The larger question of God’s existence, however, is whether it makes any difference in the way today’s scientists, unlike social scientists, theologians and philosophers, will conduct their studies knowing that a prominent physicist denies God’s existence in his forthcoming book The Grand Design. Since the publication of that book, he has injected the concept of 'nothingness after death' to shock all the billions who believe in afterlife.
Does this mean man must now accept that the self-creating universe gave birth to irrational beings who disagree about creation and must accept responsibility for their actions individually and collectively? And what about the fact that most of the people on the planet are rooted in religion and theism and without this they are floating in deep space like burnt-out asteroids? And what of mainstream institutions that superficially or substantively accept theism and count on man’s acceptance of belief in the absolute and on the masses’ acceptance of the illusion of a Supreme Being?
How dreadfully irresponsible of Professor Hawking to deprive humankind of precious illusions that predate civilization! Naturally, his revelation would have meant something entirely different for society in the age of the Holy Inquisition, even in the Age of Reason. But other than Oprah-style media designed to sell a bourgeois lifestyle along with products for today’s “smart consumer,” does it mean anything either for theists or atheists?
Ontological arguments for God’s existence–everything from the teleological and causation arguments to motion and design arguments on which there is no shortage of scholarly philosophical and theological literature, will not be impacted no matter what any theoretical physicist proclaims. As for the believers, the things that matter include but are not limited to a religious experience and/or revelation, religious ethics, free will vs. determinism, and above all, the eternal question of life after death. Although throughout history scientific discoveries gave philosophy foundation and direction, it is guaranteed that Hawking will not have any impact today.
As man’s greatest, most necessary creation used for both good and evil, religion and theism have little to do with science and much more with human nature–both human biology and psychology–as well as with institutions, especially politics and business which have always managed to co-opt religion and use it for amassing power, profit and glory. From ancient times to the present man exploits, subjugates and kills in the the name of a personal deity universalized. No human invention comes close to religion and theism for fostering order and at times chaos and mass destruction in society. Religious faith may actually help patients recover quicker when they are ill and they may live longer–at least this is what some studies indicate.
As for my personal taste, priests may serve a more useful role than psychologists, or least as equally good and bad. Because religion and theism reflect human nature, because they are the ultimate tools of control and exploitation of the masses by elites, their existence is guaranteed until the end of the species, no matter the theoretical physics arguments or empirical studies suggesting the absence of God behind The Grand Design.