The other day I came across one in which Richard Dawkins is debating some Catholic theologian about God. Dawkins hits the theologian with the old schoolboy question, “If God created everything then who created God?”
The theologian’s answer is cleverly phrased but comes down to basically, “Nobody created God, God is eternal.”
This is such a dumb argument. It’s like saying that the Hulk could beat up Superman because Superman is vulnerable to kryptonite and all the Hulk would have to do would be to throw some kryptonite at Superman. It’s an argument over concepts that exist only in the human imagination. We have invented an idea of God as an eternal being so anyone who asks who created God doesn’t understand the parameters of the character we’ve made up. (Godzilla could beat up Gamera, by the way, because Godzilla’s breath is atomic and Gamera’s is just plain old fire. So there!)
But science deals with real evidence. It examines closely how things work. It’s the study of cause and effect relationships in the natural world.
In terms of cosmology, though, we really do have a gap. Everything we see around us seems to be the result of some sort of cause and effect relationship. So it’s reasonable to imagine there must be some kind of ultimate cause. We can say very reasonably that the Grand Canyon was caused by millions of years of erosion and not by the flood that floated Noah’s ark because the evidence points much more strongly to millions of years of erosion. We can say that the planets formed by banging each other around for hundreds of millions of years and not because God magically wished them into existence in their current condition 6000 years ago because there is far more evidence for the former theory than for the latter.
But when it comes to why there is something in this universe rather than nothing we have a problem. Nobody has yet come up with a convincing scientific hypothesis that makes sense of this. However, there are many scientific hypotheses that are far more compelling than the idea of God snapping his fingers one day and saying, “Let there be light!” So I, for one, am far more inclined to go with science on this debate too.
If believers in God insist that they believe in him because someone must have created all this since some kind of intelligence had to have been involved in making a thing as complex as the universe then it’s perfectly logical to ask who created God. Because if God created the universe he must be even more complex than the universe, if you insist that only very complex beings can create very complex things, and so by that logic even God has to have a creator. But then whoever created God must therefore be even more complex than God. And if that’s true then another God even more powerful than that God must have created the God who created God. And so on and on and on to infinity.
When I talk and write about God I’m not referring to that kind of absurd God.
And yet… and yet… and yet…
This universe is not dead matter. To say that life is an emergent phenomenon explains nothing about who feels pain when you stub your big toe. Does nothing feel pain? Is pain an illusion? If so, what of it? It still hurts, dammit!
Quietly, quietly look into this for years and years. Don’t accept anything that anyone gives you as an answer. Don’t even accept your own conclusions. And certainly never accept the conclusions offered to you by so-called “Masters.” They haven’t got a clue in the world! Don’t accept my conclusions for sure! I’m just some guy who plays bass in a punk band, after all.
But just look and look and look and look.
You’ll see it for yourself.
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• 10 July 5:30 pm
Upaya Zen Center 1404 Cerro Gordo Rd Santa Fe, NM 87501
• 13 July 2:00 pm
Hope and Anchor 4012 North Mesa, El Paso, TX
• 14 July 7:00 pm
Center for Spiritual Living, 575 N Main St., Las Cruces, NM 88001
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