God, Belief, and the Universe, in Context

Over the years, I have often debated on the nature of God and against religion. Over time, my arguments have become more refined (in a roundabout way), but today, a new thought popped into my head. In all my back-and-forth’s (which I’ve finally realized is futile, because people believe what they want, not what is true), I’ve always made my argument in a lack of context. The result being the sabotage of my argument, first by its lack of context, but further still, in its complexity.

Right off the bat, any argument instigated in such a way is crippled. So from now on, if I ever get into such a personal debate again (which I’m thinking not too), it will go something like this:

Since nothing can ever be thought of as certain, even in science, specifically quantum mechanics, which at its foundation, precludes absolute certainty (the highest is 99.9999…%), therefore, we are forced to deal with varying probabilities of certainty, and should tackle the question of God in such a way. So with that being said, and in light of my earlier contextual ambiguities and unnecessary complexity, I have boiled it down to these two questions:

1) Which of the following propositions is more likely?

i. The universe is eternal and uncaused, therefore has always existed in one form or another

ii. The universe was caused into existence, by an uncaused being, who by definition, is eternal

2) Is there a difference between options i and ii?

iii. Semantics; that is, lingual or imagined

iv. Physical; that is, real, and not imagined

Ponder them a few minutes before answering. But it is really that simple. Everything about religion, god, the cosmos, our place in the universe et al, boils down to the answers of these two questions.  How you answer becomes the foundation of your belief.

If you are as curious as I am to the general responses to the above questions, then please answer the following polls, and share this page to facebook, twitter, reddit etc. I believe that framed in the proper context, the foundation for belief can be questioned without the usual, nerve-fraying round-about, and useless manner in which it is today done. But to really see if we can get around it, I need lots of votes, so if you enjoyed this post, vote and share…

Fourat Janabi is the author of Random Rationality: A Rational Guide to an Irrational World, available for $1.99 on Kindle, and $7.99 on Paperback. Subscribe to this blog for email updates, and receive Random Rationality for free…

3 thoughts on “God, Belief, and the Universe, in Context”

  1. I think this post lays out very clear foundations for how to go about the ‘God’ conversation. You lay your biases clear, and then define your terms.

    As much as I hate middle-ground answers, there is a premise between (i) and (ii). There may exist an eternal ‘potential’, a quantum field of probability. I could write thousands of word on just that, but it is suffice to say that if quantum mechanics operate outside of space/time the way we know they operate inside space/time then all you need is a quantum field to get a “universe”.

    This brings us on to the interesting question: is this difference semantic? Is the universe this space/time continuum, or is it ‘everything’. If the universe is just this space/time continuum then God and quantum fields can both exist independent of the universe and it would make sense to talk about them creating it. This would make either of them (if they exist) eternal; if you do not exist within space/time you are eternal.

    Alternatively, if you say ‘universe’ to mean ‘everything’, then God and quantum fields are still eternal, but they are the universe. It doesn’t mean anything to say that either created the universe, for they are a part of it (if they exist at all).

    So here’s my vote:
    I think ‘universe’ means ‘space/time’.
    I think it is more likely the universe can into existence.
    I think the ’cause’ is more likely to be unintelligent than intelligent thing(all uncaused things we know of are non-sentient).
    I think the word “Being” begs the question by excluding quantum fields.

    Hopefully you and your readers can start a discussion from here.

  2. yeah I would have to agree with allat, this is a very good post. but in premise i and ii, the core of the difference is really just playing the word game of semantics.

  3. Rodriguez, you hit the nail on the head. According to my logic, and feel free to let me know if there is an error in my logic, the difference is semantic! That’s why I phrased the questions as such. Maybe it’s a bit presumptuous of me to hope people would figure it out on their own, but there is no difference between the two, and I tihnk religion intentionally muddles this ground. If we didn’t have religion, we would rightfully (or at least intellectually honestly) assume that there is no creator until otherwise given evidence for it, given what we now know about quantum mechanics and cause-and-effects only existing inside time.

    Allalt, I also read a Universe from Nothing, and just finished reading, Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You, so I’m on the same wavelength as you (and even if I wasn’t, it would still be true), but I didn’t put in the multiverse because there isn’t conclusive physical observational proof yet, only theoretical. As such, I put universe, since regardless of whether a multiverse exists or not, we can make the distinction between self-created universe, and uncreated creator. If we add the multiverse once it is conclusively proven, then the void takes the role of the universe, and there is still the same distinction.
    Though the void being an non-sentient thing anthropomorphized is interesting. I myself tend to think that the spacetime universe is anthropomorphized, though perhaps thats a silly distinction.
    I hope I made sense?

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