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COLUMNISTS

The God-debate
By Caroline Achieng Otieno

In August 2007, CNN Chief Correspondent Christiane Amanpour brought to the world a four-day special entitled “God’s warriors.” This was the culmination of eight-months of work, world-wide travel and investigative-reporting focusing on the world’s three major religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam; with the sole aim of investigating who they were, what they wanted and why they believed it’s a battle they cannot afford to lose.  Christiane begun her powerful presentation with the words “For the last thirty years, religion has exploded as a powerful force, with an army of followers who share a deep dissatisfaction with modern secular society and a fierce determination to bring God and religion back into the seat of power. We call them “God’s Warriors.” 

 

In most cases, the warriors were fighting for a specific cause, and in a way the Holy War concept was variously interpreted as a spiritual war, “wars fought on earth for purposes made in heaven.”

While some people have a belief in God so strong that they call themselves His warriors, there is a group that stands on the other end of the spectrum; those who view God as a myth, believing that there is no God, neither are there supreme beings; there is no heaven, there is no hell.  They identify themselves as atheists. The term atheism comes from the Greek word atheos meaning godless.  Atheos is derived from a meaning “without” and theos meaning deity.  Atheists are largely closeted, meaning that because they do not ascribe to any religion, they remain silent on “God- issues” viewing them as fairytales.  When a billboard featuring a silhouette of a traditional nativity scene with manger, donkey and Three Wise Men was unveiled early December 2010 on a bridge tunnel in New York with the message, “You know it’s a Myth, This Season celebrate REASON,” it caused quite a storm.  Some who thought of themselves as “closet atheists” were encouraged by the billboard, but many who believe in God were miffed by it.  Arguments for atheism are cast in both negative and positive terms.  Negative arguments fall into two categories; the first – argues against proofs for God’s existence; the second argues against God’s existence.   In conversations with atheists, you realize they offer what they consider to be sufficient reasons for believing in the non-existence of God; they state the presence of so much evil in the world today – natural disasters, disease and wars.  They argue as well about the random occurrences in the universe today and finally they quote the first Law of Thermodynamics, that “energy can be transformed, changed from one form to another but can neither be created nor destroyed” concluding thus that the universe is eternal and hence, had no need for a Creator.  The scientific “thermodynamic argument” gives hard-core atheists solid ground to justify their claims which were hitherto watery.

 

One of the most brilliant physicists in the world, Dr Stephen Hawking in a new book titled, The Grand Design, declared that “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing.  Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”  He surmises the statement with the bold announcement that “God did not create the universe.”  This is a far cry from what he recorded in his first best-selling book, A Brief History of Time in which he did not dismiss the possibility that God had a hand in the creation of the world.  He wrote in the 1988 book, “If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God.”  The change of heart on his part is representative of the contradictions that many scientists make when trying to discuss God – His presence or absence in the affairs of the universe.  Scientists confess that science is a continuing journey with fresh discoveries occurring almost on a daily basis; however, they tend to make rash conclusions about the existence of God despite the fact that they haven’t solved many of the world’s mysteries or found cures to many of the diseases in the world today.  They fail to realize that spirituality is a world apart and that God can neither be measured nor contained by them or their instruments.  While experiments for example have been able to establish the “Big Bang theory,” scientists have not been able to explain what came before the universe, so there is space for God’s existence and handiwork in an organized universe which came into being by the disorganized “Big Bang.”

 

In an interview with Diane Sawyer in 2010, Hawking said of God, “What could define God (is thinking of God) as the embodiment of the laws of nature.  However, this is not what most people would think of that God,” he continues, “They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship.  When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant and accidental human life is in it that seems most impossible.”  God created man in His image and created Him to have a relationship with God.  So while Hawking is still asking questions like, “Why the universe exists? Why there is something rather than nothing? The Bible has answered those questions, by stating “In the beginning God…and that man was created as part of God’s magnificent creation, in His image to glorify God and have dominion over other creatures.  Trying to put God out of the whole puzzle makes it more difficult to solve, God is indeed the “missing link” to the whole “scientific-atheist” quagmire.

 

Dallas Willard wrote that, “The misunderstanding of true spirituality has caused immense damage to the human race.  Spirituality wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion against God.  Believers state that their belief in the existence of God does not come from scientific evidence first and foremost, it comes from the belief that God spoke the universe into being and revealed Himself supremely in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As one blogger wrote, “I would rather live my life as if there is a God, and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is…

 

* Caroline Achieng Otieno has a post-graduate degree in International Law - Human Rights specialization, and can be contacted at cmaotieno@yahoo.co.uk































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