We continue to misinterpret Stephen Hawking's ideas to fuel our own agendas.
It's bad enough that he has had to sit quietly while his ideas have been turned into premises for unsciency sci-fi action movies...
...but now we have Christians praying for his soul and atheists waving his name around like a victory flag over the proclamations of headlines.
"Stephen Hawking: God didn't create universe" - CNN.com
"God did not create the universe, says Hawking" - Yahoo! News
"God Has No Role in Universe, Says Stephen Hawking" AOL News
"Somebody's Going To Hell! Stephen Hawking: "God Not Necessary" Geelkologie
Stephen Hawking: God did not create UFO Digest
Stephen Hawking U-turns on God's creation of Universe" Wired
"Stephen Hawking changes tune on God" USA Today
"Hawking: Religion will be defeated by science" cnet.com
"Stephen Hawking Settles the God Question Once and For All " Discover
My understanding is this: In his 1988 book, "A Brief History Of Time" he said that one's belief in human evolution and faith in a Christian God were not necessarily mutually exclusive. In 2010 he said that the physics of gravity allow for the Big Bang to happen spontaneously, and thus it does not necessitate a God to ignite the first spark.
Neither of these statements reveals anything about Hawking's alleged religious faith or lack thereof.
A super-genius cyborg made a statement regarding the Universe on an inhumanly enormous scale, and journalists turned it into a human interest piece.