The other day I was looking through some of the publications on Stephen Hawking's website. For anyone who doesn't know who Stephen Hawking is, just google it. Stephen Hawking like any scientist of note, is not in the habit of saying things because he likes to hear the sound of his own voice (he can't - he suffers from MNS - motor neuron syndrome and was supposed to be dead many years ago). In fact, he has occupied the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge for somewhere in excess of 30 years, and has recently vacated it. He is the acknowledged world expert on black holes.
And somewhere in all the writing (apologies to Prof Hawking if it was not directly from his website, but from a link to another site), I came across a wonderful analogy of the universe in terms that the rank and file human can understand. Realise first that the scientists are now talking about "Multiverse" rather than "Universe", because there is likely more than one, and "uni" means one.
OK - so the analogy is that the Multiverse is like a huge mansion filled with black holes, the vacuum of space, dead, cold, inhospitable, supernovae etc. - and all evidence suggests to us that the one thing the universe is good at, is manufacturing black holes - and somewhere in the middle of this enormous black void, is this MICROSCOPICALLY SMALL pinprick which if enlarged a whole lot, turns out to be our solar system. And within this solar system is this rather insignificant blue-green planet which orbits a local sun at just the right distance to sustain life.
And on the surface of this rather silly little microscopic speck, we have a bunch of humans who are arrogant enough to think that they have a god who has manufactured all of the Multiverse, for the sole purpose of creating them. And worse than that - not everyone on the microscopically small speck of a planet in the microscopically small silly little solar system we inhabit, is going to be "saved" (whatever that is), by the god who has created all the other stuff in the universe, which is too far away to have any bearing on anything we do anyway. No no! All the Hindus are going to hell. All the Buddhists are going to Hell. The orthodox Jews are even going to hell. The Shintos, Athiests, Candomble's, Baha'is, Mormons, Santerias, Spiritualists, Taoists, Zoroastrians, Jehovah Witnesses (unless you are a Witness - of course), Unitarians etc. - are you starting to get the picture? - are all going to hell. The whole bang toot of them.
Yep. the Christian God of the Bible created the infinite expanses of the Multiverse, so a tiny subset (not even the majority religion on the planet - there's that dirty word again : religion) of Earth's peoples can feel comfortable and complacent in their spiritual immaturity. And all of this on that tiny insignificant planet in that microscopic solar system in the ridiculously small Milky Way Galaxy in our own universe, a subset of the Immense Multiverse.
Damn - DO YOU KNOW HOW STUPID AND INFANTILE THAT SOUNDS? When are we going to mature into spiritual adults? Maybe one day we will even have to admit (heaven - if you will excuse the word - forbid), that there isn't a God as we understand it. But I don't want to frazzle your brain too much right now. Maybe it's all a concoction of an early church, greedy to corner the market on gullible adherents? I suspect that in fact, let's assume for now that there is in fact a universal force which caused the universe to come into existence. I'm on a journey here - don't castigate me if you already discovered there isn't one. I think though we can all dispense with the concept that there is a "Christian God" who is a wrinkled old man sitting on a throne and who meddles in the affairs of men on a whim.
Of course if we believe the garbage we are given, this god (small g) is a god of love and he sits and decides who makes it and who doesn't. Of course he knows everything "from the foundation of the world" and can see into the future. And we are given "free will" to do whatever we like - as long as it's exactly what the bible and our Christian God want us to do. Sounds like Henry Ford - any colour as long as it's black. Hey - either god knows what's going on or he doesn't - and if he doesn't, the Christian (I'm still spelling this with a capital C - for now) bible is a lie. So let's believe he does. So he creates everyone (at least that's what the American fundamentalists tell us, in opposition to scientific discovery of an evolution of the species) - and in the process condones incest (who had sex with Adam and Eve's offspring to make more babies, if we are to believe the garbage we are fed in the bible? Or was DNA only invented later, as one particularly frontally-lobotomised Christian school teacher told one of her disbelieving children?)
And before he has created you (God knows the future, remember?), he knows you're going to turn out a drug addict, or be mangled by a train at the age of 3, or be born with a brain defect and be a mental cabbage all of your short life, or in fact you will be an upright Christian Soldier (marching off to war - yeah, right), and one day you have an AHA!- moment, and you start to use your brain for the first time in your life, and you stop chanting a bunch of dingos kidneys ("never again will I, bla bla bla....."). And you think (deeply), and you say "If God (capital G) had wanted to create only us in the universe, like the American fundamentalists believe (and of course therefore the rest of the civilised world), why would he bother to create all the other bullshit in the universe which has no bearing on our miserable little lives, and never will have? It seems to me perfectly possible to only have our own solar system in order to sustain life. We could all just orbit merrily around the sun, and God could keep us in a little cosmic goldfish-bowl. No need for all the other black holes and crap.
And then of course you and all the others who didn't quite shape up, end up going to the Christian hell - but the god of love knew this, didn't he? He just likes playing roulette with his creations. And in case you are a closet amateur astronomer who has astrological tendencies and believes that next week pluto is into uranus (pun intended) or somesuch, I challenge you to prove any of this, and that the greater universe in fact has any effect on our day to day lives. In fact, you may find yourself hard-pressed for any reliable evidence for your case. But you're free to believe anything you like - be my guest.
And then you have one or two people who are brave enough to challenge the status quo, and to use their brains and start to think about these issues, knowing that the establishment will condemn them (people who swim against the current are never popular), and they draw the logical conclusion : that the God of Christianity doesn't exist. You know - the one who sits on the throne and meddles at will with bits of his creation, for the benefit of a few (usually American, but includes a few other).
The Eagles put it well in their album (not accidentally) entitled "Long Road out of Eden". In "Frail Grasp on the Big Picture", they say
"And we pray to our Lord, who we know is American
He reigns from on high and speaks to us through middle men
And he shepherds his flock; we sing out and praise His name
He supports us in war; he presides over football games
And the right will prevail, all our troubles shall be resolved
We hold faith above all, unless there's money or sex involved
Frail grasp on the big picture"
And you know what G (not god - the more intelligent one that I am married to) got in her head while she was pondering on these weighty and infinite thoughts?
I am enough. That's it - I am enough.
We're on our own, and that's OK. Those who cannot stomach the fear of realising that once and for all you have nobody but yourself to guide your way through this life, are free to leave. If there is an overarching creative force in the universe, it doesn't spend any time worrying about what each one of the little specks on the microscopic speck called the Earth in the tiny little speck which is our solar system, in the rather insignificant galaxy we call the Milky Way, in only one of a myriad of universes; happens to be doing each moment.
It doesn't care if Victor Ortiz beats Victor Galindez in the boxing ring, or in fact if they are even in the same weight class. It doesn't even care if Juan Pablo Montoya runs over Gabriel Montoya with his race car, while he's still lacing up his boxing gloves. And It doesn't care if the USA get 100 gold medals in the next olympics, or not - or if South Africa gets none. And It will not interfere to ensure that regardless of how bad Russia are at playing rugby, they are going to win the rugby world cup. And Benny Hinn and the hour of power and Robert Schuller and the Crystal Palace - or whatever the monstrosity is called - and the other spiritual leeches who prey on the unwary will be benefited only by their wits and their mouths and their business acumen, but not by their commercialistic Christian god (small g).
Time to grow up. I am enough. And that's enough.