Brand new here, starting off with a big bang. LOL I'm loving this topic. I'd like to add some food for thought here. Hawking speaks of God with a capital letter as if he does indeed believe in God. He talks about invoking God into the scheme of things.
Something I've been long frustrated with is the necessity of people in general to believe in this awe, impossible feats, that only gods could commit. Jesus walking on water for instance is a HUGE hit in the United States, yet when I lived in France, and the Catholic bible was read (still) in Latin, there was no walking on water scene. (I can picture editors in the cutting room: "Cut that from the movie.") Jesus walked BY the water. The translator chose a word (an accurate one, however not a well-chosen one as the latin word carries several different meanings: by, from, of, on) and instead of walking on the edge of the water, he suddenly walked on the water. That changed the whole meaning and gave us a "miracle" that only Jesus Christ could perform. I've questioned many people and asked them why this belief was so needed? I firmly believe that Jesus (a man, and not a god) did exist, but his whole message was that we are all human, we all have paths to improve our lives and to connect with God (I've always hated the concept of a sole God as well, so many conundrums in the bible) and to better ourselves all while helping humans. To put Jesus or any worshipped deity in the category of miraculous, kind of puts we mere humans in the category of never-gonna-achieve-what-they-achieved, and thus leads many down the path of "why try?"
Okay, I do have a point, so please bear with me. After reading and re-reading Hawking's works, and listening to his interviews, I think the guy is merely trying to debunk the 'miracle" crap. The stuff where we're all supposed to bow down in awe to the guy with the biggest stick and thus we-must-obey-him-because-he-must-have-the-cell-phone-number-of-God. I think (if I'm understanding Hawking correctly, and lord knows I've certainly not talked to him in person in order to know for sure) the guy is just trying to unravel some of the myths that people get stuck in. Albert Einstein is his idol, and Einstein sure believed in God. Newton on the other hand, took the easy way out and decided that if he couldn't explain it, he'd give some crappy story about how God must have done it. Not that God/s didn't, just that Newton wasn't man enough to say, hey, this is something I just don't completely understand yet.
Does that make sense? I kinda like the fact that Jesus was first and foremost a guy. Anything that he accomplished is certainly something I can accomplish, and I think that Jesus was trying to tell people just that. He kept talking about how no one was better than the other, you don't have to pay to get in the afterlife, and you don't have to hide in caves if you're sick. You don't get to cast a stone because no one is without error somewhere in their lives. I think Hawking is trying to say that same thing. He's saying, stop mystifying the whole God thing, and let's get down to understanding things better. Hawking doesn't want things to be overwhelming to people. He's just trying to help them see that it's not something to hide from in fear or to give up on by saying, "oh well, only God can know the answer, humans will never know."
I say (not Hawking) that the Gods are involved in all of it, but that they delight in we mere humans understanding their creations and ourselves to the extent that true and deep appreciation of all of it can ensue.
Hawking just gets tired of the crap where things are conveniently hidden in a "god" wrapper: Do not unwrap until the end of all creation. He's taking the power away from (mostly the Catholic church, which deserves it to the full extent) organized religion to do that shock and awe crap.