An odd title I know, but maybe not as odd as one might think. I am an Atheist in the purest sense, but I am still in some ways forced to contemplate God, though it may not be my own. The world is full of religious people whom we must interact with on a regular basis. Being a bookseller I interact with many faiths and I am at peace with all of them. Religion only becomes an issue when it forces itself upon me, but how others may choose to devote themselves is an intrinsic human right in my eyes.
Should one choose to kneel 5 times a day facing Mecca, have midnight mass on Christmas Eve, or choose not to do any kind of work on the Sabbath, its just a personal expression of the same fundamental thing. There are dozens, if not hundreds of religions, but they are all just different ways of doing the same thing.
They are all a form of devotion to something far greater than us...
In this sense one can almost call 'science' the 'God' of atheism, for it is where one puts their stock in many questions often left to religion. It answers the questions we can not instinctively answer on our own, but only the religious see it this way and I doubt you will find many atheists who would agree, for atheism is the absence of religion. Not a variant of it.
So for fun I thought "What if I was shown proof there really was a God, what would I expect it to be?" How does an atheist express God? Follow me over the orange paradoxal filigree of philosophy and I will share my atheism and my 'God'.
Welcome to my most deeply held religious beliefs, I share them with you because they are anything but sacred.
Why am I an Atheist?
Pretty simple actually. The universe (I mean the whole multiverse, big bang or not isn't relevant) has either existed forever in some state or another, or it was at some point created. These are the two possibilities. There is nothing about our current understanding of the universe that prevents it from having always existed, maybe not as we see it from Earth right now, but in some fluctuating state of being.
So the most likely reason for the universe being created is because it had to be. It could not have existed forever on its own so it needs a creator to bring it into being. The problem with this is that as soon as you claim the universe could not have existed forever then there is an implication that neither can God. If the universe had to be created then so did the creator who then also needed a creator, causing an absurd paradox.
Either things can be eternal or they can't. If they can't then we have an infinite string of creators, each creating the next, leading up the the creation of the universe, but if they can then we have a universe with no need for a creator. Occam's Razor sees exactly where to cut this one, so I feel the only reasonable way to go is to see an eternal universe sans any creator at all.
But what if I found out there had to be a God?
Infinite strings of creators aside, if it was proven a God existed there must be things we could know or say about it. Without getting too specific as to potentially insult others religions, lets just say having studied most to a degree I understand their dogma, I personally can not see any of their descriptions of the creator 'being' having any reasonable accuracy. The sheer magnitude of intellect to create a universe from whole cloth is so vast that any of the petty 'humanisms' laid upon the creator by many religious texts just seem too unlikely to me.
Would such a being create a universe just to run its creations through some test to see if they should spend eternity in some blissful or malign dimension? Seems all too cruel and pointless. So why would a being as such create a universe and beings with intelligence within?
To me the answer seems obvious...
To see what we do. How far can we take it? How much can we learn? Can we come to grasp the creation as much as the creator? Not to judge, but to see. Like one would put a child in a sandbox with a shovel and bucket, not concerned what the child might make but curious to see none the less. Curious of its creation, that is how I see the Atheist God. As was once said in a science fiction series little known outside nerdville "We are the universe trying to understand itself". How true this could be?
Most interestingly, this would turn science into an actual refection of God. Mathematics being the language God speaks to us in and doing science would be the most sacred of acts.
Just a thought... `