Carl Sagan, one of the most beloved astronomers of the past century, devoted his life to educating and inspiring people with insights gleaned from modern science. He is perhaps best remembered for his narration of the television series “Cosmos,” which for many people was the first introduction to a perspective on spirituality grounded in the natural world.
When asked whether he believed in God, Sagan often responded that the answer depended on your definition of “God.” He was a pioneer in framing a spiritual paradigm that doesn’t depend on supernatural or magical beliefs to elicit awe, wonder, and benevolence for life. By some standards he might have been called agnostic, but Sagan himself never identified.
Below are six awe-inspiring images and quotes from Sagan about the relationship between science and spirituality:
“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.”
“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”
“It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.”
“Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever the universe has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved?”
“Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature.”
“For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.”