I have atheist friends who tell me that religion is useles;, that while primitives may have needed it, we modern men certainly do not. To them I can only reply, “So you’ve answered it, then.”
“What?” they ask.
“The perennial question, asked by man since man began.”
“What question is that?”
“ ‘Who is man?’ ”
“Oh, that. Well, who needs to ask that any more?”
“So you’re satisfied with the answers that have been given.”
“Ah, then, we must still ask, even now in our day and time.”
And that is what religion does, if it is worthy of the name. All over the world religion asks “Who is man?” It’s true, there are many ways to ask. Science is one and science can tell us a lot about what we are. But what can science tell us about who we are or why are we here?” Those are questions, not for the scientist but for the philosopher or the priest. The scientist can tell us a lot about what has happened to us now that we are here. But he doesn’t have much to say about why we are here or how we first got here, not from within the sphere of science, anyway.* Science asks “What?” and “How?” Philosophy and religion ask “Who?” and “Why?”
The scientist, as a human person, can ask whatever question he wants. But from within his discipline as a scientist using science, the questions he asks science must be answerable by science. (I shall not dignify the pseudo-answer that we came from another planet with a comment. Such a notion does not give an ultimate answer to the question of “ultimately, where do we come from” but only begs the question: so where did those other beings ultimately come from?)
About the picture: No, I’m not sliding back to my New Aage days. I used that image to illustrate the point that man has always, and by diverse means, sought to understand the cosmos and himself. Astrology was one of those ways. Man looked at the stars, saw order and beauty there and contemplated in wonder. I still enjoy a night spent under the stars. The Magi were led to Christ by a star. Wise men they were to let themselves be led to the King of the universe lying in a manger by the beauty of the stars He made.
Peace be with you.