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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: Robb on May 16, 2011, 05:30:49 PM

Title: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Robb on May 16, 2011, 05:30:49 PM
It looks as if Hawkins has jumped on the Hitchins/Dawkins bandwagon.  Yet another Brit promoting atheism.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4f8ccccd2e38de074f4c1305131c47e4.491&show_article=1

Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
May 16 07:00 AM US/Eastern

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions...
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 16, 2011, 05:50:53 PM
I see this as fairly mild. Besides, regarding many conceptions of heaven (final resting/party place of souls "freed" from bodies) he's right.

But I also have a great love for fairy stories and for healthy fear of the dark, so perhaps I don't see it as so great a condemnation!
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: 88Devin12 on May 16, 2011, 06:00:11 PM
Hawking = Hitchens + Dawkins... hehehehe

Stephen Hawking may be smart, but that doesn't make him a genius when it comes to matters of faith. Faith depends on more than the brain.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Luke on May 16, 2011, 06:13:22 PM
Typical Hawking.  Yawn.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Papist on May 16, 2011, 06:22:04 PM
I don't think his position is informed by reason, but by his condition.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: quietmorning on May 16, 2011, 07:05:32 PM
**Hands on hips**  I want to see.empirical proof that heaven is a fairy tale.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Asteriktos on May 16, 2011, 07:10:18 PM
"...his views were partly influenced by his battle with motor neurone disease."

Understandable.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Papist on May 16, 2011, 07:10:47 PM
"...his views were partly influenced by his battle with motor neurone disease."

Understandable.
Absolutely.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: HabteSelassie on May 16, 2011, 07:16:00 PM
Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

It looks as if Hawkins has jumped on the Hitchins/Dawkins bandwagon.  Yet another Brit promoting atheism.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4f8ccccd2e38de074f4c1305131c47e4.491&show_article=1

Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
May 16 07:00 AM US/Eastern

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions...

That is silly, if heaven is a fairy tale then how does Mr Hawking explain the multidimensions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory#Extra_dimensions) of string theory? ;)

stay blessed,
habte selassie
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Iconodule on May 16, 2011, 07:27:26 PM
Fairy stories are awesome anyway...
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: JamesRottnek on May 16, 2011, 08:27:48 PM
I think Mr. Hawking says things like this because he is sad that no one cares about him any more.  I mean, really, when is he ever in the news except when he is attacking faith?
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: scamandrius on May 16, 2011, 08:36:05 PM
So what and who cares?
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Shiny on May 16, 2011, 09:00:25 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Shiny on May 16, 2011, 09:00:25 PM
If Hawking bases this conclusion on his motor neurone disease, I hope our great God has mercy on him.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: celticfan1888 on May 16, 2011, 09:17:04 PM
**Hands on hips**  I want to see.empirical proof that heaven is a fairy tale.

Haha agreed.

You cant be a real scientist and make an absolute objection to heaven or God!
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: biro on May 16, 2011, 09:19:42 PM
If Hawking bases this conclusion on his motor neurone disease, I hope our great God has mercy on him.

Indeed.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Asteriktos on May 16, 2011, 09:31:05 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.

http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/ (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/)
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Shiny on May 16, 2011, 09:49:43 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.

http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/ (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/)
What does this have anything to do with what I said?
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: akimori makoto on May 16, 2011, 09:54:56 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.

If there were no eternal consciousness in a man; if, at the bottom of everything, there were only a wild ferment, a power that, twisting in dark passions, produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything -- what would life be but despair?

Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

PS: your Chrysostom quote is one of my favourites.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Asteriktos on May 16, 2011, 10:07:24 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.

http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/ (http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/)
What does this have anything to do with what I said?

Its a charity he supports. Maybe he wants some of those kids to have a better life. Or some of the kids of those kids. Or some of the kids of those kids of those kids. Or...

The idea that just because there is no super-duper-eternal-meaning, that that means there can be no meaning at all, is simply not true. And as a sometime agnostic I find this idea you are putting forward (which I hear often) to be frustrating. Do you think I suddenly stop caring for my family when I struggle with believing in God and the concept of eternal meaning? In those moments it's not important to me that my life might not matter a bazillion years from now. What I do in this life might have meaning 10 years from now, and maybe even in some small way (through the family) 100 years from now. That's good enough for me. I think it's unfortunate that you can't or won't accept that such temporary meaning could be important to someone. I say this not to insult you: a number of posters here believe that, and even my own priest--who I much admire--goes along with this basic idea. I just think it's unfortunate.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: akimori makoto on May 16, 2011, 10:18:34 PM
If:

1. there is no God (however so defined); and
2. matter spontaneously self-existed (or whatever variant theory one might wish to confess); and
3. abiogenesis is true; and
4. evolution of species by natural selection is true,

then all human relationships are meaingless biological processes, which are reducible to apparently yet more meaningless chemical processes, which are in turn reducible to apparently yet more meaningless physical processes.

I am not saying this to heap trash on your spiritual struggle, Asteriktos, just saying that the idea that "no God = meaninglessness" is a timeless one and that timelessness is a function of its power.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: xariskai on May 16, 2011, 10:26:15 PM
It's amazing what science can prove.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Mivac on May 16, 2011, 10:46:43 PM
It looks as if Hawkins has jumped on the Hitchins/Dawkins bandwagon.  Yet another Brit promoting atheism.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4f8ccccd2e38de074f4c1305131c47e4.491&show_article=1

Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
May 16 07:00 AM US/Eastern

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions...

I wonder how a discussion between Hawkins and Fr. Seraphim Rose would of turned out.

Hawkins I believe is a typical Nihilist at heart even if blind to that reality.

NIHILISM
The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Jetavan on May 16, 2011, 10:55:58 PM
It looks as if Hawkins has jumped on the Hitchins/Dawkins bandwagon.  Yet another Brit promoting atheism.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4f8ccccd2e38de074f4c1305131c47e4.491&show_article=1

Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
May 16 07:00 AM US/Eastern

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions...

I wonder how a discussion between Hawkins and Fr. Seraphim Rose would of turned out.

Hawkins I believe is a typical Nihilist at heart even if blind to that reality.

NIHILISM
The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html
Rejection of the idea of "heaven" is hardly "nihilism".
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Shiny on May 16, 2011, 11:15:04 PM
If there is no afterlife, then clearly there is no meaning in the life we live now; there is no justification for Hawking to say he wants to do more with his life when ultimately it becomes meaningless.

If there were no eternal consciousness in a man; if, at the bottom of everything, there were only a wild ferment, a power that, twisting in dark passions, produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything -- what would life be but despair?

Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

PS: your Chrysostom quote is one of my favourites.

Brilliant quote, and thank you.

Its a charity he supports. Maybe he wants some of those kids to have a better life. Or some of the kids of those kids. Or some of the kids of those kids of those kids. Or...
But any sort of charity wouldn't matter, there would be no meaning to be charitable to children who have no meaning whatsoever.

Quote
The idea that just because there is no super-duper-eternal-meaning, that that means there can be no meaning at all, is simply not true. And as a sometime agnostic I find this idea you are putting forward (which I hear often) to be frustrating.
It's frustrating because it's true. If God doesn't exist, then all that remains is nihilism. Any atheist who says otherwise is simply kidding themselves. If there is no such thing as an afterlife, everything we do here on this earthly life has absolutley no objective/absolute meaning whatsoever, and even a subjective meaning is self-refuting when one adopts this worldview. Not only this, but everything is permitted. There would be nothing to stop a man from nuking the whole world without some future judgment.

Quote
Do you think I suddenly stop caring for my family when I struggle with believing in God and the concept of eternal meaning?
We are looking at this logically, if there is no meaning at all in life, no absolute meaning, then you have no reason to take care of your children. None. Any reason that you try to support your argument is delusional, because you could be wrong; this is the fallacy of relativism.

Quote
In those moments it's not important to me that my life might not matter a bazillion years from now. What I do in this life might have meaning 10 years from now, and maybe even in some small way (through the family) 100 years from now. That's good enough for me.
But in the 100 year span the whole world ends, what meaning did you give it then? And how will you know your life gave any meaning 10 or 100 years from now, you won't and it simply wouldn't matter what you did.

Quote
I think it's unfortunate that you can't or won't accept that such temporary meaning could be important to someone. I say this not to insult you: a number of posters here believe that, and even my own priest--who I much admire--goes along with this basic idea. I just think it's unfortunate.
I want absolutes in life, not ones that are simply temporary or fleeting.

If:

1. there is no God (however so defined); and
2. matter spontaneously self-existed (or whatever variant theory one might wish to confess); and
3. abiogenesis is true; and
4. evolution of species by natural selection is true,

then all human relationships are meaingless biological processes, which are reducible to apparently yet more meaningless chemical processes, which are in turn reducible to apparently yet more meaningless physical processes.

I am not saying this to heap trash on your spiritual struggle, Asteriktos, just saying that the idea that "no God = meaninglessness" is a timeless one and that timelessness is a function of its power.
Post of the month!
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: celticfan1888 on May 16, 2011, 11:28:04 PM
If:

1. there is no God (however so defined); and
2. matter spontaneously self-existed (or whatever variant theory one might wish to confess); and
3. abiogenesis is true; and
4. evolution of species by natural selection is true,

then all human relationships are meaingless biological processes, which are reducible to apparently yet more meaningless chemical processes, which are in turn reducible to apparently yet more meaningless physical processes.

I am not saying this to heap trash on your spiritual struggle, Asteriktos, just saying that the idea that "no God = meaninglessness" is a timeless one and that timelessness is a function of its power.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with evolution. ;P
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Sakeneko on May 17, 2011, 01:25:07 AM
As a Muslim acquaintance of mine commented, next thing Hawking will do is use his physics expertise to analyze Confucious. ;)
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: bogdan on May 17, 2011, 01:41:37 AM
I see this as fairly mild. Besides, regarding many conceptions of heaven (final resting/party place of souls "freed" from bodies) he's right.

Yeah. The popular concept of the afterlife has become so neutered and silly that an intelligent man like Hawking is right to reject it, because that really is simply a coping mechanism. The idea of sitting around in the clouds or in a beautiful landscape with one's family and friends playing football for eternity is not much better than cave man stuff.

Many of these people are simply reacting against shallow Evangelicalism and take that as Christianity. I wonder what people like Hawking would think of the deeper, philosophical Church Fathers, who teach that salvation is not escaping to a happy world, but union with God. Based on Cosmos, Carl Sagan seemed to have had a bit of a thing for Hinduism, which is at least superficially similar to Theosis in some ways, so who knows?
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: NicholasMyra on May 17, 2011, 01:46:51 AM
I see this as fairly mild. Besides, regarding many conceptions of heaven (final resting/party place of souls "freed" from bodies) he's right.

Yeah. The popular concept of the afterlife has become so neutered and silly that an intelligent man like Hawking is right to reject it, because that really is simply a coping mechanism. The idea of sitting around in the clouds or in a beautiful landscape with one's family and friends playing football for eternity is not much better than cave man stuff.
And from his perspective, a brilliant mind in a damaged body that has become more a prison than an extension of his personhood, hoping in a platonic mind heaven would appear cowardly and escapist. I see this as an extension of his determination to work within the conditions he has been given, rather than an in-depth theological rejection.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: orthonorm on May 17, 2011, 02:40:59 AM
Typical Hawking.  Yawn.

Ditto. Who cares.

Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: orthonorm on May 17, 2011, 02:47:46 AM
It looks as if Hawkins has jumped on the Hitchins/Dawkins bandwagon.  Yet another Brit promoting atheism.

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.4f8ccccd2e38de074f4c1305131c47e4.491&show_article=1

Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
May 16 07:00 AM US/Eastern

British scientist Stephen Hawking has branded heaven a "fairy story" for people afraid of the dark, in his latest dismissal of the concepts underpinning the world's religions...

I wonder how a discussion between Hawkins and Fr. Seraphim Rose would of turned out.

Hawkins I believe is a typical Nihilist at heart even if blind to that reality.

NIHILISM
The Root of the Revolution of the Modern Age

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/nihilism.html

Too bad the author of the above is really out of his league and wrote a pretty much incoherent diatribe. Again the fact he points to Nietzsche as a nihilist is endless lulz for me.

This is a hysterical response from Fr. Seraphim of Platina to a boogeyman that never existed. It's sorta embarrassing.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: akimori makoto on May 17, 2011, 03:21:50 AM
To be fair, nihilism is a bit of a nebulous term of relatively fluid meaning, depending on what is intended by the speaker/writer.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: stanley123 on May 17, 2011, 04:42:52 AM
That is silly, if heaven is a fairy tale then how does Mr Hawking explain the multidimensions (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory#Extra_dimensions) of string theory? ;)
Multidimensions and multiuniverses are something Mr. Hawking believes in without experimental verification.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: stanley123 on May 17, 2011, 04:47:22 AM
If there were no eternal consciousness in a man; if, at the bottom of everything, there were only a wild ferment, a power that, twisting in dark passions, produced everything great or inconsequential; if an unfathomable, insatiable emptiness lay hid beneath everything -- what would life be but despair?

Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling
I don;t see forthcoming from Mr. Hawking an explanations as to  how human consciousness evolved and arose from rocks or other inert matter.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Monk Vasyl on May 17, 2011, 09:15:35 AM
Psalm 14:  "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  The same goes for Heaven.

Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: podkarpatska on May 17, 2011, 09:47:53 AM
I would put this article  and its headline into the trash heap of other startling possible revelations such as ' Sky is Blue reports prominent Scientist', 'I don't like Obama, says Trump', 'What Steroids, says Barry Bonds.' Not news, not interesting.
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Jetavan on May 17, 2011, 10:20:40 AM
Psalm 14:  "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  The same goes for Heaven.
Perhaps from a Christian perspective. But many religions do not have a very well-defined idea of heaven (for instance, early Judaism), while still strongly believing in God and a purposeful cosmos.

Many Christians reject "heaven" as popularly conceived. I think N.T. Wright wrote (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html) a whole book about it:

Quote
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."
Title: Re: Heaven is a 'fairy story', says Stephen Hawking
Post by: Monk Vasyl on May 17, 2011, 10:34:00 AM
Psalm 14:  "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'"  The same goes for Heaven.
Perhaps from a Christian perspective. But many religions do not have a very well-defined idea of heaven (for instance, early Judaism), while still strongly believing in God and a purposeful cosmos.

Many Christians reject "heaven" as popularly conceived. I think N.T. Wright wrote (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1710844,00.html) a whole book about it:

Quote
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn't believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children's book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What's Heaven, which describes it as "a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk... If you're good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]... When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him." That, says Wright is a good example of "what not to say." The Biblical truth, he continues, "is very, very different."


We will all be surprised if or when we get there.  But, that doesn't mean there is no heaven.  No one among the living knows what heaven is really like...none  of us have experienced it and won't until we pass from this life.  But is does exist.