April 12 in freethought history…

yurigagarinApril 12, 1961 – Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human being in space and the first to orbit the earth. Contrary to popular belief, Gagarin, who kept his Christian faith under wraps to avoid antagonizing Communist authorities, did not say of his time in space, “I looked and looked, but I did not see God.” This claim apparently originates in a speech given by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev some time after the historic flight. It is possible Khrushchev was simply lying for propaganda purposes, but it is also possible he was misattributing remarks made by Gagarin’s fellow cosmonaut Gherman Titov, the second man in space, who said, “Sometimes people are saying that God is out there. I was looking around attentively all day but I didn’t find anybody there. I saw neither angels nor God…”

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