I must have sent variations on this letter to the New Scientist five times or more since my book, Sun of gOd, was published. Sure, they might tag me as a nutcase but I saw that as a risk worth taking, and being tagged nutcase has never stopped me in the past.
An article in New Scientist on atheism as a faith, related only to the Abrahamic alternatives, moved me to write them once again. Whoop whoop – after major cutting, they published my letter last week as the Editor’s Pick! I earnestly hope it will plant the seed of stellar consciousness in a few scientific minds.
My long-winded original is underneath. New Scientist did a brilliant edit, but I like to think the redacted content is what finally cut through their built-in rejection reflex. Perseverance furthers.
The Original – Dear New Scientist,
Someone from another planet reading “Faith of the Faithless” (15th April) might easily think the three Abrahamic religions and atheism are the only belief systems on the planet. Buddhists and Taoists do well without any creator god while Hindus can attribute spirit to just about anything. Zoroastrians revere light and its emissaries, Sun and fire. Shinto worship a female Sun goddess.
The most worshiped deity in human history, and one that even atheists can recognise is entirely omitted from the article. Our local star actually IS the light of our life and it is NOT a delusion. The more that cosmologists study Sun and other stars the harder it becomes to explain their behaviour as random balls of plasma entirely directed by the laws of physics. How to explain Sun’s corona or the “magnetic portal” connecting it to Earth, discovered by NASA in 2008? How to explain the movement of stars in a galaxy?
As Carl Sagan put it, “Our ancestors worshiped the Sun, and they were far from foolish…. If we must worship a power greater than ourselves, does it not make sense to revere the Sun and stars?” It was not science that burned all thought of a living Sun from our culture but the Church, and scientists maintain this religious taboo out of habit, not the scientific method. When science lets go of that old Christian imprint perhaps we will, mercifully, be able to consign dark matter to the same dustbin as the luminiferous ether.
Yours, Gregory Sams