If you’re a religious parent, English evolutionary biologist and author Richard Dawkins sees you as a threat to your children. He is calling for schools to protect your kids from your science denying, oh-so-dangerous religious indoctrination. You know what your problem is, right? Some, Mr. Dawkins most likely included, would explain the problem is that you clearly checked your brain at the church door when you decided to become a Christian, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or a member of whatever faith you joined because you just didn’t know any better.
Of course, for those of you who do believe in the conclusions modern science has reached, it’s assumed you can’t possibly believe in the possibility of any God being behind the workings of the universe. This, some would say, would clearly be due to the fact that you’re a God-hating person whose eyes and heart have been blinded by evil and a profound modern arrogance.
Two sides. Two at times equally “religious” sides, seeing themselves as the only followers of truth and the exclusive holders of it, and seeing any questioning of their perspective as either dim-witted or evil. You may think Richard Dawkins is an arrogant, condescending and narrow-minded tool of Satan. He may think you’re too stupid to understand that science has all the answers and that all you have are a bunch of stories. Or maybe it’s the other way around. It all depends on where you’re coming from.
Of course, none of this is entirely true. There are countless brilliant scientists who believe in God, just as there are countless religious men and women who believe in the importance of scientific research and discovery. What matters is not what we think about the opposition or what they think about us. What matters is that we stop pretending that other people with differing points of view are the opposition. We are all trying to figure out the same thing: How did we get here? And does the answer to that question give us any indication of what our lives are all about?
I have read articles and books from every perspective I could find. I have sought science and religion’s answers for the one thing I know for sure. That the world around us, the universe that contains it, and we ourselves… exist. Matter is here. A fact. The fact that all other theories and scientific pursuit are based upon. And the one for which science has no answers, because nothing in scientific discovery supports the idea of matter coming from nothing – in fact science has repeatedly made a point of proving that this simply cannot happen. No matter what may have happened since, the first elements of matter still had to come from somewhere.
If we put aside for one moment the unspoken fears of real and open discussion, the fact is that every pursuit of the question of existence comes back to beginnings. If you believe God created the universe, you have to believe in a God who existed eternally, with no beginning. If you believe the big bang theory is a better explanation of the universe, and don’t hold to the idea that God may have originated it, then you have to believe that some form of matter was in existence in order for there to be a big band, and that matter has to have existed eternally with no beginning.
Eternal matter with no source or origin, or eternal God with no source or origin. Wherever else the exploration takes us, this is the choice to be considered. It’s one of beginnings. And to some degree, let’s acknowledge that either way, it’s one of faith. In this regard too, we’re all in this most important of all scientific and spiritual pursuits together. Richard Dawkins is not the enemy. Religious zealots are not the enemy. The only enemy is an unwillingness to ask our most burning questions, for fear that we may not find the answers, or that we may not like them when we do.