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Astronaut finds confidence in beliefs through space

Published: Friday, Nov. 8 2013 12:15 p.m. MST

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, right, and Benoit Marcotte, Director of the International Space Station for the Canadian Space Agency, take part in a Canadian Space Agency news conference Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006 at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Hadfield is a veteran of two space shuttle missions, STS-74 and STS-100.

Peter Cosgrove, Associated Press

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Despite scientific understanding of the universe, space has reaffirmed the religious beliefs of one astronaut.

Chris Hadfield, a 54-year-old Canadian astronaut and former commander of the International Space Station, recently spoke with NPR about how his time in space made him more confident in his faith.

"The world, when you look at it, it just can't be random," he said, according to the Huffington Post. "I mean, it's so different than the vast emptiness that is everything else and even all the other planets we've seen, at least in our solar system, none of them even remotely resemble the precious life-giving nature of our own planet."

He said spending time off the planet gave him perspective and a better outlook on current-day events.

“I think what everyone would find if they could be in that position — if they could see the whole world every 90 minutes and look down on the places where we do things right, and look down where we're doing stupid, brutal things to each other and the inevitable patience of the world that houses us — I think everybody would be reinforced in their faith,” he told NPR.

The Huffington Post reported on the interview, and said Hadfield recently published a book on his experiences in space, titled "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth." Many might also know Hadfield from a YouTube video that surfaced earlier this year. He sings David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” in the video, which has received more than 18 million views.

The fame has made Hadfield one of the most popular astronauts in the modern era, according to the Sydney Herald. Hadfield, despite saying his beliefs have been reaffirmed after being in space, isn’t revealing specific religious beliefs. But he said all astronauts gain somewhat of a spiritual experience from their time above earth, according to the Sydney Herald.

“If I were to announce that I am a fundamentalist Christian or a Muslim or an atheist or an agnostic or whatever, I immediately discredit some significant proportion of the world’s beliefs, and I have no desire to do that,” he said. “We have astronauts of all different beliefs, and I am yet to see any of them change their belief system, based on what they have seen. For all of us, it is a deepening and reinforcing experience.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @hscribner

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