Ponderings over the question “how are we here?” tend to float in 2 directions:
- How is there something rather than nothing? - Where did life come from?
Naturalism's response to this is: we have no data from before the big bang… where the whole universe sprang from a pinpoint. We don't know why or how. After that, the physical laws guaranteed abiogenesis and evolution, leading to us.
Theism's response is: God did it and we are the purpose of the entire universe. Some of us thing it did it 6,000 years ago (deep Appalachia). Some think it caused the big bang and then left (deism). Most somewhere in between and don't seem to think about it too much.
On naturalism, the universe is just an unguided, cold and indifferent place. There is no purpose but what you make. It must lead to some kind of nihilism and provides no hope. It might have more explanatory power, but nothing else. It is easy to see the allure of theism in the face of such emptiness.
Challenges to naturalism: - It is odd that we're here at all. The odds of us being here at all is astronomically high. - The descriptions of the big bang sounds suspiciously similar to what is described in holy texts (although imagination is responsible for much of this - the books aren't detailed enough) - It is odd that no other life has been encountered that we know of (see Fermi Paradox
Challenges to theism: - the term “God” is really just a placeholder for “Mystery” (god of the gaps) - If there is a God who did this for us, then gratuitous suffering needs to be reconciled with it (theodicy) - Nothing can be learned from this. It has no explanatory power. - There is no clarity about such a being. The texts are ambiguous and themselves the source of huge conflict.
At the end of the day, agnosticism seems in order. One hopes for more than just a fleeting life - one hopes for eternity in love. But, alas, there is no reason I see to expect this. All we have is hope.