In 2010, Hawking said, in essence, that science will win out over religion because science works. Ponder that for a moment. First, it is clear that Hawking believes that science and religion in general are at odds with one another. What is the conflict that he perceives? That religion cannot cure cancer or diabetes? That religion cannot explain the origins of life as well as science? The problem, as I see it, is Hawking is trying to do with science what it cannot possibly do, and that is science cannot lay the foundation for its own work.
Here is what I mean by that. Why do we have medicine? Medicine is a science. New medications are made by meticulous scientific research and study. Surely, there is hardly anything religious about studying protein chains, control groups, and chemical reactions at the cellular level, is there? Christianity cannot possibly hope to help us with how it is that the drug in Nexium might help with H. pylori bacteria that cause peptic ulcers, can it?
It certainly can and does. The reason that people study medicine is because they see an intrinsic value in life. Christians stayed behind to tend to plague victims because they believed that man's dignity rested in his being made in God's image. So Christians founded hospitals and began to research treatments because they believed in God. Religion was the foundation for the science of medical study.
It cannot be denied that much research in science is now motivated, perhaps, by greed over the concern for the sick. That is, the dollar drives science, not a benevolence born from the belief that God's image resides in man. I will grant that. However, if you want to say that pursuing medical cures for greedy gain is bad, then you are right back into religion again, aren't you? Consider another quote from Hawking,
I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
The human being, in Hawking's man, is a product of chance. If human beings are really only like computers, then how can we accuse men of greed? Do you think that your computer is greedy? Isn't "greed" just a survival concept made up by the weak to keep the strong from getting their stuff?
Consider this quote, I think it is the most mind-boggling of anything that Hawking says, "Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the Universe going." Hmmm...so, the eternal law of gravity existed when there was nothing? Does that sound like science to you? How can something come from absolutely nothing? What was making the gravity in "space"? Isn't space something rather than nothing? Is this any more believable than invoking God?
This is precisely why Hawking thinks that science and religion are in conflict. Science is Hawking's religion. It is his god. Hawking sounds like a television, flim-flam evangelist trying to get us to align ourselves with his personal religion. He says, "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark." See! The reason that people are religious is because they are afraid of the dark! If we were brave, we would embrace the nihilism that consumes everything.
The problem is that we don't embrace religion just because we are afraid of the dark. We embrace Jesus Christ because darkness exists. Evil is real. The fact that there is a God and a judgment does not make us cowards. It can, however, give us a reason to be a scientist, something that Hawking's religion utterly fails to do.