No need for Jesus? Not so fast...

There's a bit of a dust up this week over a tweet by singer Miley Cyrus (also known to my daughter's generation as Hannah Montana)


People have rallied to support Cyrus, people like theologian and bible scholar James McGrath who posted this note, along with the actual quote by a physicist that people are objecting to:

"I was very impressed with Miley’s stance on marriage equality a while back. I’m now also impressed with her appreciation of physics, and her ability to appreciate the insightful and beautiful words of a physicist even though that scientist does not share her faith. Bravo, Miley. Keep it up!

Here’s the actual quote from Krauss:

The amazing thing is that every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics:

You are all stardust.

You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements — the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution — weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way they could get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.

The problem here is that Prof. Krauss is not actually taking the poetic seriously enough. If Truth is to be found in nature, we ought to expect to find it as a reoccurring theme. To borrow a meme from Bishop Joseph Butler, late of Durham, the transformation of the butterfly who dies and rises again, is for example a poetic pointer to the deeper reality of the universal Christ event.

So too we ought be expecting the Universe at the great cosmic scale to reflect this truth as well. Stars were created, lived their lives and by dying have been transformed into a new creation? Seems like a pretty clear pointer to our participation in the mystery of the Triduum as well.

Comments (6)

re: stardust - just what I preached for Ash Wednesday -- not forgetting Jesus though.

It could be said that Jesus embodied and illuminated this Truth long before theoretical physics became a discipline!

So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.

Sounds like both a silly quote, and a silly reaction TO it.

JC Fisher

Meh. Joni Mitchell said it better (although Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young *sang* it better): "We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden."

"we are billion year old carbon"? I thought it was "We are half a million strong"!

Certainly, Carl Sagan popularized the concept back in the 70s on his Cosmos show: "We are star-stuff" (it sounded better when he said it! ;-p)

JC Fisher

From a mystical standpoint, Christ is the elan vital of the Universe, so ontologically as well as analogically, S/he is the force behind all natural phenomena. In addition, people came to experience, through Jesus, that it is really Love that makes the world go around, the stars explode, the flowers open... but also human hearts to open and chains of oppression resulting from too small a heart to break. Jesus was Cosmic recognition event. This union of Jewish wisdom, Jesus' own genius, and the timeless truths of authentic earth-centered religions is Christianity in a nutshell, and represents its unique, Love-oriented contribution to the family of world religions.

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