Notes by Autumn Light

On Hebrew, English, translation, editing, and more—by Jonathan Orr-Stav

What makes religious people so sure of the existence of God when great minds like Dawkins, Hawkings, Einstein, etc have renounced it?

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I saw a wall graffito once:

God is dead.

– Nietzsche

And just below it (in different handwriting, and clearly more recent):

Nietzsche is dead.

– God.

Just because some renowned thinker said something doesn’t mean that it’s true. Each of the three people you mention has been proven wrong on at least one occasion, even within their own field of expertise: Dawkins about the selfish gene; Hawkins that the information radiated by black holes must be new; and Einstein that quantum physics can’t be true.

(Einstein, by the way, didn’t renounce the idea of God. He even said, “God doesn’t play dice with the universe” to explain why he thought that the probabilistic effects predicted by quantum physics are impossible.)

Take other people’s word for something when it comes to things such as the Kim Kardashian’s latest fashion tip, or the reasons for the split-up between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. For important issues—such as whether God exists, or climate change, or the TPP—read up as much as you can, and make up your own mind.

One last thing: always define your terms accurately. By “God”, do you mean the Creator of the universe, or the Monitor left in charge to watch over one planet in this tiny corner of it? And if they’re one and the same, how do we know that He/She cares what we’re doing, and is not simply monitoring? And if He/She does care, how do we know why, or how He/She wants us to behave? And if there is no Monitor, does that mean that there are no other good reasons for acting morally?

(Originally written in reply to a question at Quora.com).

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Author: יונתן אור-סתיו | Jonathan Orr-Stav

Hebrew-English translator, editor, author. מתרגם עברית–אנגלית, עורך באנגלית, וסופר.

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