While, as a believer, I certainly don’t agree with everything Carl Sagan said, I have long appreciated his work. As a ten year-old child, I remember getting up on Sunday mornings and watching the original run of his Cosmos series on PBS, and week by week I was simply captivated.
Sagan helped shape a fascination, hunger, and love for knowledge that remains with me today. Though I have chosen to study history and theology, I have always (even as a child) wanted to be a scientist, someone who wrestles with and attempts to grasp the deeper complexities of reality. Such a pursuit, for me, is a theological practice—a starting point far different from Sagan’s. However, though I disagree with Sagan’s theological conclusions, I have felt that Sagan was truly honest and knowledgeable in his perspective as a scientist (which isn’t something I can say for many of those who approach science with theologically apologetic motives).
Ultimately, it was Sagan’s obvious passion and joy for discovery that captured me. I think we would both agree the universe is a beautiful, never-ending puzzle, full of mystery; and where many saw prideful certainty in the things he said, I still see a man humbled and awed by the vastness of it all. I think what he really wanted to teach us was that we should be overwhelmed with a wonder that draws us more deeply into itself. He also wanted us to take responsibility for the care of this “blue dot” we call home.
So I was glad to find Simon Holloway’s posting of the contemporary video narrated by Sagan reading a well known excerpt from his A Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space. Whatever you think of Sagan or how much your agree/disagree with his views, watch this video and be awed (and humbled) by the wonderful vastness of the universe.