This was his answer. We are stardust.
There are a handful of people on this planet that will be missed forever. Carl Sagan is one of them, and here’s why:
His ability to captivate millions of people, to imbue in his audience a love of science, reason, and philosophy, and to explain the universe in simple, understandable terms is just magnificent. He is also the best person I know to have attended the University of Chicago.
“The longstanding view, as summarized by the philosopher Immanuel Kant that, ‘without Man, the whole of Creation would be a mere wilderness, a thing in vain, and have no final end’ is revealed to be self-indulgent folly.”
“We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.”
As you all know, this a great blog with no secular bias whatsoever, which is exactly why I want to show you the religious perspective on inspiration. My last post demonstrated the incomprehensible size of stars and how they should humble us, but this is how Christians view the exact same thing:
So he gets a nice sinking feel, huh? And all our false feelings of importance? They come from sin, right?
Remember that this is coming from a religion that for centuries insisted that we really were at the center of the Universe, that we were really the special creation of God completely separate from animals, that everything was tweaked just right for human life.
But let us forget about that. The guy is a Christian, and he claims to be humbled by the awesome size of stars in the Universe.
He’s so incredibly humbled that he, while holding the Bible in one hand, can probably answer the following:
1. Whether God certainly exists or not.
2. How many Gods there are.
3. Whether this God cares about what happens in some negligible nanoscopic alley in the Universe.
4. Which God, out of the millions that humans have believed, is the one true God.
5. Whether or not God really chose to save us by sending Jesus to some backwards part of the Middle East.
6. Whether there is an afterlife or not.
7. What the afterlife consists of, and what thoughts and beliefs (or rituals) you must have to get there.
8. Who you may have sex with.
9. What divine instructions God gave thousands of years ago.
10. Which parts of the Bible are literally true, and which ones are metaphor.
11. Whether God really answers prayers.
As a human being, I maintain that anyone who even remotely claims that they have the answers to some of the questions above are, at the least, extremely suspect and, at worst, complete frauds. The obvious fact, of course, is that anyone who claims to know with some clarity all or most of the answers above are claiming things that human beings cannot possibly know.
This is exactly why I don’t want to see my President having breakfast with people who make a living out of making the claims above. I especially don’t want to hear him saying how faith is about being humble and understanding the limits of your own knowledge.
The problem with faith is that it makes people so incredibly, unbelievably, astronomically, and galatically arrogant, while at the same time making them not realize it.
The inspiration of the day, therefore, comes from Carl Sagan:
We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes. That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.