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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. kp

    Stephen hawking is just bubbling, there is a God of heaven and there's proof to it. Has anyone not seen what is going on, Steve hawking is supposed to die but has anyone asked why he is still alive?. God is a person who forgives us all our sins if we just ask for forgiveness and go to him. God is just waiting for people to be good. He wants to save us all but we are just turning away from him. In the bible it said.
    "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (NIV, Mark 13:32-33)"
    So what i advise is to pray for forgiveness and if you don' t understand the bible you should go to an Adventist Church on Saturdays and ask them to help you for the coming of the Lord is at hand so change.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Larry McKone

      Don't you all find it amusing that this discussion always degenerates into "I am an Athiest" or "I am a Christian".

      The Athiests are the most religious of all, really, they defend their positions like true Zealots, not to enlighten, but to show us how smug and self righteous they can be, exposing our stupidity for even suggesting the universe could be anything other than a mechanical clock ruled by the most basic physical laws. They religiously tell us what comes after death, NOTHING, that's what. And we are all fools if we even imagine anything else. Pssstttt, Morons!

      The Christian on the other hand is often worse, though oddly less religious. The bible is it! Full Stop! No more discussion, if it isn't in the bible, it isn't truth. God said so through his holy word and you had better listen and believe it, regardless of how insane it seems. The universe is a kingdom run by a schizophrenic (You know the whole trilogy thing). A complete dictator who makes even the worst here on earth seem rational. "Don't even think about looking at another God when I am around or prepare to be Smited..." or is it Smitten? Could never get that right. " By the way, prove you love me by killing your son... No wait, just kidding! Oh My, he was really going to do it...whoa." Not really a God I'd be interested in following, but to each his own.

      Look the real argument revolves around the point that SH made an arrogant and narrow-minded statement about the nature of existence and the afterlife. Some of us called him on it, that's all. I don't know what is "out there", I really don't, so please don't look to me for any answers. I do know that every time we think we have it all figured out, the universe comes back with something so strange we could not even have hoped to have preconceived it. Stephen sucked the mystery right out of the universe and many of us object to that. Let's wait until it is all finally revealed before passing judgement, I said it before, and I will say it again, it is bound to be stranger than anything we could conceive.

      So in conclusion, Athiest: don't try to pidgeon hole me, let me have my mystery. Religious Zealot, don't try to save my soul, I am not even sure I have one to save. For now, let us remember that Love is ultimately the answer. Jesus, I wonder who said that?

      May 20, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • skytag

      "there is a God of heaven and there's proof to it"

      There is no proof and you know it. All you've done is tell us some things you believe. That isn't proof of anything. And frankly, you seem a bit more judgmental and condescending than what I'd expect if you really believed what you claim to believe.

      May 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • skytag

      @Larry McKone: "The Athiests are the most religious of all, really, they defend their positions like true Zealots, not to enlighten, but to show us how smug and self righteous they can be"

      Nonsense. Seems to me you're just attacking them because you can't refute their arguments.

      "exposing our stupidity for even suggesting the universe could be anything other than a mechanical clock ruled by the most basic physical laws."

      There are some distinctly irrational aspects to a belief in God. One is this fairly common argument for the existence of God. Basically you're saying that because no one can explain how the universe came into being it must have been created by a sentient being whose existence no one can explain. Who or what created God? How did he learn everything? How long did he exist before he decided to create the universe? What is the source of his power?

      "They religiously tell us what comes after death, NOTHING, that's what."

      They have a consistent message. What evidence do you have that they're wrong?

      "And we are all fools if we even imagine anything else."

      It's not the imagining part that's foolish. What's foolish is imagining something and then, with no evidence whatsoever that it's true, you start basing important life decisions on what you imagined and try to pass laws to force other people to conform their lives to your imaginings.

      "Pssstttt, Morons!"

      This from the guy who says "For now, let us remember that Love is ultimately the answer." Apparently even you don't believe your rhetoric.

      "Stephen sucked the mystery right out of the universe and many of us object to that."

      You object to being confronted with reality. Interesting. FYI, the universe holds just as many mysteries for the atheist as for the believer.

      May 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Larry McKone

      Skytag,
      You completely missed the message in my message. That message was I don't know anything and the universe is a mystery. You proved my point about the arrogance of the athiest. You claim to be confronting us with clear rational arguments when anyone who knows anything about cosmology, quantum physics and string (or M) theory (and I actually know quite a bit) will tell you the universe is a place so strange we may never fully get a grip on it.

      The "Pssssttttt Morons" comment by the way was me suggesting that is what the athiest thinks of anyone who believes the universe could hold mysteries that do not conform to rational thought. That's you and you proved it.

      You completely ignored the fact that i was as hard on Chritians as athiests. In my view both of your arguments are shallow and self serving. The universe is a mystery, no one can deny that. It's existence is remarkable and making silly statements about how it arose spontaneously from nothing is just more double talk. Suggesting it was created by a man with a white beard weho lives on a cloud, is equally idiotic, but to each his own.

      I will go on believing that I am without the required data to form a logical opinion and accept the universe for what it is, a mystery and one that excites and intrigues me in equal measure. Could there be a creator, Yes, there could, but it is likely nothing we could ever imagine. Could it be a spontaneous evolution from nothing to something, I suppose, the math supports that position if we get really abstract. But why not get abstract in other ways and remain open minded to all possibilities. How boring to assume the universe will end in nothingness.

      May 22, 2011 at 9:24 am |
  2. graham c

    As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.
    -voltaire.

    as evidenced by every war since the popularization of Christianity.

    May 19, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  3. Emily

    To all those quoting the Bible in their comments: The "Atheists" arguement is that you have no proof other than the Bible. To turn around and quote it actually strengthens THEIR arguement, not yours.

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

      What does it strengthen in their argument? That people use the bible to augment belief? That in and of itself does nothing to negate the existence of God or to underline the nonexistence as supposedly believed by atheists.
      I do not believe there are atheists–there just are "Creation deniers" who choose to worship the religion of man instead of God–that's all. For a creation denier–the universe was not thought out–it just happened–and it has been living off that random accident and randomly existing, surviving, thriving, growing and perpetuating ever since–all on a random–arbitrary–big bang.

      Nothing has ever been so well managed and brought to order than the creation of everything from nothing –and all of it continues to be RANDOM. yep.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Sophie

      Hey queenbee love you’re generalizing of the facts, but you forgot one thing there is no big bang. Instead, it’s about infinite time that plays out not just in this universe but in a mult-itude of universes, each with its own laws of physics and its own life story. The idea of time is a man made device but with mult-itudes of universes, trying to find the beginning meaningless.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • queenbee

      Emily–I forgot to ask –how exactly do we KNOW there are an infinite number of universes? have we ever been to one? Have we ever seen one? No? So when you quote Hawking or string theory you are actually parroting things that are not known but only guessed at? But then how do you know that it is so–given we lack both the equipment and ability to go to these other universes playing out time in their own way–to what do you owe such an allegiance of belief? Faith? Maybe faith in the laws of physics as proposed by a man called Hawking? Because it certainly is not with proof–string theories have not been proven or disproven–but even if proven they only indicate the complexity of universes NOT the source of them.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      @queenbee: What you're really truly missing is this one very important point...

      We're still looking for answers. You think you already have them. Period.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  4. Brandee Nielsen

    He is attempting to explain the inexplicable by stating that "given the existence of gravity, "the universe can and will create itself from nothing." Then how does one explain the existence of gravity? I am a Christian who does not believe in Heaven and an afterlife because I am afraid of the dark, as he so naively and ignorantly expresses of believers in all of his intellect. I believe in an afterlife because of the experiences I've had with divine intervention and/or inspiration in my life on earth. Some call it spiritual, some call it energy, some call it angels, some call it luck, science doesn’t have an explanation for these things, but I call it God.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • @Brandee

      The difference is that a scientist like Dr. Hawkin will continue to study, test, and re-examine the information in order to further his (and our) understanding of the topic. The blindly religious will not even try, perpetuating their blissful ignorance by claiming "gravity was made by God and I don't need to learn anything else".

      You can call your lack of understanding of natural phenomenon whatever you wish ("God" being as good a word for it as" luck" in the case of the willfully ignorant).

      May 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • queenbee

      Actually Hawking will continue to try to prove his hypothesis and to do so–he will adjust all scientific parameters to be sure to underline his position–This is the way it HAS to go, because there are no CONTROLS or parameters to the unknown. It is sort of like people trying to prove diseases were caused by malevolent spirits in the Middle ages–for 4-500 years this was a "proven belief" according to the people of those times. When people wanted to continue to study and examine this line of thought they pointed to all manners of mental illness as well as disease in animals and humans then skewed the information to support what they believed. They could not do otherwise until the microscope was invented.

      new inventions lead scientist to reassess their parameters as new methodologies open up to challenge beliefs. As recent as the 1970s most scientists believed that there was only 1 universe and only this dimension. Until the advent of other inventions and new math models that gave way to the String theory and the 4th dimension–BUT until that invention–the belief in our world was sacrosanct–with no more ability to question and touch it than medieval people had to challenge the evil spirit vs virus or microbes–theory.

      In short–Hawking like every other scientist will only be a victim of his times and will be imprisoned by both his manner of thinking and his hypothesis and the limitation of inventions right now–it will always be thus–which means God will never be proven or disproven in his time and the best he can do is defend what he "thinks" but does not KNOW–and others will either continue to worship God OR continue to worship at the shrine of man (that would be science)

      May 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Sophie

      QB – yeah so....at least science has better theories that can be tested and proven. God...not so much. In the 2000 years since the book of fiction was created no – one has been able to prove a God exists. People use God for things that are not explainable yet, but it doesn't mean a god actually exists. It was created so it would make people feel like their lives are not as miserable as the reality that it is, that all the hardship will give them a place in paradise. Paradise doesn't exist except in your imagination, just like the concept of God.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Another Larry

      How do you explain the existence of God? The problem with any argument that basically says God must exist because some sentient being had to create the universe is that it begs the question, what created God? Also, how did God acquire all the knowledge needed to create the universe and life?

      All believers have done is replace one "what created" question with another one, and in the process have created an entire mythology on which they base their lives with no evidence for any of what they believe. Believers choose to believe in God for one reason and one reason only: they like that narrative better than the alternative.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  5. Emily

    Saving windbags such as Reality and MOH from ruining the comments for everyone else: No one reads a damn word you have to say if you write your doctoral thesis in blog comments. Seeing comments like yours only promotes the over-use of the "page down" button. Keep it under 500 words or no one reads your non-sense.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • queenbee

      Speak for yourself–some people are educated and or curious and do not have ADHD–for those–the long posts may just be as relevant as your own–if not more so. Blog policing should be left to moderators not posters. Freedom of speech works whether you personally want to read something or not–if you don't then scroll on.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Another Larry

      You don't actually speak for the entire world. Sorry.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  6. Sam

    Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry are the foundation and the programming language of God's Creation. Stop separating the two. Combine them and you can live in harmony.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Another Larry

      I can't separate the two because the second one, God, doesn't exist. I understand that you're convinced he does, but only because you like that narrative better than the alternative.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Jenna

      One question to Sam and other Christians who believe that science shows God's work:at what point in our evolution did the soul come about?The problem with trying to meld the Bible and evolution is this:Christians and Muslims believe that only humans have souls because they were created in God's image.However,when we study fossils,genetics,etc.,we see that our species did not spring fully formed overnight.In fact,scientist now believe that those of us of European and Asian descent have 1-4% Neanderthal DNA in our genome.Does that mean that we have 96-99% of a soul or did all hominids possess souls?Do you see the problem with trying to square Biblical myths with science?

      May 21, 2011 at 4:48 am |
  7. Adelina

    It's all clear atheist's end is insanity. Mr. Hawking is saying he knows stuff like God does, though of course his finite mind doesn't. True scientists should be humbler than he. The Word of God declares that there are both Heaven and afterlife and that the universe and we were created by God. Spontaneous creation wasn't observed. Worshipping creation rather than the Creator is common among pagans. How falsely religious atheists are regarding their fantasies. May God save Mr. Hawking's poor soul.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Adelina, his soul is not worth saving. Just look at him, pathetic.
      Amen..

      May 19, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Ogre

      Look at his body, HeavenSent.... that is what your personality looks like - gnarled, rigid and feeble.

      May 19, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • @HeavenSent

      Actually, he's looking pretty well for someone who was given 2-3 years to live...back in the 1960's.

      On the other hand, your comment says a lot about sordid perception concerning the physically disabled.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Jenna

      You have to love the "Christian love" Ogre.Heavensent condemns (oh,I know, "you" are not condemning Hawking but God. How convenient) Prof.Hawking to eternal torture for not believing the same myths,but you are the cruel,heartless one.Such "logic" makes one's head spin.

      May 21, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  8. MOH

    1 Corinthians 1:21 "For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."

    Often, our own intelligence/pride/self-exaltation gets in the way of actually knowing, understanding, and believing in God. Focus is placed on studying what was created instead of studying the source of the creation.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Leroy Jenkins

      Thank you for such a well balanced remark. That Scripture is at the heart of most issues regarding this topic.

      May 19, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  9. MOH

    One of the first rules you learn in Biology is that you cannot create something from nothing. So no matter how far back you go, there would be a point in which “nothing” would have existed. This point, which is beyond human comprehension, is where God steps into the equation. No matter what you believe in regards to creation, it requires faith in that belief (as no one was there to observe it). I chose to put my faith in God. As I have studied and earned my bachelors in Biology, I have picked up a great respect for this study. Scientific study has given us many advances and conveniences. However, I believe that the very rules that science studies were put in place by the Father himself. Regardless of your stance, a great book to read is “The Case For A Creator”. I found much value in the interviews with scholars in various scientific fields. They shed light on many principles that have been commonly accepted in the scientific world, although current advances in science are finding these principles inaccurate.

    May 19, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  10. Emily

    Whether you believe in the existence of God/a god and/or an afterlife, CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME SPELLING, GRAMMAR, AND BREVITY UP IN HERE?! Christ-in-a-sidecar!

    May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  11. David

    http://sightlikeaconstructionworker.blogspot.com/2011/05/steven-hawkings-beef-with-god-and.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheSight+%28The+Sight%29

    May 19, 2011 at 11:36 am |
  12. Carlton

    I pray that God works in the hearts of Atheist so they may know that God created Heaven and Earth and that he also created man with free will. It is their free will that they do not believe in God or Heaven, if they accept this comment and believe that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead on the third day and that he is the Son of the True Living God, then they will be saved. May God Bless whoever reads this, in Jesus Name, Amen.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Jerry

      Well, your prayer obviously hasn't been answered, otherwise we wouldn't be atheists would we?

      May 19, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • queenbee

      Many people who say they believe Jesus is the Son of God are going to hell. That is because they do not understand the scripture and what is meant by "believing " Do you think Satan and his sidekicks do NOT believe Jesus is the Son of God? They do–in fact they KNOW he is the Son of God. Shall they be saved? I don't think so.

      The fact is–the bible is saying one thing and today's Christian is interpreting it another way.

      If people REALLY "believed in Jesus" they would not tell so many lies, would not backbite (talk about others behind their backs) They would not "murmur" (gossip) They would not covet (wanting what others have and doing nasty things to get it..They would be charitable, loving, kind, forgiving–they would not lust after war or other things of the flesh. They would be transformed and they would live a lifestyle and act a way that drew others–not preach people into the ground or try to overturn the ways of the world or fight to make it "christian" (did Jesus ever advocate war to make his point or advocate Rome change laws to reflect what he was teaching?)

      The fact is, people often DO belief theoretically that Jesus is the Son of God but they do not BELIEVE–because the bible demands that believers live a certain kind of life with a certain kind of focus and that they will be known by their fruits. Believing also requires people to REPENT. To truly repent–a person must be so sorry in their hearts that they would sicken to do that particular act again–so usually they don't. Those who say they repent but really don't–usually repent what they repented from–doing that over and over is the sign of a reprobate–who LIES to himself and believes just saying "Lord forgive me" gets him off the hook.

      Very few people are teaching this. What we have now are a lot of people joining church to make money (prosperity ministries) and people trying to remake the world or the US into an ideal Christian country (God never told Christians to do this) In fact the bible explicitly states " Conform NOT to this world but be ye transformed by the renewing of your spirit" Which means don't act like the world or seek out worldly stuff–focus on the next world and how to please God"

      People do not do this–nor do many people know what is actually written in the bible–instead they will tell you what their "pastor" says with no understanding for themselves.

      I do not tell people to simply read and accepted John 3:16 because that is not the true start and it will be just words–the bible says that "Faith without charity is like a clanging, hollow bell" Meaning it is meaningless.

      Christians in this country need to learn this it also says " Faith without works is dead" and "works" really means how you live your life and help others–NOT how you force others to your side of belief by trying to make your beliefs the law of the land.

      That scripture is a necessary part of belief–but it is not the PROOF of believe–that is in the actual way we live our lives –can you say most "Christians" these days are measuring up? Or are they part of the problem?

      May 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Jenna

      And I pray that Zeus opens your heart to his love and his eternal life in the fields of Elysium before it is too late.Every monotheistic needs to open his eyes and heart to the truth of the gods of Olympus. The Iliad says so.
      See how nonsensical that argument is? That is how your endless threats of hell and shoving Bible verses down the throats of nonbelievers feels. Enjoy.

      May 21, 2011 at 4:57 am |
  13. HeBelievesInYou

    The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.

    Why do atheists care so much about religion? If I were an atheist, I wouldn't waste my time trying to convince others of my beliefs, there would be a lot more things I'd prefer to spend my time on like golf.

    Richard Dawkins slogan is "There's probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." – Probably!? I sense some doubt there.

    I believe Ahteists, whether they admit it or not, are deep down in their soul seaching for God. Why? Because people are made this way.

    You say there is no evidence in the Bible? Have you read the Bible? Do you realize how accurately it has predicted history throughout the years? Up to and including current times. Check out a book called Epicentre by Joel Reosenberg http://www.joelrosenberg.com/epicenter.asp If you like history you'll find it very interesting even if you're not a christian. Pick it up a you're local library.

    Have faith & God bless!

    May 19, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • WhatWouldHorusDo?

      You can not believe in a god OR believe there is no god. Neither you or myself can provide the answer to that question. There is no proof either way. A devout believer is just as foolish as a educated atheist.

      You my friend look as foolish as you find atheists. You have taken a side. You don't know, I don't know. atheists dont know. And until we all swallow our pride and learn to be ok not knowing, this idiotic debate will continue and we will remain divided.

      May 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • @HeBelieves

      If religion wasn't so hellbent on stunting our education and the progress of our scientific community with its antiquated beliefs, the vast majority of atheists would not be wasting their time with these arguments...

      May 19, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • queenbee

      Whatwouldhorus: you are making a classical error: you are imagining that because God has not manifested Himself to you or the world at large that He does not exist. That is like thinking North America did not exist until Europeans discovered it–or as the saying goes–"If a tree falls on the other side of the world and no one is there to hear it–did it make a sound?"

      The answer is yes–many believers dialogue with God and get commicaes back. That you have not may have a lot to do with expectation. Atheists tend to believe that if God exists then He NEEDS to prove it to them so that they will then worship Him BUT they fail to know God already set the stakes and since He created everything He set it on HIS TERMS–ON GOD's TERMS–we believe first and by proving we can trust and believe when there is no proof–then He manifests Himself to the believer.

      Does God talk to believers? Yes He does. Does he talk to true seekers–sometimes–esp if they are believers.

      Does He talk to atheists? Why would He? Does He prove Himself to atheists? Why would He?

      The whole purpose of this existence is to separate OUT all those who wants to keep from those who disrespect and just do not get Him. Trust me–you do God NO FAVORS when you believe in HIm–he is the one holding the prizes not us.

      The way atheists react is like–"Prove to me that you have a Trillion dollars and I will LET YOU give me a million"

      You have it all backwards. If you cannot hear Him–it is because you do not listen–and if you have never seen or communicated with Him–it is because you either do not seek him or you do not know how to "see" The impediment is YOURS not Gods and the LOSS belongs to nonbelievers–NOT to God. He offers a chance but don't confuse his offer of a "chance to be with HIM" with a NEED–He does NOT NEED any unbeliever–you overestimate your own importance or validity in the scheme of things.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • WhatWouldHorusDo?

      @hebelieves, good point, I agree. There is no need for any of that in school. Calculus is enough to handle without adding all of the dogmatic fluff.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • WhatWouldHorusDo?

      queenbee, this is why you need to keep your emotions in check before you begin a debate, because you did not read my comment. I am an agnostic dear, I never said that there wasnt a god. But you'll never hear me say there is one either. As for the rest of your comment, I'm glad you feel like you have all the answers...but no matter how hard you scream and shout and kick your legs trying to convince me you are right, I will never believe you. You are a human and can not "tell" me anything that will change my mind. That little inch of doubt you try so hard to stomp out in order to believe is your instincts. No one knows, you don't know, yea, you may believe it with all of your heart, but that is not knowing.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • queenbee

      Whatwould–no screaming or kicking here–no need to–I do not have a vested interest in what happens to any soul except my own. I am only trying to help and Yes–for me–I do have the answers I need and I am not one who believes. I am one who KNOWS–but...I also know that what I KNOW was given to me–and as for you–whether you ever believe is your choice–whether you ever KNOW depends on God .

      May 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • queenbee

      WhatWouldHorusDo?

      queenbee,.but no matter how hard you scream and shout and kick your legs trying to convince me you are right, I will never believe you. You are a human and can not "tell" me anything that will change my mind.
      May 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm

      WWHD: who said I was human? Not everything which manifests itself in flesh on earth is human, you know. LOL

      May 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Smite Me

      queenbee,
      "I am one who KNOWS–but...I also know that what I KNOW was given to me–and as for you–whether you ever believe is your choice–whether you ever KNOW depends on God."

      Well, aren't you SPECIAL! "God" plays favorites, and picks pets.

      Buzz off, you dim but arrogant twit.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • queenbee

      Smite me: There is no need to hate–and yes– God does pick favorites, He always has–but He never picks favorites among those who do not believe–that would be against His own contract. Don't hate–:)

      May 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jenna

      I care about religion primarily because believers are trying to make their beliefs the law of the land and are trying to halt the progress of our society.Keep your beliefs out of the government and schools and I'll gladly support your right to believe whatever nonsense you choose.There is also the issue with wishing that people cared about the truth and wanting them to accept beliefs based upon reality, which is why I'm not thrilled with the whole Wiccan/NeoPagan movement,but I'll stand in support of anyone's beliefs as long as he/she supports a secular nation.

      May 21, 2011 at 5:14 am |
  14. brad

    I've read a lot of Fairy Stories to my kids when they were little. I've read the Bible cover to cover. As an engineer, I understand some science. If Hawking seriously thinks heaven is a "fairy story" he must have learned it from the atheists on this blog. Many of our atheists have not discovered the difference between the Brothers Grimm and people like St. Augustine, Thomas Acquinas, G.K. Chesterton.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • Jerry

      If you are able to set aside your indoctrinated reverence for the Bible, there really is no difference.

      May 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      brad wrote: "If Hawking seriously thinks heaven is a "fairy story" he must have learned it from the atheists on this blog."

      That's right... one of the most respected scientists in the world has to come to a CNN blog populated by people relying on 2000 year old texts in order to come up with his ideas... There's a fairy tale if I ever heard one...

      May 19, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  15. Reality

    With respect to the topic. This and a bit more:------------------------

    The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

    I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
    ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen

    May 19, 2011 at 8:12 am |
    • leelanau

      I can't control your beliefs, but I can chastise your incredibly mean spirit.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:48 am |
    • Carlton

      I pray that God works in your heart so you may know that God created Heaven and Earth and that he also created man with free will. It is your free will that you do not believe in God or Heaven, if you accept this comment and believe that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead on the third day and that he is the Son of the True Living God, then you will be saved. May God Bless whoever reads this, in Jesus Name, Amen.

      May 19, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians such as leelanau and Carlton from the Big Resurrection Con/Disease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      o p.4
      o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      o p.168. by Ted Peters:
      1. Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      May 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • queenbee

      Just so YOU know reality: there are a lot of "Christians" who do NOT consider the Catholic church to be a Christian org but more or less a secular org that hides under the guise of religion. For this, they point to the fact that Catholics pray to saints and have saints named for various offices in much the same way Pagan diety systems were set up (Also, Catholics do not pray to Jesus for forgiveness when the bible expressly says that a person should not go to someone else to have God forgive them and must not go to the laity (priests) that they must go directly to God for themselves.

      Because of that–for nonCatholics–it matters not what the Pope or the Catholic church or Theologians think because God stated that he was beyond the wisdom and understanding of men–uhmmm that would include "men" who try to make either a profession or education out of Him, also.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Jenna

      "Mean spirit?"REALLY???Threats of eternal torture are not "mean spirited?"And as to queenbee,last time I checked,Catholics believed that Jesus was God's son and died for their sins and follow his teachings,so yeah,the whole garbage of "Catholics aren't really Christians" is simply that:garbage.White trash hillbilly megachurch sects can't create beautiful churches and any music worth hearing and have nothing besides threats to lure new followers.For some reason,this makes followers believe that they have the "true way."

      May 21, 2011 at 5:21 am |
  16. Trader Joe

    Hawkins' mind must be degenerating. If not, then he never really was a genius. Anyone who can make such a statement based on mankind's ridiculously minute understanding of existence is only a horse hair smarter than an amoeba. I guess he had to say this because he hasn't been able to come up with anything new or outstanding in physics, and this was the easiest path to getting noticed again. How frustrated he must be.

    May 19, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • JasonB

      Nobody is a genius if they say there is no God, nor Heaven nor Hell. The 3 true "dimensions" or so-called "universes" he's been trying to study his whole life, he's denying their existence? Genius, no.

      May 19, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  17. Muneef

    All with a Deformity is a tyrant ((Jabbar)).

    May 19, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  18. Estevan

    "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

    Thank you Stephen Hawking.

    Some deluded believers have tried in the past to make believe that Hawking was a pantheist or even a deist. I'm glad that he is directly refuting those claims and directly saying that god did not create the universe and that there is no evidence of a god or creator (read his latest works...he states that there is no evidence supporting the existence of a god or gods).

    May 19, 2011 at 6:32 am |
    • Larry McKone

      Yes, but you seem to be all excited, suggesting Stephen's opinion holds more weight than any other, it doesn't.

      He is no more qualified to make those comments than anyone else.

      Most Christians would call me an athiest, and I would agree with them. Having said that, I am not so arrogant or silly as to believe consciousness is nothing more than a computer. Besides, Stephen forgets a computer was created. What are we to make of that?

      Stephen has repededly set dates for the coming of the great GUT (Grand Unification) and like a Christian prophet has been wrong again and again and now agrees with many cosmologists that it may be beyond our ability (at present) to understand. He is just one man with one opinion. Hawking gets credit for genius he does not always possess, mostly due to his own miraculous existence. I'm sorry, though, he is no Albert Einstein. Aside from expanding on the work of other, like Roger Penrose, and taking credit, what has he really accomplished? Yes, he is co-discoverer of Hawking/Rosen Radiation, but what has he done lately?

      What I know for sure is that the universe will reveal itself to be more mysterious than anything we puny humans could conceive and if dealing with a creator and all of the implications that go along with it, is all we have to worry about when all is finally revealed, I'd say we got off lucky. It is probably a lot weirder than that.

      May 19, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • leelanau

      @ Larry McKone, as a Christian of fluctuating devotedness, I whole-heartedly agree with you, and appreciate you offering your words.

      May 19, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Larry McKone: You said, "Most Christians would call me an athiest"

      No atheist would call you an atheist. Once you start assuming supernatural causes for consciousness, then you're misrepresenting yourself. Nice try though.

      May 19, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • queenbee

      you are correct–Hawking is just a man–if the most educated (that would be a man made education) or smartest person in the world either stated there was or was not a God–that would be nothing more than their personal belief. To give it more kudos than that is to imagine that "one of the smartest people in the world" has an actual barometer for measuring their intelligence and what they know. Or as some would say–what ALL humans know (including Hawking) would be like one grain of sand on the universe of life. Just one grain.

      if Stephen thinks there is no God–that is his belief–but Stephen cannot KNOW nor can we deduce his analysis is correct. He suspects that nothing can create itself because gravity exists? What created gravity? Even a thing that is self perpetuating HAS to START from somewhere–what did gravity start from and what was the impetus–and where did THAT come from?

      Don't get it twisted, Stephen.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  19. CircularReasoning

    If God is a humanly construct which doesn't exist, than by that measure so is science. Nothing really exists...head explodes.

    May 19, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • USC chemist

      Just because it is created by humans doesn't mean it doesn't exist. However, science can be tested in the material world (the only world that can be proven to exist), and we are continuing to further define and describe this world. God can only exist in the "spiritual" world that can not be tested, as he fails any sort of scientific testing in a material world. As a result you can take empirical evidence based off of modern scientific methods or you can take the "spiritual" world on faith. Hawkings is suggesting those believers of the spiritual world believe it due to a fear of the unknown, or a fear of the nothingness that may wait us upon death.

      May 19, 2011 at 2:51 am |
    • jas

      All these scientists...ever wonder who Newton was, or Descart, Leibniz or any other classical minds? they were philosophers, they explained "God" to us in the first place. In its essence the creator cannot be tested because it does not relate to the material world anyways.
      So why dont you do what u are supposed to do...look things from a different perspective and make sense of the logic, not what popular ideas told u.

      May 19, 2011 at 3:15 am |
    • PureInertia

      God is a humanly construct taht does not exist outside of the human mind. Science is the same. Science is an idea just like god is. Science, however, has application to human beings and the real world. God's only application is as a fantasy.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • kookoo larue

      haha what

      May 19, 2011 at 7:25 am |
    • queenbee

      Did gravity exists before there was a way to prove it was there? How about radiation? Gamma rays, ultraviolet light, or maybe viruses–prions, etc–did they exist only when science finally go the equipment to know they were there? And if they did not exist before we discover them–how did they ever wreak so much damage?

      God does not FAIL any tests to prove his existence–better to say the methodology does not yet exist to prove or disprove His existance–because to say He FAILS a test for existence is to say "Viruses FAILED to exist or failed the tests for existence until stronger microscopes were invented and prions FAILED to exist or FAILED the test of existence until the electron microscope was invented and "discovered them.

      this is more of the "if I cover my eyes and can't see you–then I am invisible" theory.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • i wonder

      queenbee,

      The problem is that you can claim absolutely ANYTHING about "God" and expect to be believed. You can say that "God's" favorite ice cream is double mint chocolate chip and argue that no-one can prove you wrong. You can say that "God" is 'love' or 'vengeance' or whatever else you can dream up.

      You claim to have the bona fide information... but so does Ali Akbar, and Mr. Mormon and Mrs. Hindu and Ms. New Ager.... and on and on and on.

      May 19, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  20. Hiram C.

    I think the one mistake many people make is to assume that any of these 'holy books' are anything more than what they are – the words of men. There may be a lot of wisdom in these books, and a lot of what was (valuable) oral history, and some not unexpected foresight of things to come in the (then) near term, but I find it hard to believe that the 'Creator' of all things, the reason for existence, talks to anybody.
    I think it's important to keep a sense of humor about all this hubbub and a recent satire, "Meet the Antichrist" (Melynie T Gibson) puts all this in hilarious perspective. http://www.amazon.com/Meet-The-Antichrist-ebook/dp/B004YQD9XQ

    May 19, 2011 at 1:12 am |
    • Reality

      With respect to the topic. This and a bit more:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

      May 19, 2011 at 8:13 am |
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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.