Aliens, ExtraTerrestrials and Faith

18 Feb

I have to be one of the luckiest people in the world, because for the past 2 weeks at church, I got to preach on one of my favorite topics: Astrobiology.  Yes, I preached actual sermons wondering if there is a biological imperative to life and sharing how my personal faith is so bound up in the awe-someness of the cosmos.

The sermons were pulled from a paper I wrote two years ago for my study group, so I suggest you check out the footnote-heavy paper, entitled “Astrobiology as Contemporary Theology or Why Extra-Terrestrial Life Matters.”  Here is the table of contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Vast Cosmos
  • Astrobiology
    • An Imperative to Life?
    • Potential Forms of ETL
    • Potential Forms of Contact
  • Mileage May Vary
    • Attempting to Quantify
    • Cultural Responses
    • Religious Crisis?
      • Historical Search
      • Current Status
  • Arguments Against ETL
  • ETL & Faith: A Personal Reflection
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography

In the services, I included this video from Symphony of Science:

Last week, we started with these words from Robert T. Weston (who served my congregation 50 years ago):

Out of the stars in their flight, out of the dust of eternity,
here have we come,
Stardust and sunlight,
mingling through time and through space.

Out of the stars have we come,
up from time.
Out of the stars have we come.

Time out of time before time
in the vastness of space,
earth spun to orbit the sun,
Earth with the thunder of mountains newborn,
the boiling of seas.

Earth warmed by sun, lit by sunlight;
This is our home;
Out of the stars have we come.

Mystery hidden in mystery,
back through all time;
Mystery rising from rocks
in the storm and the sea.

Out of the stars, rising from rocks
and the sea,
kindled by sunlight on earth,
arose life.

Ponder this thing in your heart,
life up from sea:
Eyes to behold, throats to sing,
mates to love.

Life from the sea, warmed by sun,
washed by rain,
life from within, giving birth,
rose to love.

This is the wonder of time;
this is the marvel of space;
out of the stars swung the earth;
life upon earth rose to love.

This is the marvel of life,
rising to see and to know;
Out of your heart, cry wonder:
sing that we live.

This week, we started with these words from Carl Sagan:

In its encounter with Nature, science invariably elicits a sense of reverence and awe. The very act of understanding is a celebration of joining, merging, even if on a very modest scale, with the magnificence of the Cosmos…Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual.

And we ended with Commander Chris Hadfield’s Space Oddity:

I didn’t get a chance to include this one, but yay for blogging because here it is! The trailer for the new COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey with one of my heros, Neil deGrasse Tyson, which debuts March 9, 2014!!!

May you never cease to wonder when you gaze up into the stars.

One Response to “Aliens, ExtraTerrestrials and Faith”

  1. Cynthia Landrum February 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    I’m so glad you preached on it, because I thought your ORG paper was absolutely wonderful.

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