A Modern Empircal “Religion”

A Modern Empirical “Religion”


I have wondered for quite some time why there isn’t a present day religion centered on the Sun. There were some examples of such in ancient times. The Romans had “Apollo,” the Egyptian gods included “Ra,” but except for a brief period during the reign of the Pharaoh Akhenaton, these were minor members of an extended pantheon. In modern parlance the term “Sun worshipper” usually doesn’t mean anything more than someone who likes to get a tan.

The Sun as the central entity of a religion would seem to have distinct advantages over the dieties of other religions. No one is going to give you an argument, for instance, that the Sun doesn’t exist. You would be hard pressed to find that kind of unanimity for any other religious figure. In addition, a very strong case can be made that the Sun is the single most important physical fact of our existence. We owe it all to the Sun — all life on Earth, all of Earth’s energy reserves, Earth itself. It would seem that anything that important is deserving of respect and maybe even reverence.

Why is it that the Sun attracts so little reverence today? The deities of various other religions whose existence and influence are at least debatable, are treated with great reverence by large numbers of people. But the Sun, whose existence no one denies and which has direct bearing on our very being, is taken for granted. I guess the answer lies in the fact that it is so integrated into our lives, so manifestly part of our existence and so constant, it doesn’t attract much attention. It’s just part of the background noise. In addition, the dieties of other religions are usually represented as something approximately in our image and it is difficult to think of the Sun that way.

Certainly, there is no denying the fact that when, on an otherwise gloomy or overcast day, the Sun suddenly breaks through and lights up the world your mood is also elevated. And it’s not just us human beings, the birds start to sing, flowers turn on their stalks and face it, and the cat moves to a sunny spot to continue it’s catnap.

One could argue that stars like the Sun are living things. Like flowering plants they originate as a seeds and grow by collecting materials or nutrients from their environment. They “blossom” upon reaching a certain size and maturity and “blow” at the end of their life cycle scattering “seeds” that will become the genesis of the next generation.

Many religions claim their deity is omnipotent, omnipresent, benevolent, and personal. The Sun is very powerful, but not omnipotent. The Sun’s range of influence is extensive, but it is, for the most part, finite. It is benevolent in a general way because it sustains life. However, it is not personal, and cannot be expected to intercede on behalf of an individual, or take sides in a confrontation. The Sun is, of course, a star and there are countless other stars. What kind of reverence should be accorded to such an entity?

The Sun is our home star. We were all born here. The Sun provides for us. It shelters and sustains us. It may be that the Sun is just part of the scheme of some more grandiose deity who is beyond the reach of our senses. It is impossible to know. But you can know the Sun. It is tangible. You can feel it. You know the feeling. . . it’s warm, pleasant, familiar. . . . like home.

The Solar System is our place in the Universe, the hearth of the Sun. Earth is the home star homestead. Therefore, reverence of the type associated with hearth and home would seem appropriate, but scaled up considerably. I believe the time is right for a new creed. One that is empirical, scientifically based and reflects our newly acquired knowledge of the Universe with our place in it.

What might devotees of such a creed call themselves? How about “Solarians.




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Saturday, June 5th, 2010 A Modern Empircal "Religion" No Comments