Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Oh, God


My most wonderful university lecturer, Pat Terry, instilled rigour into his students and I think this has helped me throughout my life. Because he made me think through things, I speak with confidence when I am sure am right, which is not often. I also listen more carefully to others, although Pat can't take all the credit because the current Mrs Haffey has helped there.

So, with a degree in science, what makes me believe in God?

First, let's eliminate one thing that people often say to encourage belief in God.

Blaming misfortune on a lack of piety is a good place to start. "Your pet died because you are a bad person." So did Mother Theresa's pet. Was she bad, too?

I am afraid that I am sceptical about people who claim to know what God wants.

So why the belief in God?

I was driving along listening to BBC Radio4 in the car the other day and I heard a discussion of cavemen paintings and their subtlety. This led me to think about cavemen looking at the stars at night - the same stars we see - and wondering about the Meaning of Life. And these are the same Big Questions that face us today. What is life about? And for the purpose of this blog entry, where did it come from?

One thing we know for sure: you can't create or destroy matter. You can change matter into energy and vice versa, but that's about it. So we have this unbelievably large universe with no explanation about where it came from.

How big is "unbelievably big"?

The universe is about 1028 times as big as you or me. That's 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times as big, based on our mass. By one of these astonishing coincidences that pop up from time to time, you and I have almost 1028atoms in us. Whether we want to explore Outer Space or Inner Space, we have the same amount of work to do.

So where did it come from?

A trivial answer is the Big Bang. But who or what made the Big Bang and the vast number of physical laws that emerged from it? Here science can't help. Something started it (or possibly there is an infinity of Big Bangs followed by Big Crunches) but where did it all come from? And how come it all works with just the Four Fundamental Forces of Nature to orchestrate it?

In the absence of a better alternative, I choose to believe that God was responsible. I happen to think that the Bible provides a reasonable description of God, but I haven't read other religious texts. It seems to me to be impossibly unlikely that this glorious universe, with relativity, quantum physics, evolution, double choc chip cookies, colour, classics, compassion and uncountable other wonders could be an accident.

And so, logically I infer that there is a God.

1 comment:

cathryngrant said...

Not so much emphasis on the bible, but ditto: "It seems to me to be impossibly unlikely that this glorious universe, with relativity, quantum physics, evolution, double choc chip cookies, colour, classics, compassion and uncountable other wonders could be an accident."