“Do I have faith? We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God.”
Stephen Hawking died in March of this year. He was one of Britain’s finest minds. We should take seriously what he says about the existence of God.
Belief in God does not help our relationship with animals
With my respect to believers, I think that if less people believed in a God we would have a better relationship with animals. I don’t want to upset anyone. However, I don’t think that religion does anything for animals. Yes, the Prophet Muhammad loved cats and and he taught respect for domestic cats. However, I don’t think the Prophet’s love of domestic cats has had any influence upon the modern Muslim. Muslims in general don’t particularly like domestic cats. They are not that interested in them as far as I can tell.
As for the Bible, it is devoid of references to domestic cats. In fact it is devoid a references to cats in general except for the lion. The people who wrote the Bible hundreds of years after the death of Jesus Christ had no interest whatsoever in domestic cats. At that time the domestic cat had been in existence for thousands of years. Dogs are often mentioned.
I believe, rightly or wrongly, that the Bible is very human-centered and encourages the dominance of humans over animals. It encourages humans to use animals for their benefit. For me, this is not a good starting point in our relationship with animals particularly nowadays.
Extinction of species
I say nowadays because many iconic species are drifting towards extinction in the wild. The worldwide marketplace in animal parts and live animals is worth 5 to $20 billion annually. It’s massive. Animals are used to make money despite an international treaty to prevent it which is laughable.
There simply isn’t enough commitment towards conservation. Human commitment to exploitation of animals is far greater then for the animals’ conservation.
Hawking also says that a belief in an afterlife is just wishful thinking. He says that there is no reliable evidence for. It flies in the face of science. I say that a belief in the afterlife is simply a consequence of the human’s fear of death.
“I think that when we die we return to dust. But there’s a sense in which we live on, in our influence, and in our genes that we pass on to our children.”
We also live on in the memory of others. John O’Donohue, a poet, philosopher and scholar and a native Gaelic speaker believed that the memory of our lives is encased in stone (the earth that we walk on). He wrote the excellent book: Stone As the Tabernacle of Memory.