Our brain is the result of numerous simple physical processes that generate subjective experiences. It is reasonable to consider that other physical processes can also generate valid subjective experiences, including the entire universe itself.
The debate about God can be understood as a variation of the debate on the existence of consciousness. Believing in God implies, among other things, accepting the existence of a universal consciousness that is intelligent, conscious, and has a connection with us. While not all aspects of this belief can be empirically tested, some aspects are entirely plausible based on our current knowledge.
Consciousness encompasses various components, some of which can be easily explained by science, such as brain activity. However, there is a phenomenon known as “subjective experience” that science is unable to fully elucidate. This phenomenon is referred to as the “hard problem of consciousness,” as proposed by David Chalmers.
Science lacks a model, theory, property, or explanation that can predict or clarify the existence of subjective experience in humans or anything else in the universe. When we create computers, for example, we do not anticipate them possessing subjective experiences, not due to their complexity, but because there is nothing in physics that suggests this phenomenon would occur. While computers can process information and simulate brain activity, our current theories do not predict any associated experiential aspect.
The predicament lies in the fact that we are, in essence, intricate biological computers or robots, whichever term you prefer, and we possess subjective experiences that science cannot account for.
In their attempts to explain this, atheists must develop theories that either propose matter can generate subjective experiences (emergence) or that matter consists of subjective experiences (such as Russellian monism). The issue with these theories is that they imply subjective experiences can be generated by various physical processes, not exclusively within the human brain. Consequently, the notion that subjective experiences could exist beyond the human brain is entirely plausible. At this point, the idea of assuming that the universe, being a giant physical process, could produce a subjective experience like us.
Of course, it does not imply that it is necessarily intelligent; maybe it is more like a passive perception, or maybe it is intelligent due to processes we still have to discover.
So, the debate regarding the existence of a universal consciousness is entirely plausible, and it is up to each individual to believe in it or not.
There exists significant confusion regarding the relationship between brain activity and subjective experience. Here is a text that aids in comprehending the hard problem of consciousness and distinguishing it from the easy problem.
Moreover, I believe it would be beneficial to watch this short video in order to comprehend the concept that science is incapable of measuring subjective experience.