I never bring up the subject of religion with people (except expressing my views on the Buzzard blog.) But I was in a waiting room the other day and reading Salman Rushdie’s new book Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights – which has nothing to do with religion. A man near me said he had tried to read Rushdie’s Satanic Verses but couldn’t get through it because the Muslim religion doesn’t make sense.
I should have let it go, but I couldn’t help myself. I told him all religious beliefs are a matter of geography. If he had been born in Saudi Arabia he would be a Muslim, if he had been born in Tibet he would be a Buddhist, if he had been born in China he would probably be Taoist.
Here he was; a chance to confound a non-believer. He asked me where I thought the universe came from. I told him that theoretical Physicist propose that the universe began with the Big Bang.
Aaa-ha, now he has me. His got-ya question was; what was before the Big Bang? Someone had to initiate the Big Bang, so it must be God.
I know you shouldn’t talk religion with these people, and if my wife had been there she would have given me an elbow and shut me up, but I was already on his hook – so I replied:
It is well accepted by the scientific community that the universe began when the celestial turtle farted – what we call The Big Bang. Each time the turtle farts he creates a new universe. According to String Theory there are at least eleven parallel universes attributed to our turtle; but there are probably countless celestial turtles creating unlimited universes. One of these turtles is what you have just described as God.
His answer was; we can agree to disagree (no we can’t, but I let it go at that.)