While it may seem unrelated, the fact of the matter is that the idea of space exploration is deeply rooted in the religious beliefs of people in society.
Seemingly contrary to popular belief, religious people can be the difference between being able to justify a higher or non-existent budget for space exploration or travel. There was a recent study that looked at the beliefs of religious individuals regarding the exploration of space, and the effects that this could have on the world at large.
Religion And Science – A Tenuous Relationship
There has always been a give and take when it comes to science and religion. While some religious individuals have been at the forefront of their respective sciences at some times, in others, religion has squelched researchers and even had them severely punished. When it comes to religion and space exploration, this has not always been the case. The sense of pioneering that drove the first men to the moon was not inhibited or loudly protested by religious groups of the time.
Yet, with administrations like NASA trying to spark interest in the younger generations and allow the older generation to relive that sense of wonder, they have been rather unsuccessful in their endeavor. At the University of Dayton, multiple studies from Pew Surveys were cross-referenced with other studies to gauge religious interest in exploring space. What they found was that most people who did regularly attend church and considered their church life important to them were far less likely to support space exploration as a whole.
Space Exploration and Religion: the Complicating Factors
Even though the trend has shown that people who are religious have an unfavorable view of space exploration, this is complicated by the fact that many of these people tend to have an anti-government leaning. This would be a significant complication for the data, especially since some churches with leaders who favor scientific development have expressed a great amount of support for NASA and other space exploration efforts.
Another leading factor that is being viewed as a complication for determining the overall cause of lethargy in response to space exploration is the attitude of the millennial generation. According to studies and surveys, this age group is the least likely to support funding for space exploration, either due to a lack of education on the subject, or a general disinterest after years of what many view as “mediocre” advances in the field. With more studies underway to determine the validity of confounding factors, including religious aspects, there is hope that any reasons not to further our collective understanding of the universe can be dispelled and replaced with support.