Last week, NASA successfully launched the Orion spacecraft into high planetary orbit and returned it safely to the Earth. Even though this was just a test flight, it still had a great deal of significance to me.
Obviously, one reason this flight was so significant is because the ship is the namesake of my son. Thursday morning while I was taking Orion to school, the two of us listened to NASA on the radio as they delayed the launch. Even his school Principal commented on the launch (although I suspect she was secretly hoping my son was actually aboard).
If you have not watched the launch, I would like you to watch it now:
How amazing is that? There is nothing a religious leader can do that can compete with that. Next to the launch of this space capsule, religion really does seem silly and backward.
“Liftoff at dawn! The dawn of Orion, for a new era of American space exploration!”
Think about that for a moment; the dawn of a new era of American space exploration. This is just the beginning of our space exploration. The universe is so unimaginably huge and we are just a small pale blue dot and soon we will begin to leave this tiny little speck and see what is out there. How absurd that so many people believe that the entire universe was created just for us. What arrogance? What primitive thinking? How can these people seriously believe that ancient sheep herders knew more about the universe than we know today?
When I watch the launch of Orion, I feel optimistic about humanity. I find myself thinking that this is just our first baby steps into a much, much, much, much larger universe. Orion can carry four to six people depending on the mission. Imagine that someday we will have huge starships the size of cities that could carry hundreds of thousands of people.
Again, religion keeps us stuck in the past, but when I see things like this I am reminded that religion has no future. The future is with science. Hope for humanities future is with science. Religion can only trap us in the past for so long and that time is quickly coming to an end. The faster we ditch our reverence to ancient myths, the quicker we will be able to build our amazing future.