Some personal thoughts from one of our AUK members:Our thanks to Roy Leon for sharing this short article on the vastness of the Universe (and God gets a mention, too).
For most of my working life, I was contracted to the European Space Agency (ESA). Our magnificent planet, where all of us live, is just one of eight planets in our Solar System. Our Solar System is vast by comparison. America’s spacecrafts, Voyager I and II, were launched in 1977. They can attain a speed of 60,000 Kmh. Yet they took 12 years to reach Neptune our furthest planet. That is not halfway to the edge of our Solar System. It wasn’t until 2012 that they finally left us. The next nearest star to us is the Alpha Centauri group approximately 4.4 light years away. Travelling at speeds attainable today, it is estimated to take 35,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri. On this scale, our fabulous life-giving planet is no more than a mere grain of sand. Our sun is just one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. About 100,000 Light years across. On this scale, our whole Solar System is a mere grain of sand. When the Hubble telescope is pointed in any direction, it highlights billions more galaxies. On this scale, our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is also just a mere grain of sand. Unimaginable as this vast Universe is; try to imagine, if you were the creator of such magnificence. Why would you select the grain of sand that contained our Galaxy and then the grain of sand that contained our Solar System and then the grain of sand that is our Earth and somehow descend upon it? Then create a man in your own image and teach his (sic) descendants thousands of different ways to worship you. Multiple ways to kill each other, if they didn’t follow your very complex and different laws. It is less difficult to imagine the vastness of the Universe than it is to imagine the mind of the creator. The reason is clear. He (sic) is only imagined by millions of different people in countless ways. Next to the European Space Technology Centre in Noordwijk is the Space Expo Museum. I have taken many friends there and they have been in awe of the of the posters depicting the vastness of space. One friend grew up in a religious home. When he saw the large posters depicting space he was in awe. He asked me, “Where is God in all of this?” It was an unexpected question; I explained that I was not qualified to answer a theological question. Many months later I took two more good friends to the Expo. They just happened to be Muslims. They were just as awestruck and asked the same question. This time I was prepared. I replied, “God is where he (sic) always is, where he always was. He is, of course, in your head”. You should now consider who put him into your head. Initially it was your parents. Later when you went to school, they confirmed your parents’ religious stories. When you were older you would go to your various churches. There you heard that all you had learned was ‘true’. This is the same story for any religion; passed on through millennia. Parents; school; place of worship. It will be a very long struggle to convince everyone of the futility of depending on a god to save us. But we must persevere… Roy Leon