Anthony Gottlieb has a very interesting article on the New Yorker website. His article, Atheists with Attitude, is about the recent “flood” of books that defend an atheist view of the world, some being fairly hostile to religion. (I tried to begin Richard Dawkin’s book The Selfish Gene, which is one of his most famous books, and had a hard time getting past his hostile attitude, even though I’m not a very religious person.)
But, it isn’t so much his review of this series of books that I found so interesting. Rather, it was his paraphrasing of David Hume I found so intriguing: God is merely the answer that you get if you do not ask enough questions.
When I was younger, I found solice in this view of the world. Believing in God meant that everything had an answer. Why does the universe exist? God created it. Why are we here? God put us here. Why didn’t I get a hit in that game? God willed it so. Believing in God meant that there was an answer to every question, every question but one: where did God come from?
I guess that is a question that isn’t supposed to be asked. But, when I did ask it, I realized that, in not having an answer, it meant I didn’t have a real answer to any of my other questions. Why does the universe exist? God created it. But who created God? Where did God come from? In the end, the answer I took so much comfort in didn’t really answer anything for me.
I find that the scientific method is much more fullfilling for me, intellectually and “spiritually”. I hesitate to use that word, as it isn’t so much a spiritual thing, but rather it just feels better to me. Science doesn’t have all the answers and there is no scientist that would claim it does. But, what science does offer is an approach to search for the answers to the questions we pose. Why does the universe exist? Well, we don’t know, but science keeps getting a little closer to understanding the earliest moments of the universe. Why are we here? It might be just a random bit of luck that life was right on Earth to lead to our existence. Why didn’t I get a hit in that game? I just suck at baseball.
Seriously, many more questions go unanswered for me now. But, I also know that by investigating the questions, I will have a better understanding of the world around me than if I just ascribed everything to God. I might “know” less than if I relied upon God as the answer for everything, but I definitely understand more.