Question from Nick:
I’ve done research on many different concepts in religion and philosophy, and have come to the conclusion that we should just call the universe God. To me this makes the most sense. Everything you could say about God can be applied to the universe. It’s everywhere, all-powerful, all-knowing, etc. And it seems to match with science; everything is just quantum foam.
But I’ve tried to talk with other people that call themselves atheists, and they demand to prove that existence even exists with science. One even said they reject philosophy (which I think is one of the foundations of scientific knowledge).
I don’t understand why some atheists are so aggressive when it comes to the idea that the Universe/Multiverse could be God.
Answer by SmartLX:
The concept of everything, or the universe itself, as God is called pantheism. It has been around for a very long time and has found some popularity among people who like to imagine we are all part of God. It’s never served well as a uniting position though, because it sits poorly with either theists or atheists depending on how it’s defined.
The main difference between a materialistic universe and most concepts of God is agency. God has goals, and some amount of influence with which to exert His/Her/Its will on reality in order to achieve those goals. A plain old universe just runs along like a clockwork toy, and whatever happens happens. If (hypothetically) the universe has its own goals and somehow works towards them within itself, then it actually is a theistic god but atheists won’t accept the idea because there’s no good evidence for its agency. If on the other hand the universe is beholden to its own laws and cannot bend or break them to advance a particular cause, then it is at best a deistic god because of the lack of intervention. Some atheists might be okay with calling it that but theists believe their god is capable of more than following the rules to the letter.
Philosophy is impossible to avoid in some form or other. Each of us knows that he or she exists, which implies that there is some kind of reality even if everything we can sense is a lie. Simple logic when applied to the self will get you that far, so it’s not as if philosophy requires special training or education (though education can certainly help).
Apologies for the late reply, I was working overseas. Got a bit of a backlog of ATA questions to cover, which is a positive sign.
Question from Nick: