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How “Spirit” Killed God… 16 September, 2007

Posted by paralleldivergence in astronomy, creationism, Earth, God, heaven, Life, My Thoughts, Religion.

MARCH 2004: On the 63rd Martian Day of its tour of duty, the Mars Rover “Spirit” raises its “eye” skyward and captures a series of mosaics of the horizon just one hour before sunrise to produce another symbolic nail in the coffin of God. Those images combined to form the first image ever taken of Earth from the surface of a planet beyond the Moon.

How Spirit Killed God

[click for a larger view]

While this man-made robot and it’s brother, “Opportunity” wander around on another planet looking back at us, they see no mountains. They see no oceans. They see no countries, no borders, no people and no religions. They see no traffic jams and they see no wars. They see no right and they see no wrong. They also see no souls heading off to Heaven – and in the infinite blackness that surrounds them, they see no sign of any God that would be playing “The Sims” on that tiny little insignificant speck.

Imagine how expensive this image is. How much did it cost to produce this undeniable piece of evidence? Was it worth it? You bet it was. It was worth every single cent and more to save us from destroying ourselves in the name of religion. Sometimes you have to go outside and look in to find a new perspective on life. Spirit went a long way to help mankind open its eyes. To show us reality and to quash irrational fantasy. Let’s not waste our lives killing those whose “faith” differs from our own.  Why are so many chasing the folly of eternal Paradise away from our little speck? This little speck is our Paradise and it won’t be eternal.

With grateful acknowledgement to Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot.  Comments are appreciated.

Brad & Phil #23 



1. Christian - 16 September, 2007

Tongue in cheek. right?

2. Elroy - 17 September, 2007

Either tongue in cheek, or just lame. Anyone whose faith would be shaken by a photo of earth from space was bound to fall anyway.
There are good arguments for atheism, but this isn’t one of them.

3. Vanessa - 17 September, 2007

I can’t see this being tongue in cheek at all. Neither is it lame. It raises an excellent point of view that the writers of the Bible could never have fathomed. The Book of Creation (Genesis) is so full of holes. How is the Earth the centre of the universe when we see images like this? Yet half the population blindly follow it. Creationists have a very blinkered view of the universe. This image tries to remove those blinkers – but unfortunately stubbornness and stupidity are keeping them firmly wedged on for too many. Open your eyes and think about it instead of dismissing it out of hand.

4. Brian - 17 September, 2007

What a great piece. Carl Sagan said it so well in “Pale Blue Dot” – he said: “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, 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 and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

This is a great reminder. Sagan would have been proud of this photo had he had the chance to see it.

5. paralleldivergence - 17 September, 2007

Elroy and Christian, I’m guessing you haven’t read Sagan. Christian, you said: “Anyone whose faith would be shaken by a photo of earth from space was bound to fall anyway”. I suggest that anyone whose faith is not shaken by this and the “pale blue dot” image are not willing to question, to observe, to try to understand.

Take a look at this quote: “If we allow our children to doubt the days of creation, when the language speaks so plainly, they are likely to then doubt Christ’s Virgin Birth, and that He really rose from the dead.” – this quote is taken directly from the Answers In Genesis website (our buddies at the Creation Museum). What kind of answer is that?? [Ref: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v18/i1/sixdays.asp ]

6. paralleldivergence - 17 September, 2007

Vanessa and Brian, many thanks for your contributions. My piece was meant to be a direct homage to Sagan. Vanessa, I wouldn’t call it “stupidity”. When children are force-fed the gospels as “the gospel truth”, what chance have they got? Dawkins calls this “child abuse”. I tend to agree. These babies are born atheist and then converted to whatever religion by men – not the other way around.

7. Christian - 17 September, 2007

Hey, I didn’t say that, Elroy did. He was right, too.

You guys….not all Christians (or theists) believe in the literal story of Genesis. I don’t. It’s metaphorical. Does anybody take English 101 anymore? No one I know ascribes to the generalities you lay on Christians. C’mon.

I cut my teeth on Carl Sagan. I like him, but he is a popularist – not a serious scientist. A good writer, a good imagination. Good stuff. but I don’t see how any of this pushes God out of the picture. The idea that we are minuscule – that does more to provoke the imagination as to the idea of God’s grandeur as anything else.

Hey, not all cosmologists are atheists you know. Why not? BTW – doesn’t anyone think for themselves anymore, or is all about parroting Dawkins and Harris?

8. joabema - 17 September, 2007

For those who think that creationists believe that the earth is the center of the universe – I’m not sure where you get your information, but it is not correct. In fact, the young earth creationists I know are extremely well educated and scientific in their beliefs. Also, I really don’t get why a picture such as that does anything to disprove creation. Actually, the Answers in Genesis creation museum has an incredibly awesome planetarium show that does far more to show the incredible vastness of space and the smallness of the earth. It is truly amazing – and anyone, creationist or atheist would enjoy the show. A small, miniscule earth speaks more to me of the infiniteness of an amazing creator God.

9. paralleldivergence - 17 September, 2007

Sorry Christian, you didn’t say that – it was Elroy. Thanks for your contributon to the discussion. But while you say it’s metaphorical, Ken Ham over at Answers in Genesis says it’s literal and even builds a Museum that joabema talks about. Ken Ham says we must accept Genesis as the literal truth. Genesis sates that the earth was made before the sun and the stars and are attached to the firmament, which is the celestial sphere around the earth. If you don’t accept that the firmament exists then you don’t accept the literal truth of the Bible. Can you have it both ways?

10. Vanessa - 17 September, 2007

Christian: “BTW – doesn’t anyone think for themselves anymore, or is all about parroting Dawkins and Harris?”

Pretty interesting that you accuse athiests of not thinking for themselves. That’s what “believers” (of any faith) have been doing forever.

11. Phyllis Canevaro - 18 September, 2007

When it comes to faith, none of us know what what we are talking about. How could we. It is an intangible thing.

When I consider our little speck in the universe, I am overawed by the power of the Creator. I have faith, but it has nothing to do with religion.


12. Christian - 18 September, 2007

If you don’t accept that the firmament exists then you don’t accept the literal truth of the Bible. Can you have it both ways?

Sounds like you and Ken are on the same team. This is a common misconception made by many Christians (much fewer Jews) and many atheists. The Bible is not a natural history or even a complete history. It is a story, a story of the relationship that exists between God and those who chose to believe in him. When taken literally then the ‘truth’ is usually missed. If you have trouble with this then you probably think Moby Dick was a book about a whale.

Heck, I think Hamm could be a little less rigid. But so could most atheists – agnosticism is a much more defensible position. That being said, I (and most Christians) don’t take Genesis literally. Gosh, the Roman Catholics are probably responsible for more scientific inquiry over the last 1000 years than any one else. (their differences with Galileo aside). Even Darwin started out in seminary. There must have been something in their faith that allowed them discover new things about this universe, knowing that it might not square with their theology. But a vibrant theology is a dynamic one – it is flexible enough to learn and strong enough to not be threatened by every result.

And Vanessa, I wasn’t really saying that atheists don’t think for themselves. Please excuse a little creative rhetoric (Isn’t that what you are employing as well? or do you really believe that overly simplified remark of yours? I should be offended. 😉 ). It’s just that lately all I hear is Dawkins, Harris, Dawkins, Larry, Curly, Moe and Dawkins. Isn’t there anyone else in your camp saying anything worth while? 8)

13. elroyflynn - 18 September, 2007

joebema and phyllis did the best job of expressing my point, which is that christians are unlikely to be so awed by the photograph that they lose their faith. After all, they’ve had a few centuries to get used to the notion that the earth is not the center of the universe, and that the other planets and stars are far away. These are not new concepts. Nor is it necessary to see a photograph of Earth from Mars to appreciate the distance. It only requires a little imagination.

Furthermore, Christians are accustomed to considering awesome, unlimited power, so they could accomodate an understanding of the immense size of the universe as confirmation of that power.

That has me wondering… it would be interesting to know if atheists, on the whole, are more likely than the religious to feel awe when encountering immensity. I mean that as a serious question.

14. Vanessa - 18 September, 2007

Thanks Christian. My point was that there are many different interpretations of “God”. Whose to say Ken Ham is right and whose to say you are right? Or maybe Osama Bin Laden’s right. Or maybe Dawkins, Harris and the growing number of atheists are right? Here in the states, (particularly in the Bible Belt), atheists are looked down upon as immoral scum. When we try to fight the introduction of “Intelligent Design” in our schools, we are shouted down. At least Dawkins and Harris and a few others have been able to give this minority a voice. Richard Dawkins is not a stooge by any means. In comparison to Ken Ham and his dangerous “museum” force feeding our children that dinosaurs were on the ark with Noah B.S. You too might disagree with Ham, but I bet you’ll side with Ham sooner than back Dawkins.

What religion do you reckon you would have been if you were born in India? 🙂

15. Vanessa - 18 September, 2007

Elroyflynn: You asked: “it would be interesting to know if atheists, on the whole, are more likely than the religious to feel awe when encountering immensity.” – a great question.

Absolutely I feel awe when I see an image such as thoe one above, or the Hubble Deep Field – but instead of just blindly accepting these wonders as “miracles of God”, I’m prepared to investigate them and to ask questions like “why?” and “how?”.

For what reason would any God create a galaxy 14 billion light years away? – so distant that we, “God’s Children”, could not see them from Earth without high-powered orbiting telescopes?

Ponder that for a while. Then, if you are not a “Ken Ham” Young Earth Creationist (because a 6,000 year old Earth that was wiped away by a flood 4,500 years ago lacks any real evidence and flies in the face of abundant evidence for an old Earth), but instead believe that God made the big bang 14 billion years ago, what was he doing for the 14 billion years until Man, His children, came along?

Yes, I am in awe of the Universe and all its immensity, but I’m not going to stand around with my jaw on the ground saying, “isn’t God wonderful?” – because that’s no answer.

Why does “God” rely on Man to pass on his story to children? Why does God himself not make himself known to everybody? We wouldn’t have ended up with all these different barmy religions created by Men with the sole intention to control.

16. paralleldivergence - 18 September, 2007

Brad and Phil came in a little late on this one, but their “wisdom” is always welcome. 🙂

17. Christian - 19 September, 2007

Vanessa – if born in India I probably would’ve been Hindu or Muslim. I hope I would’ve been Hindu as I have more of an affinity for their way but in either case I probably would have gone through a period of ‘nominal’ religiosity as a child, agnosticism, atheism, fundamentalism and then liberalism. So, I could see myself as a Sikh. No reason why I couldn’t engage the divine under any of those umbrellas. (If I would be anything at all like I am today but of course I wouldn’t be.)

Sorry, I could see where you took me to mean that I thought Dawkins was a stooge. Didn’t mean that at all. Just playing off an old Stooges routine.

Believe it or not I would side with neither. I tried paying lip service to Hamm’s way of looking at God and couldn’t pull it off. I did fake it, because some of my friends ascribe to that philosophy but thankfully those days were very short in number. I spent a much longer time as an atheist – about 20 years so I would have to disagree with the Bible Belters that all atheists are immoral scum. I was, of course. Still am, actually. 8)

18. Vanessa - 22 September, 2007

Firstly, PD: Brad is not nice at all! Stop picking on Phil. 🙂

Christian, thanks for clarifying. My point is, why is one religion right over another? Young Earth Creationists are a minority of believers, but they are the ones pushing their multi-million dollar museum on the rest of the world.

19. Christian - 23 September, 2007

Yes, I would think that there are better ways to spend your money. But in a world in which mediocre baseball players make millions of dollars a year and people actually pay to listen to “50 cent” well….it’s a free country. None of ’em can force themselves on me and none of ’em are gonna get my money. 8)

20. Art - 13 October, 2007

For those who think this article is tongue in cheek or lame, have a listen to the words of Carl Sagan himself at YouTube:

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