Things pop in to existence, but from what? That's the extremely interesting question. Laws of physics allow it easily, but would that mean that they and some kind of perfect void existed before the current universe? Remnants of a universe which existed and died before our own?
No faith is needed in accepting the creation of something out of nothing as long as it follows the laws of nature. Where we face problems is when we go beyond the beginning point of everything, whether we are talking about a sole universe, a cyclical universe or a multiverse. Because before that there couldn't have been anything. Yet from nothing came everything.
And this baffles us, as we are deeply tied to the western linear concept of time and events always having causes behind them. Time must begin somewhere, but it must have a reason to exist, we think.
Personally I hope that the multiverse theory is correct. Not that because it takes away the basic problem from where everything came at some point in the past (question which troubles also all religions: what did god or gods do before the creation of the universe, how did they came into being if they did?) but because it seems to promise endless existence of infinite number of universes in the future.
In a way multiverse is close to Hoyle's discredited view of our universe as one that has existed forever and will exist forever. But in a multiverse, it's just this infinite variety of universes that appears to have existed forever. But still, even then, we are left with the question what came before. And if we give a religious answer to that question, then we will end up ask asking questions about the nature of god or gods and their existence.
What comes to great scientists and religion, it's not the religiously influenced part of their thinking that has survived. In Newton's universe it was god who stopped the universe from collapsing, as Newton understood it would have to without something keeping it together. God was the only answer that Newton, a man who had his very own view of religion and who was also an alchemist, could give. Einstein had to use cosmological constant to achieve the same. Of course, universe is instead expanding.
Protestant Kepler was a religious man (and an astrologer and believed that music had some mysterious connection to the universe, a cosmic harmony), Catholic Galilei made nuns out of all his daughters. But it's not their religious thinking that has importance today even when his atom theory and it's connection to the Eucharist was one of the reasons that brought him before the Inquisition in the case of Galilei, and not just his copernicanism and pope's hurt feelings because of his book Dialogue Concerning the Theory of Two Chief World Systems(1632), where Galilei put pope Urban VIII's words in to the mouth of a foolish character he called Simplicissimus.
Same with Einstein and his claim that his god was the god of Baruch Spinoza(1632-1677) - who was himself claimed to be an atheist by his contemporaries, even when he had included god in his work. But that god of Spinoza and Einstein's was basically a supreme law of nature, keeping everything running and caring nothing about human existence, as Einstein explained when it came to god and the question of human suffering.
Their religious views can be interesting, but in their work that has survived it plays no role, because it's separate from religion and survives without any religious connections. And in the same way religion that doesn't tie itself into scientific certainties of it's day won't get tied to things that can be seen soon outdated. Just think how the plate tectonics weren't accepted in geology until 40 years ago and how wrong it would have been to tie religion into the previously existing geological view of Earth.
Last edited by Rouge77 on Sun Jul 05, 2009 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total