Annoyed and anxious. Want to be a theist but can't find it in me.

WHY would we believe in a God?! -Other than the fact we wish to.

  1. First Cause?-
    Many Christians suggest that, for the Big Bang to have happened (or the creation of matter and energy to happen) it needed a ‘First Cause’. Many scientists believe that space and time began with the Big Bang’s singularity and so did not exist before: hence that nothing whatsoever (or a reality beyond our ability to ‘find out’ about) predated our Universe…so the answer to the question ‘what came before the Big Bang?’ is ‘nothing’. However this brings an elephant into the room. How could the singularity take place if the Laws of Physics (which, after all, need not apply outside of our reality) did not predate it?
    Stephen Hawking answers thusly, “The conclusion of this lecture is that the universe has not existed forever. Rather, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago. The beginning of real time, would have been a singularity, at which the laws of physics would have broken down. Nevertheless, the way the universe began would have been determined by the laws of physics, if the universe satisfied the no boundary condition. This says that in the imaginary time direction, space-time is finite in extent, but doesn’t have any boundary or edge. The predictions of the no boundary proposal seem to agree with observation. The no boundary hypothesis also predicts that the universe will eventually collapse again.”

In other words, space and time are NOT infinite but are boundless in the same way the World has no ‘stepping off point’ (walk around it-if you could- you’d reach no boundary) but it is finite in its extent (there is not an infinite amount of planet Earth). According to Hawking ‘imaginary time’ (AKA time that flows, say, ‘horizontally’ to our ‘linear’ time is responsible for Physics ‘existing’ for the Big Bang and, hence, no outside influence beyond our self-reliant reality is needed. Reality is self contained and reliant and did not come from pure oblivion or any outside cause.

Obviously, it goes without saying, many Christians will not agree with this statement. However, I cannot locate any rebuttles to this argument. What (if any) rebuttles exist to refute Hawking’s idea of a self-created and reliant reality?

  1. Thought without a brain? This goes against what pretty much every neurobiologist believes…and they’re somewhat experts in that field. If your brain matter is damaged, under developed, growing differently…it all alters your thinking. If I hit someone over the head with a brick, I doubt their capacity to think well would be great afterwards.
    Now, thought itself may or may not comprise of matter or energy (logically it would seem not to)…but it’s certainly made conscious by neurons and electro/chemical reactions! This has been proved again and again by tests and an understanding of ‘which parts’ of the brain produce the most electro/chemical ‘action’ when certain thoughts occur.
    How would thought (God’s thought) have pre-existed matter if matter is compulsorary to create consciousness? Why would we think it could…not only could, but ‘most likely did’? Why on earth would our own minds continue after death when our brains have stopped? (we cannot possibly suggest that brains have nothing to do with our consciousness- that is provably not the case- and if so, what would you suggest they are there for then?!)…

And I don’t get the whole ‘self evident’ truth line of thinking where people say ‘just read the Bible and have faith’…if we trusted our emotional faculties to that degree (that whenever we get an inkling, we accept that sense of suggestion as a factual truth finder) all types of havoc would cut loose- as Scrooge answers to Marley’s ghost when it asks, “Why do you doubt your senses?”…“Because a little thing effects them. You might be a crumb of cheese, a blot of custard…there’s more of gravey than of grave about you!”

We KNOW we dream. We KNOW we hallucinate. Why would we ever trust that small voice that says, 'Pah! Throw logic to the wind- there’s magic and wish fullfillment in this World!" If I bowed towards ‘suggestion’ I’d hate everyone my prejudice first reacts against, I would believe my own sense of righteousness in any argument without consession…I’d behave and react on a sense of whim!

The more and more I seek (and I have been doing so for 8 years) the more the arguments for God seem fanciful in the face of the hard, unkind but unsentimental and unbias Universe.

There is obviously no knock down argument for God’s existence (or everyone would believe in Him) but I would at least like Him to seem a ‘likely’ scenereo! I do not believe in magic and do not like the word ‘supernatural’ being used in the search. If it cannot seem reasonable (even in a crazy- ‘out there’- logic sort of way) it probably isn’t.

Forget Hawking and all your arguments for a moment. You say you want to be a theist.

Is that really true?

Is it really? :shrug:

Being that the question has been making me depressed and driving me to distraction- being that most of my friends think I AM a theist because I always defend the faith to them (so no, the ‘proud atheist simply ignoring the truth because he likes to look clever’ thing isn’t true in this instance)-Being that i have actually attended Church many times and spoken to a monks, theologians, Christians who are scientists, vicars etc.etc.- I’d say so, yes. :frowning:

I’ve been here before. I think it can roughly be summed up as “I want to believe but I can’t.” :shrug:

To the best of my recollection, I’d never heard this precise argument, as you’ve outlined it here. So, the universe is finite, but reality is boundless? Fair enough. How did reality come to be, then? Certainly, we can walk around and around the surface of a ‘boundless’ earth (I’d argue that there are bounds to the earth, but that’s a different argument), but that doesn’t imply that the earth wasn’t created!

  1. Thought without a brain?

Bone up on your Aquinas. :wink:

There is a certain notion of ‘thought’ that proceeds from our sensory observation; but that isn’t the extent of the notion of ‘intellect.’

Now, thought itself may or may not comprise of matter or energy (logically it would seem not to)…but it’s certainly made conscious by neurons and electro/chemical reactions! This has been proved again and again by tests and an understanding of ‘which parts’ of the brain produce the most electro/chemical ‘action’ when certain thoughts occur.

Human consciousness is certainly intertwined with the human body. However, does that imply that consciousness (human or otherwise) proceeds from the body?

How would thought (God’s thought) have pre-existed matter if matter is compulsorary to create consciousness?

Is matter a requirement for consciousness?

Why on earth would our own minds continue after death when our brains have stopped?

You’ve just changed the goalposts, though, haven’t you? Having discussed ‘consciousness’ and ‘brain function’, you’ve now conflated them, without any segue or proof, with the notion of the ‘mind’. Does the ‘mind’ have a definition that is purely physical? Or can it not have a definition that includes the soul?

And I don’t get the whole ‘self evident’ truth line of thinking where people say ‘just read the Bible and have faith’

That works for some people; but not all. :shrug:

And certainly, the Church asks us to engage the gifts of reason and intellect which God gave us, in order to understand His self-revelation to us.

We KNOW we dream. We KNOW we hallucinate. Why would we ever trust that small voice that says, 'Pah! Throw logic to the wind- there’s magic and wish fullfillment in this World!"

Whoever has led you to believe that “throwing logic to the wind” is what the Church asks of Catholic believers, has grossly mischaracterized the Church’s position. :sad_yes:

I do not believe in magic and do not like the word ‘supernatural’ being used in the search.

Time for definitions, don’t you think? What do you mean by ‘magic’? What is your definition of ‘supernatural’, and why should it not apply to a discussion of God?

If it cannot seem reasonable (even in a crazy- ‘out there’- logic sort of way) it probably isn’t.

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in many of his Sherlock Holmes novels. :wink:

Fantastic post :thumbsup:!

Mr Jennings, I realize that from a philosophical standpoint this may seem to be putting the cart before the horse, but have you prayed for the gift of faith? I don’t mean demanding proof, but humbly asking for enlightenment.

You should pray as Charles of Focauld did: “” God if you exist grant me to know You"" and believe me He will.

I hear you. I once went through such a dark time that my prayers at one point were things like, “God…do you exist?”

One of the best arguments I’ve ever seen for the existence of God was in, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”. It was a case for the teaching in schools of the existence of God, “Intelligent Design”.

Your local library probably has it, if you are interested in being a theist.

Some say that life, the universe, has been created, spontaneously, without any kind of outside intervention, through a series of random, fortuitous “accidents”. We believe in an explosion, that instead of chaos, created order!

Look at the orderliness of the universe. If this was accidental, wouldn´t it look that way? It doesn´t. One can see the overriding perfection and intelligence.

What would you say if I were to say that my computer, just materialized, without anyone else having put it together? What if I say it evolved, but all by itself?

How would you know I was lying, that it COULDN´T have evolved by itself. It´d be so unlikely, improbable, that it would be virtually impossible that something as complex as it could have randomly or accidentally just come together.

Look at the perfection of the human body. Do you think if you were to put a bunch of chemicals together into a flask that, even eons later, that it would make a human being without a lot of outside intervention?

In the same way my computer didn´t just assemble itself, much less by accident, did the human body, or cosmos, so perfectly come into existence.

If it had come about through sheer serendipity, one would expect it to look like that, be random, but one can see an overriding perfection to it all, that it fits together perfectly, more perfectly than hand and glove.

Well, I studied the same anatomy and physiology as the nurses did. Just what one part of the body is, could each dedicate a specialized area of study.

Look again at the example of the human body. It is PERFECT! All its numerous systems come together, as if by magic. It is more incredible than our most advanced computer, because it is LIVING!

I don´t think the human body could have engineered itself by accident nor the universe, either. Both the human body AND the universe act together, as one.

It’s all TOO perfect to be a coincidence.

In “Expelled”, it gives the example of a bunch of monkeys typing at a typewriter and someone saying that they could, randomly, given enough time, reproduce William Shakespeare’s entire works! Possibly, but do you realize how improbable that would be? What would the odds of that coming together, randomly, by accident? It would be so improbable, that it would be less probable than a trillion to one!

So, Hawkins expects us to believe this all came together like this, as if by magic, with no outside intervention? I may not be a rocket scientist, but it’s just too improbable for me to believe. It’d be easier for me to believe in a man who was resurrected from the dead, and a virgin birth, than for me to believe the universe just “happened” by accident.

Look at our existence. Do you realize how many variables had to come together? There is gravity, pH, temperature, humidity, oxygen, etc.

If ONE of those variables had been too off, then NO life! Period!

There’s electricity, chemistry, physics, math. It boggles the mind…dimensions.

No, it’s TOO perfect to happen by trillions of fortuitous “coincidences”. NOTHING happens by “accident”. It has all happened for a reason.

AND, due to our limited brains, we basically can´t conceive it, either way, if we were created or not. Our brains fry out at that point, can´t comprehend something without a beginning. However, the alternative might be that things went infinitely into the past, equally, as incomprehensible.

When science goes back and back trying to find the “beginning”, we would need to find that in the beginning, there was some being that was NOT created, the uncreated Creator. We call that being, “God”. Why? What would you call it?

Try this. Pray, “God…do you exist?”

I’d like to offer you a word of encouragement.

The desire you have for God, as small as you may think it is, is itself a gift from God. Think of your longing as a tiny seed that has been planted within you.

Of course, that seed needs to sprout and then to grow into a small sapling and then, one day, into a mighty tree! But that takes time. Be patient.

God knows your hunger. He put it there. And He will answer when you call, because He promised He would:

Jeremiah 29:11-14
11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for the desire which you have placed into these hearts. Strengthen that desire, help them to know you, and raise them up into the children of God that they were created to be. Amen. :signofcross:

I am not a scientist, so I always get myself into trouble when I comment on these things.

It amazes me that people don’t look at scientific theory witth skeptisim

Hawking said it so it must be true. I mean after all he’s smart and a scientist. right?
What’s the difference between that and the bishop said it so it must be true. I mean after all he’s a bishop.

The interesting thing about Hawking is that until recently He said there must be some kind of intelligence due to the fine tuning of the laws of physics. This was regarded as a PROBLEM. Now they came up with a way to solve the problem. This doesn’t take care of the infinite regression. The laws of physics were in place before the big bang? how?

This seems to agree with observation? Really? how on earth can you observe what happen 15 Billion years ago let alone before it?

I don’t put stock in Scientist’s say ___ therefore it must be true. In a hundred years scientific theory will be completely different.

No matter what I have a hard time believing that all this could happen on it’s own.

Your destiny seems to be to continue asking questions and searching for answers. This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, G-d gave us all a free will, an intellect, the power of reason and logic, a curiosity drive, emotions, and an innate sense of right and wrong. Calling your attention to the latter, I would suggest you pursue your search for answers and, at the same time, use your innate sense of right and wrong to be the best person you can by helping others, improving the state of the world, and living a good, moral life. If you happen to develop faith and belief in G-d during the process, so much the better; but if you do not, at least you will have done, perhaps unwittingly, G-d’s work on earth and conformed to His will.

No thought without a brain.

That is an interesting argument for non-theism. Perhaps a convincing one. Personally the way I think about this is that God made us body and soul. The two are of equal importance and equal parts. Hence the resurrection. Our brain brings life to our soul in terms of our body. If our brain was simply an organism that ran the rest of our body for survival, then our bodies could function without a great deal of thought. Like a plant or a seemingly brainless animal like an alligator or a crab.

I’d ask, why do we desire to create things that do not help the cause of survival, such as a song or a painting?

Most importantly, why do we love? Why do we care so deeply about others such as family or close friends that we would actually allow ourselves to be hurt or killed to protect them. Why does our heart ache when our children’s hearts ache? One might answer because we empathize; we know what it is like to be hurt in this way. I am not sure this explains it though. We would not need to be this well-designed (if you will) to simply function.

I don’t know, there are many difficult questions with no good answers. The theist as well as the atheist must agree on this (I’d propose). Therefore if we are left with no good conclusive answer to some of life’s questions of which a wise individual may make a good argument either way; why not have Hope?

This is certainly not my only argument for Faith in God, but I must admit I do resort to it from time to time…All else being equal, I choose to believe. We will very likely not know the answers to many questions that have plagued man from the beginning. I do not think we are getting any closer to answering these questions. The road is too long; we can make advancements but we will never reach the end. I think this is by design :slight_smile:


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