The Overview Effect

It seems today that there is a renewed interest in space travel. Governments, engineers, scientists, corporations, and entrepreneurs are throwing in their hats to be the first to make a reusable rocket, first to go back to the Moon, first to embark on a manned mission to Mars, first to build a Space Force--and it seems to be all over our culture in recent years. Blockbuster movies depict intrepid and courageous men and women casting their lives into space to explore and face ethical and moral dilemmas. News media run stories about children in classes across the country that say they want to be an astronaut or design a spaceship one day. Companies are now even developing and offering space traveling services! 


One I heard about cost a passenger $250,000 for a ride taking you to the edge of space... not even full-on SPACE, but just the edge of Earth’s atmosphere, some 64 miles off the ground. So popular is this service that there was a room full of people who had spent the needed wealth to reserve their position on a waitlist, and may not get their cosmic ticket punched for many years!  An individual interviewed said they wanted to go so they could see the Earth from the window and experience "The Overview Effect."


If you are not familiar with this term, it is commonly referred to by many astronauts who, after seeing the Earth from afar back, realize how small and how little the petty issues of life really are. To know that all of humanity exists on an orb hurtling through space is said to reorient someone’s mind, refresh their thinking to a more communal nature, and cast away the thoughts of individuality. After this effect has taken place, you are now more concerned with the wellbeing of your fellow man and of humanity as a whole.


I think it’s funny that you need to go as far as to spend a quarter of a million dollars, sit on top of a giant bomb, and fling yourself (nearly) into space to realize a concern for the wellbeing of your fellow man. Is that so of Christians today? Do we have to have something drastic happen for us to be concerned for the lost?  


A Christian should know that Paul teaches in Christ there is no such thing as race, status, or nationality that would normally separates us (Galatians 3:24-29). In fact, a Christian is commanded that we are to do good to ALL men when there is opportunity, (Galatians 6:10), to show compassion, be kind, and forgive each other (Ephesians 4:32), and by loving in Truth, share the gospel with any who would hear it (Matthew 13:1-23). 


So then, shouldn’t ALL Christians already have experienced this "Overview Effect" from the comfort of their home while reading the Bible? If not, why? I challenge you to consider that if we don’t have that concern for others, there is no amount of money for a journey into space that would truly change it. Only a relationship with God and an understanding of the great equalizer among all men (that of sin and that ALL fall short, Romans 1-3, specifically 3:20-23) and what God did to give us a hope to be with Him again one day (John 3:16) that we could turn to our fellow man and truly be concerned for his or her wellbeing. So take a look, open THE Book, and see that we are to have concern for others, not only for ourselves (Philippians 2:1-4).


And honestly, I don’t know about you, but I think the only time I want to see the Earth from space is in my rearview mirror after the cords of this life are cut and I fly away to be with my Savior, if then I’d even care to look.