In my recent post The Goldilocks Zone, I mentioned an argument I got into with someone going by the name of Thomas in the comments section of one of Vjack's posts on Atheist Revolution. Well, Thomas seems to have become a frequent haunter of Atheist Revolution (I have been mercifully spared thus far here at Exercise in Futility!), as I got into another back and forth with him in Vjack's post Faith As A Virtue Part 1.
In the combox of this post, Thomas played the design card. I replied that even if I accept the possibility that the universe might have been designed by someone or something, it does not mean automatically it was the god of the Bible. To that, Thomas answered "You can tell alot (sic) about the designer by looking at the things he designed."
Fine, let's play that game. Let us take a look at the universe and see what it tells us about a hypothetical designer. We know the universe is so vast as to be practically infinite in its expanse. Ours is one of many planets orbiting the sun in our solar system, which is itself one of countless solar systems in the Milky Way galaxy. It seems reasonable to extrapolate from this that other galaxies in the universe are also filled with stars orbited by planets. It also seems reasonable to believe that there is at least the possibility that there is life in some form or other on other worlds in this universe. When I consider this, it seems absurd to believe that planet Earth represents the "central front" in some epic battle between good and evil.
When you look at the two largest monotheistic religions in the world, Christianity and Islam, they both seem to thrive on violence. Of course, Christians are not strapping on bomb vests or flying planes into buildings. But a segment of them look forward to living in the time of the Rapture, of the coming of the Anti-Christ and the Last Judgment. These are people who do not see a future for humanity. I don't know about the rest of you, but that is something I find very depressing.
However, the flip side of this is that portion of the human race since before the dawn of recorded history that has been curious about its place in the universe, seeking to explore and understand the world and the heavens around us. If my hypothetical designer created the human race for a purpose, then maybe that purpose is not to embrace some superboy that was birthed to a virgin Jewish teenage girl in the Galilee some 2,000 years ago as our personal savior, but something more like this:
I created this vast universe for you to explore and discover and there is room enough that a million years from now your descendants will still have explored only a fraction if it. As long as the universe endures, so humanity itself will endure if it embraces peace, unity and progress. The choice is yours.
Now that is a god to whom I would not mind giving my respect.