By Ozodi Thomas Osuji – The March 12, 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and consequent loss of thousands of human lives, not to talk of property, has given atheistic scientists opportunity to tell us that there is no God. They say: see, I told you, there is no God out there protecting human beings. All talk about God is fiction. Only nature exists and nature treats human beings as it treats other animals, trees and rocks. Human beings are not special at all; they were produced by nature and are destroyed by nature and that is all there is to them.
Scientists are of course correct in stating that the earthquake and tsunami are natural phenomenon. Geophysicists have at length written about the nature of the earth, its composition and the fact that earthquakes happen as a result of plate tectonics. They have told us that the earth is divided into four regions: an inner core composed of solid iron and nickel; an outer core composed of molten iron and nickel; a mantle composed of viscous rocks and the outer crust we walk on composed of rocks (made of the various elements, especially silicon, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, calcium, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, phosphor, sodium etc.). Their study of plate tectonics tell us that at certain points in the earth land masses shift, some trying to rise above others and some trying to slide underneath others. It is at these plate tectonics that the shifting of land result in earthquakes. When earthquakes occur inside oceans the shift in land kick up ocean waves which rush towards the shores and as it moves gathers strength and by the time it smashes on shores may be as high as fifty feet and thus destroy everything on the shore, as happened in Northeastern Japan. Simply stated there is ample evidence that earthquakes and tsunamis are natural phenomena and not the doing of some capricious gods.
Such events as well as the findings of astrophysicists teach us that the universe is a natural phenomenon not the creation of the gods, as our ancestors had believed. The accepted view on the origin of the universe is that 13.7 billion years ago something appeared from nowhere, something about the size of a nucleus of an atom and got incredibly hot and exploded and in its explosion invented photons and quarks; quarks combined to form protons, neutrons and electrons (mass); the Big Bang explosion also produced space and time.
In time the particles of protons and neutrons combined into nuclei of hydrogen and helium (for 400, 00 years the nuclei and electrons and photons existed as plasma). In further time (400, 000 years later) electrons began circling nuclei and atoms of hydrogen and helium were formed.
Millions of years later clouds of hydrogen formed the stars and galaxies. The original massive stars burned out their hydrogen (hydrogen nuclei, in nucleosynthesis, is fused in the core of stars forming helium and generating light and heat that reach us on earth) and exploded and invented the heavier elements.
The heavier elements as part of star dust and gas eventually aggregated into other stars and planets. Thus, it came to pass that there are billions of galaxies, billions of stars and billions of planets.
Eventually, on some planets (at least on our own) biological life forms formed. Elements combined into molecules and compounds and eventually formed cells that formed plants and animals.
After billions of years of evolution as biological organisms animals with the capacity to understand the universe, us, came into being.
No one doubts that human beings’ bodies evolved from other animals and from matter in general, so it would seem that atheism has won the debate on whether God exists or not. Our experience teaches us that natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, draughts, and plagues of diseases (virus, bacteria, and fungi) do destroy us as they destroy other animals and trees. It would therefore seem self-evident that no one cares for us, that we were produced by the universe, live our lives and like other animals die and disappear into the nothingness from which the original singularity came from. Oblivion seems our fate.
Pure reason accepts finitude as the end of human existence. Any talk of gods, heaven and hell seem like an expensive joke enacted by deluded religionists. Richard Dawkins called belief in God a delusion, a belief in what is not real as real; that is, God does not exist but we project our wish for what Sigmund Freud, in his book, the future of an illusion, called a father figure who protected us from the capricious workings of the universe, to an imaginary figure we call God.
The human body is composed of the various elements, especially carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, which in turn are composed of sub-atomic particles such as protons, neutrons and electrons and photons. When we die our bodies decay and return to those elements and particles. In time the elements and particles decay into the nothingness from whence they came. That is to say that our bodies are nothing and have mere temporary existence, not permanent existence.
Science seems to have it all figured out and all we have to do is accept atheism, meaninglessness and purposeless. Like cattle we are supposed to accept what science teaches us and graze grass and quietly live out our pointless existence, die and disappear into nothingness and that is all there is to us.
While alive we are supposed to find a way to amuse ourselves and it does not hurt if one way we amuse ourselves is trying to figure out the universe’s working and positing stories of creation that in their absurdity surpasses the absurdity of the story of creation found in the Christian Bible (Genesis).
In Genesis, out of nothing God conjured out the world. In current cosmology, out of nothing something appeared and produced the universe and the universe produced us. And we are supposed to believe this story as Christians are supposed to believe that their magical god conjured out the world.
Alas, our common sense tells us that nothing comes from nothing. Where did the universe come from? Where is it expanding to? All these are necessary questions that science has no answers to other than to use administrative fiat to require us not to ask those questions, just as the Catholic Church asked folks not to question the absurd stories of the Bible.
We have gone from one authoritarian belief system (religion) to another (science). We are not even encouraged to speculate on where we came from and where we are going for those are not empirical and verifiable conjectures, as opposed to the alleged verifiability and falsifiability of science (ala Karl Popper). This is amazing!
I believe that the empirical, objective world is part of the illusion that we are separated from God and from each other. It is our effort to trick us into believing that there is no God and that this world is all there is to us. It is part of our game to convince us that God does not exist and that his children are left on their own and swim or drown and at any rate would eventually die and that is all there is to them.
Their universe will eventually die. Our sun has been around for four and half billion years and would last another five billion years and exhaust its hydrogen, expand and explode and (become a white dwarf and eventually a dark dwarf and then decay into nothing). Before it dies it becomes very hot and dries all the liquid on planet earth and we would be dead. In about a billion years from now all life on earth would be gone.
The galaxies are expanding and would eventually lose heat and die. The stars would turn into supernovae and explode into fragments and die (some massive stars would initially shore off their outer regions and their inner cores collapse unto them to form either neutron stars or black holes where light cannot escape from their event horizons). Galaxies, nebulae, stars, pulsars, and quasars would all eventually die.
The various elements would decompose to protons, neutrons and electrons which in time would decay and die and the universe would become a frozen, cold empty place.
We began in hot explosion and will die in a cold death. It is a meaningless universe and we might as well grind our teeth and make the most of it and then die and that is all there is to it.
This is a story of despair if ever there is one. Western science, useful as it is, is leading folks to despondence. No wonder folks now accept absurd life styles, such as homosexuality, after all they are living meaningless lives and every behavior is acceptable, provided no one is hurt. A guy in Seattle went to a surrounding farm (at Enumclaw); bought a horse and camped it with a farmer and on weekends goes to have sex with the horse! Why not, his life is meaningless and if that particular trip gives him a sense of living, who is to say that he should not engage in it? As Dostoyevsky observed in his novel, Brothers Karamazov, if there is no God, no absolute morality every behavior is permitted.
The West is actually imploding before our very eyes and we do not see it happening. It is now time for men of goodwill to step in and put a stop to all these nonsense that passes as knowledge.
Clearly, we need the findings of science but human beings synthesize the findings of science and religion into a new and useful metaphor for folks to live with.
To be continued …….