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I think Dawkins’ work in The God Delusion and that of other scientists is useful in helping to clarify a lot of the historical and hysterical claims made by many mystics and religionists about the true history of the planet earth, the solar system and the universe. This is really the business of physics.
Religion can be valuable for ethics, ideals and moral issues which can never be the domain of science. It’s only when religion crosses over into claiming objective truth and historical fact that it runs into trouble.
Both religion and science can be complementary and we need to move forward beyond the US vs THEM approach to this discussion.
My way of combining what I learnt as a child about the Judeo-Christian-Islamic religious theory set out in the Genesis version and what I learnt as a grown-up about the current body of physical evidence in the Big Bang (or Bangs) scientific theories is this:
– Did the universe begin: YES or NO?
– But what happened before the beginning?
– Before the Genesis “beginning” there was an awesome bang.
– This bang (or these bangs) encompass all of nature’s laws of physics.
– From this evolved the Grand Operating Design of the whole universe that we know of.
– We can call this grand operating design G.O.D.
– Both religion and science are different ways that human beings have devised to try to explain and to understand the G.O.D.
We may be in existence between the most recent and the next in a series of bangs each one of which produces a similar universe to ours. Or not! We really don’t (yet) know.
Albert Einstein wrote, “What I see in Nature is a grand design that we can understand only imperfectly, one with which a responsible person must look at with humility. This is a genuine religious feeling and has nothing to do with mysticism … I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it.”