Image via WikipediaOk, so pretty much everyone knows that I call myself an Agnostic. Even though I have some major issues with religion in general and Christianity in particular, I have not and still can not call myself an Atheist. A lot of Atheists spend their time destroying religion, and in many cases they have done a pretty good job of it, but they have not been able to destroy God, Nietzsche's assertion that God is dead to the contrary. Even if it was shown that God, Yawhew, Jehovah and Allah do not exist, it still would be a possibility that some sort of God exists.
One of the biggest reasons I come to that keeps me Agnostic is the question of what came before the big bang, or more precisely what caused the big bang. I recently watched a couple of fantastic debates on youtube, the first being between Dinesh D'Souza, the conservative commentator and Christian apologetic, and Daniel Dennett, the noted Atheist philosopher, and the other between Dinesh again and Dan Barker, a former minister turned Atheist. To Dinesh's question of what happened before the big bang, Dan Barker replied that it is a meaningless question for the following reason. Since time and space both came into existence at the Big Bang, time did not exist before that moment and since asking what came before is a temporal question you can't ask it. It would be like asking what is north of the north pole, it's a meaningless question. And this is an excellent point, but.... it's not very satisfying. Our minds just cry out to know what happened before the big bang. it might be meaningless to ask what came BEFORE the big bang but, to my mind, that doesn't answer what CAUSED the big bang. To my mind, cause and effect go all the way back to the big bang, the singularity itself, so the big bang must have a cause. Common sense would dictate it couldn't have just happened, for no apparent reason at all. Maybe a better question is WHY did it happen, to which an Atheist would reply that that is another meaningless question, the universe doesn't have reasons, it just is.
But here's the thing, and the reason why we have to be very careful about the language we use. One guy stood up and asked a question of D'Souza that if you posit a God that created the Big Bang, couldn't you just as easily ask what caused God, who created the creator, and then who created that creator, ad nauseum, into infinity. But... I thought we just agreed that time did not exist before the big bang, therefore before the big bang, actually there is no before the big bang, there is no cause and effect because cause and effect are a temporal construct. Therefore one could still posit that God, who existed OUTSIDE of time, created the Big Bang, at which time, time itself came into existence. There is no problem with saying God has no creator, he has always existed, or since time didn't exist, it is better to say he existed outside of time. I am that I am.
Whew!!!! Got that out. lol
I'm surprised Dinesh did not think of this answer, he kind of equivocated on the issue and his answer was not satisfactory.
One good answer that he did posit is that the universe encompasses all that is, all of nature. Everything that is considerd nature and natural is contained within the universe, therefore the universe could not have created itself, that would be saying nature created itselt, but nature didn't exist before the big bang. Again, we are using the term 'before' when we know there was no 'before', but according to this logic, which seems sound to me, since the universe can not have a natural cause, it must have a other than natural, or supernatural cause.
Another Atheist objection I've heard over the years is that if we say God created the universe we are stuck with who created God to which the theist replies he has always existed. The Atheist says well why not just say the Universe has always existed and just cut out the middle man. Sounds like a good argument. In other words, why not just call the universe itself God. I used to think this argument was so sound that I used it myself. The problem with it is that we DO know, from science, not religion, that the universe DID in fact have a beginning, at the big bang. We KNOW that the universe is not eternal, it had a finite beginning some billions of years ago, so we CAN'T say that the universe always existed as a way to get around God. The universe had a beginning and I'm still stuck asking why.
Or maybe...time is like in calculus where, when you go backwards in time towards the big bang, you can approach but never actually reach the big bang itself. Scientists say that their science only works back to some infinitesimally small fraction of a second after the big bang, before that the science breaks down. So maybe, if you can approach but never reach the singularity itself, time HAS always existed, therefore space and the universe HAS always existed, which means there WAS no beginning, a beginning being only an illusion. In this case, we COULD call the universe itself God. Well fine, we can do that, and maybe scientists and religious believers are talking about the same thing, but an Atheist would object that that is not what a person normally means when they speak of God. I don't know, I have no answers. I'm agnostic. It seems that logic can be used to argue either case, which brings us to Dinesh's point, that we will NEVER have sufficient information, and YET we still have to choose. We have to choose between belief and unbelief. But do we really? Why? Who says? Why can't I be Agnostic? Isn't agnosticism, in the face of insufficient information, the only logically sound solution? The ability to say, you know what? I just don't have a friggin clue!!! I just don't know. And I think my doubt is perffectly reasonable. But my doubt extends both ways, I doubt God's existence at the same as I doubt his non-existence. What a conundrum huh?