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Pandora's avatar

If it could be proven one way or another that God is false or that what scientists believe is false, how would it change you?

Asked by Pandora (22965 points ) September 23rd, 2012

I first started thinking about how I would feel if it turned out scientists were right and they could explain our existence down to the beginning of time. Then it would disprove the existence of God.
Then the scientific curious part of me wondered what if God could be proven and it proves we really know nothing of the world. I’m still pondering so I will get back to you guys on that later.
In the mean time, it made me wonder how others would react if their belief system was totally blown out of the water.

What or how would it change who you are, or why do you think it wouldn’t matter one way or the other to you?

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24 Answers

Sunny2's avatar

I suppose I would trust an all-knowing God to know why I believe as I do and why I act as I do. In which case He (or She) would forgive me for not being a believer. It wouldn’t change what I believe, because I’ve tried to live by the religious rules with which I agree. I believe that people being cooperative with and kind to each other is the way to make the world a better place. If Science was proved to be correct, there wouldn’t be any problem for me.

Pandora's avatar

I’m not sure about how it will completely change me or if at all, but I figure, if any of the two was taken away, than I would begin to have so many doubts about what or how I came to exist. I think in the long run it would erode my confidence in any knowledge or belief I have. I feel it would be like throwing be back into childhood. When I had tons of questions but I did not have the years yet to learn them and filter out what I didn’t believe and what I did believe. Both God and science are the foundation of order in my life, so either for me would be problematic.

ragingloli's avatar

At this point it is nigh impossible that what science holds to be true is actually wrong.
The mathematics work. The predictions we make with the mathematics match the what is observed and tested. Our cars, the electronics in it, the engines, the aerodynamics, work. Not just in general, but in detail, down to the mathematically predicted efficiencies. Our computers work. Our aeroplanes are not falling from the sky. Our satellites made it into orbit and float around stable. We landed on the moon. We just launched a probe to another planet that is 50 million km away, with a precalculated course with barely any corrections based on heliocentrism and newton’s laws, and we did not miss. We landed a heavy robot on that planet without it crashing and burning, and is transmitting signals back to earth with the mathematically expected delay based on the scientifically ‘believed’ speed of light.
Evolution is an observed fact, confirmed by Genetics, and being used not only in medicine but also in engineering with great success. It has been successfully used in domestication and cultivation of animals and plants for thousands of years.

So what science “believes” is very unlikely to be false, because reality itself validates it.

Shippy's avatar

In a way we don’t need scientists to blow away our belief systems. They get blown out the water on their own. I think some people would be completely lost, because also a lot of ritual goes into some beliefs. Would they for e.g. wake at 4am to devote time to prayer? Of course not, what then would they do with that time? So physically too, things would change. It is an interesting question. One cannot even say a balanced approach would effect that individual less, because, that belief forms a core of that person. For me, I would then embrace other things, not sure what that says about me?

tom_g's avatar

I have a bit of a problem with the question, mostly because I can’t imagine what definition of “god” could be “proven”. We’d have to assume that this god started to interact, and we were somehow able to develop a test that could adequately test its existence. Anyway, reality would first have to change significantly for such studies to even take place. The nature of this scientific effort appears to be mysterious without drastic changes in the way the world works currently.

But assuming something does happen. Say, a god manifests in some way, and we’re able to develop some testable data that holds up, then how would it change me? Well, again, it would depend on what we could gather about this god. If it turned out that we could find out (again, how could we know this) that this god was a rather impotent accidental creator of the universe in its present form, and its brief ability to manifest for scientific testing was a one-time accident, then maybe it probably wouldn’t change anything about me. However, if this god turned out to be some kind of all-powerful being close to a the horror portrayed in the monotheistic religions, then I suppose my life would change significantly. My anger towards this evil creature would probably consume me.

wonderingwhy's avatar

If all of science was proven false. How would you prove it? After all science is its own self-correcting proof. Small parts of science are proven false all the time – science adjusts. Ignoring that, I don’t think it would bother me all that much, for it to be disproven something else would clearly have to explain things better, I’m good with that – in fact great with it. At this point we have a pretty decent macro understanding of our physical world. Whether the basis for it is right or wrong doesn’t change a whole lot in daily life – at least until some disruptive thing/idea/system which takes advantage of this new dynamic comes along.

The funny thing is “God” as a concept can’t really be proven false. Which contrary to what a lot of fundamentalists would have you believe, isn’t the (or even a) purpose of science. Science describes, with ever increasing accuracy, what we experience and how it interrelates, and what that predicts. But it has limits. For example today it can’t tell you what came before the big bang or what’s inside a black hole. Therefore, so long as you don’t put constraints on god, neither does science (beyond inductive reasoning).

kess's avatar

Since falsehood always follows after Truth and no lie can ever be unless truth be with it..

Then at the point of absolutely proving God as false is the same as proving him True.
therefore I would never change.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Like any other theory. If God and miracles and all of that can be proven, repeatable, and stand up to rigorous examination and analysis, then I would have to accept it.

But so far, I haven’t seen anything religious that would stand up to that level of research. And I am not holding my breath.

tups's avatar

I don’t believe in proofs, so it wouldn’t really change that much. I do not trust any truth to be certain, God or science. Not that I don’t believe that it can be true, I just don’t believe in absolute certainty, therefore we cannot be sure if science or god(s) is true or not. We cannot know where we come from, anything is possible.

Mariah's avatar

I understand this is hypothetical, but I want to point out that it’s not possible to prove nonexistence. Even if we proved that every scientific concept is true, this would not prove there isn’t a god.

Anyhow, it would be strange for me, someone whose belief system is all about doubt, to receive proof. Proof of god would scare the shit out of me because all the rules would change. Suddenly I might have to learn how to avoid hell/hades/the equivalent. What I once thought was noble might not be anymore. A god could have a seemingly arbitrary ethics system that doesn’t make sense to me but I would have to follow anyway.

Proof of no god, were it possible, would be scary too, mainly because of what would happen in society. Many people probably keep their impulses in check with fear of hell, so I predict there would be some scary behavior. I don’t think it would shake me personally too much – it’s already what I think is probably true, although having proof would just be strange as I always doubt my beliefs as a rule.

wundayatta's avatar

If anything could be proven false, then science, as we know it, would not exist. The universe would be a fundamentally different place. There is absolutely no predicting how that would change humanity. Perhaps the universe never would have existed if you could prove a negative.

My bet, though, is that if you could prove a negative, we would live in a clockmaker’s universe. There would be no questions. Everything would be absolutely predictable. Quantum mechanics would not exist. We would have an entirely different physics. Indeed, humanity could not exist. We require uncertainty in order to exist. Without uncertainty, you can’t have consciousness. You can’t have morality. No ethics. No choices. I doubt if there could even be a god without uncertainty.

Jaxk's avatar

I don’t see how proving the existence or non existance of god would change science other than adding another variable to it. Proving there is a gos doesn’t change evolution or anything else. Of course proving that science is valid doesn’t prove there is no god. Most of the arguments against religion dwell on perceived mistakes in the bible or other documents. These documents were not written by any god but rather they are interpretations written by men and fairly primitive men at that. The only document I know of that anyone claims was written by god is the Ten Commandments. Handed down by god on Mount Sinai. Not really much in there to prove or disprove.

If the existance of God were proven, science would merely busy itself with trying to figure out ‘How did he do that’. Otherwise, I think we’ll just keep bumbling alone and calling each other stupid.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t see why they are mutually exclusive? Only if you have some sort of thing about how you interpret the bible makes you believe that proving something in science disproves God. I really don’t understand thinking the bible word for word is a perfect book. We who read it in English are reading a translation, things are always lost in translation. Even if it had been written in old English meaning can be lost as words and the language evolves. If God is the creator of the universe, He still could have been first. Science can be the understanding of God’s laws. Rather than have religion in conflict with science, it can easily be science explaining God’s mysteries. At least in my mind. if somehow we proved there is a gOd, then ok, there is a God. It would not change me much, I just would have been wrong previously about His nonexistence. Proving God is the Christian God that is another thing.

For me the problem is not God or not, it is religion.

woodcutter's avatar

Not much would change. Even if there was indisputable proof ,the faithful will never give up their beliefs and so we would still be dealing with this. Plus it would start a holy war of epic proportions from the Islamist going batshit at everyone. And then their would be the Christians going off in protest.

I say lets prove it now and light this one up.

Pandora's avatar

Ah @woodcutter. Always a rebel.

ETpro's avatar

It’s a miracle. I agree completely with @Jaxk! But I love @woodcutter‘s answer.

Paradox25's avatar

There are a few flaws with what you’re asking here. First off, we can never disprove the existence of a ‘god’ despite any scientific discoveries. Secondly, what is ‘God’? Third, maybe ‘God’ isn’t omnipotent, and perhaps even evolved him/herself. As a non-religious theist my answer is no, because what you’re suggesting is impossible, and I don’t believe in the typical omnipotent religious god.

wundayatta's avatar

@Paradox25 It doesn’t help you answer if you deny the premise of the question. You have to accept the premise that it is possible to disprove the existence of god (or anything). What would a universe be like if the laws of logic allowed disproval? Can you imagine? It would be a universe unlike anything we know. But how would it be different? What do you think?

woodcutter's avatar

If a powerful superior being from space showed up and just impressed the hell out us would this being be a god? Or just some life form from some galaxy far away? I mean, it is a safe bet that my fish think I’m a god because I give them everything they need by maintaining their world and providing food. I am the fish god.

Pandora's avatar

@woodcutter @Paradox25 Than I would’ve posed the question differently. I would’ve asked if a God like alien could be proven or unproven. But since there is no religion, oh,forgot about scientoligist. LOL But I’m referring to mainstream beliefs.
I asking about empirical proof of one that disproves the other.
Let’s say God descends from heaven and makes it so we all have equal knowledge about the world and himself and how all was created from the beginning of time and he shows us how wrong our science was or at least not mature enough to have real knowledge of our universe. Kind of like when we thought sailing on the seas edge would have us drop off the planet.
Or the other way. Science offers empirical proof about the beginning of time and space and proves that we were just a freak accident and how the galaxy began, proving there is no God in the outer limits of space or time.
Undeniable facts either way that are no longer theories or created in faith
@wundayatta Thank you. That is what I was getting at. Our whole concepts would be changed. It’s like when the world was flat and they sailors discovered they weren’t going to fall off some edge. Or they thought their continent was the only one and discovered others. As it changed their lives, I figure something like what, I am suggesting has to change how we think.

ragingloli's avatar

“Let’s say God descends from heaven and makes it so we all have equal knowledge about the world and himself and how all was created from the beginning of time and he shows us how wrong our science was or at least not mature enough to have real knowledge of our universe. Kind of like when we thought sailing on the seas edge would have us drop off the planet.”
An advanced alien could easily do that as well.

Paradox25's avatar

@Pandora I’m not trying to be mean here, and I think this is a good question actually, but if you understood my version of theism then you would know why I can’t give you a direct answer here. I’m not getting into what I believe here since it would take up too much space, but I’ll throw you a few hints (or I’ll try to at least).

Where I’m getting at is if a God (or supreme Mind of some sort) exists than this would be a part of science, not outside of it. I’ll say the same thing for an afterlife, spirits, etc that if they exist then these would be a part of science too. I don’t believe in magic or transcendental concepts, only lack of advancment as a society to understand a certain branch of science at a current point in time. It just seems to me that the tone of your question suggests something along the line of (my own words here) if it was proven that science is responsible for the existence of the universe then this would likely disprove the existence of a God/s.

I accept the reality of abiogenesis, evolution and even a random event (not referring to God here) which caused the beginning of our universe, even as a theist. Here’s the catcher here though; I also believe that God itself came about through a random series of events, and through eons of time eventually evolved from a nonthinking entity to a conscious intelligence. I also believe myself that this God or Supreme Mind is not omnipotent, but can only operate within the limits of physics itself. There are other even more complicated reasons why I can’t answer yes to this hypothetical question even if it was ‘proven’ that the universe came about through a random event.

Pandora's avatar

@Paradox25 i get what you are saying but at the same time, I feel it would be like me asking; How does having a cat or dog change your life, or not change it and you go on to mention that owning fish or not owning fish has changed your life.
So my point is that the subjects are very specific. I’m not even trying to really get into theology or science. My point is to find out if people how (what they feel impossible to happen) on these two subjects if it was changed for them to a point where there is no doubt or where their belief structure is changed.
I chose these two because they are often on opposite ends. Now, for myself I believe both can co-exist and do. So for me, to have any of the two proven to be entirely false, would send my mind reeling. Especially if both are proven false. It would have to make me re-evaluate every thing I am.
Now you have people who do not believe either is correct. I’m sure you have uneducated people who think both are false.
Then you have people who believe in one or the other.
Then you have people like me who believe there is room to believe in both.
Now the first set of people would feel no different. They may have different ideas like aliens who are powerful or the sun goddess gave birth and the moon is the father to the earth. What ever it may be. But I was specifically going for two well known opposites.

Another way to put it is if I wanted to know about the inhabitants of an island and instead of going there and researching, I find out everything I never wanted to know about the islands surrounding it. True, it may give me some material facts about the island but I’m never going to know for sure unless I go there myself and research.
Now I could’ve broaden my question to involve other belief systems but it would’ve been really long. Maybe even longer than this comment and confusing.
I was trying to make it a simple topic. by narrowing the subject field. I’m not trying to find out what people believe or don’t believe, but rather how having that belief fractured would effect them personally.

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