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The Atheist Who Silenced the Astronaut

The little-known story of Buzz Aldrin's communion on the moon

by
Paula Bolyard

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July 21, 2013 - 3:00 pm
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When we talk about “taking back the culture,” people get apprehensive and worry that we are trying to overthrow our republican form of government and form a theocracy. The reality is something a lot less ambitious. Those of us who grew up in post-1960’s America don’t always fully grasp how much we have lost since that turbulent decade because we’ve always lived in a world where radical atheists have enjoyed influence and a degree of social acceptance. We forget that it wasn’t always this way and that the scrubbing of religion — Christianity in particular — from American public life is a relatively new phenomenon.

In a recent blog post, Eric Metaxas shared the little-known story of astronaut Buzz Aldrin taking communion on the surface of the moon:

The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his pastor to help him.  And so the pastor consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine.  And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth’s orbit and on to the surface of the moon.

I am just old enough to remember our family gathered around the black and white TV, my dad adjusting the antennae, as we watched man’s first steps on the moon. An unprecedented 125 million Americans tuned in to watch the fearsome event on TV — it wasn’t a given that the men would survive outside the lunar module or that they would make it back to Earth. William Safire had prepared a speech for President Nixon to deliver in the event of a disaster and protocols were established for contacting the wives of the astronauts in case the unthinkable happened.

Even after they returned to earth, the astronauts remained in quarantine for 21 days in compliance with the recently passed Extra-Terrestrial Exposure Law.

It was a perilous mission, one for which President Nixon called Americans to pray:

Apollo 11 is on its way to the moon. It carries three brave astronauts; it also carries the hopes and prayers of hundreds of millions of people…That moment when man first sets foot on a body other than earth will stand through the centuries as one supreme in human experience…I call upon all of our people…to join in prayer for the successful conclusion of Apollo 11‘s mission.

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Top Rated Comments   
Obviously, not attending church isn't enough for those "Imagine No Religion" clowns. I'm sure they would be happy with a fascist state that banned all religion as Albania did.
Personally, I prefer to "Imagine no brain-dead liberals." But I am being redundant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (38)
All Comments   (38)
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"...cannot muster a morsel of sadness." Wow! That really tells you all you will ever need to know about a Christian.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Madalyn O'Hair was gruesomely murdered in 1995, dismembered, and stuffed into a barrel along with the remains of her son and granddaughter. She lived an evil, nasty life and died a terrible death. Like Howard Zinn and Helen Thomas, she is a person at whose death one cannot muster a morsel of sadness.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Is this evidence of Jesus working in your life? It's certainly evidence of why people are rejecting Christianity. By their fruits ye shall know them.

When Islam is the majority religion in the USA, perhaps Christians will finally appreciate Ms. O'Hair and other atheists' efforts to ensure that the government does not favor, endorse or force ANY religion on ANY citizen.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You really represent Christians for exactly what they are. You are exactly what a Christian is at the most basic level. You should be proud of exactly how Christian you are. I can think of no better example of exactly what a Christian is than you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Oh yea, I feel that christian lovin wash allllll over me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Few informed modern atheists assert that "there is no god" since the past 6000 years of human history has seen whole populations in thrall to many diverse and different human originated and human run religious organisations dedicated to many thousands of assorted "gods" and "god-men" dreamed up by men.

The USA is still a very young country and was founded in a time when Europe was brutally dominated by the Roman founded religion of "christianity".

Some of us (who are ex-christians and now non-believers) have searched for non-biblical evidence of the tales told in the christian bible - and can find none.

Some of us (who are ex-christians and now non-believers) have searched for anything that is unique or original within the mythology, doctrine and practices of christianity., and find almost nothing unique or original.

In Europe; religion is in the last stages of what looks like a terminal decline and it appears that America is just starting along that path?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Try Tim Keller's "The Reason for God." Journalist Kirsten Powers credits Keller's church with helping her to turn from atheism to Christianity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
@Paula Bolyard

I was an active christian in my childhood and something of a star bible student and mainstay of my local church. It was by actually studying the bible that I began to notice the confusion and many contradictions it contains. That sparked my curiosity to study the non-biblical history of the 1st century for clues about which accounts within the four "gospels" could be near to the historical truth. I have now spent many fascinated decades searching for any historical record of the man that generations of Greek scribes later wrote about., but there is none to be found that is authentic and verifiable from the time in which the much later written legends of "Jesus" are set.

The turbulent (real) history of the 1st century is fascinating and there are several named "messiahs" to be studied between c4BCE and c140CE. None of them are named "Jesus" (or the real Hebrew names Joshua, Yeshua or Y-Shua from which it is assumed the Greeks invented the otherwise meaningless word "Jesus").

I am aware that a few atheists revert to, or are indoctrinated into christianity. The overwhelming trend across the free, educated, democratic and increasingly secular western world - is the other way.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Indeed, it is finally safe for non-Christians to admit their beliefs without the fear of being drowned or burned at the stake, or of being homeless or jobless, due to judgmental Christian 'love'. It's not so much that there are MORE non-Christians - they are just more aware now that they are not alone, and thus, more vocal.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The excellent documentary "Moonshot" includes Frank Borman's reading of Genesis during the Apollo 8 mission. It is one of many very moving portions of that program.

Political Correctness was considered insignificant by way too many people from the time when it made its presence known. Now it has taken over America, and it wrecks lives and kills people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You could maybe consider studying the history of the christian church from the time in the 4th century when it was instituted and brutally imposed upon the then western world.

The massacre of all who rejected the new "heretical" religion was followed by the destruction of the then "orthodox" religion's temples and artifacts. That was followed by many centuries or terror, persecution, mass murder, 9 genocidal crusades (10 when including the christian crusade of the 3rd Reich) and over 300 years of the murder of innocent citizens branded as "heretics" by a church that was then the state.

Please think about what has wrecked more lives and killed more people?

Religion of any brand is anti-democratic and anti-humanitarian. Free secular democracy is the antidote to such things., and as christianity in the USA follows Europe in its decline, there is no chance that any other anti-humanitarian, anti-democratic politico-corporate brand of religious totalitarianism (Islam or any other) will be permitted to take the place of the previously dominant politico-corporate industries of "christianity".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Respect for diversity only wrecks the lives of people whose faith is weak. They might as well be dead if that's the only way they can truly be with Jesus.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you can't figure out how to pray without a government representative leading or assisting you, then atheists are not your problem. Jesus specifically said NOT to pray in public (like hypocrites). (Matthew 6)

Kids (and parents) can pray all they want at a graduation ceremony - they simply can't compel anyone one to listen to them do it. If God is omnipresent and omnipotent, then you don't need a microphone for Him to hear a prayer. A graduation ceremony is for EVERYONE in attendance, NOT JUST YOU.

You have the right to practice your religion. You DON'T have the right to make anyone else participate, especially at government-sponsored events. If you do YOUR JOB as a parent, and teach your religion to your children at HOME and CHURCH, then you won't need the government to do it for you, AND you won't worry about them being taught religious lessons by teachers who don't share your particular beliefs.

"Separation of Church and State" means that the government should remain RELIGIOUSLY NEUTRAL. NOBODY has demanded that any government entity declare "There is no God," which is what atheist favoritism would actually look like. The government cannot say there is, and cannot say there isn't - it simply has NO COMMENT on the matter, and thereby doesn't favor ANY brand of religion (or lack thereof). THAT is 100% EQUAL and FAIR.

When Islam is the majority religion in the USA, Christians will finally appreciate Separation of Church and State AND that the majority does NOT rule when it comes to Freedom of Speech or Religion.

Did an astronaut's request for a moment of silence, without any religious additives, prevent you from praying? NOPE. Did it respect the diverse beliefs of EVERY SINGLE HUMAN on the planet? YES. That's EXACTLY the way it should be in EVERY school and courtroom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If that was what Jesus truly sought, he would NOT have told his disciples, and thus, us to spread his teachings across the four corners of the world. Actually, he would have told us the exact opposite: To keep what they had witnessed regarding his resurrection completely to ourselves, not reveal it to anyone under any circumstances since that in effect is forcing people to listen to them. No, he WANTED us to fully dominate over the world, he wanted Christianity and his teachings to fully dominate over everyone else. Jesus did not want religious neutrality at all.

And BTW, parenting simply won't work. I know a family who DID bring up their children under the Catholic faith, yet at least one of them ended up turning into an Atheist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are you ignoring a DIRECT COMMAND from Jesus, or calling him a LIAR?

Matthew 6:5-6 "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."

Maybe Jesus doesn't want parents to force a religion on their kids. Maybe He wants them to find it on their own, so their devotion will be from the HEART, not from HABIT.

People who use their faith as a weapon should expect victims, not followers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"... No, he WANTED us to fully dominate over the world, ..." and there are people that don't want to be dominated by your religion. At what point do you set aside Jesus' teaching to force your dominion over others. By government and laws, by the sword or the point of a gun. I've read your book, I think it's bad fiction. Even if there is a god, your bible is still bad fiction to me. And if, " parenting simply won't work" what then, we're back to the point of a gun?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obviously, not attending church isn't enough for those "Imagine No Religion" clowns. I'm sure they would be happy with a fascist state that banned all religion as Albania did.
Personally, I prefer to "Imagine no brain-dead liberals." But I am being redundant.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
" a fascist state that banned all religion as Albania did" but I'm sure you're OK with a fascist state that forces people to believe in a religion they don't want to.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Few ex-believers in any form of religion, magic or the supernatural are "brain dead". There is no evidence to assume that growing and diverse population who proudly declare themselves to be atheists contain anything but the same cross section of political leanings as the rest of the population.

The attempt to smear a growing and intellectually / politically diverse section of citizens as "brain dead liberals" may do more to spread the good news of rational atheism than all the preachers in the USA putting forward their unsupported tales of "gods" and "god-men"?

The more you (and others) demonstrate a fear of the truth (and those atheists who have discovered the truth behind all self-serving politico-corporate human institutions of superstition and mythology called "religion") the more people in thrall to one religion, or another, may feel curious to investigate the fraud they have been indoctrinated to blindly believe...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There have always been lots more atheists than people realized. It simply wasn't safe for them to admit it until recently, with a long history of Christians slaying, burning and drowning non-Christians, and preventing them from getting jobs, homes, etc.

Fortunately, the internet and cable/satellite TV are helping to educate people. The Church no longer controls the information its members can access, and they are finally learning that much of what they have been taught about non-Christians (and also about the origins and history of Christianity itself) is not true.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're sadly mistaken, actually. The more you and the other Atheists are posting your beliefs, the LESS you're getting people to become Atheist. Heck, you're actually aiding US in converting people to Christianity. Don't even bother denying it, I've got proof and I'm not afraid to use it:

American Faith: A Work In Progress by Stephen Prothero, USA Today, March 10, 2008, page 11A:

"Numbers lie, but they also tell tales untrustworthy and otherwise. So the key question stirring around the much discussed U.S Religious Landscape Survey released in late February by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is what tale does it state about the state of the union.

For some, the story of this survey, based on interviews in multiple languages with more than 35,000 adults, is the strength of American Religion.

Not too long ago, I wrote that American atheism was going the way of the freak show. As books by Christopher Hitchens and other "new atheists" climbed the best seller lists, I caught a lot of flak for that prophecy. But atheist make up only 1.6% of respondents to this survey...."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I didn't say I was an atheist. Does Jesus teach you to judge people and make assumptions about them without knowing them?

For the record, a QUOTE from one notoriously biased person about the number of participants who identified themselves as atheists in a study isn't "proof" that anyone is converting to Christianity. Over 16% of respondents said they were non-religious or unaffiliated. If you READ the actual RESULTS of the study, you will see that they show the EXACT OPPOSITE of what you're trying to claim: "more than six-in-ten Americans age 70 and older (62%) are Protestant but that this number is only about four-in-ten (43%) among Americans ages 18-29. Conversely, young adults ages 18-29 are much more likely than those age 70 and older to say that they are not affiliated with any particular religion (25% vs. 8%). If these generational patterns persist, recent declines in the number of Protestants and growth in the size of the unaffiliated population may continue."

Even 6 years ago (when the study was conducted), atheists generally didn't care what others believed. They (and other non-Christians) simply don't want others' beliefs forced upon them, especially by the government.

Since you just admitted that you don't have any natural morals, or the ability to control your own actions, it's a fair bet that atheists would WANT you to remain a Christian forever, if that's the only thing preventing you from becoming a mass-murdering terrorist. Millions of atheists successfully go decades WITHOUT stealing and destroying, or raping or killing anyone - so they'd probably prefer to keep you and your immoral instincts as far away from them as possible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Sadly, on one of the momentous nights in American history, Americans never heard this story — it was a victim of militant atheism. To this day, most Americans have never heard about it, nor have they heard the story of the creation narrative reading on the Apollo 8 mission. "

Aldrin's communion on the moon isn't QUITE as obscure as you think it is. Borrow or rent the 1998 HBO series From the Earth to the Moon sometime and you'll see that it portrays this incident in considerable detail. (By the way, the actor playing Aldrin is Bryan Cranston, who is today best known for his role of Walter White in Breaking Bad.) From the Earth to the Moon is one of my all-time favourite miniseries for its hugely inspiring look at the Apollo program. There are 12 episodes in this miniseries, the one showing the communion is "Mare Tranquilitatis". (Sea of Tranquility in Latin.)
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
the.oc.ra.cy 1: government of a state by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as divinely guided
I submit that under the current understanding of the so-called "separation of church and state" we are a theocracy. Our officials are guided by the god of the atheists. And if atheism believes in nothing, then so be it: Our officials serve the god of nothingness. And it's gotten us to where we are today.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Atheists believe in lots of things. Just not gods. The claim that 'atheists believe in nothing' is false, and there is no 'god of atheists'.

Humans have worshiped hundreds of gods throughout history. Atheists simply believe in one less god than Christians do.

If the government favored atheism, then unconstitutional displays of religion would have been replaced by unconstitutional displays of signs stating, "There is no God." Everyone can clearly see that has not happened, and plenty of atheists would fight that as unconstitutional, as well, if it ever did. Religious neutrality means that NOBODY'S beliefs are favored or sponsored by government entities or taxpayer funds, and that is 100% EQUAL and right.

Learn the facts instead of regurgitating lies and ignorance.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, considering how the Atheists turned France into a chaotic hellhole in the aftermath of the French Revolution, even trying to exterminate Religion, and similar actions in the Russian Revolution and various Communist revolutions, I'd say their not believing in anything is actually quite sound.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There is no atheist dogma that could lead anyone to do or not do anything. Does YOUR disbelief in unicorns or leprechauns dictate YOUR behavior?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I became an atheist, I'd go around killing people, raping people, stealing and destroying items simply because, since God doesn't exist, why bother following the laws he created since He doesn't exist? And its not projection, either: Just look at how everyone behaved during the aftermath of the French Revolution, the horrors of the USSR, Red China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge, Laos, Cuba, the Eastern Bloc. All of these instances had millions slaughtered by the atheists, with religious people being a particularly favorite target among them. Heck, they even followed through with Marx's dictum that "Religion is the Opiate of the Masses," or in the case of France, that the church acted as the chains to mankind's natural freedom as mentioned by Rousseau.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"If I became an atheist, I'd go around killing people, raping people, stealing and destroying items simply because, since God doesn't exist, why bother following the laws he created since He doesn't exist?"

That's a very unusual statement to make. Do you really and truly believe that atheists can't restrain themselves from murder, rape, theft and destruction even if they don't believe in God? I certainly don't dispute the examples you give of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, Chairman Mao, etc. but there have been lots of atheists who weren't Marxists and who don't kill, rape, steal or destroy. How do you think they restrained themselves if they don't believe in God? Don't you think it's possible for atheists to decline to commit those crimes for reasons beyond the fear of God's punishment?

As an atheist, I choose not to kill, rape, steal and destroy because it seems wrong to me. Not because I fear God but because I would not want those things to be done to me and therefore don't want to be party to doing them to others. This, of course, is the Golden Rule but I am not observing it because of God but out of a sense that it is simply the decent thing to do. And even if God can't punish me if I break that rule, I know that my fellow man may well do so via the police and the courts or even just via direct vengeance.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Of course, the ethic of reciprocity was observed and practiced in non-Christian cultures for CENTURIES BEFORE the Jesus story was written and the concept was hijacked and retitled The Golden Rule by Christians. Atheist societies throughout history have had rules against stealing, hurting and killing people. Gods are not the source of, or required for, that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you for admitting that you have no morals. You are exactly the reason Freedom of Religion is so important, and why the government can NEVER be allowed to force any religion on its citizens! One can only imagine what kind of horrors you would commit if you were not allowed to believe that you are under constant supervision by a God more furious and bloodthirsty than yourself!

Fortunately, most humans on the planet (the overwhelming majority of whom are non-Christians) do not suffer from your bizarre affliction, and would not behave like rabid wild animals, raping and killing people, even if they could legally do so.

Please ask a friend or family member to make sure you get counseling if you should ever doubt the existence of gods. If you truly are one of the few people on the planet who is totally incapable of controlling your own rage and actions, it is likely that you would end up another Stalin or Pol Pot, especially considering your obvious obsession with them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To quote someone you might know "First of all, no one who believed in God would write or publish such lies because that belief would then imply belief in Judgement for one's wrongs." Atheism IS the rejection of a belief in god/s. You said "guided by the god of the atheists", that makes you a liar. Also, the belief in nothing is Nihilism, Atheism is only the rejection of a belief in god/s. So, really, to equate Atheism with theocracy is extremely dishonest, and isn't that covered in one of those commandment thingies that religionists are trying to put up on courthouse laws? So it looks like the government endorses only one religion.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maybe they are different words, but the concepts themselves are similar enough. And BTW, when one is atheistic, they have absolutely no reason to follow God's commandments or morality. Don't believe me? Just look at the horrors of the French Revolution, the USSR, Nazi Germany, North Korea, Red China, Vietnam, Cuba, Cambodia. All of those instances were where Atheism took charge, and those inevitably descended into chaos and destruction, not to mention the loss of millions of people. I suggest you rethink your statement. A Russian thinker once said this: "If there is no god, then everything is permissible."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Maybe they are different words, but the concepts themselves are similar enough." If that is what you think then it goes far in explaining that you have no idea what you are talking about. The US is an Atheistic country, no where in the Constitution does it promote christianity. All the examples you provided are dictatorships, kinda like religions. The fact remains, an Atheist is someone who does not believe your assertion that a god exists. There is no linking Atheism with any thing else. Yet, christians have this book they use to validate the killing of anyone who disagrees with them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Atheists don't need a book, god or list to know that things like hurting and killing people are wrong. Atheists are naturally moral and good. People who DON'T understand those things without divine intervention are scary and dangerous, and definitely not moral.

If YOU need daily reminders not to hurt and kill people, then the First Amendment protects your right to post the Ten Commandments in your home or church, to read the Bible and pray, and to believe that you have a 24/7 babysitter. Atheists understand that the world is safer when people who think they need constant supervision are allowed to believe that they have it.

Atheism is simply the disbelief in the existence in the hundreds of gods worshiped by humans. There is no dogma for one to follow or foist upon others. Horrors in countries that don't force a religion on everyone are due to things like power and greed, not atheism.

There are bad apples in EVERY bunch, including Christianity. For example, Hitler professed that he was doing the work of God. The burning "Hell" that many Christians profess a belief in is just a giant, eternal concentration camp (except that Hitler's victims were put out of their misery, while God's are allegedly tortured forever). In the Bible, God repeatedly commanded His followers to slaughter people. Hitler was one of few who obeyed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, Hitler was an atheist, and even persecuted Christians. Members of his own Nazi party admitted as much.

France post-French Revolution (AKA, Robespierre's reign of terror), the Soviet Union, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Red China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cuba, all of those countries were run by atheists, and their ideologies created by atheists (case in point, Karl Marx, the father of Socialism/Communism, or in the case of the French Revolution and in part Cambodia, Rousseau, Sade, and Voltaire). All of those instances resulted in the extermination of millions of people with little time passing (Cambodia, for instance wiped out a quarter of its population in little more than four years when Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Lets not forget about the millions murdered under Stalin alone, not to mention the millions murdered under Zedong that exceeded even Stalin. Also, bear in mind that that was just from half a century at most. Time frame might be even less. Heck, the French Revolution, until the 20th century, resulted in the MOST deaths under any regime change, not to mention rapes and the like.). All those instances were atheists in power, there was a significant increase in violence, destruction, and amorality as a result, so its obvious atheism is not naturally moral or good, nor are any humans naturally moral or good.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're certainly welcome to believe everything a Nazi says is truth. Plenty of Germans did.

Hitler was raised a Christian, and was quite vocal about his beliefs, and how they directly influenced his actions and intentions towards those who didn't subscribe to his views. He believed he was working for Jesus-God, which an atheist obviously wouldn't do or claim.

"In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. . . . " - Adolf Hitler, 12 April 1922

Atheism is simply a disbelief in the existence of gods. That's it. There's no dogma that one could use against others, even if one wanted to. Greed and a thirst for power influence humans of ALL kinds.

An atheist in power doesn't represent atheism itself. They have no leaders because they have no religion. NONE of the atrocities you mention were done IN THE NAME OF ATHEISM. Learn the facts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"people get apprehensive and worry that we are trying to overthrow our republican form of government and form a theocracy"

I'm not sure if the people who talk about Christians wanting to form a theocracy are really that ignorant, really that stupid, really that paranoid, or if it's just a convenient accusation to throw out.

Certainly there is a tiny minority who want that, but they are just that - a TINY minority. A theocracy is far, far, far from mainstream Christianity.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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