I guess it would be an overstatement for me to say that I was surprised this morning when I saw the debate raging on my Facebook connections about the merits of spending 2 Billion on this mission. Virtually everyone I saw, some evangelicals some not, were opposed to the "wasteful use of money." Maybe my son and I were the only two to differ . . . at least in my Facebook universe.
So, I spent some time today between patients thinking about this topic. I really think it comes back to the perspective of being a monist Vs a Dualist, when it comes to thinking Christianly. In some ways it is like a litmus test of monism. Not quite to the degree that one of the elders in my old evangelical church said that believing the earth is 6,000 years old is a litmus test to being a true believer. Also not to the extreme that Republicans have stated that being pro-life is the litmus test to being a real conservative.
But this is why. Imagine this. You created this three acre playground for your kids. It was full of castles, bridges, monkey bars, swings, see saws and sports courts. Yet your kids stayed in the 20 square foot corner where you first placed them. They had no curiosity (pun intended) about the rest of the playground. As the designer and creator . . . would that make you feel good . . . or not?
I have a great a compassion for the poor of the world, having spent time with them and tried to help them. Many make the argument of how could we spend 2 Billion on a Mars mission when millions are starving? I say, if you want to give the 2 Billion for food, take it from some other huge waste of resources . . . such as wars, luxury items and corruption. But don't take it away from the exploration of reality . . . the cosmos which is there, which was made by God. By knowing Mars, or the far edges of our cosmos, we know God better. It the same way my kids would have known me and my love for them better if they had taken the courage and priority to explore the whole three acres.
I sense, hidden deep between the lines of conversation, that the Dualist Christians (which is the majority of Evangelicals) that they don't give a rat's ass about the solar system, or the Cosmos because that they think, when compared to the "spiritual," that it has no meaning. It is trash, It is all going to burn up. That even God doesn't like the Cosmos.
But I find the heavens glorious and enticing. We must go. We must learn. It is good stuff to want to know God and His character is expressed in that which he has created. This material world is not the Devil's sad domain.
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, and all peoples see his glory.