Any group or movement loses credibility when its most basic claims and assumptions prove false or unreliable. Psychics, for example, are ridiculed when they purport to discern the future for paying clients but cannot predict winning lottery numbers or positive stock market trends for themselves. Similarly, faith healers are derided when they exercise their “gift” only in glitzy auditoriums–where they collect large offerings from gullible followers–and never in pediatric cancer hospitals. Continue reading
I recently watched the first episode of the documentary series called Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. This is a follow-up to the series called Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, first broadcast in 1980 and hosted by the late Carl Sagan. I never watched the original series, mainly because I had heard that Sagan, an astronomer and astrophysicist, was also an atheist and, therefore, could have nothing of value to say about the age or origin or boundaries of the universe. (For the record, Sagan actually denied being an atheist—one who believes there is irrefutable proof for the non-existence of God—but he rejected the idea of God as a personal being.)
The new series is hosted by Neil de Grasse Tyson, who, as a young college student, was strongly influenced by Sagan to take up science as a career. Like Sagan, he became an astrophysicist, and, also like Sagan, he rejects the idea of a personal God who created and now controls the universe. For some reason, I’m not troubled by that knowledge the way I was more than thirty years ago when I learned something similar about Carl Sagan. I guess you might say my thinking has “evolved” in that regard. 🙂 Continue reading
One of my former students once wrote on his Facebook page that I was one of the most courageous people he had ever known. I was flattered and humbled, but I also knew that I didn’t feel very courageous most of the time, especially by comparison with so many whose acts of courage cost them dearly.
That friend might also be surprised to hear me say that the reason I lie about what I really believe is mainly fear. More than I want to admit, I’m afraid of the consequences that would likely result if I shared publicly what has really been going on in the deep recesses of my mind over the past six or eight years. Continue reading