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  • 16 mars 2018 - 08:00
  • Kimberly Winston, RNS/Protestinter 4315 signes
ProtestInter

Une brève histoire de l’athéisme de Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking https://flic.kr/p/bn21zfPlusieurs libres penseurs thématisent l’athéisme du physicien mort cette semaine. Pourtant de son vivant, cette question n’a jamais été mise particulièrement en lumière.

Photo: Stephen Hawking CC (by) elhombredenegro 

Par Kimberly Winston, RNS/Protestinter

Dites les mots «britannique», «scientifique» et «athée» et la première personne à laquelle vous pensez sera probablement Stephen Hawking. Sur la question de l’athéisme, le physicien théoricien et cosmologiste, décédé mercredi 14 mars, à l’âge de 76 ans a été éclipsé par son compatriote, le biologiste et activiste Richard Dawkins. Il faut dire que l’athéisme de Stephen Hawking était moins explosif que celui du colérique Richard Dawkins.

«Ce qui pourrait définir Dieu (c’est penser à Dieu) comme l’incarnation des lois de la nature. Cependant, ce n’est pas ce que la plupart des gens pensent de Dieu», a déclaré Stephen Hawking à la journaliste Diane Sawyer en 2010, lors d’une interview pour la chaîne de télévision ABC. «Ils en font un être ressemblant à l’humain avec lequel ils peuvent avoir une relation personnelle. Quand vous observez l’immensité de l’univers et en son sein l’insignifiance d’une vie humaine accidentelle, cela semble tout à fait impossible.»

L’une des raisons pour lesquelles l’athéisme de Stephen Hawking était si peu mis en avant, c’est qu’il semblait avoir esquivé la question de l’existence de Dieu durant des années. Dans son livre phare, le best-seller de 1988, «Une brève histoire du temps», il écrit: «toute l’histoire de la science se résume en une prise de conscience progressive que les événements ne se produisent pas d’une façon arbitraire, mais qu’ils sont sous-tendus par un ordre, qui est ou qui n’est pas, inspiré par une divinité.»Plus loin dans le même ouvrage, il écrit au sujet de la quête d’une théorie unifiante de l’univers: «ce serait le triomphe ultime de la raison humaine, car elle nous donnerait à comprendre la pensée de Dieu.»

Pour certains, cette citation est la preuve que Stephen Hawking nourrissait en privé des croyances religieuses. Une hypothèse qu’il nourrissait par ses propos au fil des ans. «Les lois peuvent avoir été décrétées par Dieu», a-t-il déclaré à l’agence Reuters en 2007. «Mais Dieu n’intervient pas pour enfreindre les lois». En 2005, il a même titré un livre phare: «Et Dieu créa les nombres». Il s’est aussi rendu au Vatican en 2008 et s’est brièvement entretenu avec le pape Benoît XVI.

Un striptease athée

Puis, en 2010, avec la publication d’«Y a-t-il un grand architecte dans l’univers?», Stephen Hawking semble commencer un grand striptease athée, en dévoilant peu à peu qu’il ne croit pas.«Parce qu’il y a une loi comme la gravité, l’univers peut et va se créer tout seul à partir de rien», écrit-il avec Leonard Mlodinow. «La création spontanée explique qu’il y ait quelque chose plutôt que rien; pourquoi l’univers existe; pourquoi nous existons. Il n’est pas nécessaire d’invoquer Dieu pour déclencher la création de l’univers.» 

Il y a moins d’un an, Stephen Hawking a déclaré dans un documentaire pour Discovery Channel: «nous sommes tous libres de croire ce que nous voulons, mais je pense que l’explication la plus simple, c’est qu’il n’y a pas de dieu. Personne n’a créé l’univers, et personne ne dirige nos destins.»Et au cas où ce ne serait pas assez clair, Stephen Hawking a mis fin au dernier doute en 2014 lors d’une interview avec le journal espagnol El Mundo: «ce que je voulais dire par “comprendre la pensée de Dieu” c’est que nous saurions tout ce que Dieu sait s’il y avait un dieu. Mais il n’y en a pas. Je suis athée.»

Après sa mort, certains athées ont déclaré que le point de vue de Stephen Hawking sur le fait de n’avoir qu’une seule vie, qui dans son cas était marquée par la très invalidante maladie de Charcot, avait fortifié leur propre conviction athée.«Stephen Hawking devait faire face à sa propre mortalité avec une telle violence chaque jour, qu’il aurait été compréhensible qu’il abandonne l’athéisme pour donner raison au vieil adage qui dit “il n’y a plus d’athée dans la tranchée”», a écrit l’athée Lianna Brinded pour le magazine online Quartz. «Mais au contraire, il n’a pas renoncé à son approche de la religion, basée sur les preuves et le raisonnement scientifique.»

 

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