Monday, April 8, 2013

What if Science Could Prove that Gods Didn't Exist

For starters, I am writing this blog post at 3 AM after waking up at 1:30 and not being able to go back to sleep.  It may not be as coherent as it is in my head, and I couldn't think of way to accurate capture all of my thoughts.  I also think that if I really dove into all of my thoughts on this subject, I would be writing for a very long time and no one would read that novel.  With that said, enjoy this thought experiment.

Imagine that tomorrow, the world awoke to the headline "Scientists Prove There is No Such Thing as 'God.'"    What would happen?  Well, atheist might throw one hell of a party, but in reality, would anything change?  And to be clear, I am not just talking about God with a capital-G here, I mean any deity that is praised the world over, from Allah to Zeus and everything in between.

For starters, you would have those who didn't get the news due to censorship or lack of connection to the outside world.  For them, nothing would change at first.  Of those that do get the news, here are some of the ways people may react.

  1. Label the scientists who made the discovery as heretics and continue believing their religion.  They may also promote that schools "teach the controversy"
  2. Denial - IT NEVER HAPPENED!
  3. React violently to such an affront to their religion of choice and attack either those scientists directly or science in general
  4. Accept the science but remain connected to their religion out of tradition, comfort, or kinship
  5. Have a crisis of faith and not know what to believe.
  6. Just not give a shit
  7. Go absolutely crazy because "Nothing we do in this life matters anymore because there isn't a God and no afterlife" - Come on, you know some would react that way
  8. Consider it a test of their faith and dig into their beliefs even longer - "The dinosaur bones were put there to test our belief"
Much like science proved the Earth was round, and revolved around the Sun, it would take some time for this type of discovery to gain wide-spread acceptance among those who were believers.  I mean, we still have people who don't believe in evolution, or vaccinations. Even atheist might be a bit skeptical at first because having scientist make such a discovery, and then have someone find a flaw in their work, would only drive people to religion more.  

As the acceptance grew, religion-based regimes may begin to topple, which then may lead to serious power struggle conflicts in the middle east that erupt into all out war as the number of people who still believe in a higher power begins to fall but they cling bitterly to those beliefs because they were the source of their power and control.  The lack of afterlife consequences for their actions might be enough of a factor to push some people over the edge from controlled to chaotic. Those who are still devout believers might also start to react more violently to their religion being stripped away from them.  

So, in reality, I think we would be just as fucked then as we are now.  We would still have those who believe in religion, although their numbers would be smaller.  We would still have those that react violently to anything that is against those beliefs.  There would be tons of money thrown into research by religious organizations trying to overturn the scientists' findings.  The only hope would be that we could weather the shitstorm of the initial discovery and eventually come to accept the findings as facts, although it would take generations to do so, and there still would be holdouts.  

So, what would you do if you saw that headline plastered on every major news outlet tomorrow? I, for one, would probably call out of work that day because I would want to stay away from the crazy and watch it all unfold from the comfort of my living room.