USA Night from Space

356: The Irony that Gets in the Way of Worship

We should be the most worshipful generation yet.

We have harnessed forces of nature, previously thought the domain of mythological gods.
We have documented species diversity that surpasses the imaginations of millennia of people.
We have mapped the brain and literally know how thoughts affect our body.
We have learned how to help the body heal itself.
We have charted our entire planet horizontally and topographically.
We have taken the mystery out of so much, yet have so much we can’t explain.

We can see wonders previously unknown for eons.
We can observe order at a cellular level.
We can watch life in real time before birth reveals it to the world.
We can dive deeper and climb higher than all of human history.
We can leave our world and look at it as outsiders.
We can travel further and faster on the planet to experience more of its beauty than at any other time.
We can know what it means to fly, to soar, to dive through the sky.
We can predict when rain will replenish, when snow will blanket, when hurricanes will buffet.
We can feel physical sensations that would be foreign to most of our ancestors.
We can taste foods—let alone combinations of foods—once hidden in one tiny slice of all geography.
We can capture moments and replay them in more than our memory.
We can visit, hear, or record parts of the universe we cannot see with our naked eye.

We now know more than at any point in history just how small we are, how insignificant our planet is.

Somehow, that doesn’t lead us to wonder. Instead, our insatiable appetites yawn. All of this is not enough. Because we can describe and capture and use, we are the gods. While we break ourselves against the laws of nature, we search for exceptions. We fight so much against entropy.

Our mathematics describe our universe but can’t explain why we’re here. Our equations can’t differentiate between consciousness and life. Our biology can’t fully explain our search for significance. Our self-congratulated knowledge cannot capture the infinite. We don’t even know if there is such a thing as infinity or just boundaries we haven’t discovered.

What is possible to experience and what is impossible to know should both draw us to marvel. Both should make us wonder how we got here. We should all be amazed on a regular basis.

We’re not.
I’m not—not enough, anyway.

That’s why my life’s challenges sometimes get out of healthy proportion. My ego, too. That’s why I forget my mortality, why I stop chasing a life bigger than myself.

That’s why I stop worshipping. That’s why I stop asking what God deserves—instead of what I am entitled to have.

That’s why I need to watch a sunset every once in a while with an empty page in my lap (like I am tonight). I must remind myself to wonder. I need to get a feel for my place, my scale, my dependence on the sovereign. I need to list the facts that wow me, the realities that make my life serendipitous, the reasons for worship.

I need to lead my generation by example, and we all need you to join me.

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