The first time I saw Nick Vujicic was on a Youtube video in which the smiling limbless guy did his daily routine as normally as he could. As most people who get to see the video, I was taken aback and after finishing it I had great admiration for that guy.
The second time I saw something about Nick was less mystical. I was presented a longer video with one of his presentations in which he basically said "Life can be pretty bad, but God is the way to make it worthy." That made me rise an eyebrow and (I have to admit it) lost a little bit of my respect for that guy. Of course, I still admire him, mainly because he does something I don't think I might be able to do. But the message that I got was that his success, his energy, his happiness, was all because of his belief in God.
Then I remembered someone else. Someone who had to go through something similar. Stephen Hawking.
It's certainly bad taste to compare them, but for the sake of this blog, I'll do it. Nick was born limbless and had a not-so-nice childhood that made him very depressed. Then somehow he had an epiphany that his achievements actually inspired people and decided that somehow God had gave him that power. On the other hand, Stephen Hawkins had a normal and brilliant childhood, but during his early twenties he started losing movement in his limbs, until he got to be how we think of him today: immobile and incapable of talking without that mechanical voice, but with one of the most brilliants minds ever.
I don't know which one would have suffered the most. The one who never knew anything but the limbless life he had, or the one who had everything and lost it all.
The difference is that Nick attributes his success to God, while Hawkins shunned the idea of a personal God that would help him succeed. This is very clear in one of his quotations about God and science
"What could define God [is thinking of God] as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God," Hawking told Sawyer. "They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant an accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."
There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works
I wouldn't dare to tell Nick that his belief is wrong and that he should stop believing in that. Whether real or false, that belief has worked for him and taken him out of a rather miserable life. But that way is not the only way. God, Nick's God, the Christian God doesn't have the copyright of salvation and happiness. Stephen Hawking beautifully demonstrates that disbelief is no obstacle towards greatness. He didn't need of God, or Jesus, or repentance, or anything like that to be an inspiration to others. He did it by himself and by whatever means he found. Those means don't include a god.
Finally, If I had to rely on some of them, I would totally go for Hawking. Vujicic lives a great life and inspires many, that is undeniable. But Hawking does that, and, is one of the greatest minds in the world. Vujicic is cool, but Hawking is awesome.