From the perspective of Daniel Heller, 28, from Phoenix, Arizona, a philosophy teacher.

What are we here for?

Every individual has to figure that out for himself.  I haven’t yet.

Do you believe in the Big Bang theory that the circa-13.7-billion-year-old universe and all that’s in it was created by a massive explosion of enormously dense matter at what may have been the beginning of time?
Yes, I do.

If there is a God, where is he?
Philosophically it doesn’t matter if God exists; it matters more whether or not we choose to believe in him. So the answer to that question would be everywhere and nowhere.

Is there a mystery to life?

There are an infinite number of mysteries to life.

Do you think we’re alone in the universe?
I think scientific evidence suggests that statistically there have to be other forms of life in the universe.

There is a theory that there may be parallel universes with exact copies of us – doppelgangers – doing exactly the same thing as us right now. What do you think about that?
I’ve heard about that theory, but I haven’t researched it.  I don’t have the knowledge to speak on that.

What do you think happens to people when they die?

I hope there is a heaven, but I have no idea if there is one or not.

Where is your soul and what is it?
Your soul is in you and whatever you decide to invest your time in.  Personally my soul would be with English literature, with books.  Those are the things that make the soul – our decisions and choices in life.

Science says that all matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore, will our energy, in the form of our soul, live on for infinity?
That’s the first law of thermodynamics, and the theorists who developed those laws were not thinking of a human soul when they developed it; they were thinking of other kinds of energy.  I can’t answer that.

Do you know your place in the universe?
No, I don’t think so.  That’s why I travel abroad, to try to find it.

Some people believe that because we are made of the same matter as the universe – carbon, and other elements, like nitrogen – anything we ask it will be attracted to us, popularised recently in the movie The Secret. What’s your view?

I wasn’t a fan of that movie.

Are we being observed?
I think we all observe one another, and we should try to be observant and aware of each other in life.

If there is a God, why does he allow such colossal suffering of people on Earth, whether through war, disease or natural disasters?

The Book of Job says it’s not our place to ask these questions, though everyone has to figure it out for themselves.

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