Stephen Hawking has drawn the ire of former Growing Pains star and active celebrity Christian evangelist Kirk Cameron.
If you happened to miss it, British theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking made some comments about death, Christianity and the afterlife in an interview with the Guardian this week.
Stephen Hawking, thought of by many as one of the premier thinkers of our time, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease when he was 21. He has outlived his expected life span with the disease by many years now, so it is fitting that he has some thoughts on death and the afterlife.
In the interview with the Guardian, Hawking scoffs at the idea of life after death, regarding it as a fairy tale. He likens the brain to a machine that simply stops working upon death.
I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
These comments inflamed some Christians, as the existence of “heaven” is pretty central to their ideas regarding the meaning of life. Celebrity Christian activist Kirk Cameron has responded to Hawking in a Facebook note posted on his page entitled “About Stephen.”
The note starts out with a jab at Hawking, suggested that his ideas might gain respect due to his medical condition. He proceeds to quote Sir Issac Newton and John Lennon. Check it out below. (Paragraph breaks added to promote smoother reading)
To say anything negative about Stephen Hawking is like bullying a blind man. He has an unfair disadvantage, and that gives him a free pass on some of his absurd ideas. Professor Hawking is heralded as “the genius of Britain,” yet he believes in the scientific impossibility that nothing created everything (Sir Isaac Newton called atheism “senseless and odious”) and that life sprang from non-life.
To speak on issues of science and violate it’s essential laws is like playing checkers with a someone who changes the rules when he’s losing. Why should anyone believe Mr. Hawking’s writings if he cannot provide evidence for his unscientific belief that out of nothing, everything came? He says he knows there is no Heaven.
John Lennon wasn’t sure. He said to pretend there’s no Heaven. That’s easy if you try. Then he said he hoped that someday we would join him. Such wishful thinking reveals John and Stephen’s religious beliefs, not good science. They may imagine all they want, but I lost my faith in atheism long ago and prefer to stay within the realm of reality.
Whether or not Facebook is the proper channel for religious debate is, well, debatable. But this feud is surely one I never expected to be writing about when I woke up this morning.
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