As soon as I saw what Stephen Hawking had to say about Heaven, I knew my reader would explode with articles denouncing, and completely misunderstanding, his words. For some reason, a large portion of Christians seem to think Hawking is the High Priest of Atheism and they must! denounce! him!
My reader did not disappoint. I could blog about nothing but theistic reactions to Hawking's thoughts from now until doomsday (December, 2012). I'll spare you the stoopid (see how nice I am?) and give you this one representative reaction:
I'm not the brightest bulb in the pack, but I missed something here. Hawking was asked about the value of knowing WHY we are here, and responded above about societies, survival, Darwin, yada yada. But what I'd like to know if, as he says, our very existence is "pure chance", WHY ARE WE HERE? Why should I care to seek the "greatest value of our action"? Why should my personal goals include the consideration of "our" anyway? And what if I belong to a society that isn't fittest? Wouldn't natural selection wipe out my goals, my greatest value of action anyway? I'm not being facetious here, either. If anyone out there wants to take a stab at WHY, from a Darwinian and atheistic point of view we're here, I'd like to know. It's only fair. I asked believers why doesn't God heal amputees. It's the nonbelievers turn.
Here's the answer: There is no why. That's it, really. There is no reason, no grand design, no plan, nothing. We are because we could be, and all things that could happen do happen at least once.
I know, right? It's so fucking mindblowing that we are not the center of the universe. We're just a speck of dust in the vastness of infinity and in the grand scheme of things, we matter not at all, except to ourselves. We could disappear off the face of the Earth right now and the vast majority of the universe wouldn't notice a thing.
It's okay. Just breathe. You'll be alright, I promise. I didn't say you didn't matter to anyone at all. I'm sure you do. And that's why you should seek out the "greatest value of [your] actions". Because to other humans, it does matter, and each other is all we have. There is no god to save us, no Armageddon to wipe the slate clean, so salvation and no glory. If you want good, you'll have to make it happen. Just you. And me.
We'll be okay. We always have been. You see, it's been this way the whole time. There was never a time when it wasn't just you and me. You may not have known it, but this is the way it always was and you got along just fine.
So take a deep breath and carry on with whatever it is you do.