World-famous theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says flat-out that he doesn’t believe in God, but he does believe that space travel offers the best hope for our species’ immortality.
Those pronouncements came during the buildup to this week’s Starmus Festival at Tenerife in the Canary Islands, where Hawking and other scientific luminaries have gathered for rounds of talks, tours and elbow-rubbing.
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo engineered an exclusive interview with Hawking, and headlined its report with his views on the origins of the universe.
In the past, there’s been a tiny bit of ambiguity: In “A Brief History of Time,” Hawking writes that the discovery of a unifying set of scientific principles known as the theory of everything would enable scientists to “know the mind of God.” But in a follow-up book about the quest for the theory of everything, titled “The Grand Design,” Hawking said the mechanism behind the origin of the universe was becoming so well known that God was no longer necessary.
El Mundo’s Pablo Jauregui asked about those two references to God in one of the questions he prepared for Hawking to answer, and here’s the scientist’s response:
“Before we understand science, it is natural to believe that God created the universe. But now science offers a more convincing explanation. What I meant by ‘we would know the mind of God’ is, we would know everything that God would know, if there were a God, which there isn’t. I’m an atheist.”
Hawking addressed the issue more delicately several years ago when he told Reuters that he was “not religious in the normal sense,” and said “God does not intervene to break the laws” that He decreed. Since then, however, there’s been a lot more theorizing devoted to the origin of the universe. Hawking now believes that an approach known as M-theory will eventually reveal the grand design of the cosmos.
“In my opinion, there is no aspect of reality beyond the reach of the human mind,” Hawking told El Mundo.
I wish I could get this as a tshirt…
Inhabitants of New Zealand, scheduled to be among the first to meet the apocalypse according to a US fundamentalist preacher, this morning confirmed they were still in existence as the appointed time was reached in their time zone.
There were also unconfirmed reports that Tonga has, thus far, failed to boil into the Pacific.
Eighty-nine-year-old tele-evangelist Harold Camping had prophesied that the “Rapture” would begin with powerful earthquakes at 6pm in each of the world’s regions, after which the good would be beamed up to heaven.
This morning, Kiwis confirmed there were no signs of the dead rising from the grave, nor of the living ascending into the clouds to meet Jesus Christ.
Twitter users were disappointed by the absence of Armaggedon.
Daniel Boerman said on Twitter, the micro-blogging website: “I’m from New Zealand, it is 6.06pm, the world has NOT ended. No earthquakes here, all waiting for the Rapture can relax for now.”
Gavin Middleton wrote: “Well it’s 13 minutes past the Rapture here in New Zealand. I’m still holding out hope for the trumpet call and the firey rain…”
Similarly, on the Pacific islands whose clocks ticked over to 6pm before the fateful hour hit New Zealand, there was no evidence of a “super horror story” predicted by Camping – no zombies, no true believers hurtling skywards, no arch-angels and no trumpeters.
A post on Godlike Productions, a website dedicated to conspiracy theories and UFOs, reported that Tonga, which reached 6pm one hour before New Zealand, was “still on the map”.
Likewise, no reports of chaos were heard from Christmas Island in Kiribati, where the super-earthquake was set to hit first.
Two minor earthquakes did hit the Pacific earlier in the day, measuring 3.1 and 4.8 and not triggering any tsunami warnings, but earthquakes of that magnitude are a regular occurrence in the region.
Vicky Hyde, spokesman for the New Zealand Skeptic Society said she was confident the Rapture was not imminent.
“These kind of predictions come up particularly in times of economic or social uncertainty – which is pretty much almost every year actually, you can track them, whether it’s commentary impacts or the rapture or giant space aliens or something.
“And the only thing they have in common is they are all wrong,” she said.
Camping spread his message of doom via Family Radio, which has a network of 66 radio stations and online broadcasts.
After today’s day of reckoning, he said non-believers would suffer through hell on earth until October 21, when God would pull the plug on the planet once and for all.
But after incorrectly predicting the end of the world in 1994, Camping’s prophecies have been met with derision. And it seems this time he was wrong again.
New York mayor Michael Bloomberg – who is Jewish and, according to Camping’s prophecy, therefore unlikely to be beamed up to sit alongside Jesus in heaven – said on his weekly radio show yesterday that he would partially suspend parking restrictions in New York if the world ended today.
David Speer, on Twitter, said: “Oh well no rapture. Just as well. New Zealand didn’t need that right now. Another delay to the filming of The Hobbit would’ve been terrible.”
So you want to be a Fundamentalist. It’s not easy, you know: you’ll have to impose the stiffest constraints on your mind, accepting authority without question — you will be subject to jeers and persecutions at the hands of the Spawn of Satan, and you will suffer during your entire lifetime trying to throw pearls before the swine. But in the end, you will receive your reward from the Almighty in Heaven, and you will have the satisfaction of seeing all others being tossed into the Lake of Fire. But enough of that; you’re not there yet. You must first prove yourself worthy of being a Fundamentalist.
Lesson One: Developing Your Psyche
Right now I would like you to relax. That’s it — just sit quietly and let your mind go blank. Concentrate on one thing and one thing only: concentrate on your thumb. Now that thumb is no ordinary run-of-the-mill thumb: what you see is THE THUMB. That Thumb is your world. Nothing besides that Thumb concerns you in the least. As far as you are concerned, that Thumb rules over all. The only thing that should be in your mind right now is your Thumb and its absolute authority over your life. Each and every line, ridge, wrinkle, and bit of cuticle is a Divine Mandate, eternal in its wisdom, power, and relevance. That Thumb was made by GOD, and its sole purpose is to guide you to your Salvation.Now, while still concentrating on that Thumb, begin to think about the world around you. Careful! Don’t try to take in everything at once: start with the rest of your fingers, and slowly spread from there. See how your fingers are connected with and dominated by your Thumb. Now, slowly extend your perception to embrace the entire world and everyone in it. The whole world and everyone in it was created by God, and it is all guided by the Thumb.
Pay no attention that there are a lot of thumbs in the world. Your Thumb is THE HOLY THUMB, and was especially given to you by God so that you can use it to guide your life and the lives of others. Remember this: the thumbs of other people are not fit to guide their lives. Those thumbs are heathen thumbs, and those who live by them are Spawn of Satan and are an insult to the One and Only True God who created your Almighty Thumb just for you.
Now let me ask you this: do you feel superior to the Spawn of Satan? Do you feel obligated to show them the light by running their lives for them through the Divine inspiration of your Thumb? Do you have absolute and utter faith in the inviolable authority invested by God in your Thumb? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, then you are ready to go on to Lesson Two.
Lesson Two: Establishing Your Doctrine
Congratulations! You’ve come a long way, but you’re not there yet. What I want you to do now is to go to the nearest Christian book store and purchase a copy of the Bible. Preferably, it should be bound in nice, shiny black leather, and should have gilt edges and a red silk ribbon. It should of course be the King James Bible, which is the only Bible written in the true tongue of God (remember: all other versions are Satanic attempts to pervert the True Word of the Lord). It should be fairly hefty in size, but not so large that you cannot hold it with one hand. Finally, it should have the words of Jesus in red letters, for as you know the Son of God only spoke using red letters.Now that you have your Bible, read it, and read it thoroughly. I imagine that some of it will fit in perfectly with your beliefs and morals, since you have been inspired by God to attempt this indoctrination into Fundamentalism. Remember that the more strict and conservative your beliefs, the better: it’s difficult to keep your mind shut to new ideas, but to be a Fundamentalist you must keep your mind clean and unsullied by ideas which could threaten your beliefs. You must remember that your beliefs are the ONLY right beliefs, and all others are falsehoods and are totally incompatible with God’s Divine Truth.
Now you may be dismayed as you read through the Bible to find that much of it is outside your beliefs, or may even contradict them. No problem! All you have to do is take a black marker pen and blot out those verses which you don’t like. Simplicity itself! Now don’t you worry if it seems that more of the Bible is blacked out than left behind: just remind yourself that the remaining verses are emphasized all the more.
Remember that the Bible represents YOUR doctrine, and is the Divine statement of your beliefs. It wouldn’t do for it to say something which contradicted your beliefs. That would be silly! Besides, nobody is actually going to see INSIDE your Bible. You can wave it in front of people, quote from it, shove it under their noses, hit it with your fist, and even use it as a weapon, but for Heaven’s sake don’t let anyone READ it!
Now that your doctrine has been established, I would like for you to repeat Lesson One, substituting “Bible” for “Thumb.”
Have you done it?
No fair cheating!
Now: do you believe that your Bible is the utter, absolute, and inviolable law of the universe, coming to you directly from God, and that it is your Divine mission to live by your Bible and to feel superior to those fools who don’t listen to you and who are guaranteed to burn in Hell?
Congratulations! You are now officially a Fundamentalist!
Lesson Three: Living a Fundamentalist Lifestyle
Well, I’m sure that you novices are simply bursting with questions on how to apply your new-found faith to your lives. I am pleased by your enthusiasm: such zeal is a necessity if you want to begin to work your influence on this filthy and sinful world and mold it into a clean and upright one. Those Spawn of Satan are simply itching to be preached at, whether they want it or not, so let’s get cracking and Save those Souls (even though they don’t deserve it)!First of all, let’s work on personal appearance: to be moral and upright you must look the part. If you’re a man, you must keep your hair short and well-groomed, your face clean-shaven (a beard or moustache is acceptable ONLY if it is IMMACULATELY trimmed), your teeth clean and white, your breath minty-fresh, and your wardrobe strict and unassuming: slacks, tie, and white shirt (preferably long-sleeved so you can roll them up while witnessing) are the clothes of a God-fearing man, and NOTHING else. If you’re a woman, you must keep your hair neat and pinned up, your face only slightly made up (only heathens paint their faces), your figure neat and trim (a too-full figure is a dead giveaway for a shameless slut of Satan), and your wardrobe moral and proper: a dress (preferably dark or neutral colored, no plunging lines) is the ONLY proper garment for a God-fearing woman.
I imagine that you’re ready to ask me “Now that I know how to dress, how do I act?” That is a very good question to ask, and a somewhat difficult one to answer. Essentially you must follow your Doctrine which is in the Bible, but not TOO closely. You are the wielder of the Almighty Bible, and because of that you are ALREADY Saved, and are concerned more with the conduct of others so that they may also be Saved.
Let’s get into some concrete examples. Playboy is a magazine of Satan, and anyone who reads it is in danger of Damnation — anyone, that is, except you. For you know the ways of Satan, and are familiar with his traps, and you are always vigilant against his foul schemes, and thus you must scan his works constantly so that you may point out their atrocity to others. The same principle also applies to X-rated films, dancing halls, taverns, and brothels. [Note: this applies only to men. Women must stay home and support their husbands, and under no circumstances are they allowed to rest their innocent gaze upon profane situations (unless they happen to be checking up on their neighbors in the name of God and decency).]
Now we get to raising a family. You of course know that you are to raise your children properly and morally, and thus they must never be exposed to anything which is the product of Satan, including comic books (unless they are CHRISTIAN comic books), TV programs (unless they are CHRISTIAN TV programs), heavy metal rock music (there is NO such thing as CHRISTIAN heavy metal rock music), evolution (which is possibly the deepest imaginable insult to the intelligence of God), sex education (you can teach them about moral behavior yourself and at the same time protect their innocent yet corruptible ears from any mention of s-e-x), globalism (God wants us to DESTROY Communism, not cooperate with it), and equal rights (if God had wanted us to be equal, He would never have created women). As for religious education, I am sure you realize that women and children cannot properly develop their own religious faith — it must be given to them from a higher source: their husbands and parents.
Now we get to the gist of your faith and the justification for your life: the teaching and conversion of others (through guiding their lives for them). It is absolutely essential that you remember from Lesson One that only YOU are fit to guide your life AND the lives of others. All other people cannot in their ignorance of The Way live their own lives properly unless they can see the Light and receive the Salvation of God and Jesus which ONLY YOU may bring to them. Your Way is THE WAY, and all other paths lead to Satan and eternal Damnation, and it is YOUR Duty to show The Way to others so that they may enter (behind you) into Heaven.
Let’s look again at a concrete example: art and literature. Only YOU can say what is moral and upstanding in art and literature and what is not. Any work of “art” or “literature” which you feel is profane, blasphemous, or otherwise immoral is instantly the product of Satan and it is YOUR responsibility to make sure that its ugly blot upon the moral fibre of the Wonderful God-fearing Land of the Free is wiped out utterly so that our Glorious Nation may Shine Out as a Star of Righteousness amidst the Black Cloud of Satanic Communist Corruption which Blankets the World.
Well! Your heart must simply be bursting with Pride, Patriotism, and Love for God right now! And I’d bet that right now you’d rally behind a Leader who believes in the same things that you do. You guessed it: your next step is to find a religious Leader whose beliefs are YOUR beliefs, and who knows that YOUR way is HIS Way and that YOUR Way is THE Way to Salvation. Once you get behind that Leader, life becomes simpler. He knows YOUR beliefs, and thus if you ever feel any doubts about how to run your life, HE can make your decisions for you. All you have to do to insure your fidelity to him and to God is to follow him without question, and to give him as much money as you can so that he may bring the Way of the Lord to everyone in the World.
Remember that Fundamentalists have to stick together and rally under a Leader, for in numbers is Power, and in Power is the ability to change the World for the better. So remember that though YOU are the instrument of God through the guidance of your Bible, you also have the responsibility to make sure that your influence is felt, and the best way to do that is to join up with those who have CLOUT, so you can fulfill your wildest dreams: ban books and movies, ban abortion, enforce prayer in school, establish a national religion, create a national moral and dress code, and more! With the proper Leader, all this can be in your grasp.
Well now, I’d say that you’re just about ready to go out into the world and begin your career as a Fundamentalist. But not quite yet: you must first prepare yourself to face the opposition.
Lesson Four: How to Overcome the Spawn of Satan
As you preach The Way to others, you will inevitably run into those who not only doubt the veracity of your words, but who also pose trick arguments inspired by Satan in an attempt to trap and discredit you. This lesson deals with some of the major swords wielded by various tempters, and gives you some ideas on how to parry those weapons.Biblical scholars: these vermin use their high-falootin’ technical jargon and book-learning to pervert the words of the Lord and read things into the Bible which aren’t there. The Bible was written by God for YOU to use, and contains EVERYTHING you need to know for Salvation, plainly stated in black and white and red. There is nothing archaic or mystical about it: it speaks out in the Words of the Lord and speaks directly to YOU.
If the scholars say that the Bible evolved (note the use of heretical words) over a period of millennia, changing and altering from one translation to another, you can reply that the WORD OF GOD TO MAN is immutable, and speaks out exactly the same way today as it did to Moses. If they say that the historical and cultural context was completely different then, you can reply that MAN IS MAN and has not changed his sinful ways since Adam. If they say that you completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible, you can reply that THEY completely misunderstand the situations behind the composition of the Bible. And if they say that they can prove their point because of years of scholarly and scientific research studying the Bible and its history, you can reply that the only true scholarship is FAITH and TRUST in the WORD of the LORD.
Scientists: these unfortunate heathen have strayed from the path to Heaven, ensnared by the trickeries of Satan, believing in them utterly. As a result, they cannot accept the eternal Truth contained in the Bible. You must tell them that God is perfect, and the Word of God is therefore perfect, and cannot contain falsehood. Therefore anything which is in your Bible is the absolute Truth.
If the scientists say that they have amassed countless evidence to support their atheistic theories, you can reply that their evidence was given to them by Satan to trick them into disbelieving in God. If they say that the processes which shaped the Earth can still be seen happening right now, you can reply that Satan is still working right now to deceive those who cannot comprehend the Truth which is in your Bible. And if they say that the Bible is not completely factual, but is rather mythical in many places, you can reply that they simply do not understand that God speaks not in mysterious ways, but speaks directly to Man through your Bible, and speaks not in riddles or symbols, but only speaks the absolute and utter Truth.
If other Spawn of Satan say that the Bible cannot speak the utter Truth because it is inconsistent in what it says, you can reply that there is no inconsistency in your Bible: everything that you have in your Bible perfectly supports your beliefs (remember Lesson Two). If they quote passages from the Bible which they claim contradict your beliefs, you can reply that Satan has inspired them to pervert the words of the Lord and to twist their meaning around in order to try to subvert the Truth. If they say that you are being totally ignorant and irrational in your absolute belief in your Doctrine, you can reply that they are being totally ignorant and irrational in their absolute refusal to believe in your Doctrine. And if they say that you are shutting your eyes to reality, you can reply that they are shutting their eyes to God.
There now! Isn’t that easy?
All you have to do to counter their arguments is to turn their arguments against them. In fact, you should easily be able to defeat the arguments of a wide variety of heretics, such as Theologists, Democrats, Liberals, Peaceniks, Environmentalists, and Humanists. And you don’t need a fancy scientific vocabulary to do it! If you keep your mind on the straight and narrow path, God (and/or your Leader) will do your thinking for you. And if things turn against you, all you have to do is proclaim the Truth even louder, letting your Zeal and Faith drown out all unbelievers, and causing the weakened opposition to crumble under the force of your Inspiration.
That’s about all that I have to give to you. I hope that these lessons were informative and helpful toward your long and difficult quest toward Fundamental Salvation. From now on, it’s up to you (and your Leader) to show The Way which leads you and your flock to Eternal Life.
May God bless you, and give you the Power to glorify His works in preparation for His Coming. Amen.