“I am willing to predict that because of space travel, by the end of the century our churches will be full again. NASA is redesigning man back in the direction of God.”

So said science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury in a CBS news interview with Mike Wallace. Does Bradbury have some special prophetic insight that’s worth paying attention to, or was his prediction attributable to mere euphoria brought on by the manned lunar landing?

President Nixon, aboard the U. S. S. Hornet to welcome the Apollo 11 astronauts back to earth, said: “This is the greatest week since the beginning of the world, the Creation. Nothing has changed the world more than this mission.”

Many immediately relegated Nixon’s assessment to the category of obvious overstatement. The neglect of spiritual dimensions was excusable, perhaps, considering the pressures, but to many, it was nonetheless lamentable.

The whole moon voyage, in fact, left something to be desired from the religious perspective. Carl McIntire’s Christian Beacon aptly pointed out that “God has been slighted.”

Fortunately, there were a few redeeming moments. Astronaut Edwin Aldrin, in a color telecast during the return voyage, said: “In reflecting on the events of the past week I am reminded of Psalm Eight in the Bible. ‘When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?’ ”

Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong signed off by thanking those who had helped in the lunar mission, then added; “To all the other people listening and watching, God bless you and good night from Apollo 11.”

After the astronauts had been hauled aboard ...

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