I love the cosmos. I really do. It’s quite an amazing place. I love it so much that when the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, MT offered an evening of star gazing in Yellowstone National Park using a fleet of high powered telescopes, my family and I packed up the tent and braved the cold Wyoming air to get a close up view (relatively speaking) of planets and galaxies far, far away.
Prior to getting to peer into the heavens with the guidance and equipment of some amazing volunteers from the Southwest Montana Astronomical Society, a lecture was given by an astronomer positing that YNP could well be a good representation of what Mars may have previously looked like. It was an interesting presentation, which ended by posing a question about the possibility of life on other Earth-like planets located elsewhere in the universe. The observation was made that a lot of conditions would have to be met in order for another life-permitting planet to exist. The Earth seems to be quite special in this regard, given the number of “just-so” conditions that it meets to make life possible. It seemed at least somewhat unlikely to this man of science that another planet might exist which would permit life, especially intelligent life, and thus there is the distinct possibility that planet Earth is one of a kind. It followed then, in this gentleman’s estimation, that we should, therefore, respect and take care of the Earth.
Why? A naturalistic bent seemed implicit in this presentation, and in that context I see no objective reason why anybody should take care of the planet, or anything else for that matter. If the universe is an accidental mess of meaningless matter, on what real grounds should I care about the Earth or any other random ball of rock? If the universe is without meaning, my life is without meaning, and all other lives are without meaning, then I fail to see why I should care about any particular planet’s uniqueness. There’s nothing on a naturalistic worldview that compels me to care about anything.
This seems absurd though. Most people seem to have an intrinsic sense of obligation to protect not only other people, but other special collections of matter, such as the Earth, as well. On a decidedly Christian worldview this makes sense. Biblically speaking, humanity has been gifted with Creation by God, and has been charged with being a good steward of that gift. In this instance, among others, the Christian worldview seems to have significanly more explanatory power to describe reality than does naturalism.
If you talk me into a naturalistic worldview, you simultaneously talk me into an objectively meaningless existence. In that case, the cosmos can shove it! Seeing how this sort of meaningless existence doesn’t seem to comport with reality though, I think I’ll continue to appreciate the stars, refrain from littering, and thank God for the beauty of places like Yellowstone National Park.