December 30, 2009


This amusing and sarcastic definition of Atheism is circulating on the web:
“The belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs.”
There are two pieces to this attack, with the division being at “creating everything”.
Once you have the universe in existence, you can explain the creation and development of life in two ways: with or without divine intervention. Humans have always sought to find patterns, understand cause and effect, and predict the future. Divine intervention was the best explanation for many things before the rise of Greek philosophy, but it has been in retreat for the past 2,500 years.
The questions of where the Universe came from, or what could bring everything from nothing, or could there be anything before time began, are all unanswerable at present. Saying “God did it” provides no help, except to soothe people who can be soothed with muddy thinking. For where did God come from? And how? And what was before? If God can have existed before time and space (admitting that ‘before time’ is a nonsensical phrase), then so can the Universe. If God can have come into being from nothing, then so can the Universe. If someone can tell me how God came into being, we’ll be close to knowing the same about the Universe.