August 2, 2010

"We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves."

Ray Bradbury talks about religion. Some of what he says makes some sense, and some, like that quote, makes no sense at all.

Oh, how I loathe, the use of the space program for inspirational purposes. (Like this.)


Skyler said...

Yeah, like the idea that the space shuttle exists for the purpose of sending a school teacher into space, as though this is inspiring to school children, which it's not, and as though inspiring school children is somehow important.

And then the constant refrain that we must know whether life began here or there. Sure, it's an interesting question, but it certainly won't put food on my plate or keep me safer in anyway. If it takes us a year or a thousand years to answer makes no difference to anything -- even assuming that NASA could answer it.

Paul Snively said...

The caveat that always needs repeating: we need space exploration because eventually the human race (or rather, our far future descendants) will need to leave the Earth in order to survive. Period, the end.

garage mahal said...

God didn't take too lightly to reaching for the Heavens, with the whole Tower of Babel thing. No, I think God wants us to stay put.

rhhardin said...

The universe plods along.

garage mahal said...

Love your blog RH

DADvocate said...

Hmmm. Made sense to me, unbelievably corny, but made sense.

Now, back to exploration of the cosmic mind!!

Original Mike said...

Leave it to Obama to give space exploration a bad name.

former law student said...

First, Bradbury tried to dispel the idea that science is incompatible with religion. Traveling into the solar system will help us understand God, not hurt our understanding.

Freeman Hunt said...

Didn't an Iranian official just discover that "contraband Marlboros have been contaminated with pig hemoglobin and unspecified nuclear material"?

It's science!

Good luck with that outreach, Government.

Freeman Hunt said...

"There is no technology they have that we need," Griffin said.


Freeman Hunt said...

Why in hell would we want to encourage Middle Eastern countries to develop space programs? That is insanity.

"Gee, if only Iran or Saudi Arabia were in space."

Perhaps we could start with encouraging them not to treat women like dogs. I think that in the progress of civilization, "not treating women like dogs" should come a step or two before "traveling into space."

jr565 said...

WHy would we need to leave the earth to find the god in ourselves? If hes in us then we don't have to go anywhere to find him. Unless there is something specific about going into space that allows one to discover the god in ourselves. Like maybe you have to be in a zero gravity situation and eat Tang for god to make an appearance. Simply eating tang, or simply being in a zero g situation alone will not reveal God. He's very particular.

c3 said...

The center of his faith, though, is love. Everything -- the reason he decided to write his first short story at 12; his 56-year marriage to his muse and late wife, Maggie; his friendships with everyone from Walt Disney to Alfred Hitchcock -- is based on love.

or put another way:

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails....And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

lemondog said...

I jump off the cliff and build my wings on the way down.

"I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap and then you grow wings" William Sloane Coffin

Flexo said...

Sounds like he's bought into a lot of New Age kind of stuff. Maybe he should start up a hospice?

traditionalguy said...

Outer Space teaces us how marvelous is the earth we have been given. Good sun and moon for light. Good temperature for us. Powerful Oil and coal and gas that will last thousands of years. Inspired men to create the science and technology and the Hebrew Prophets to explain the meaning of it all.

Joe said...

"We must move into the universe. Mankind must save itself. We must escape the danger of war and politics. We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves."


I simply don't see the imperative. I also don't think it's possible. I think humanity is stuck on this rock until the sun makes it impossible to survive (which is millions of years before it goes nova.)

(As for Bradbury--he may be a sci-fi icon, but I can't stand almost everything he's written and God knows I've tried [or maybe God doesn't know--maybe he knows, but doesn't care--maybe Zeus knows....)

former law student said...

"NASA ... represents the best of America. Its purpose is not to inspire Muslims or any other cultural entity,"

Why does Michael Griffen hate America? Not even the best we have to offer can inspire Muslims to be like us?

Why in hell would we want to encourage Middle Eastern countries to develop space programs?

To promote international cooperation, because only superpowers or international groups can put together a functioning space program. To give scientifically-inclined Muslims something to aspire to other than building better suicide bombs, or nuclear weapons. To have Muslims think of the US as other than The Great Satan as they hope to become astronauts.

Space exploration is not anti-Islamic.

former law student said...

I simply don't see the imperative.

1. Sun will flame out
2. Nuclear war destroying all life on earth is still possible -- that's kinda why we don't want Iran to get nuclear weapons.
3. Global warming
4. Any of any number of global catastrophes -- an asteroid hit, for one.

"We're moving more toward God," he says. "We're moving toward more proofs of his creation in other worlds he's created in other parts of the universe. Space travel will increase our belief in God."

In other words, space travel will increase our belief in God because we will see more evidence of His creation as we explore more parts of it.

Bradbury's last statement follows quite logically, but then turns introspective: Moving out into space will let us escape global catastrophes, or at least act as an insurance policy for the survival of the human race: If we colonize other worlds we don't have to worry so much about the destruction of this one.

Further, moving out into space will let us see more evidence of God's creation, which will increase our faith in God. But we will also realize that we are God's creation as well. Not that we are God, I don't think. That was Heinlein's schtick.

"We must move into the universe. Mankind must save itself. We must escape the danger of war and politics. We must become astronauts and go out into the universe and discover the God in ourselves."

Joe said...

Mankind must save itself.


In ten thousand years the most important things we hold dear won't even be noticed. Oh, there will be a trinket here or there that are completely misrepresented, but that's about it. So who cares about what actually happens in a billion years?

And if there is a God, the question becomes even more curious since if having a mankind in the universe is important, wouldn't God take care of that?

Synova said...

Mankind must save itself.


Why not?

It's better than simply waiting around to die.

There are a whole lot of "why's". Why build something that will last generations? Why have children? Why try to cure cancer? Why oppose tyranny?

Synova said...

Is it using the space program for inspiration that is wrong or just doing so ineffectively?


What good is art?

k*thy said...

fls - and I would add - to see and begin to comprehend how insigificant we are in the whole sceme of things.

Joe said...

The universe has an expiration date. Can't get around that.

There are plenty of good reasons to do space exploration. "Saving mankind" is the most pointless. Moreover, if "saving mankind" is the goal than most of our space exploration is a giant waste of time. If "saving mankind" is that important we should drop everything and do only that--we don't because nobody really believes it; some just like saying it because it makes them sound "visionary".

Frankly, I'm satisfied with "because we can and learning about it brings us joy" as sufficient justification; a justification that applies to pretty everything else as well.

Cedarford said...

"Why in hell would we want to encourage Middle Eastern countries to develop space programs?"

FLS - To promote international cooperation, because only superpowers or international groups can put together a functioning space program. To give scientifically-inclined Muslims something to aspire to other than building better suicide bombs, or nuclear weapons.

FLS, you are such a dolt!

The early space program was all about using dual use delivery systems. The missle that could launch a Soviet in orbit to sniff a posy and talk "peace" and inspire humanity also was the means the Soviets could launch large nukes or multiple nukes to any spot on the planet in 23 minutes. The American Mercury capsul was basically a fucking modified reentry warhead designed a few years earlier to launch a 9 megaton hydrogen bomb on our co-peaceful space explorers, the Soviets, heads.
Sputnik wasn't a thing that excited the world because it was a beeping excited the world because generals got excited and shitting bricks and starting discussions about peaceful use of space.

You will be happy to know that scientifically minded Muslims and NORKs are extremely interested in getting means to launch multi-ton objects into orbit. And getting many of those "means of exploration" built and based in their countries.

And surely, scientifically minded Muslims keen on building space exploration vehicles and peaceful fissile material enrichment may also want to seek to identify and deeply research dangerous viruses! Think of the contributions they can make!

Revenant said...

Any vehicle capable of putting a substantial payload into orbit also works as an ICBM.

Have you ever once thought to yourself "gee, the world would be a better place if the Saudis and the Pakistanis and the Iranians had ICBMs"? Me neither.

Revenant said...

Also. What good is art?

Considering that we're talking about government-funded space exploration, a better question might be "what good is the NEA?".

William said...

He seems to have lived a life of inner peace and outward joy. In my shallowness, I would pick Hugh Hefner as having had the most pleasurable and enviable life of my era, but Bradbury would make a good second choice. Someone with real wisdom would probably even choose him first.....Our understanding and faith in God is coterminous with our ability to comprehend and be confounded by the physical workings of the universe.. We lived in the blip of a moment when the laws of physics were explicable and the universe could be measured with Newtonian calipers. But that moment is passing, and the universe and its laws seem increasingly strange and mysterious. Dark matter, event horizons, parallel universes. Creation is much stranger than we can possibly imagine. Nothing is more conducive to faith than ignorance, and we are becoming more aware of our ignorance. Space exploration will not make us wiser but rather more cognizant of the paradoxes of creation.....I haven't read any of his stories, but I liked the movies that were based on them. There's something in the starry sky that is beyond logic and comprehension. There's something here that is also full of mystery and strangeness. The atoms on earth were arranged in such a way to form the transient event that is known as Ray Bradbury. It seems a fortuitous arrangement and perhaps it didn't happen by chance.

former law student said...

There is more to space programs than launch vehicles. In fact, for both the US and the USSR, the ICBM launch vehicles came first. The USSR's clunkitude at developing nuclear weapons actually benefited them when they started their space program: their big hulking warheads necessitated huge ICBMs which could put much larger payloads into orbit than the ICBMs we could get away with.

ken in sc said...

Bradbury was one of the founders of the Star Trek series. There were no chaplains included on the original Enterprise crew. Many of the plots concerned pagan themes. Later on, when there was a so called spiritual counselor, played by Whoopi Goldberg, she was definitely a new-age non-Christian character—I have no idea if Bradbury had anything to do with this—however his Christian credentials seem a little weak to me.