Questioning reality has been a past time of humans for as long as we’ve been around. Let’s notice some patterns now.
In the post I’m referring to strong atheism, which is the belief that there is no god. It means, literally, a-without and theism-god.
God can be defined a myriad ways, I’ll use the simplest I can envision: an immortal creator.
Let’s take it for granted that humans are evolved beings, that arose completely naturally according to the mathematical and physical properties of the universe. We are capable of conscious thought and self-reflection, even though nothing “gave” us this ability explicitly. Awareness simply works better and makes us fitter and more able to survive.
Let’s think of a creator as something that changes the environment in order to help itself. From this point of view, all life creates. It creates with different strategies and varying levels of sophistication, but it’s all of the same nature.
So what does it mean to be immortal? Immortality is but ubiquity in time. If a pattern exists throughout the entire universe for all of time, then we can consider it to be immortal.
We exist inside a reality that apparently has 3 spacial and 1 temporal dimensions. This is called a 3+1 universe. We can move up/down, left/right, and forward/backward in space, and we have a past and future of time.
Mathematically a higher dimensional reality is simple to implement. Just add another axis to travel along, a perpendicular direction to the ones we use.
Imagine a world that exist on just two spacial dimensions, like graph paper. If you’re a three-dimensional being looking down on this two-dimensional world, you can see more of it at once than the beings on the 2D world. You’d have a bird’s eye view that they were not capable of. If you have your feet on the paper and they tried to put you in jail by drawing a square around you, you could simply step over the line and be free.
Just as we can imagine lower dimensions, we can imagine something existing outside our 3+1 reality. It would see our universe from a higher perspective.
According to Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, space and time really are one combined fabric. According to current theories, no information travels faster than the speed of light through spacetime. Also, the faster you move, the slower time goes. If you move at the speed of light, you perceive time around you as stopped.
Therefore just as we think of space as really out there, we should think of time as really out there. They are inseparable. Moving in space moves you in time.
Physicist Brian Greene puts it similarly in his book The Fabric of the Cosmos:
Just as we envision all of space as really being out there, as really existing, we should also envision all of time as really being out there, as really existing, too. Past, present and future certainly appear to be distinct entities. But, as Einstein once said, “For we convinced physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only an illusion, however persistent.” The only thing that’s real is the whole of spacetime.
If we physical beings can evolve in a 3+1 world, then it’s easy to imagine a higher dimensional physical being evolving. If we evolved and have love and the potential for goodness, then so could a higher being. A god is probable, if not definite.
Another way to think about it is as a computer simulation. Imagine we build a mathematical model of a universe inside of a computer. Imagine the laws enable the creation of complex evolved life. Just as we can exist outside a simulation we run, obviously a god can exist outside our perceivable universe.
Given the probability that what we see is not the whole picture, something bigger than us is likely.