Letter to a thinking atheist by Elhanan ben-Avraham Feb 16, 2019
How, my fellow voyager through life and time, can you believe in Nothing? Nothing, by definition, does not exist. When we both look at the spectacular beauty around us, and remarkable complexity of living things, we might find the idea that everything came into being from nothing, and by mere chance alone, a bit far-fetched, wouldn’t you think?
In fact, it might seem a bit more reason-able, and easier to digest, to assume that the entire universe came into being from some supreme wisdom outside the material universe. Even the great mystery and wonder of what we call consciousness would seem to reflect a greater consciousness, especially considering that consciousness, which seems to exist to some degree in all living things, is arguably not merely the sum total of brain cells functioning together.
Rather recently science has come to a conclusion based in evidence that the cosmos came into being by a great burst at its beginning, and has been expanding ever since. Previously the paradigm of ancient Greek thought - that the universe had always existed - held sway in most scientific quarters. Incidentally, hundreds of years before the Greeks came up with such a concept, the Hebrews began their book with, “In the beginning”. If indeed the universe had a beginning, then we are stuck with some difficult, and perhaps ultimate, questions, the most obvious being,
What was there before the beginning, and what caused that Big Bang?
ome very keen minds have been swift to solve that problem and, to avoid the idea of a Beginner, came up with the brilliant theory of multiple universes, from which this one exploded into being. Even other thinkers propose that all came into being by a quantum warp in nothing, according to natural laws of nothing. The problem being with such solutions is, from whence or what came those universes, or those laws?
By pushing the problem back and away, we cannot avoid the question, which might be: why is there something as opposed to nothing at all? But it would seem that the concept that something comes from nothing is a bit preposterous, and certainly a less than rational or satisfying answer.
But there are some, as a fine gentleman I spoke with this morning, who solve it all by saying, “Who cares?” That may be one expedient way of pushing off the question, but may yet leave the ultimate issue there only to be dealt with at a later time.