- Andrew Sullivan: I have never doubted the existence of God. Never. My acceptance of God’s existence--of a force beyond everything and the source of everything--goes so far back in my consciousness and memory that I can neither recall “finding” this faith nor being taught it. So when I am asked to justify this belief, as you reasonably do, I am at a loss. At this layer of faith, the first critical layer, the layer that includes all religious people and many who call themselves spiritual rather than religious, I can offer no justification as such. I have just never experienced the ordeal of consciousness without it. It is the air I have always breathed. I meet atheists and am as baffled at their lack of faith--at this level--as you are at my attachment to it. When people ask me how I came to choose this faith, I can only say it chose me. I have no ability to stop believing. Crises in my life--death of loved ones, diagnosis with a fatal illness, emotional loss--have never shaken this faith. In fact, they have all strengthened it. I know of no “proof” that could dissuade me of this, since no “proof” ever persuaded me of it.
- Sam Harris: You appear to see some strange, epistemological significance in the fact that you cannot remember when or how you acquired your faith. Surely the roots of many of your beliefs are similarly obscure. I don’t happen to remember when or how I came to believe that Pluto is a planet. Should I say that this belief “chose me”? What if, upon hearing that astronomers have changed their opinion about Pluto, I announced that “I have no ability to stop believing?. I know of no ‘proof’ that could dissuade me of [Pluto’s planethood], since no ‘proof’ ever persuaded me of it.”
Bill O’Reilly proves the existence of God, and Neil deGrasse Tyson explains how tides change.
We Stopped Dreaming (by lhite)
Neil deGrasse Tyson killed it on last Friday’s Bill Maher talking about the defunding of the space program:
“First of all, let’s clarify what the NASA budget is. Do you realize that the $850 billion dollar bailout, that sum of money is greater than the entire 50-year running budget of NASA?
And so when someone says, “We don’t have enough money for this space probe,” I’m asking, no, it’s not that you don’t have enough money, it’s that the distribution of money that you’re spending is warped in some way that you are removing the only thing that gives people something to dream about tomorrow.
You remember the 60s and 70s. You didn’t have to go more than a week before there’s an article in Life magazine, “The Home of Tomorrow,” “The City of Tomorrow,” “Transportation of Tomorrow”. All of that ended in the 1970s. After we stopped going to the Moon, it all ended. We stopped dreaming.
And so I worry that the decision that Congress makes doesn’t factor in the consequences of those decisions on tomorrow. Tomorrow’s gone. They’re playing for the quarterly report, they’re playing for the next election cycle, and that is mortgaging the actual future of this nation, and the rest of the world is going to pass us by.”
To plan for the future, we not only have to envision it, but we have to at least make attempts — even if they fail — to achieve it. We don’t anymore.