Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Heavens Aren't The Only Thing That Declares It

I remember when my dear old Bertrand Russell era style loud-mouthed atheist Latin Teacher was mildly bullying a very nice religiously devout man using the old atheist line about the size of the universe as a disproof for the existence of God.  Some of their arguments aren't much better than some of those which religious people make.   He said he couldn't wait for the pictures from that space telescope they were sending into space, that would clinch the argument for him.   He was talking about the Hubble telescope.    

If I wanted to take the time I'd find out if, what with mirror and other troubles with the telescope, my dear old Latin teacher lived long enough to see any of the images.  I can't remember off hand, maybe I will.  I really did love him, he was like a truly humane George Bernard Shaw informed by his childhood which was hardly affluent.  He was an American style socialist, not a Fabian snob. 

What I don't think he could have believed is that the artist designing church windows for the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Nassau Bay, close to The Johnson Space Center would use imagery from the Hubble Telescope in the design.   Atheists, for some reason, figure science and the universe belong to them, even atheists as sophisticated and endearing as my old Latin teacher.  And I know he had read Psalm 19, in several languages.   I didn't know about the Hubble windows till looking up stuff for this morning's post.  A number of astronauts have been congregants at St. Paul's.   

Reading the article at the link, what was even more gratifying was the description of the diversity of the church congregation.  I loved listening to the Easter Vigil service from Holy Cross Cathedral in South Boston, the site of so much racism in the 1970s, hearing Cardinal O'Malley and everyone else switching between Spanish and English during the Vigil, for readings, during the mass, in the baptisms and the music divided between the conventional Cathedral choir and a Spanish language choir in a far different style.  My only disappointment is that he didn't go into Kreyol during the baptism of a woman with a Haitian name who I would guess was part of the considerable Haitian population.   But there are so many different languages in different congregations, even in the Boston area, that no one could cover all of them in one mass.   

Not one church, not one language, not one identity group is big enough.   Neither is the visible universe.  We're foolish to think our experience is, either. 

1 comment:

  1. I have a magnet on my refrigerator, one brought to me by my daughter from the National Cathedral in D.C. It's the "Space Window", and according to the magnet, includes a piece of a moon rock given to the Cathedral by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

    Because, you know, we've never put a "Christian" in space.....