Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Elevator Conversation

Hold that 'vator! Hey, I heard you are an atheist. What's up with that? What are you so angry about?

It just means that I live my life on the premise that there are natural laws that are consistent throughout the universe. I could be wrong, but it gives me a lot of peace to view the world that way.

Could you push 6? What makes you so sure? What if there is a hell? A lot of people have believed that for a long time. There is a ton of evidence for God.

Right, I could be wrong, but Christians could be wrong and they should believe in Allah. Or we all could be wrong and we should be sacrificing to Zeus. How do you know? It seems we have a different idea about "evidence". I like to see experiments repeated and verified by more than one person.

That sounds boring.

There are many mysteries in the universe. Science begins with one person having an idea, an inspiration or an insight. They talk about it and find that others have had similar experiences. They keep looking into it, often opening up bigger questions and greater mysteries. If we had all of the answers, we would stop, but we keep exploring. Belief interrupts that process and claims to have an answer, a supernatural cause, "God did it".

Some people say, "God is everything, it is the great mystery", and I'm fine with that as long as you understand you are using "god" as a placeholder for things we don't understand. Just don't get stuck there. When some of that mystery is cleared up, don't argue that it should remain a mystery.

[Elevator stops at third floor. Look at shoes while people get on.]

What about morality? Science tells us nothing about that. Science doesn't create community.

[Sideways glances from the people who just got on]

Maybe. We do know that people need food, shelter and regular rest. We know when things are really bad. Deciding how we feed everyone, how we take care of the sick or what we do with people who want to take more than they give are decisions we need to work on together. I've never seen a concise set of rules that solves all those problems. I have seen technological innovations that could solve them if we wanted to and I've seen belief systems that promote torture, slavery and the death penalty for minor crimes. Show me a system that has consistently held together a moral community and I'll be interested.

Okay, well, my floor is next, I'll have to get back to you on that. But doesn't science say that there was nothing before the Big Bang? Everything has to have a cause doesn't it? Isn't it just an arbitrary choice to say God created everything or that it came from a quantum singularity?

I'll send you a YouTube link about that. That is a great mystery, and I don't understand all the physics behind it, but it still fits with the premise that there are consistent natural laws. The Big Bang started the 13.7 billion years that we experience, that we can see with telescopes. There were natural laws that caused the Big Bang, ones that we are only beginning to understand. It is not arbitrary at all. My search has always been for the real world.

No comments:

Post a Comment