Halo Hell (Literally), Is This Thing On?, and Am I an Atheist?

Last night, I finally met "The Flood" in Halo. Dear god, I nearly shit myself when they swarmed all over me the first time. I am completely amazed at what good game developers can do. Liz is actually entertained just watching me play - she says it's like seeing an action movie.

By the way, has anyone subscribed to my RSS feed yet? Just curious :)

When I was driving home from work, my mind got to thinking about my current state of belief (or lack thereof). It all started when I got an e-mail from someone who included an image of the American flag with the sun shining through it. Because of the way the flag was hung and where the sun was located, it looked like a cross was emblazoned on the flag. Now, this is just a coincidence and I wasn't hung up on, "oh my gosh, is this a message from the creator on high?". Actually, I get a little annoyed when I get these religious e-mails - I just don't read them. But for some reason I started to think about where I stand on the issue of faith - more specifically, on the issue of the existence of a creator.

Although I really hate labeling myself in any way, shape, or form, the best way to describe my beliefs is by using the term, "atheist." However, I'm not sure if that's the correct term. A while ago, I read Gregory Benford's sci-fi book, "Cosm." The story revolves around a woman who conducts a physics experiment and accidentally creates a universe that's only the size of a large ball in our world (approximately 20 ft. in diameter, but I could be wrong on the exact dimensions). In this sense, the main character was the "creator" - she created the universe (much like when Lisa Simpson created the tooth world in one of the Halloween episodes - how I loved the line, "I've created Lutherans!").

In this sense, I have no problem with the possibility that our universe was "created" and that there is a "creator." This, to me, is a purely scientific approach - that is, it may be possible to create a universe via an experiment that is repeatable and verifiable. However, such a creator has no bearings or trappings that most gods in religious beliefs bear. This creator is simply using scientific principles and theories to cruft up galaxies and black holes. Granted, we as human beings have no idea how to do this as it stands today (private government skunkworks projects notwithstanding), but as our scientific knowledge grows, it may become a possibility in the future.

Now, I realize there's a lot more to be said and debated about such a view. For example, the classic question that atheists raise to theists, "who created the creator?", plays just as well here. That is, who created the physicist in the lab to make a universe? And how was her universe created? But my point is that belief in a creator does not necessarily mean that you are a theist, provided that you can discover properties about the creator via scientific experiments. Maybe our universe is just a toy created (on purpose or accident) by a race of sentient being or beings. Maybe not. But I don't think the question of whether or not we're here because of a creation event (that's a dangerous phrase that can easily be taken out of context!) is beyond the scientific realm. One day, we may know enough about the universe and its' beginnings to make our own.

* Posted at 02.05.2003 12:55:18 PM CST | Link *

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