May. 5th, 2011

A video about the universe and it's place in (or out of) religion.



"Religions tells children they might go to hell and must believe, while science tells children they came from the stars and presents reasoning they can believe."

Except I sort of want to quote every single part of this video because the way it talks about the beauty of the universe is overwhelming. Because the beauty of the universe is overwhelming, and I understand so much that feeling of staring up at the night sky and just feeling amazed that I am a part of this infinite, beautiful, eternal thing that is our vast universe it all its glory. (The night sky makes me feel all poetic, forgive me. Our universe just makes me all gooey inside with happiness.)

The stars are the closest thing I have to a religion these days. I spent my first couple of teenage years considering myself Christian before realising I'd made a wrong turn somewhere and that I couldn't hold myself close to a religion that hated so many things that I embraced. I spent more years trying to escape the guilt and fear that my short time as a Christian had instilled in me than I spent actually being part of the religion in the first place. That terror of hell remained with me for a long time even after I denied it.

After that I considered myself Pagan for almost a decade, embracing that completely and feeling comfortable in a way the church had never quite made me feel. And after I lost that faith I missed it for a long time. It made me really sad to have moved away from what felt so important.

But I don't feel like anything is missing anymore. I don't believe in Gods above or Devils below. I don't believe in divine punishments for sins or supernatural rewards for jobs well done. I don't worship the earth as the god-like being, but respect it instead for what an amazing thing it is, for how it formed, for all its natural intricacies.

This post turned into a personal sort of thing instead of just a video, so I leave you with a quote from the great Carl Sagan:

Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

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honeyspider

August 2012

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