The complex, mysterious, and wondrous universe in which we all reside is perhaps one of the most beautiful things we have to examine. We haven’t always been able to examine the universe in this way, however. With advancements in technology applied to Science, we have a new perspective of our place amongst the stars within billions and billions of galaxies in an expanding cosmic sea. Contrary to the beliefs of billions of people that live or have lived on Earth, the universe is anything but 6,000-10,000 years old. Also contrary to their beliefs, the universe was not created in a matter of days. Further contrary to their beliefs, the first woman was not created from the rib of a man, but in fact, like man, are the result of an evolutionary process that has spanned for over 3 billion years. I haven’t gotten into Islam and its obvious disdain for women, but it is no better than Judeo-Christian beliefs. I won’t even waste my time on Mormonism or the even crazier Scientology. I have nothing against people who rely on religion to answer their deepest questions about the meaning of life or how everything came to be; I have a problem with people that are ignorant and dismissive of facts because it doesn’t fit into what they have been indoctrinated with since they were children. Any religion that accepts the advancements being made through Science will have a shred of my respect as long as said religion doesn’t say that I’m going to hell for not believing in their god. Which sort of limits the number of religions I could have respect for.
I have no need for faith or to believe. I am a very happy, fulfilled individual that just wants to know and just because there are things that are not known, does not mean that it is necessary to fill in the unknown with god.
A few of my favorite aspects of Astronomy- stellar evolution and the production of heavy elements in the core of high-mass stars, the forces of dark energy and dark matter, black holes, singularities, and the behavior of subatomic particles and their relevance to the fabric of the universe itself and involvement in the Big Bang. The universe is within you, it is within us all- that to me is more profound and beautiful than anything any holy book has to offer.