Home / Events / Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration symposium- What is the cosmic future of humanity?
NEXT EVENT: Thursday April 6 2023
4 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration symposium- What is the cosmic future of humanity?

What does religion have to do with space exploration?

Quite a lot, actually. In fact, the histories, ideologies, representations and practices of religion are central to the project of imagining and building human space futures. As we venture into space, we will bring religion and religious ideas with us, knowingly or not.

Sacred Space: Religion and Cosmic Exploration is a series of public talks where diverse guests from the space sector and from religious traditions will discuss religion and space exploration — two topics that have been intertwined through human history.

Religion and space exploration have always been in conversation. We’re just making that conversation public.

All sessions moderated by Lance Gharavi & Mary-Jane Rubenstein

Session 4

What is the cosmic future of humanity?

April 6, 7 p.m.–8:15 p.m. ET  

The past few years have seen an astonishing acceleration in humanity’s efforts to venture into space. Where are all these efforts leading us? To what end? Is there a guiding purpose? Do humans have a role to play in the life of the universe? In this webinar, a theoretical physicist and a theologian will team up to imagine the future of humanity beyond our home planet.


Paul Davies is a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astrobiologist and writer. He is Regents’ Professor and Director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University. His research interests focus on quantum gravity, big bang cosmology, quantum black holes, the search for life beyond Earth, the origin of life and cancer. His awards include the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion and the Royal Society’s Faraday Prize. He is a Member of the Order of Australia and has asteroid named after him. As the author of over 30 books, his most recent is What’s Eating the Universe?

Catherine Keller is George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology in the Graduate Division of Religion of Drew University. She works across a spectrum of ecofeminist, process, pluralist, political, philosophical theology. Books she has authored include From a Broken Web: Separation, Sexism and Self, Apocalypse Now & Then;  God & Power;  Face of the Deep: a Theology of Becoming; On the Mystery: Discerning God in Process; Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement and Intercarnations: Exercises in Theological Possibility; Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public. Most recent is Facing Apocalypse: Climate, Democracy and Other Last Chances.


Lance Gharavi is professor of Theatre at Arizona State University and Associate Director of ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative. He is the author of Western Esotericism in Russian Silver Age Drama: Aleksandr Blok’s The Rose and the Cross and editor the anthology Religion, Theatre and Performance: Acts of Faith. His work focuses on points of intersection between performance, technology, science and religion. He specializes in leading transdisciplinary teams of artists, scientists, designers and engineers to create compelling experiences and advance research. He led the creation of Port of Mars, a game-based platform for social science experiments and is currently working on a new project about consciousness.

Mary-Jane Rubenstein is the author of Astrotopia: The Dangerous Religion of the Corporate Space Race (2022), as well as numerous other books on the intersections of science, philosophy, and religion. Her book Worlds Without End: The Many Lives of the Multiverse(2014) won the 2022 Iris Award for “outstanding work at the intersection of science, religion and technology.” Rubenstein teaches Religion and Science in Society at Wesleyan University, where she is also affiliated with Philosophy, and Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

This is the fourth in a series of four symposia. Get information on all the sessionsThe other topics are:
How has religion influenced space exploration?- March 2
How do our religious traditions teach us to conduct ourselves in space?- March 16
How will space exploration reshape religion?- March 23
For more information please contact:
Lance Gharavi
Interplanetary Initiative