A primer to the universe

This week will be the Tuesday (Evening) Zep… Basically, I’d like to expand on yesterday’s post, but I spent all my time transcribing it that I didn’t get a chance to write the commentary that I’d hoped for today. So here’s to hoping for an update tonight! Let’s just call this an incremental post. I’ll add to it over time, mainly throughout this week. Of course, I should say right off that I’m no expert in this field, so hopefully we can make this a group learning experience. It’ll be a bumpy ride. Expect a little of my own critique as well as links to similar material and an explanation of why I chose the quote below.

In the meantime, block out 15 minutes of your day to watch the video or read the transcript. (YouTube original.) I dare you to tell me that it was a waste of your time.


It’s hard to pick quotes from the video as everything in it is so integral, but if I were forced to give you a sound bite, I suppose this might have to do:

To even partially comprehend the scale of a single galaxy is to almost disappear. And when you remember all the other galaxies, you shrink 100 billion times smaller still—but then you remember what you are.  The same facts that made you feel so insignificant also tell you how you got here. It’s like you become more real—or maybe the universe becomes more real. You suddenly fit. You suddenly belong. You do not have to bow down. You do not have to look away. In such moments, all you have to do is remember to keep breathing.

10 comments on “A primer to the universe

  1. Hi JJ, as I watched the video I was reminded of what a privilege it is to be able to see. One man sees the glory and majesty of the universe and finds reasons to deny God. Another man sees the same glory and majesty and finds reasons to honor and praise the God who made it. Yet, I must acknowledge that I would not be able to see in this manner if God had not done a miracle in my heart first, opening my eyes, making me see. Meanwhile, we remember you and miss you JJ.
    Greg Wright

    • It’s a pleasure to hear from you, Greg! Sure does bring up a lot of memories. How did you find me?

      Thanks for the feedback and I can certainly understand where you’re coming from. The video really strikes a nerve both with believers and unbelievers, I’m sure, and hopefully those inbetween.

      • Hi JJ, over the week-end I kept thinking about the phrase ‘in between.’ The word ‘between’ implies poles on both sides, and in the case of the video, the primary poles seem to be religion and science. I think the poles you identified are better — between believers and unbelievers. This is more fair, since many scientists are also believers. Of course even the term ‘believers’ begs to ask: believers in what? Since the author of the video puts all religions together into one pot, the belief he has in mind is probably any form of theism. I would leave the defense of mere theism to classical apologetics and their favorite arguments, where they first seek to prove there is a God and after that seek to prove which one. I am partial to presuppositional apologetics, which argues for a Christian world view against all other world views. It first presupposes the truth of scripture, second argues that the Christian world view is the only one that is logically consistent, and third uses the transcendental argument to show that anything good in other world views is merely borrowed capital from the Christian world view. The amazing thing about this apologetic approach is its emphasis on ‘antithesis’ between word views, with nothing ‘in between.’

        Meanwhile, perhaps you have an article posted somewhere that describes your own spiritual journey. I would like to read it.


        • Hi JJ, I just finished rereading “Chasing the Theological Rabbit” and “I’m an Honest Man.” I also watched the video and read all the interaction. Wow, you have been on quite a journey, and I think you would agree it isn’t over. Even as I appreciate your authenticity and transparency—what a gift!–I regret not having made more of an effort to know you while we worked at the same company. I am willing to make the effort now. Indeed, I am looking forward to future interaction. Since you used to share my beliefs, you know in advance that I have an evangelistic concern for your soul. What you would not be able to anticipate is that I also have a strong desire to better understand how to love my neighbor. I want to better understand how post modernists think. I want to better understand how atheists, agnostics, and those in between think. I want to better understand now non-heterosexuals think. For in my world view, God not only tells me to share the gospel, but he also tells me to love my neighbor. Love must be more than civility. It is more than strategic friendship seeking evangelistic ends. It is seeking relationships with people in order to know and understand how they think, hurt, and struggle—loving them unconditionally and as friends—whether or not they are ever converted. And if any evangelistic results come out of that, it will be God’s work, not mine.
          Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the next discussion. Since I have very little experience in this kind of interaction, you might need to tell me when I cross the line.
          Warmly, Greg

        • It’s great to see you responding to so many of these posts. I may give a couple quick responses here for others that may have similar questions, but I’ve emailed you in case you want to have a more personal discussion.

          Responding to your comment from 11/18 here, I don’t think I’m the best person from which to “understand how post modernists think”. I don’t mind sharing my thoughts online, but I think that the only way to have deep, meaningful interactions with people online is to take it offline. I’m reminded of the Chuck Colson group study I participated in years ago called How Now Shall We Live. While the authors of the study attempted to understand the postmodern world view, it was only after I sacrificed my own Christian beliefs that I could understand what it’s like to feel attacked by an ideology, even if it is well intentioned.

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