Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Faith-Based Reason for a Moon Mission

October 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured

LCROSSPittsburgh Pa- Oct 2009

The moon is the physical force responsible for earth’s weather. It continues to capture human imagination. It is the object of romance and science fiction. Forty years ago humans walked its surface in the name of all mankind. The objective was discovery but going to the moon was also a matter of national pride.

Mankind’s interest in the moon is on the rise again after decades of simmering. The reasons for the renewed interest are still the traditional ones: scientific, political, commercial, and exploration. Each has compelling reasons to fund a return to the moon.

Yesterday a $79 million NASA space mission sent two objects crashing into the moon 4 minutes apart. The first was directed to impact an area suspected of containing water. The second spacecraft guided the first and then measured the debris field by flying through it. In a few days NASA will report the results from this scientific mission. Water on the moon is a big deal when attempting a sustained human presence beyond earth’s orbit.

A new reason for going to the moon surfaced this year. Followers of Jesus Christ want to place a symbol of their faith there. Several reasons can be found at www.crossontheMoon.com but there is no mistake that this is a new interest that did not exist 2 years ago. It has potential for commissioning the first Christian space mission.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last week summarized census data for Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews. Other census reports placed the world’s Christian population at 2.6 billion whereas the American think-tank reported the number to be 2.1 billion Christians. The BBC article cited 1.57 billion Muslims, 900 million Hindus, and 14 million Jews today.  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/8296200.stm

Will a significant percentage of the world’s Christian population support a moon mission? Until recently, space missions were the domain of large government defense programs. Commercial enterprises quickly recognized profits from satellite communications, weather forecasting, and affordable global location. To answer the call for Christian lunar support, there must be a compelling reason.

Today there are a growing number of private companies offering transportation to earth orbit and beyond. For about $3 million, one can be launched into orbit and earn the title astronaut. For $72 million, the India Space program will fly your payload to lunar orbit. What then would Christians or any denomination gain in funding a space mission to the moon? To answer this requires both a reflection on worship and a vision for the future.

Historically we need look no farther than observing any house of worship. Most have an identifier prominently displayed on the structure. It is mounted at the highest point and often revered with fine craftsmanship. One reason is simple advertising but there is a more significant purpose. For Christians, the cross is where a new covenant began and where they base their relationship with God. Christians therefore have inseparable bonds to the symbol of Christ’s crucifixion. Engineers, artisans, and laborers prominently place the cross to acknowledge God’s importance in the Christian life. In essence Christians are praising Jesus, recognized by 2.1 billion followers to be God. There is perceived glorification if Christians believe placing a cross on the moon to be a form of praise.

Further, our collective future depends on choices we make. Our values influence those choices. Some theologians believe that faith is a gift from God and that we have a responsibility to nurture it. Faith prepares us to make the right spiritual choice.

There is no question that mankind will continue to explore the universe. Some even postulate multiple universes. Will we choose to distance ourselves from God as we explore or will we openly acknowledge our love of God as we march forward? The answer must come from a community’s core beliefs.

If you are a Christian, funding a space mission can be about boldly seeking while praising God who made everything possible. Arguably a relic on the moon is insignificant to those without a nurtured faith. The value of placing a cross on the moon takes meaning when it is coupled to worship. Placing a cross on the moon will take incredible human effort. For Christians, nothing compares with the compassion Christ has for everyone. This however has never stopped true believers from showing passion for Him. Perhaps this speaks to the heart of worship and provides a reason for a faith based mission to the moon.

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