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The surprising history of prayer in space
Astronaut Buzz Aldrin on the moon in 1969, just after receiving communion aboard Apollo 11.
July 7th, 2011
09:22 AM ET

The surprising history of prayer in space

By Thom Patterson, CNN

It may be the first prayer ever uttered by a space traveler: "Dear Lord, please don't let me f- up."

Dubbed "Shepard's Prayer," this brief, irreverent plea is often attributed to the first American in space - the late Alan Shepard - although he reportedly said he was misquoted.

My Take: Space travel is a spiritual experience

As Friday's historic final shuttle launch approaches, Shepard's Prayer speaks volumes about the wide spectrum of religious beliefs among the relatively few men and women who've risked their lives by traveling into space.

Here are just a few of the religious highlights surrounding human space travel:

Christmas Eve, 1968: The crew of Apollo 8, the first humans to orbit the moon, read from the Bible's book of Genesis during a live TV broadcast to Earth. Later, an atheist activist sues NASA over an alleged violation of separation of church and state. The U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear the case "for want of jurisdiction."

July 1969: Apollo 11 Col. Buzz Aldrin becomes the only person ever to receive communion on the moon. A Presbyterian, he administers the sacrament himself while inside the lunar landing vehicle. Shortly afterward, Aldrin becomes the second human to set foot on the moon.

America's Space program, then and now

February 1962: "Godspeed, John Glenn," says fellow astronaut Scott Carpenter as Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the Earth.

April 1970: President Nixon leads nation in prayer for the safe return of Apollo 13 crew members after their spacecraft is damaged en route to the moon.

February 1986: Pope John Paul II prays for God to accept the spirits of the seven crew members killed in the explosion of the shuttle Challenger.

October 1998: On his upcoming voyage aboard the shuttle Discovery - his first space flight since 1962 - Sen. John Glenn tells a college friend according to Newsweek, "Don't pray for my safety. If you're going to pray for me, pray that I do well."

February 2003: Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed with six others aboard the shuttle Columbia, brought with him a tiny microfiche Bible given to him by Israel's president, according to The New York Times. He also copied the traditional Jewish blessing Shabbat Kiddush into his diary so he could recite it aboard the spacecraft and have the blessing broadcast to Earth, according to the Jerusalem Post.

May 2011: Pope Benedict XVI calls orbiting crew aboard shuttle Endeavour and the space station. Endeavour's Italian astronaut Roberto VIttori tells the pope he prays in space "for me, for our families, for our future."

August 2005: While in orbit, shuttle Discovery's Eileen Collins - commanding the first mission after 2003's Columbia disaster - says a prayer in honor of Columbia's seven crewmembers killed during reentry. The prayer is adapted from a poem "For the Fallen," by Laurence Binyon.

October 2007: Malaysian cosmonaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor - a practicing Muslim - prays regularly during his eleven-day stay aboard the International Space Station. Because the orbiting outpost goes through several "sunrises" daily, Islamic scholars must determine special rules regarding how to face Mecca and how many times to pray each day.

Photographing the end of U.S. shuttle program

March 2011: Discovery pilot Col. Eric Boe leads astronauts in prayer before lifting off on Discovery's final mission. Boe told spacelaunch.com: "We had a huddle as a team, we just said a quick prayer and just said looking forward to mission and let us do well. It was a good way to get ready for the mission and to give us some focus before we get on the rocket to go."

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Culture & Science • Prayer • Technology

soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. justathought

    @Muneef, please accept my apoligees for spelling your name wrong.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Muneef

      Don't worry...some one else named me as "Moon Reef" it sounded very nice when pictured in mind.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • Muneef

      [72:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

      [72:1] Say, "I was inspired that a group of jinns listened, then said, `We have heard a wonderful Quran.

      [72:2] " `It guides to righteousness, and we have believed in it; we will never set up any idols beside our Lord.

      [72:3] " `The Most High is our only Lord. He never had a mate, nor a son.

      [72:4] " `It is the foolish among us who used to utter such nonsense about GOD.

      [72:5] " `We thought that neither the humans, nor the jinns, could possibly utter lies about GOD.

      [72:6] " `Human beings used to seek power through jinn beings, but they only afflicted them with a lot of adversity.
      ------

      You can finish reading it here;
      http://www.submission.org/suras/sura72.html

      July 8, 2011 at 8:26 am |
  2. justathought

    @True Believer, please show me where I have counterdiced the Scriptures and I will correct my mistake and post it here.

    July 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  3. Paco the Avenger

    They pray, and yet we still have the space disasters. All part of god's plan, right? And yet they would never say that gay couples are part of god's plan. People need to wake up and get out of church.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  4. justathought

    @MunFee, please, don't put words in my mouth. I did not say there was any creatures here on this planet before mankind. I said this planet was here a long time before God created mankind. Gen 1:1–2 "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. [no time given] Vs. 2 And the earth was without form and void;....in verse 3 we read: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (This was the first day of creation) Now I want to ask TrueBeliever something.

    July 7, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      justathought.

      That was not I meant to do but rather informing you that you were right that Earth was created long time before mankind was created... And added that earth was inhabited even before of mankind creation... Adding that the creature which inhabited earth before mankind were the Jinn's and their master then was (Ablis,Satan,Devil) they and their master were created from a poisonous fire unlike mankind who was created from water clay...
      They have messed up on earth just like mankind now with bloodsheds wars...it was then when God decided to creat Mankind and that was the reason why Satan was jealous from mankind and had swore to mislead all mankind starting with Adam & Eve.

      July 8, 2011 at 8:14 am |
  5. killallthewhiteman

    Watch Secret Space!!!!! I bet it will scare the religion out of you.

    July 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  6. Muneef

    Justathought.

    The same verses in differen translation;

    And We have placed in the earth firm hills lest it quake with them, and We have placed therein ravines as roads that haply they may find their way. (31) And we have made the sky a roof withheld (from them). Yet they turn away from its portents. (32) And He it is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit. (33) We appointed immortality for no mortal before thee. What! if thou diest, can they be immortal! (34) Every soul must taste of death, and We try you with evil and with good, for ordeal. And unto Us ye will be returned. (35) And when those who disbelieve behold thee, they but choose thee out for mockery, (saying): Is this he who maketh mention of your gods? And they would deny all mention of the Beneficent. (36) Man is made of haste. I shall show you My portents, but ask Me not to hasten. (37) And they say: When will this promise (be fulfilled), if ye are truthful? (38) If those who disbelieved but knew the time when they will not be able to drive off the fire from their faces and from their backs, and they will not be helped! (39) Nay, but it will come upon them unawares so that it will stupefy them, and they will be unable to repel it, neither will they be reprieved. (40) Messengers before thee, indeed, were mocked, but that whereat they mocked surrounded those who scoffed at them. (41) Say: Who guardeth you in the night or in the day from the Beneficent? Nay, but they turn away from mention of their Lord! (42) Or have they gods who can shield them from Us? They cannot help themselves nor can they be defended from Us. (43) Nay, but We gave these and their fathers ease until life grew long for them. See they not how we visit the land, reducing it of its outlying parts? Can they then be the victors? (44) Say (O Muhammad, unto mankind): I warn you only by the Inspiration. But the deaf hear not the call when they are warned. (45) And if a breath of thy Lord's punishment were to touch them, they assuredly would say: Alas for us! Lo! we were wrong-doers. (46) And We set a just balance for the Day of Resurrection so that no soul is wronged in aught. Though it be of the weight of a grain of mustard seed, We bring it. And We suffice for reckoners. (47)

    July 7, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Muneef

      Sorry missed verse 21:30-
      Have not those who disbelieve known that the heavens and the earth were of one piece, then We parted them, and we made every living thing of water? Will they not then believe? (30)..

      The translation of the Arabic word used for the big bang was Arabic-English Dictionary (to unsew,un-st-itch,rip open,tear,rend,slit open). 

      July 7, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  7. justathought

    Fellow Christians: God is the author of all true science. Anything that is proven by science was designed by God. There are some things that are still just therory, the big one: how did the universe come into being–we do not know. one therory that is considered is the "big bang theory" so if God chose that method of creating the universe–so be it. I may take opposition to many of my Christian brothers/sisters, but I believe that this planet was here in space long before God decided to create mankind. Gen 1:1-2. As far as athesist are concered, they can not have a Godly experience without Godly relationship, which they refuse to have; leave them alone, do not argue with them, they have chosen what they wish and they will not be persuaded by any argument.

    July 7, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • TrueBeliever

      You are not a true Christian to believe in something that contradicts the truth of God's word in the Bible.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Muneef

      justathought.

      Quran Verses;
      The Big Bang Theory Confirmed*
      [21:30] Do the unbelievers not realize that the heaven and the earth used to be one solid mass that we exploded into existence? And from water we made all living things. Would they believe?

      [21:31] And we placed on earth stabilizers, lest it tumbles with them, and we placed straight roads therein, that they may be guided.

      [21:32] And we rendered the sky a guarded ceiling. Yet, they are totally oblivious to all the portents therein.

      [21:33] And He is the One who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; each floating in its own orbit.

      [21:34] We never decreed immortality for anyone before you; should you die, are they immortal?

      [21:35] Every soul will taste death, after we put you to the test through adversity and prosperity, then to us you ultimately return. 

      All Messengers Ridiculed

      [21:36] When those who disbelieve see you, they ridicule you: "Is this the one who challenges your gods?" Meanwhile, they remain totally heedless of the message from the Most Gracious.

      [21:37] The human being is impatient by nature. I will inevitably show you My signs; do not be in such a hurry.

      [21:38] They challenge: "Where is that (retribution), if you are truthful?"

      [21:39] If only those who disbelieve could envision themselves when they try to ward off the fire – off their faces and their backs! No one will help them then.

      [21:40] Indeed, it will come to them suddenly, and they will be utterly stunned. They can neither avoid it, nor can they receive any respite.

      [21:41] Messengers before you have been ridiculed, and, consequently, those who ridiculed them incurred the retribution for their ridiculing.

      Priorities Confused
      [21:42] Say, "Who can protect you from the Most Gracious during the night or during the day?" Indeed, they are totally oblivious to the message of their Lord.

      [21:43] Do they have gods who can protect them from us? They cannot even help themselves. Nor can they accompany one another when they are summoned to face us.

      [21:44] We have provided for these people and their ancestors, up until an old age. Do they not see that every day on earth brings them closer to the end? Can they reverse this process?

      [21:45] Say, "I am warning you in accordance with divine inspiration." However, the deaf cannot hear the call, when they are warned.

      [21:46] When a sample of your Lord's retribution afflicts them, they readily say, "We were indeed wicked."

      [21:47] We will establish the scales of justice on the Day of Resurrection. No soul will suffer the least injustice. Even the equivalent of a mustard seed will be accounted for. We are the most efficient reckoners.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Muneef

      The most accurate translation of verse;
      21:44
      -Nay, but We gave these and their fathers ease until life grew long for them. See they not how we visit the land, reducing it of its outlying parts? Can they then be the victors? (44)..

      July 7, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Muneef

      Verse 21:30
      The translation of the Arabic word used for the big bang was as per Arabic-English Dictionary (to unsew,un-st-itch,rip open,tear,rend,slit open). 

      July 7, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • RevDana

      @TrueBeliever – It seems you have taken an opportunity to judge another's walk with God. As a pastor, I counsel that this is not something which is condoned by Jesus. Perhaps you need to examine the log in your own eye before you are critical of the spec that may be in the sight of justathought. People have a right to their opinions and they deserve to be treated respectfully. I am not challenging your claim to be a true believer – but you should not presume to know the heart of another. This applies not just to Christians, but to anyone. Peace my friend, and be blessed.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
    • Muneef

      justathought.

      You are right again;

       The Quran verse which proves that mankind was created after another creation that had inhabited earth before mankind (The Jinn) Note the Angels are reminding God that the creation before mankind had done wrong and mankind will do the same as the one before it;

      And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not. (30) 

      July 7, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
  8. Reality

    "Dear Lord, please don't let me f- up." vs quotes/prayers of equal value

    Dear Lord Byron please don't let me f-ck up.

    Dear Lord Nelson please don't let me fu-ck up.

    Dear Lord Voldemort don't let me fu-ck up.

    Dear Lord of Darkness don't let me fu-ck up.

    July 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  9. Reality

    Reiterating for those in need of once again reviewing the conclusions of many contemporary NT scholars:

    Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con Game:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    o An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,
    o
    p.4
    o "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    o p.168. by Ted Peters:
    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    o So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • KJ

      Jesus Seminar methodology: Assume miracles cannot happen (as an axiom) and rule-out all Biblical passages implying such

      Results: (big surprise) The historical Jesus was no more than a human being

      “I told my communication officers that from the day of our birth, we were destined to be in this room on this day,” recalled Gene Kranz of NASA. “All my life I’ve felt that the Creator had a very special role for me that I really didn’t have too much to do with.”

      http://www.ncregister.com/site/article/16052/

      July 7, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  10. petercha

    Goes to show that there does not need to be any conflict between science and faith.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • wgage

      Show you do not know science, or faith.

      July 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  11. anon

    All arguments on religion aside, it has been said that being up there in space is somewhat of a spiritual experience. I would like to see a study done on astronauts before and after they go into space. I'd like to hear if any of them are atheists or STAYED atheists after orbiting the Earth. The fact that somethign seems to click with all of them and they all of a sudden become humble and pray to God says much to me. And they don't seem to pray to gods either. It is always to the one God, or supreme maker of it all. They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but it appears none exist in space either.

    It's interesting, and I think a study should be done on this phenomena.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • wgage

      Of all the people t;hat have gone into space the article only lists a few and what makes you think that astronauts are suddenly humbled. Why do a study?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Frogist

      @anon: You are making a lot of assumptions. None of which you back with any evidence. The article mentions nothing about astronauts converting. And in your hypothesizing that they all pray to the same god, you ignore that the article actually mentions a few different faiths: presbyterian, catholic, muslim, jewish.

      July 11, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  12. wgage

    What is the point of the article. Is it an attempt to destroy reason and logic and turn people into idiots.

    July 7, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  13. brian

    everything that can be learned, can be learned, in the bible.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      Oh goody.
      Show me where it tells me how to do an appendectomy, how fast to run the IV, and how much pain medication, (as well as their formulae) are safe for you, or your fat cousin.
      Some people are stupid ALL day.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • wgage

      Then why are most bible thumpers idiots?

      July 7, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • petercha

      Anything of spiritual significance, that is. Does no good to save the body, only for the soul to burn in hell once the person eventually dies.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @brian

      Hmmm... I think -Bucky Ball makes an obviously 'very' strong case here.

      Would love to see your reply on this.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      July 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      petercha
      If you are dying of sepsis from Peritonitis is THAT not of "spiritual significance" ?

      July 11, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  14. Geoff

    Aren't prayers asking God to do something, by their very nature, blasphemous? If you follow the logic (a tough word to apply to religion, I know) God is infallible, and has a Plan. By praying to God saying "Keep my son safe," or "Cure my daughter's cancer," you are essentially doing two things: First, you are assuming that there's a chance that it is God's will for your son or daughter to die. Second, if that is the case, you are asking him to change that plan. A flawed human asking a perfect God to change his perfect plan to suit their own desires seems pretty close to "the crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God," i.e., blasphemy.

    July 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • George

      You can fill volumes with what you do not know about prayer Geoff. Your simple logical manipulations may sound humorous, but you are broadcasting your ignorance shamefully. Every breath you take, you utter a prayer, whether you know it or not. God is life, and prayer is the natural, cross cultural, human means of instructing one's self about the nature of life. Seek and you will find.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Frogist

      @George: I wish you would elaborate on where Geoff is wrong rather than just saying so. He makes a fair point.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:26 am |
  15. wisdom found

    From the book of Proverbs there is much wisdom to be found, just a sample of the Grace of God;
    Prvb 16 -v24 "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
    Prvb 16-v25 "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."
    God does not reveal his presence to unbelievers whose pride and self worth have blinded that sensibility.
    Those who wish to know God must pursue him ernestly. God needs no one ! It is sad that so many people angrily denounce the possibility that God exists and condemn the people who do. Hell is a real place and it is so bad that I would not wish it on anyone! I am praying, as many Christians are, for the souls of all people, even those who read this and hate me for it.

    July 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • dave

      got a soul? really? lemme see it! I want you to drag your soul out here and show it to me! otherwise, ALL, and I DO mean ALL religions are nothing more than snake oil and hucksterism, and YOU are responsible for your fare share.

      July 7, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Frogist

      @wisdom found: I don't think I've ever met a non-believer who says there is no possibility that God as you describe him exists. It's the probability we question.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:29 am |
  16. Muneef

    A true Space experience in history of prayers heard ;
    http://www.eholyquran.com/Quran/Zavosh/man.htm

    July 7, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  17. Artist

    "February 1986: Pope John Paul II prays for God to accept the spirits of the seven crew members killed in the explosion of the shuttle Challenger."

    .
    "February 2003: Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon, who was killed with six others aboard the shuttle Columbia, brought with him a tiny microfiche Bible given to him by Israel's president, according to The New York Times. He also copied the traditional Jewish blessing Shabbat Kiddush into his diary so he could recite it aboard the spacecraft and have the blessing broadcast to Earth, according to the Jerusalem Post."
    ----
    Apparently prayer did not work prior to the doomed flights.

    July 7, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Lycidas

      One must understand the purpose of prayer before criticizing it.

      July 7, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
    • Artist

      Prayer has many purposes, which one is for a person to be safe (physically)

      July 7, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • Artist

      I think it is safe to say that the prayers for a safe flight and return were not heard or simply ignored by their god. Of course the Apollo 13 flight and prayers were heard and it was a miracle they made it. The prayers must have been louder or they were not ignored.

      July 7, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Artist
      Oh, prayer DOES work alright. It raises the circulating serum beta-endorphin levels. It works just fine.
      Of course you have other options. Eat a piece of chocolate, do some aerobics, etc.
      http://www.wikihow.com/Get-a-Natural-Rush

      BTW, I have been meaning to thank you for pointing out to me a few weeks ago that quantum indeterminacy is not necessarily applicable to macro systems. It was an eye opener. Have been looking into and thinking about that, and talking to some people about that. Ya learn something every day ! If you have time some day, I would be interested in your opinion of : http://www.halexandria.org/dward159.htm
      Cheers.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • George

      Far too simple Artist. People may pray for positive outcomes of events, like a safe flight. But people who are trying to understand prayer and God know that God works good into all outcomes of events, even if it seems impossible for you to see. Prayers are not ignored or unanswered, and you do not get to control God. It is all about His will, and your acceptance of that very basic and very true fact.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Carson

      "God know that God works good into all outcomes of events, even if it seems impossible for you to see."

      So according to the religious people if you are not saved and get kil-led in a plane crash and go to hell, then you view that as your God doing good. Seriously how F*_k'd up is that!

      July 7, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Prayer doesn't work like the lottery: ask and receive. In addition, the Lord answers every prayer: sometimes He says no.

      July 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      @Chartreuxe
      Don't you think he might have said no a bit too often three months ago in Ja'pan ?

      July 7, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Actually, the astronauts of Apollo 13 made it home due to the good work of hundreds if not thousands of people, staring with the engineers who designed the space craft, to the workers that built them, to the NASA controllers who figured out the best way to do the job. And of course, let's not forget the astronauts themselves, who performed perfectly under great stress.

      If all of them had depended on prayer, Apollo 13 and it's astronauts would be floating in space somewhere or destroyed.

      July 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  18. Muneef

    British Actress Inspired by Prophet's Life
    Myriam Francois-Cerrah Embraces Islam
    'Sense and Sensibility'

    Say (O Prophet!): The evil and the good are not equal even though the excess and abundance of the evil may impress you. So, O people of understanding, be mindful of your duty to Allah that you may succeed." Al-Qur'an, 5:100

    “The two feet of the son of Adam [human being] will not move on the Day of Judgment in front of Allah until he is asked about five things: about his life, and how he spent it? And (more specifically) about his youth, what did he consume it in? And about his money, how did he earn it? And on what did he spend it? And how much did he act upon what he knew?” Hadith

    http://www.onislam.net/english/reading-islam/my-journey-to-islam/contemporary-stories/452274-british-actress-inspired-by-prophets-life.html

    July 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  19. My 2 cents

    Reading from the Bible during a live TV broadcast to Earth was extremely disappointing. I understand that the crew may have religious beliefs and that's fine with me, but they should kept them to themselves. The crew should have been aware that their audience on Earth is much broader then Christian community. It's not the Church that sent them up there, but NASA.

    July 7, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      Wah,,,, you do know Congress opens every session with prayer, Presidents end many of their national speeches with God bless the United States (which is a prayer), every U.S. warship ends the day with a prayer sounded through its announcement system, every U.S. military and most government ceremonies start and end with a prayer, anytime someone says our thoughts and prayers are with them is a prayer, ohh and bye the way the American money you carry on you says In God We Trust which is,,,, wait for it,,,,,, a prayer! To honor a person or event with a prayer is respectful and acceptable and has been long before you came around. You don't have to participate or believe in prayer but you do have to respect people's right to say one.

      July 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • My 2 cents

      @TheTruth.
      All of those examples that you mentioned are examples of how the things should NOT be done. Astronaut wants to say a prayer? Sure, go ahead, say it to yourself, just don't broadcast it to 3 billion people.

      July 7, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Frogist

      @My 2 Cents: I am guessing they read it like the poetry that it is meant to be. Although I do think your point is a valid one and a more inclusive piece of poetry could have been read.
      It is important to note though that we cannot escape the fact that our culture has a lot of Christianity infused into it. And any Christian reference is not merely a prayer or denotes a belief in God. No matter how much The Truth would like that to be so.

      July 11, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  20. Religions are BS

    Let's stop fooling ourselves! Religions only help allay our fear of the unknown & boost our ego - I.e. It's our/animal's nature to be groupie - subjugate non-believers. Religion is not a prerequisite for humbleness – many use it as a facade.

    Romney got 90% of the Utah's primary votes in 2008! Even with concrete evidence, Warren Jeffs' followers still insist on his innocence!

    Believers of Ra, the Sun god; mummified pharaohs; flat/stationary-earth believers will end up where you & I will end up – I.e. nothing!

    Non-believers should not be forced to recite or to accept a fable god (in god we trust, under god, etc. dung) because your fear of the unknown!

    July 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Lycidas

      I don't think anyone is trying to make you or anyone accept a faith. As for your opinion on religion, eh..everyone has one.

      July 7, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.