in Skepticism & Post-Faith

What Would Our Universe Look Like If There Were No God?

Hubble 20th Anniverary Photo, photo by JesterJ on Flickr

Hubble 20th Anniversary Photo, photo by JesterJ on Flickr

Using Your Counter-Intuition (or Science) To Falsify Faith

I realize this may seem counter-intuitive. But, have you ever asked yourself what our universe would look like if there were no Supernatural Deity or God? You’d think this question would be vital to everyone trying to prove to themselves the existence of a god and to validate faith. Unfortunately, most of us, myself included, were not taught how to falsify claims to test them for validity. In this post, we will explore three fundamental faith claims or the self-evident truths for the necessity of a god or a supernatural power.

Three Universal Faith Claims:  Self-Evident Truths or Irrational, Unnecessary Leaps?

The three universal faith claims are:

  1. God is “creation”. The Universe is His body, mind, spirit. The holy trinity. The Aum, Amen, Word or life-force permeating all creation.1
  2. We are souls made in God’s image. Man or soul is the Word made flesh.
  3. Prayer is communication or connection to God. God sent Christ to this earth to save our souls. If we pray and are sincere, saved, or attuned, then God willing, our Deity listens and responds to us.

All three of these faith claims, if true, should be demonstrable or evident within the physical universe. In other words, here are three supernatural concepts that are supposed to be true, self-evident, and apparent (though maybe transparent) within all human beings and throughout the entire Universe. You could also think, that if god were indeed the very essence of the Cosmos, of ourselves, and composed the very connections between everything that there’d be overwhelming evidence.

Now let’s assume these faith claims are actually true. Wouldn’t you expect to see some evidence that the Universe would be very different from what it is IF you could show that these faith claims were probably false? (Especially, when these claims are that the Universe itself is God!) Would you not expect that if these claims could be falsified, or shown to be unnecessary or doubtful, that our Cosmos would appear very different than it actually is?  In other words, assume that there is no God or Supernatural Deity. Then, hypothetically, ask yourself what the Universe would actually look like if a god did not exist?

NASA Blue Marble 2007 West,  photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr

NASA Blue Marble 2007 West, photo by NASA Goddard Photo and Video on Flickr

What would our Universe look like or what would be different if there were no God? What would not work in our Cosmos if there were no God? I’m asking from a practical, purely objective point of view. I realize there may be plenty of subjective reasons for saying we need god– for comfort, guidance, or strength. But what can you objectively say outside in the universe requires a supernatural god? Philosophers and scientists typically don’t find god to be a necessity for their theories or concepts of how the universe ACTUALLY works. Gravity works because of physical laws. Evolution explains the origins of the species. Haley’s Comet returns to Earth’s orbit area every 76 years. Like clockwork. These are examples of how science can predict the future exactly and there is evidence in the physical, observable universe to support these scientific, rational, and objective claims.

What have mystics or holy books been able to predict or prophesy with accuracy? Anything? Actually, nothing. There’s no predictive power in mysticism or supernatural faith. We could say there’s no objective necessity for faith or supernatural claims. Faith, prayer, divine souls may be comforting beliefs but they aren’t necessary. Indeed, a supernatural being itself doesn’t even appear anywhere, or is even remotely necessary for the Universe to objectively operate. Souls? Nothing ever discovered or detected there either. Medical science doesn’t require us to believe or to have a soul for medicine or treatment to be effective. Prayer? Our supplications to divine beings provide no greater results than random chance2. That is, the actual probability your prayers will be answered is exactly the same as if you make a wish using your lucky rabbits-foot or by sheer coincidence.

Through many years and hours of meditation, prayers, and nowadays, more often through my reason and understanding of science, I’ve come to the realization that our Universe looks exactly like you’d expect it to look IF there were no Supernatural Power. A god seems to not be a Cosmic necessity. At best, our faith in gods is a nicety. Not necessity. Our faith may be a comforting story we tell ourselves. It’s our subjective warm blanket. Our blanky gives us warm and fuzzy feelings, like a bedtime story intended to put us to sleep.  Objectively, there is no necessity for a God. Think about it. Our actual, real Cosmos appears to operate perfectly and rationally without the need for a creator, without the need for a Father who art, supposedly, in Heaven, without the blessing of some supernatural deity that not only is not observable anywhere, but who has yet to be actually found in anything– physical, electrical, gravitational, or cosmological. Zilch.

Thought Experiment: Scientific Method for New Agers, Mystic-Meditators, and the Faithful

California Science Center, photo by Genevieve719 on Flickr

California Science Center, photo by Genevieve719 on Flickr

I ask you. Try this as a thought experiment. Think like a scientist. The scientific method is not like faith. Science doesn’t try to prove a claim is right, protecting it’s pet theories or wishful beliefs. Instead, scientific-method requires any serious, credible theory to be rigorously tested to first try to disprove the claim. If one experiment shows negative or false results the theory is false and needs to be reworked into a predictive model until it can accurately predict events before they occur in our universe. Only until many experiments, by numerous independent researchers and scientists, can’t prove a theory false does that theory get blessed by the scientific community as valid and necessary theory. One false experiment will shoot down the claim or hypothesis before it becomes an accepted scientific theory. In scientific method, if a claim has no way to be objectively falsified or can’t in anyway be shown to be erroneous, then the claim is not taken seriously nor is seen necessary to science or how our universe really operates. Shouldn’t faith or any claims of vital importance be put under similar scrutiny?

So, IF there were no god or supernatural deity, what would the Universe look like? It’s possible, maybe even probable, that our Universe is exactly as you’d expect it to be if there were no god.

 

Footnotes

“All things in this creation are no other substance than this Guru, the Supreme Father, God Himself, perceived in plurality by the manifold aspects of the play of Nature”. – Swami Sri Yukteswar, The Holy Science. Self-Realization Fellowship: Los Angeles, CA. 1977. Print.

“Jesus answered them, Is it it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” – KJV John 10:34

Proving that prayer is superstition. Video. 24 Feb 2014.

Leave a Reply

  1. Additionally, the physical world is infinitely more “magical” in its natural state than the stories made up by religion. Those who follow religion routinely point to something marvelous like a flower and exclaim how this kind of beauty could only be the work of a divine being. I look at a flower and see evolution and adaptability in practice, AND I also see tremendous fragile beauty. I appreciate flowers as the wacky chance result they are–realizing that what I am witnessing is a much more impressive process than any idea of “creation”. Indeed, the universe looks exactly the way it would if there were no god, and that is why it is so magnificent, chaotic, logical, and wild. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  2. @Tony D – Yes, there’s so much beauty and wonder in clear, free-thinking. Faith huddles around faulty ways of perceiving the world, around what you are told to believe. When my faith died it’s slow painful death, my heart and mind opened more than I’d ever dreamed. Persons who cling to their faith or who don’t challenge their preconceptions are missing out. Funny (and sad) the faithful think we, the non-believers, the godless, are missing out and pathetic. I feel for them. They don’t know what they are missing. No emptiness, only fullness. I guess that’s why I’m intrigued and blog about godless “spirituality”. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tony.

  3. I have just one question? Can you show us proof/evidence of what life would be like had you never been born? Not just conjecture solid proof? Not what you think your parents lives would have been like, but exactly what they would have been like. Not conjecture as to who your best friend would have been best friends with instead of you, but what being best friends with you changed about that person…..remember solid proof, scientific provable evidence that what you say is true.

  4. @Connie: Your questions seem rhetorical: you seem to be trying to make a statement rather than to elicit information from me. I’m guessing that underlying your questions is your desire to prove your god(s) exists–by “daring” me to disprove that your god does not exist. No, I can’t disprove that anymore than I could disprove that unicorns, chakras, or humanoid-space-aliens don’t exist.

    The universe operates just fine without the need to postulate there is a god that somehow controls things. We can’t disprove that unicorns, chakras, or space aliens don’t exist, except we find no evidence to believe they do. The burden of proof is on those who make the supernatural claims for their existence. I’m not claiming that a god doesn’t exist. When we look at the universe, WITHOUT “positing a supernatural controller” the universe doesn’t appear to contain said god(s).

    See my Resources page, and check out the short video “Burden of Proof”.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Excellent article, thanks.

    One things I find strange about all religions is that they ascribe properties to their god that can’t possibly be true. How can it be benevolent and omniscient and at the same time create life which is in a constant state of fear and stress with “cuddly little animals” eating each other. A lion has evolved into a hunting machine that can catch and eat zebras, whereas zebras evolve into survival machines best suited to escaping lions. Evolution could well be seen as the tool of a creator. It is after all beginning to be used as a tool for software development, and just in the news today is an idea to use it to fine tune robots.

    Humans seem to like violent entertainments such as war games, war films, cop shows on tv and so on. Religions say they are made in god’s image. I am sure a violent universe creator computer game would sell well, and may even exist right now, with which pocket gods could look “down” via their screens at things killing each other.

    Something is wrong and illogical here. Maybe in the way I am looking at it, as I am sure that those bathe in the warm glow of faith will say. Unquestioning faith is a parent substitute for the gullible who wish to still think like a child.

  6. @John de: Makes sense, what you are saying, to me. The supernatural claims are human speculations. The best evidence claimants can make is either personal, subjective experience or appeal to authority (ancient texts or stories). Thanks.