The Biggest Question For Mankind?
Lawrence Krauss might be the only guy in the world that actually makes physics interesting. He is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, best-selling author, and professor who also just happens to be someone who has also interviewed Johnny Depp on stage in front of 30,000 people.
He has written over 300 scientific publications and 9 books, including the bestsellers The Physics of Star Trek and A Universe from Nothing. He also runs an incredibly successful podcast called Origins which has featured guests like Ricky Gervais and Noam Chomsky.
Lawrence Krauss also served on the science policy committee for President Barack Obama, and acted in Hollywood films. Lawrence currently runs the Origins Project Foundation which is dedicated to hosting public panel discussions & podcasts, on science, culture, and social issues.
Lawrence always has something interesting to say and we are able to get super deep into incredibly unique topics especially when it comes to religion.
The Role of Religion in Physics?
Lawrence is known as the “anti religion guy.” He has made movies about religion with Richard Dawkins and has had countless debates with Islamists and Christians over the issue.
I wanted to talk to Lawrence more about his views, and if they have changed at all over the last few years.
Lawerence began delving into the topic by explaining that he has never considered himself an atheist, but he did call himself an antitheist for many years. However, now he prefers to label himself as a “apathyist”.
He explains this label, telling me that people have this idea that physicists are constantly thinking about if there is a god or if a god created the universe. However, Lawrence makes the claim that god is irrelevant in the physicist community.
He states, “you don’t need to think about god to figure out how the world works.” He goes on to explain that natural effects have natural causes and there has never been a need to invoke some sort of supernatural explanation for the way the world works.
Some people would say to this, “well how do you know for sure?” and Lawerence answers honestly that he doesn’t know, but he had yet to hit a roadblock in his career that forced him to turn to god as an explanation.
Religion Poisons Everything
Lawrence wants to remind people that, “this issue of understanding god, when it comes to understanding the way the world works, is irrelevant.” He believes that what is unfortunately true is that, “religion … does poison everything.”
Of course, Lawrence concurs that there are people in the world who do good things because they are religious. They are able to take parts of scripture and use those parts to live a good life. However, he believes that religion has begun to “appropriate morality.”
If you look at a religion; like Christianity for example, everyone’s Christianity is different. People tend to pick and choose the aspects of a certain religion that work for them in their daily lives. “People utilize religion as a shield for the good things they do,” maintains Lawrence.
One of Lawrence’s biggest issues with religion being the be all end all of someone’s moral identity is that it “stops thinking.” When people believe they know the truth without asking questions, then they aren’t thinking. For Lawrence, this is the biggest threat to humanity.
Organized religion, according to Lawrence, tends to put intense societal pressures on people and shuns those who deviate from the flock.
However, Lawrence wants to be clear that it’s not just religious people that have a religiosity. There are plenty of atheists who have the same kind of zealotry as religious fundamentalists.
What it really comes down to is having the ability to question things. You can’t expect to be an expert on everything but you can do research and ask questions and work to expand your mind and your knowledge. The real danger of religiosity, at the end of the day, is being afraid to think.
We have developed a consciousness and an ability to think and question. These are the things that make being human worth being human. The joys and tragedies of being human are tied to being able to assess our place and ourselves and find out how we can improve on ourselves. If we give this up because of religion we are giving up being human.
The Future of Religion
With all this said, I was curious what Lawrence believed would be the future of religion. Would religion one day go away or be given up on?
Can humans exist without it?
Lawrence believes that the truth of the matter is that, “religion meets some human needs.”
Humans have a need to find purpose in things; this is something that has been hardwired into our DNA.
Humans also need community; they need to feel like they are part of a tribe.
While it does fulfill some human needs, Lawrence still maintains that being religious and being moral are two completely different things, yet most people assume religion and morality are as closely tied as two things can be.
Lawrence does not believe religion is something you can get rid of. However, he does believe there are other ways to meet fundamental human needs such as finding purpose, community and comfort that don’t have to do with religion.
The real question Lawrence wants to leave you with is, “can you have these kinds of social organizations that are much more healthy than religious organizations?” He doesn’t know the answer to this, but this is what he wants to strive for.
What do you think?
This is such an incredibly interesting and multifaceted topic and I’d love to hear your thoughts on religion and its role in humanity.
Editor, Brian Rose Uncensored