Science and Religion

Recent Images of NASA and Reflections on Cosmos


Salman Ahmed Shaikh

Recently, NASA has released the earliest clear images of Cosmos in the history of universe. Even if we do not know anything about the Cosmos and how it runs, the fundamental questions about the meaning of our own lives stick in mind no matter whether the universe had and have whatsoever biological, chemical and physical properties. Faith in God or in religion is not concerned essentially with the steps and ‘how it is’ of and behind things. The things which we are able to explain through science relate to the physical phenomena.

The existence of a being as a whole and with its physical parts and processes still begs the question ‘why’ and ‘for what end’? Belief in God is a logical and rational answer to life, its variety, its design and the complexities of supporting ecosystem that we observe. What gives any of our actions meaning is the belief in accountability which promises absolute justice to every intentional act.

Some scientists who do not believe in God concede the way to deity, an impersonal god who makes the watch and then the watch keeps on running; a simulator who makes the simulation which keeps on running and a programmer who makes the program with loops and nested loops which keeps on running after executed.

As artists, when we make a piece of art as painting, poetry and novel, we project the work in exhibitions, publish it and explain it at length in different forums as long as we live. As scientists, when we make a discovery, an invention or find answer to physical realities, we project the work in science exhibitions, publishing in journals, teaching in classrooms and educating the masses through books, podcasts and televised programs. We seek copyrights and patents to keep the work we have created and discovered as ours and we like to be identified by our works and contributions.

Then, God, Who has written the laws of physics, Who created everything in the universe and Who brought this universe and us into existence, would be oblivious to it? Would not he contact us and communicate with us about our purpose of existence? Indeed, the known history we have with us proves that the concept of God has remained in every human civilization. The teachings of messengers sent for reminding about oneness of God and accountability in life hereafter have been spread throughout in our known history. The last two messengers, Jesus (pbuh) and Muhammad (pbuh) lived in the daylight of history and whose followers now comprise almost two- thirds of the human population.

Some scientists are open to the idea that aliens brought the fundamental particles of life from outer space, but not to believe in an intelligent being, Who has given existence to fallible creatures like humans. The Nobel Prize winner Francis Crick, along with Leslie

Nobel Laureate Orgel proposed that life may have been purposely spread by an advanced extra-terrestrial civilization.

We can recognize our fallibility and intelligence at the same time. If we have some intelligence, why we hesitate in assuming that our Creator would be more intelligent Who has brought us into existence for a purpose rather than assuming a deity as an unconcerned watchmaker, a simulator among future humans, a mathematician, a master equation and a random space travelling alien. We are searching for alien life since last century through expensive experiments and advanced instruments to no avail yet.

But, what is puzzling is that there is not a single reference to a religious text by scientists who do not believe in God like Prof. Richard Dawkins, Prof. Lawrence Krauss and Prof. Stephen Hawking. They have made no effort and attempt to pay attention to the signals conveyed in the religious scriptures. They mock the believers and do not realize that more than half of their own colleague scientists are not outright atheists even in this age of misinformation and massive propaganda and arrogance about faith.

The problem of specialization of knowledge makes them reach conclusions which are bounded by the specific jargon and scope of their disciplines. Prof. Dawkins as a biologist asks naïve question that if there is complexity in observable life, then what will be the biological complexity of the Creator. Atheists who belong to physics profession try to ascribe origins to physical forces and physical laws. Physicists like Prof. Michio Kaku having a mathematical orientation describe God’s mind as ‘Music of strings resonating through 11 dimensional hyperspace’. Technical entrepreneurs like Elon Musk describe existence as part of a possible simulation. Unfortunately, there is no serious effort to understand the point of view of faith beyond the narrow confinements of one’s field of specialization.

Loneliness greets us in space. Fermi’s Paradox in physics wonders ‘Where is everybody’. Why stars that were born long before our sun could not create any life. Our earth is not a separate corner in the universe; it has its composition of atoms coming from the same material that exists in the universe. Outside of earth, we have not found a liveable place where we could even just breathe naturally.

The verses of nature in universe also reflect truth on those who want to wonder why there is life at all and for what purpose. Scientific discoveries have added more substance to the verse ‘Which of God’s blessings will you forget’. Astrophysics has proved that there are too many features of blessings in various forms. Astrophysics has taken us near to the exact fraction of a second when God’s command brought the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago.

Big Bang can explain what happened afterward, but not what was before it, who was behind it and why did we come to exist in this world in the first place. We can force the question of purpose out of sight, but not out of significance and importance to a thinking mind.

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