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【媒庫文選】宗教可能激勵人類未來向太空擴張

Religion May Motivate Humanity's Future Expansion into Space

宗教可能激勵人類未來向太空擴張

Jesse Emspak

杰西·埃姆斯帕克

It's been more than 40 years since a human stepped on another world, and the usual motivators—national pride,scientific discovery and even profit—may not be enough. Instead, people may turn to religion, according to some experts.

如今人類已經40多年沒有踏足另一個星球了,尋常動力因素如國家榮譽、科學發現乃至金錢利益已經不足以激勵人們探索宇宙。有專家認為,人們可能會求助于宗教。

At the annual Mars Society convention in Washington, D.C. last week, four experts discussed the reasons human beings have explored outer space, including religious and social motivators.

美國火星學會上周在華盛頓舉行年會,四位專家討論了一直以來人類探索外太空的原因,其中包括宗教和社會促進因素。

The group noted that popular notions of the religion-science divide don't often hold up to scrutiny, and that the urge to go to remote places can be rooted in a fundamentally religious impulse.

這幾位專家指出,有關宗教和科學之分的流行觀點往往經不起檢驗,奔赴遠方的強烈愿望可能基于一種從根本上講屬于宗教性質的沖動。

Paul Levinson,a science fiction writer and professor of communications and media studies at Fordham University, noted that human spaceflight to other worlds basically stopped in the 1970s, and that the motivations were clearly not powerful enough. “Since we got to the moon and we'd already beaten the Soviets that motive was gone,”he said. Science proved insufficient as well. “Science continues to be motivating factor,but it's a weak motivation, ”he said.“NASA has tried, and it hasn't ignited any real passion.”

美國福德姆大學媒體傳播學教授、科幻小說作家保羅·萊文森說,前往其他星球的載人航天在上世紀70年代就基本停止了,顯然動力不足。他說:“自從我們先于蘇聯登上月球后,動力就沒有了。”事實證明科學也力有不逮。他說:“科學探索始終是個激勵因素,但力度不大。國家航空航天局做過努力,但沒有激起任何真正的熱情。”

Profit hasn't proven very helpful, either. That led him to think that some religious motive,based on wonder, might be the way to go. “There's a motivation every sentient being has. Every person and, for all I know, dolphins, has wonder…We ask what is the meaning of our place in the universe. Science doesn't even scratch the deepest parts of that question.”

事實證明金錢利益刺激也沒有太大效果。由此他認為,基于好奇心的某種宗教動機也許不錯。“有一種動機是每個有感知能力的生物都具備的。每個人,據我所知還有海豚,都有好奇心……我們會問我們在宇宙中的位置有何意義。科學根本還沒有觸及這個問題的最深層次。”

Lance Strate, also a professor of communications at Fordham, said the whole enterprise of space travel was always about more than just the science. “Moses Maimonides came up with idea of planets as intermediary between angels and humans,” he said. “All of this suggests we are trying to look for something beyond ourselves.”

同為福德姆大學媒體傳播學教授的蘭斯·斯特拉特說,整個太空旅行事業向來不僅僅與科學探索有關。他說:“(中世紀猶太哲學家)摩西·邁蒙尼德斯提出,行星是天使和人類之間的媒介。這一切表明,我們一直在努力尋找自身以外的事物。”

“The space program is channeling all these resources and labor to send people to our conception of heaven,” he added.

他補充說:“太空項目在匯聚所有資源和人力把人送上我們心目中的天堂。”

Beyond motivation,religions are not automatically challenged by space travel, Levinson said. He noted that evangelicals are more likely to believe that aliens landed in Roswell, New Mexico. Also, many of the questions that govern ritual and practice would take a different meaning in space. “Where is Mecca if you're on Mars?” he said.

萊文森說,除了給予動力,宗教也未必受到太空旅行的挑戰。他說福音派信徒更可能相信外星人光顧過新墨西哥州的羅斯韋爾,而且許多與宗教儀式習俗相關的問題在太空中也會有不同意義:“如果是在火星上,那麥加圣地在哪里?”

Michael Waltemathe, a theologian at Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany, added that space's challenges to religious observance have already been hashed out. “There was a fatwa put out by Malay Muslim authorities on how to do rituals on the International Space Station —all this has been thought through,” he said.

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