I’m going to quote an atheist quoting a man of no obvious religious conviction to make a religious point. In fact, it may be *the* religious point.
A casual profundity from Lileks:
The sidewalk due to be replaced had a semicircle cut in one side, because once upon a time there was a stout tree on the boulevard. For decades the semicircle was the only sign the tree had been there at all. Now it’ll be replaced. There’s about a hundred years of history reflected in that process, and as far as the universe is concerned it’s the flutter of a hummingbird’s ventricle. That’s why we’re here: the passing of time has no meaning unless experienced by conscious beings. Better if they have imaginations, too: look at the depth of the cut in the sidewalk. Stout trunk, tall tree. An elm, probably. Whoever lived in that house in ’41 parked under the tree in the afternoon in July so the steering wheel didn’t feel like gripping a steam iron. Dad rued the leaves. The kids loved the smell when he burned them in fall.
“That’s why we’re here.” That’s also why we should go into space, whose vastness similarly has no meaning unless someone is out there to experience it.
Thus Rand Simberg.
A few days ago I stood on my back grass and watched my daughter on the trampoline intently doing somersaults around and around along the edge. She didn’t notice me. Behind her the sun rose red through the mist. It felt like music in the quiet.
Today, I suddenly remember another trampoline coincidentally in that same spot a few years ago where that same daughter asked me what Project Orion was, and I explained. We lay on our backs looking up into the forever sky. I didn’t hear any music then, but now I hear its echo.
For me, exploration and settlement of the cosmos is a deep religious duty. For a number of reasons. Filial piety for our ancestor pioneers. Compassion for the poor who might benefit from economic expansion. Prudent provision for our children-to-be and for their desire to have numerous children of their own. The agency and freedom of the frontier. Even inchoate spiritual inklings that the rose-blossoming desert of Isaiah is and was meant to be the surface of Mars.
But above all, and above all, is the knowledge that everything we see, God and his angels created it. The mass and the movement of all created things have meaning because He observes them and stands in relation to them. But this is not enough. All this cornucopia was meant to relate to us too, and we to it, and we to God through it, and we to each other on it and through it and with God and in God, thousands of different relations entangling into a thick braid.
The silence of the spheres is a pregnant silence. Something, many things, await to be born.
And that—new life, new happiness, new enriching of the old ties and commitments, and all shot through with divinity–is all the gospel is and all it needs to be.