By now, a week after his death, Stephen Hawking has discovered his atheism. He now knows that God exists or he knows nothing because a spiritless, decomposing body is nothing. Hawking is either standing among God’s children (yes, standing) or, as he liked to say, his life has the value of an iPhone dropped in the toilet – no value at all.
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.”
“I believe the simplest explanation is there is no God. No one created the universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife, either.”
“We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star.”
As a believer, I am fascinated with people who utterly refuse to consider the idea of God – the idea of faith in God – the idea that life has purpose and meaning that transcends our physical nature. When an atheist, such as comedian Bill Maher, ridicules people of faith as superstitious, I think it reveals his lack of intelligence, not his devotion to it.
When I listen to Stephen Hawking or Bill Maher or Richard Dawkins or Peter Singer, I wonder just how smart they really are to ignore the nature of faith. As someone way more intelligent than I once said, “Faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.
“If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.
“Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them?…Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather?…In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith?…Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?”
The scientific or atheistic response to such logic is that cause and effect are a matter of physical science, such as physics or agronomy. We ignorant humans act with confidence despite our ignorance because of what we do know, not what we do not know. Even if the day ahead is full of possible surprises, we are pretty sure from experience that there is a logical reason behind everything that happens to us. And, just as an atheist cannot disprove the existence of God, neither can a person of faith deny the logic of cause and effect and the power of knowledge – nor would we.
But that same logic of cause and effect and that same reverence for knowledge unavoidably leads me to reject the idea of spontaneous creation – something from nothing. That is simply impossible. Not to be deterred in his blind worship of quantum physics, Hawking simply believes that time did not exist before the Big Bang, so nothing existed before it – meaning something can come from nothing and God does not exist. To me, that is illogical and absurd thinking.
Of course, everyone should respect and reflect on the good Hawking and every atheist can and might do for us. Hawking contributed a great deal to science, even if nothing more than to encourage the discovery of more science. My beef with Hawking is not over what he did for mankind. My beef with him is over what he refused to do for mankind because of his unimaginative pride.