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It seems to me that believing in the Big Bang theory and believing in God are not completely mutually exclusive. The Big Bang theory states that from a moment in time, caused by some conditions, the universe began to expand. Now the obvious question is: why did it begin to expand? And if you are able to answer that, I'll be ready for another why.

The science is good at finding out answers to whys, but there will always be something deeper to find out, therefore we will never know the origin of the universe (or life).

Does this means that there will always be space for religious beliefs?

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    Religious people say many things about their Absolute that by their own account, are strictly unsayable. Here the questions are of conceivability, illogicalities, illusive conceptions, not of credibility, such as the creation of time-space`s universe by an external agency outside time-space. Contingents truths cannot be explained by a necessary truth because a necessary truth can only imply other necessary truths, not contingent truths – Annotations Jul 10 '13 at 18:17
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    you should firstly define what is God exactly? God has different definitions in different views. by different definitions of God this question can have different answers. also you should define death. and death is for what kind of creatures? for example does death apply to a stone at all? – Battle of Karbala Jul 12 '13 at 6:34
  • If God be defined according to Kalām cosmological argument then No, God never dies because God is not material at all and there is no change in God. – Battle of Karbala Jul 12 '13 at 6:38
  • One counter-argument runs as follows: before the big bang there is no time, without time there is no causality, hence no scope for extra causators and whys ... – Drux Oct 3 '13 at 8:29
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    "It seems to me that believing in the Big Bang theory and believing in God are not completely mutually exclusive." Not only are they not mutually exclusive, the first proposer of the Big Bang was a Catholic priest: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre – James Kingsbery May 8 '14 at 18:48
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Science & religion are not mutually exclusive - unless you wish for it to be so.

All the major religions have a cosmology & within that an originary myth. And almost all mention a chaos & then an order imposed. Quite how that differs from the 'Big Bang' I'm not sure.

Most people look towards religion to give meaning, cohesion & continuity to their lives, and not for originary myths. When people claim their religion is the true religion they're not using the word 'true' in the same way a mathematician & physicist would use. Truth in the way a science uses it is simply not important to them, this is one reason why the mythology & rituals may be inconsistent with each other.

Religion is a complex & sophisticated attitude, for example:

  • Marcus Aurelius talked of atoms (he knew of Democritus work) - and so was a materialist; but he also talked of gods and God (not neccessarily the Christian one).

  • The Mughal Emperors & their court saw similarities between Islam & the Brahman of the Upanishads.

Of course this isn't to say that it can't be superficial, obscurantist, petty & corrupt. But this is as much true for all human activities including science: the petty bureacratisation & divisionalism of knowledge, superficial pop science & big science.

Although Science is claimed to be an objective representation of facts & theories of the world, and to some extent this is true - and this mainly when deeply studied ; but also it has an ethical, moral & religous outlook that needs to be examined. When one looks at one of the work of one of the very early materialists schools - epicureanism -as detailed in Lucretious poem de rerum natura, one is struck by how much the work is also about human life in all its ramifications - Lucretious understood materialism affects not only your view of the non-human world, but also of the human world of social relations, ethics, & religion as traditionally concieved.

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It may well be that when science gives out, and is unable to answer questions of vital and fundamental interest, then religion will find a permanent place to step in and offer its own answers. This is a psychological point, not of great philosophical interest. For myself, I think religion has a deeper rationale - whether rationally adequate or not I offer no view here.

The trouble, when scientific explanations give out and fall short of answering 'why?' questions, is that religious explanations carry as many 'whys ?' in their train as science does.

If God created the universe and the laws or quantum probabilities on which it runs, why did God create the universe ? Could God have created just any universe, so one in which none of the recognised rules of logic or truths of mathematics applies ? If God is or was the First Cause, then how is God's own existence to be explained ? Did God create Godself ? If God is omnipotent, does that mean that God can do anything or only what it is possible to do ? And if only what is possible, why that limit ? If God forbids X, does God forbid X because it is wrong or is it wrong because God forbids it. (Plato's essential problem in different terms in the 'Euthyphro', of course.)

Anyone who thinks that this is a crack at religion will quite have misssed the point. Which is as I said at the start : that if you bring in religion to answer 'why ?' questions that science cannot answer, you will have opened the door to a whole new set of 'why ?' questions with which religion is itself beset. That this is so follows, for instance, from Aquinas' view that we not only do not but cannot know the essence of God : without knowledge of that essence we cannot answer the questions raised above.

This does not make science 'no better' than religion; equally it does not mean that religion is 'pointless' because in the end it leaves us with as many unanswered fundamental questions as science. I am trying to hold the balance even. In a different metaphor, I am just suggesting that if science leads us into a maze of unanswered questions, jumping over the hedge to religion will land us in another maze of questions ultimately as baffling.

  • I like the maze analogy – CriglCragl Apr 3 '18 at 12:05
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Science answers "How?", not "Why?"

You say...

[S]cience is good at finding out answers to whys, but there will always be something deeper to find out

I say that you have miss-phrased this. More correct is:

[S]cience is good at finding out answers to how things work, but there will always be something deeper to find out, namely why things work the way they do.

For example... here is a picture of a mountain:

enter image description here

Mount Fuji, Japan. (Image source)

Science does not answer the question "Why did that mountain come to be there?".

Science instead answers the question "How did that mountain come to be there?".

This is an important distinction because in the end "How" is the only thing we are concerned with in our day-to-day lives. As long as we know how things work, we are happy, because this we can use and make other things work to our advantage, comfort, and progress.

The question of "Why", Science happily leaves to other disciplines, such as Philosophy and — indeed — Religion(*).

So will there be room for Religion, even as Science discovers more and more Hows? Yes, there will be, because Religion answers the Whys, not the Hows.

How well Philosophy and Religion will get along however, that is an entirely different matter... and not one where the disciplines are likely to make friends with each other.

(*) ...which it has been argued is early philosophy but that is another debate.

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I think god's death (whatever this actually is) will be just a simple metamorphosis. What we still call god is the region of the unknown, which, thank god!, is shrinking by the day. When this region of the unknown has shrunk to an absolute negative infinitive of space, when, in other words, the unknown has become utterly known, god will finally have breathed his last. So, the passing of god, in my opinion, is the passing of the unknown into the ever bigger region of the known. And the metamorphosis I was talking about at the beginning of my answer to you is exactly this passing; precisely this transfer of knowability from its negative to its positive side. But I don't think such a time will come too soon. As long as there still is something unknown to us, there will always be the notion of god; rather, the need for a god (which will stand for all the things we are yet to learn).

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From a Jungian perspective, God is an archetype, and really cannot die. You can make science into a God for your children, but only by lying about what it is really for. Something will fill that space. God's purpose as an archetype is to be an idealized parent, and is meant to answer "why" questions only to the same degree as parents are.

What parents really do goes much deeper: They provide a stable basis for testing interaction skills. They protect us from ourselves and others. They give us a definition of ourselves until we can choose one of our own. They model love, concern, and other basic human motivations. The list is quite long.

The first displacement of these necessary psychological adjustments off of humans still needs an anchoring target. God is a displacement figure, and a necessary part of everyone's evolution as a person. So why work so hard to make finding this target difficult? Realism, in this case, is just not realistic.

The basically inconsistent and unstable strategy of just expecting our more basic biological and psychological needs to go away because they cause us massive problems being realistic is not a winner.

  • When there are no humans, or no conscious, there could be no archetypes. So, with the heat death of the universe such a definition of god would die – CriglCragl Apr 3 '18 at 11:58
  • @CriglCragl Obviously I am using the term 'always' in the sense of the OP. There will obviously not 'always' be space for anything. So we should all just mock the OP and not try to answer his question. – user9166 Apr 3 '18 at 17:19
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Does this means that there will always be space for religious beliefs?

Yes, but only because religious people keep moving the goal posts. In the middle ages, the christian god was present in daily life, communion was believed to physically change the wine and bread, and immediate intervention was believed to be fairly commonplace.

The more science looked, and found no evidence of godly actions, the more metaphysical god became. In other words: Religion withdrew from the field wherever the light of science was lit, rather than suffer defeat and destruction.

Since humans are ingenious creatures, I'm sure someone will always find something that science has not yet explored, and place their god there.

  • I would love to upvote this because I like to see the different answers to mine adding something new, but the problem of moving goal posts is what we all do. Consider Einstein's gravity theory. When it was found that rotation of galaxies falsified the theory, dark matter was put in where needed. We haven't found dark matter, but this moved the goal posts. It is good that we do this. We need to keep revising our ideas when challenged not pitch them and start over as Popper's falsification might suggest. Also atheists move the goal posts as well. – Frank Hubeny Apr 3 '18 at 13:31
  • These are not the same things. As Tim Minchin put it so perfectly “Science adjusts its views based on what's observed. Faith is the denial of observation so that belief can be preserved.” Science regularily dumps theories. As in completely abolishes them. The Aether is a prime example. – Tom Apr 3 '18 at 14:51
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According to Christians, God died through Jesus during a Roman crucifixion. According to Hindus, Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, died from an arrow wound. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna It is not unthinkable for Gods who have incarnated to die.

Regarding the Big Bang, see the debate between William Lane Craig and Quentin Smith, Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology. Craig uses the beginning of the universe identified in the Big Bang and the Kalam Cosmological Argument to claim that the universe had a cause outside the universe. He uses Al-Ghazali’s Tahafut Al-Falasifah to show that this cause was an agent who made a choice and because of that a person. So, Big Bang cosmology and belief in God are definitely not completely mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it is lack of belief in God that is challenged by the Big Bang. Smith attempts to defend the position of atheists.

The details of the expansion of the universe are speculative. Gravity waves may be a way to see beyond the cosmic microwave background, so evidence of what actually happened is minimal. John Moffat in Reinventing Gravity provides a survey of his search for a gravitation theory that does not require dark matter and offers a different view of the beginning of the universe. Reading his perspective gives one a sense of what is still unknown about the expansion of the universe.

For a religious explanation why the universe began at all, the answer would be because God as an agent made a choice to create it. Notice, this explanation is one of agent causation rather than event causation. If an agent makes a choice that is the beginning of an explanatory chain of events.

The question whether “there will always be space for religious beliefs” is likely Yes for reasons that have to do with religious belief being innate to our species. The evidence for this innateness of religious belief is surveyed in Justin L. Barrett, Born Believers: The Science of Children’s Religious Belief. The research Barrett presents shows that belief is present in children prior to socialization. Children are not brainwashed nor educated into basic religious beliefs.

However, that is only half of the answer. One can then ask if we could somehow evolve out of this basic belief position. This depends on whether one sees Darwinian evolution as phyletic gradualism or punctuated equilibrium. If phyletic gradualism is true then we could evolve out of the innate position of our species to have religious beliefs although it is not clear how we would do that since social construction did not put those beliefs there in the first place. If punctuated equilibrium is true then we would need a speciation event to occur, in other words, our species would have to split into at least two species one of which no longer supported innate beliefs.

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Will God ever die?

It all seems to depend on which god(s) or God you intend to reference.

The Christian literature makes reference to lower lords and gods in Deuteronomy, "The LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords..." so, if you refernce is to the Christian God then no, God exists outside of time since "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." is taken, as I understand, in the older languages to mean collectively "All things that are." (perhaps not meaning that in the old Greek but, that is not the original language of the Old Testament) meaning God exited before the universe and all of the physical and metaphysical were created. Was God alone then? Was there nothing before not ascribed to by defining all of the physical and metaphysical? The Christian literature does not answer but we suppose on His claim then that He is The Boss even if He was not alone. A quote I picked up on once says, "Since before the beginning God has been looking back from after the end."

Otherwise, the answer must be possibly but how could we rightly know? There seems to be no definitive proof that there is any God or god(s) if proof were necessary so, how could it be known if any has (or will be) demised?

Does this means that there will always be space for religious beliefs?

So long as some believe any God or god(s) exist there will be room. It is not necessary for such beliefs to be in opposition to science or truth even if such belief is at odds with the thinking of others.

Will we ever know the final why? - probably never. With the dawning of each new discovery, we seem to uncover even more questions. Even the best theory of what happened before the Big Bang cannot prove what happened before the Big Bang - there will always be questions and in questions there is scope for something greater than ourselves to already know the answer.

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