for free will.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  17. TIm

    There is not one shred of evidence that can be found that says their is no God. But there is pleanty of evidence out there that supports their is in fact a God. So Im going to believe the bible with millions of other followers over one man, a smart man but again just a man.

    May 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Really? Where is this supposed "evidence"? Also, there is not one shred of evidence that can be found to say there is no flying spaghetti monster either.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Drinker

      You are very mistaken, there is not one shred of "evidence" that there is a god except in the imagination.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • Ron

      proof that is a god or proof that there is not a god. It simply depends on how one views the world and universe and from there, the choice one makes. even in believing that there is a god(s) isn't the same for every religion in their interpretation and beliefs.
      Either way, I have my beliefs and at the same time am not offended or concerned if one agrees or disagrees with my beliefs.
      It's a shame that people simply can not leave people alone and give them enough respect to think/believe as they wish.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Tim, the evidence that support God also support Santa and the ester bunny and Zeus and anything else a person want to believe in. In other words there is NO evidence to support a belief in God, I would think you are smart enough to know that. It is okay to know that there is no evidence and believe in God anyway (Faith). To need evidence in order to believe means you have no faith, and to see evidence where none exist is considered insanity.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Hitch

      Tim,

      I’m always surprised that believers really think an argument like ‘well, no evidence shows god doesn’t exist’ is compelling. For one, positive claims require positive evidence. If you’re a believer & claim X exists & has Z properties your claim is only tenable so long as consistent evidence supports the proposition. Some claims about gods not only lack positive evidence, but are actually refuted by basic logic. For instance omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent god cannot logically exist.

      There is plenty of evidence that you cannot spell Tim.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • TIm

      The bible is one piece of evidence. There are also hundreds of cave writtings, scrolls, and other antiquites from the middle east that provide evidence of a God. Stevvie the spagetti monster is a really silly comparison.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • TIm

      Stevie can you show me or tell me piece of evidence that states there is no God.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Tim, here is where your argument fails, Believe it or not, everything you mentioned was created by man (the Bible and cave painting).

      May 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The bible is evidence? Really? That's what you take for evidence? A bunch of stolen fairy tales is evidence?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @TIm
      You said: "There is not one shred of evidence that can be found that says their is no God. But there is pleanty of evidence out there that supports their is in fact a God. So Im going to believe the bible with millions of other followers over one man, a smart man but again just a man."

      There is no evidence outside the New Testament, that Jesus ever actually existed. No secular writings that were not hearsay or later insertions. No eyewitness accounts. Not even a book shelf made by the little carpenter.

      Your bible tells you that your every prayer will be answered, your sickness healed. But it isn't so. If this were the case, with ~ 83% of the American population being Christian, we have way to many doctors. LOL

      Jesus said He would return in the 1st Century. He didn't return and it now 2011. Jesus is dead, if he ever existed.

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Stevie7

      The flying spaghetti monster is not a silly comparison – you're missing the irony here. The FSM argument simply points out the fallacy in your own argument: that a lack of evidence negates the argument. You cannot prove a negative, so the argument you put forth is pointless.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Hitch

      ‘The bible is one piece of evidence.’

      It’s evidence that man can write, & indeed selectively choose what is seen as authoritative. Why you think it’s evidence of the supernatural is odd. Since you’re choosing the bible, where is all the evidence for the things it claimed occurred? Where is the evidence for adam, eve, a ‘tree of knowledge’, noahs ark, any global flood, all the first born dying in Egypt, etc. etc? Though it’s obvious to most why the concept of wanting to live beyond this life would be preferable to non-existence, though such comforting feelings make it no more true.

      ‘There are also hundreds of cave writtings, scrolls, and other antiquites from the middle east that provide evidence of a God.’

      By this logic other cultures, many of which exsited prior to the bible, which erected statues & writings in homage of their god are equally true, it’s a fallacious premise though.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • RAWoD

      When you say "the bible" which revision do you mean? The KJB alone has had 70+ revisions in the last 175 years.
      Go look at the first and second "great awakenings" and understand how a group of men decided to change the bible. It's remarkable how many fairy-tales are believed simply because man added them to a man written novel.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Tim
      There are reams of scrolls, cave paintings, etc depicting the Egyptian pantheon of Gods.
      Do you take that to be proof of the existence of Ra?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ken

      There is no god. Get over it. Now, make that 2 men.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • boo boo

      you are a dog and a schmuck

      May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Chris, an angry boy

      you mean; there is no proof of a god, there are millions and millions of different proofs for no god.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • John Do

      Humans are of such little minds.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • TIm

      @ David where does it say he will return in the first century? The bible I read says know one but the father knows the day or the hour of the return of Christ.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • golfer

      Again, to all non-believers, creation is evidence of God. That is all you need. Do you exist? Then you were created. Science and faith in God go hand in hand. Science is just what we humans discover that God already made. FOr instance, did Columbus 'discover' America? No, the native americans were already here. Just because Europe didn't know America existed, didn't mean it didn't exist right? Did Newton 'discover' gravity? NO! It was here since the creation of the world. Did Kepler create the rules of orbiting bodies? No he just realized what God already created. Science in fact proves God's existence. All the 'laws of nature' and 'laws of physics' etc. are GOd's laws put into motion by Him. And humans love to take credit for what they 'discovered'.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Nah

      hitch: "Where is the evidence for adam, eve, a ‘tree of knowledge’, noahs ark, any global flood, all the first born dying in Egypt, etc. etc? Though it’s obvious to most why the concept of wanting to live beyond this life would be preferable to non-existence, though such comforting feelings make it no more true."

      Fallacies, fallacies and more fallacies.

      You're trying to use the invalidity of one part of the Bible to prove the invalidity of another. Which is really just to say that the Bible is wrong because it's wrong.

      There are many verifications, or at least corroborations, for accounts in the Bible. From a mass exodus in Egypt, to the flood (remember Gilgamesh?), etc. Whether these were "divine" occurrences is a totally different question.

      "‘There are also hundreds of cave writtings, scrolls, and other antiquites from the middle east that provide evidence of a God.’ ...By this logic other cultures, many of which exsited prior to the bible, which erected statues & writings in homage of their god are equally true, it’s a fallacious premise though."

      His argument was that this is "proof" that there is a god, not that some particular god existed. It's fallacious, but you're distorting his argument.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Hitch

      Golfer,

      ‘Science and faith in God go hand in hand. Science is just what we humans discover that God already made.’

      Regrettably for you, science has shown us how nature created the earth, not some supernatural god.

      ‘GOd's laws put into motion by Him’

      Evidence for this? Thought not.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      TIm is a troll. No one is this stupid and ignorant.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • golfer

      at hitch,
      why haven't you addressed any of my statements? Before 1492, Europeans had no idea other lands existed with other people nations did they? In fact they thought the world was flat until otherwise proven. I liken this conversation today between us like me coming to Europe from america back in 1400 and meeting you. I tell you there is a huge land mass half way around this round earth and there are indigenous people living there and I sailed my boat from there to Europe. You would have laughed at me and called me a fool. Well I just once again, ask God to reveal Himself to you. It can't hurt right? I mean what do you have to lose? But you have EVERYTHING to gain, namely free gift of salvation and eternity in paradise. I know it may sound foolish to you, but those early europeans thought it was foolish to think the world was round once upon a time too.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Mark

      Golfer,

      Is it a money-back guarantee or a risk-free guarantee. I have asked God for years to reveal himself to me and it has not happened. Good and bad things have happened, but God has not come forward and revealed himself. As I recall from my lessons in Catholic School, we are not to ask God to reveal himself, nor are we supposed to look at the face of God while on this earth. We are not to question God's authority (considered blasphemy as I recall). Therefore, the guarantee is in effect and I want my money back.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Mark

      Please show us proof of God....and do not say the Bible. Also, in theory, you cannot use science or logic to prove a negative. If you can prove it exists, then it does. If nothing happens when you finish your tests and all possible tests have been used, then you can say that in the absence of proof, this does not exist.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Hitch

      Golfer,

      ‘1492, Europeans had no idea other lands existed with other people nations did they?’

      Yes, yes they did. They knew of Africa, India & China for certain, (some) were ignorant of we’d later call the ‘new world’, though there is fair evidence that early Viking navigators by around 1000 AD made their way to northern areas of north America.

      ‘In fact they thought the world was flat until otherwise proven.’

      Some may have, but that is only b/c the evidence wasn’t that strong. The ancient Greeks though had fairly good evidence for the curvature of the earth. Regardless of what is epistemological truth, crediting your god with creating it or other things without the slightest margin of evidence for it is a riot. Asserting by fiat ‘my god did it’ is just an assertion void of evidence, you’ll need explanations on what mechanisms & processes it used; otherwise you’re not really explaining anything at all.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • BRC

      @NAH
      "You're trying to use the invalidity of one part of the Bible to prove the invalidity of another. Which is really just to say that the Bible is wrong because it's wrong."

      I don't really see the problem with saying the something is wrong, because it is wrong. In fact, that would make perfect sense, since it is the definition of the word. As for using mistakes in one part to invalidate the rest, if the book was truly inspired by an all knowing god, and not just a product of men, you would think it would all be right.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
  18. Nonimus

    Admittedly, this is just his opinion, but one that is likely true. What a brilliant man.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Nonimus

      You said: "Admittedly, this is just his opinion, but one that is likely true. What a brilliant man."

      Yep!

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • John Do

      I love how humans, even brilliant humans, think they have the answers. Yet we still know so little about the universe.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > I love how humans, even brilliant humans, think they have the answers. Yet we still know so little about the universe.

      Like how they know what God wants? Like they know how to acurately describe the indescribable? Your argument is hilarious.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @John Do

      You said: "I love how humans, even brilliant humans, think they have the answers. Yet we still know so little about the universe."

      Yeah, but apparently the answer to the universe isn't "God Did It" Otherwise, there would be nothing more to know. We would have our answer. Let's go for a beer. LOL

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
  19. Steve (the real one)

    I guess it really is that simple, either we believe Hawking or the word of God! I choose to believe God!

    May 17, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Not quite – you are choosing to believe the Bible and its CLAIMS of the existence of a god. In short, you are putting the uneducated primitive beliefs of Iron Age tribes from the Middle East above the smartest physicists and cosmologists from the 21st Century. I know where my money is.

      May 17, 2011 at 1:57 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @Colin,
      Well said.

      May 17, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Hitch

      Steve,

      That would be the overly simplified answer, I mean how many records gods has humanity had? 3000+? Of those, they all were written by men, so how can we know their interpretations are accurate? Which is the correct one regarding its claims of after death? Do any have any evidence for after death?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Steve (the real one)

      You said: "I guess it really is that simple, either we believe Hawking or the word of God! I choose to believe God!"

      But, Hawking actually exists. God is just a product of myth and delusional minds.

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Steve (real the one)

      Colin

      Not quite – you are choosing to believe the Bible and its CLAIMS of the existence of a god. In short, you are putting the uneducated primitive beliefs of Iron Age tribes from the Middle East above the smartest physicists and cosmologists from the 21st Century. I know where my money is.
      ------–
      Quite! So you believe gravity is a creator? Feel free to present that proof at anytime. Unless you are taking all that BY FAITH! Otherwise, I'll be eagerly awaiting proof that gravity created all of this.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jimbo-Bob

      You are right, just believing in god is the simple way out of everything. Simple brains like simple ideas.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • John Do

      @Colin
      And you are comparing Earth bound human scientists to a God that can create a universe. I definitely see your point as to banking on humans, -beings arrogant enough to think we know it all and then some.

      Very nieve

      May 17, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
    • SnowBear80

      How do you know Hawking exists? Ever met him?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Paul

      The word of God? God spoke to you? You heard what he said??? Cause I am pretty sure your just going by what was written by man thousands of years ago and has been re-written countless time to suite the needs of the times and the chopped up for only what is approved through the arrogence of the Vadicain...

      May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Jack

      Couldn't have said it better myself there Steve. It's the same choice for all of us now. Captain Magic in the Sky or Hawking.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • golfer

      And who made gravity? It is a force and was created, so therefore based on Hawkings statement there is still a creator. For all you non-believers in the one true God, you believe air exists, you believe it's windy when you see the trees blow, but you cannot see air or the wind, only its effects. You believe in gravity becasue you are pulled to the ground, yet you cannot see it. Trust me when I say once you believe or even try to believe in God, He will manifest Himself all around you and you will see His existence even more than gravity or the wind.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Steve (real the one)

      Steve,
      That would be the overly simplified answer, I mean how many records gods has humanity had? 3000+? Of those, they all were written by men, so how can we know their interpretations are accurate? Which is the correct one regarding its claims of after death? Do any have any evidence for after death?
      ----------
      I am only concerned with Jehovah God, the creator. Let me get this straight, Hawking, without proof, said gravity is a creator. Yet you fail to ask him for proof! I i,agine you then are just taken that on faith, right? My evidence of life after death? Easy! Jesus Christ! For a minute there I though you were going to ask something difficult!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Ralph T

      On the contrary, Colin, I'm putting my faith in personal experience with God. That speaks louder than any book can ever speak.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • SnowBear80

      This is the same Hawking who for years adamantly asserted nothing can escape a black hole – then Kip Thorne proved him wrong. FAIL!

      May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Chris, an angry boy

      and you are really that simple in believing "God" sharpened his "number 2" pencil before jotting down Genesis...

      May 17, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Steve (real the one)

      Jack
      Couldn't have said it better myself there Steve. It's the same choice for all of us now. Captain Magic in the Sky or Hawking.
      --------
      Believe as you will jack. Chances are you will never meet or see Hawking, God on the other hand......

      May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Huh?

      "Easy! Jesus Christ! " You have never met him and there is no real proof he existed.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Steve (real the one)

      Chris, an angry boy
      and you are really that simple in believing "God" sharpened his "number 2" pencil before jotting down Genesis...
      -----–
      You think God required a pencil and I'm the simple one?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
    • Guy Glavich

      What does a person do in times of trouble when a person or other people can't help them? I'm glad I have a God to go to and trust (Jesus Christ). We all are going to die someday so I choose to believe in heaven. Another way of looking at it is I have nothing to lose and everything to gain (last paragraph of Ecclesiates).

      May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • MouseClicker

      It's funny that people have such faith in science, and think that science is sooooo advanced. Of course, scientists cannot build an eye ball (and amazing device if you ask me) from scratch, but supposedly this magic brain in the sky called "evoloution" figured out how to build an eye ball millions of years ago.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Hitch

      golfer,

      ‘And who made gravity?’

      By your logic, who/what created your god? Replacing one currently unknown with another unknown, an unknown which is in principle unknowable, answers absolutely nothing, it simply appeals ignorance to another level.

      ‘It is a force and was created’

      It’s a byproduct of mass, it doesn’t mean it was created as a force of gravity.

      ‘air exists, you believe it's windy when you see the trees blow, but you cannot see air or the wind, only its effects.’

      Air is physical, we can measure its pressure & see it visibility manifest in tornados & the like. Gravity is evident by the physical, measurable effects it exerts on other bodies of mass. A supernatural god on the other hand….. not so much. There is zero evidence for any such a force, nothing physically empirical. As another commented, it’s all in your head.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • amphiox

      Without proof? The ENTIRE history of physics is one long series of demonstrations and proofs of how gravity created all the structure in the universe. (As far as anything can be "proven" in science – science acknowledges that absolute proof of the kind that religions wish for is impossible and doesn't even presume to try to obtain it).

      As for where gravity comes from, gravity is a property of spacetime, and will automatically exist wherever there is spacetime, and thus does not need to be created.

      Spacetime itself either has existed eternally or must have spontaneously appeared. BUT, the key thing here is, if spacetime did spontaneously appear, at the time when it appeared, it was very simple, and then became (evolved) through the influence of undirected mechanisms such as gravity to become more complex. (And no, this process DOES NOT violate any law of thermodynamics in any way shape or form) A simple thing appearing spontaneously is not difficult. Certainly not a problem requiring resort to a monstrously complicated explanation like some sort of god.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • golfer

      at Hitch,
      you made my point. non-believers always want proof because you cannot 'see' God you don't believe. You cannot see air but you believe because of it's effects (wind, pressure, tornadoes, etc) The same thing with God, you cannot 'see' so you do not believe, although if you lived 2000 years ago you would have seen Him in the flesh. What I am saying is that His effects are every where, namely in creation. It amuses me that non-believers can believe that the human body was created out of chaos millions of years ago and that out of one single cell, the human being evolved into what we are today. If you actually meditate on just how complex the human body/brain is and you can believe that it transpired out of a single cell, then that my friend is believing in fairy tales. To believe that the complexities of our body started out of random chaos and a single cell is far more of a fairy tale belief then believing in a creator. By the way who created hydrogen, oxygen, protons, electrons, positive force, negative force, covalent bonds, etc? Hitch if you grew up on an island and only learned what your parents taught you you would believe them. If they taught you that 2+2=5 your whole life, then when you were brought to another country and someone asked you what 2+2 equals, you would say 5 because you were taught that. Eventhough you were believing in something wrong, you still would believe it because that is what you were taught. However, 2+2 always equals 4, no matter what you were taught and where you come from. It is an absolute truth. Just like all the 'religions' and 'faiths' around the world. All the beliefs for God or not for God CANNOT all be right. Only one is right, either there is a God or there is not. Either there is a place called hell or there is not. I challenge you to ask God to reveal Himself to you, test Him, and I guarantee you He will reveal Himself to you.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Ralph T

      You said: "On the contrary, Colin, I'm putting my faith in personal experience with God. That speaks louder than any book can ever speak."

      Yeah, but faith speaks just as loudly for the members of all the other faiths. How is your personal experience any more real than say a Muslims? All personal experiences, are just products of a delusional minds, random acts and coincidence.

      Read some of the stories on this blog about people who have converted to the Muslim religion. What they say, what they experience, is exactly what the Christians report.

      It's a mind game son. God is no more likely to be real, than Santa.

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Hitch

      steve,

      ‘ Hawking, without proof, said gravity is a creator. Yet you fail to ask him for proof!’

      I don’t recall commenting that I agreed with Hawking, though the premise for ‘self creation’ via naturalistic laws is what he’s advocating & that I do in principle agree with. In his account he’s saying gravity booted the universe.

      ‘evidence of life after death? Easy! Jesus Christ! ‘

      No, I meant actual tangible, testable evidence. As in something we can know in the here and now.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Hitch

      Golfer,

      Golfer, we can somewhat see air, tornado’s show us while debri is swept into the vortex., this is what gives them a nice visible color of the debris they’re hurling around. Unlike god, we can measurably know air is there, it exerts an actual physical force on nature. Where is the evidence any such supernatural god does that?

      ‘ His effects are every where, namely in creation.’

      And that’s why there is zero evidence for its causal relationship!

      ‘ human body was created out of chaos millions of years ago and that out of one single cell, the human being evolved into what we are today.’

      Um, what? Natural selection isn’t chaos though. I am not suggesting human came from a single cell, that’s an utter conflation of evolutionary biology & it has nothing do with the existential existence of deities. On the subject of life, you went from a single cell to a fully formed infant in 9 months, what is so unbelievable that via descent with modification organisms cannot do the same over nearly 4 billion years?

      ‘If you actually meditate on just how complex the human body/brain is and you can believe that it transpired out of a single cell, ‘

      If you actually read a single biology book you’d see that’s not what evolutionary biology in the least suggested happened. It certainly wasn’t a jump from a single cell to a fully formed human, you entirely conflated a nearly 4 billion year process into a single instant. If you think the ‘poofed from nothing & then from a rib ‘ is more accurate, well, you’ll have all your work ahead of you to explain how they can even occur physically.

      ‘By the way who created hydrogen, oxygen, protons, electrons, positive force, negative force, covalent bonds, etc?’

      I think it’s presumptions to assume it’s a who, I’ll stick with ‘what’, & on that note those forces are descriptive, not prescriptive.

      May 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Nancy

      You are dust (real dust!) in the wind, Steve. Who cares?

      May 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Cliff

      Steve:

      Chris, an angry boy
      and you are really that simple in believing "God" sharpened his "number 2" pencil before jotting down Genesis...
      -––
      You think God required a pencil and I'm the simple one?

      ------
      The point here is that God didn't create the bible, man did. The fallible, mortal humans who wrote the bible (yes, it was written by HUMANS, not 'God') required a writing implement (more likely a quill than a #2 pencil, actually).

      May 17, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Steve,

      Amen.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Ladyoftheday

      Steve, people back in those days were very smart did you know some lived to be hundreds of years old without todays medicine and some build pyramids that modern day scientist cant figure out. Its the modern day scientist that put all that BS in your mind that made you an unbeliever and you dont have any faith....

      May 17, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • burns

      @ Steve, Stay away from Adam.

      May 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  20. Colin

    I am pleased he finally clarified this publically. I am sick and tired of hearing Bible cuddlers claim him as a believer because he throws the term "God" around as a metaphore for the cosmos (just like Einstein, another atheist, did). He is way too smart to believe in Iron Age myths from the Middle East.

    May 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • It's

      Atheism is just as ridiculous as Religion.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • MouseClicker

      Uhhhhhh, Einstein was NOT an athiest at all! He wrote at great lengths about the absurdity of atheism.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
    • Dom

      Science requires a level of faith as well, seeing how they haven't figured out the answers for all questions either. People who prop it up and denounce religion are generally worshipping science, which isn't any different from the people who worship God. Hawking could just be a bitter person who doesn't believe because despite his intelligence, he's stuck in a wheelchair.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • YaThink

      I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. ~Albert Einstein, 1954

      May 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
    • Colin

      Mouseclicker – see what the man himself said below

      "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

      "I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."

      "It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."

      May 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      'Atheism is just as ridiculous as religion'
      Well, MILITANT atheism is, but from a scientific perspective, the baseline belief should be that NOTHING exists, unless it can be proven TO EXIST. And there isn't a god yet that could satisfy even the least stringent scientific standards for existence.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Wayne

      Atheism is the logical (default) position until proof of god. Atheism does not require faith and is not a religion.
      No magic needed.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Nah

      colin: "I am pleased he finally clarified this publically. I am sick and tired of hearing Bible cuddlers claim him as a believer because he throws the term "God" around as a metaphore for the cosmos (just like Einstein, another atheist, did)."

      Ah, yes. Stephen Hawking said it, so it must be true.

      "just like Einstein, another atheist"

      Einstein's religious views are up to debate, but he said, quite explicitly, that he believes in the god of Spinoza. Spinoza endorsed a view of pantheism or panentheism. Namely, that the entire universe "is" a god. Whether you attribute conscious or god-like qualities to it is a question for Spinozists.

      "He is way too smart to believe in Iron Age myths from the Middle East."

      Evidently history isn't your strong point, because religious beliefs pre-date the Iron Age. Much less, you're using an ad hominem hoping that religion being the "creation of Iron Age man" somehow invalidates it. Unfortunately for you, its creation by "primitive people" has no more bearing on its validity than their primitivity does on the validity of (their creation of) geometry or engineering.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Larry

      I have never been a follower of the religious or the books that tell of them. I have studied the nature of the universe and the spark that created it. If you follow all the "thoughts" on the subject and get to the end and still ask what happened before that there comes a point in alll of them that you have to say that there IS something that started it. The continuation of which has an alternate machanisim. Hawkins is a great man, a smart man, much smarter than I... BUT he like others were wrong about so much ... Einstein included!! I am sorry that Hawkins has closed his mind.. and thus missed the mark. Absolutes are ALWAYS WRONG!!!! -> "He who claims to know all... obviously knows NOTHING"

      May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • MouseClicker

      At Colin -

      You are pointing out a time when Einsten was struggling, as all of us humans do. If you have such easy access to quotes about his struggle, then I'm sure you have quotes about his walk with God. You'll find Einstein (and Newton, etc.) were not athiests.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Hitch

      Dom,

      ‘Science requires a level of faith as well, seeing how they haven't figured out the answers for all questions either. People who prop it up and denounce religion are generally worshipping science’

      Science most certainly doesn’t require faith; in fact methodological naturalism (science) requires that only objective, measurable, testable, & potentially falsifiable hypothesis which use physically empirical evidence be used. Science cannot assert the supernatural; it can only use the natural to explain the natural. Science has accomplished more in acquiring more accurate knowledge about the universe in 300 years than religion has in many 10,000 years.

      Flicking the light switch requires no faith; the flow of electrons is understood well enough to allow for our use of such a device. There is nothing to worship in science either as there are no edifices of reward or punishment for such an action. Science is merely respected, for those who understand its role, for it has been the difference in providing us with many of the things we take for granted & that which makes life easier & more enjoyable.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Nah

      fred: "Well, MILITANT atheism is, but from a scientific perspective, the baseline belief should be that NOTHING exists, unless it can be proven TO EXIST. And there isn't a god yet that could satisfy even the least stringent scientific standards for existence."

      Evidently you know nothing about history, philosophy, or what it means to be "science".

      The arguments for the existence of a god are entirely dependent on formal logical principles and other evidence. For instance, some of them rely on the physical and logical impossibility of an infinite regress of causes. Consequently, it concludes that there must be a first cause the universe. However, by definition, that thing must be either uncaused or the cause of itself, and also the cause of everything after it. Moreover, it cannot be material or within the thing that it created.

      Hence, the "god" of theism.

      It's the same process by which you deduce the composition of the center of the sun, the distance of the stars, and so on. It's not based on our senses - though our senses provide a baseline for data - it's based on "logical necessity".

      But I'm assuming you knew that, no?

      May 17, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Lipton

      Religion makes people stupid. Only one answer is needed for everything... Because god did it

      May 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Fred Evil

      Nah – You're playing games with logic and theism, two mutually exclusive domains.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Nah

      hitch: "Flicking the light switch requires no faith; the flow of electrons is understood well enough to allow for our use of such a device. There is nothing to worship in science either as there are no edifices of reward or punishment for such an action."

      You ignored the point of his argument, which was that it takes "faith" to believe that science, as it is now, is correct or accurate. Much less, faith that the inferences "we" make from our observations and calculations are true. Data is one thing, conclusions are another, remember.

      I took his other point to be that people slavishly worship science when they think it furthers their views (e.g., atheists), especially when most of them are doing precisely what they deride the religious for doing: accepting something on authority.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • closetiguana

      Albert Einstein:
      “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

      May 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Nah

      fred: "Nah – You're playing games with logic and theism, two mutually exclusive domains."

      Thank you for the conclusory statement. Do you have an argument to prove this?

      But regardless, the history of philosophy disproves your statement because even a cursory glance will show you the logical underpinnings of the arguments for a god. Whether you like that fact or not is irrelevant.

      If you want to disprove theism you have to attack its merits, not throw around ad hominems and empty statement.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • MouseClicker

      To Lipton - while you make great iced tea, you are wrong to think that there are no religious scientists. I know lots of scientists who are Christians. Now, I'm going to have a glass of your tea.

      May 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > But regardless, the history of philosophy disproves your statement

      BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

      Philosophy.... logical underpinnnings. You're too much. You're hilarious.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Dom

      You said: "Science requires a level of faith as well, seeing how they haven't figured out the answers for all questions either. "

      Looking for the answers to something (Why does it rain?) requires no faith. It does indeed rain. I can show evidence.

      Accepting a reason for the rain, would require faith (God makes it rain.), if I accepted the reason without evidence. Science is evidence based. Religion is based on faith, alone.

      Believers want to equate their faith and belief to evidence. They are not equivalent. Every religion has faith that their god is real and the others are not. Someone's faith is misguided. In Jesus' day, everyone had faith and belief that the earth was flat. They were wrong. Evidence overcame their belief and their faith. Evidence, like cash, is king. LOL

      You said: "People who prop it up and denounce religion are generally worshipping science, which isn't any different from the people who worship God. Hawking could just be a bitter person who doesn't believe because despite his intelligence, he's stuck in a wheelchair."

      Or, Hawking could just be an extremely intelligent human, who sees through the b.s. This "argument" has been used before, on this blog. Hawking tells you 1 + 1 is equal to 2. You don't want to believe it, so the equation must the result of Hawking's illness. It is nothing more than an ad hominem attack.

      No one worships science. Science sees no use for a god. Science is a tool. Science has given us the lifestyle we enjoy today. If evidence pointed to the existence or need of a god, science would accept this. Science is driven by evidence. No faith or worshiping desired.

      Cheers!

      May 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • JohnRJ08

      Einstein saw order in the Universe, and said famously that "God doesn't play dice with the cosmos". I don't think that comment was intended to endorse any religious belief. For Einstein, God was "order" rather than a moral creator.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Johnny Mo

      Einstein was not an atheist.

      May 17, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Andrew

      MouseClicker, Einstein liked to use the word god, but it's a very different use from how most theists use it. Einstein got a very spiritual feeling from the universe and didn't like viewing it in reductionist terms, so god was a very useful word for him. That doesn't make him anything akin to a Christian or a Jew. Personally though, I always liked Feynman's philosophy more, way more down to earth, way more in line with my thoughts. Plus I'm kinda upset with Hawking's sorta hawkish approval of string theory despite the lack of empirical verification, so as far as atheist physicists go, Dirac and Feynman were the coolest. (Seriously Dirac was awesome, he's mentioned way too seldom. Why does everyone always point to Einstein, as though he were the only physicist who did anything?)

      May 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Ladyoftheday

      @ all the unbelievers, Can any of you tell me scientifically why your behinds gone die. Yall got medicine and all that scientific stuff but you still gone die. Why idiots if you was made from nothing then why the nothing you was mad from let you live and die. Nothing didnt create you God did and tells you in the bible because of your sins you gone die. the only way to pay for sin is thru death (your blood.). Now this make more sense than just being here on earth and living without a purpose

      May 17, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Eyes that do not see, nor ears that hear.

      Amen.

      May 17, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
    • Nana

      So now we just need the Muslim world to accept this reality. Muslim ignorance is such a dramatic hindering to peace on earth. the abundance of purely uneducated Muslim believers, their oppressive existence in their self created repressive regimes, lifestyles, and governments, their radical inturpitations of their fairy tale book, the fact that their culture and people have contributed less to man kind than any other culture and people of all the earth, their self ritious belief system that empowers them to commit atrocious crimes against humanity, the muslim men prance around in flip flops and linen moo moo's while they lock their woman in their household prisons to be abused slave-wife's, are entirely too ignorant to even build sewer systems and even after thousands of years that other cultures have developed running water toilets, toilet paper, and effective sewerage systems, they still whipe their pood-cracks with one hand (no paper) and eat with the other, and yiddle to the sky just before detonation of their suicide bombs that murder innocent men, woman, children, and babies. It's not hard to see that it is Muslims that are the biggest threat to civilized peace on earth. I can only wish that ET will park the mothership over the entire middle east, open the hatch and say " get over yourselves! we did all of this and you idiots are incapable of having any kind of sanity, so much to the pleasure of the rest of the world, you all must go!" , right before blasting the entire Muslim population with a vaporization ray. They say dreams can come true so nothing wrong with being hopeful. Now I am absolutely sure I'm not alone in this place.

      May 17, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
    • Efrain

      http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110516.html

      Where I will go? – somewhere or nowhere.. does it matter? I know right now that the people who loved me will remember me. .. maybe when they see some clouds. Maybe I’ll be a small particle of them… that’s good enough for me.

      May 18, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Frogist

      @Mouseclicker: I'll do some research myself but it would be nice to have a link or two to read from if you have them. I would like to understand what you said about Einstein better.
      @Nah: Just wanted to point out, in terms of Hawking's own words about his opinions, then yes, if he said it it would be true.

      May 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.