Friday, 27 June 2008

NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander and Religion

It’s 2008. Yet today’s religious teachings still come from a time when the Earth was thought flat and alchemy a cutting edge tool in the medical profession.

A time when medieval charlatans had a liking for dunking people in the river to see if they were witches or not. Live and you’ll be executed as a witch; drown and, well, sorry - you’re not a witch but you’re dead anyway!

But the zeitgeist has moved on. And now we are exploring space.

And Nasa’s Phoenix Lander has now landed on Mars, a journey of a mind-boggling 680 million kilometers from Earth.

The mission will help scientists evaluate whether the environment on Mars has ever been favorable for life. And later investigation will determine if, indeed, there ever was life on Mars at all.

Such a journey of course reveals how earth-centric humanity is and how we believe that God somehow placed us at the center of the universe.

There is no mention of other planets in the Bible for example.

And in Malaysia they had to develop an “Islamic code of conduct in space” for its two astronauts since there are no standardized guidelines for them. This was to help them pinpoint the Saudi holy city of Mecca (to which they must face when they pray).

But what will happen when we’ve established colonies on other planets, I wonder? Will religions adapt with earthsightings becoming a new word in the religious lexicon? Or will we turn to completely new dogmas instead?