I've always been fascinated with astronomy and cosmology. And to quote one of the scientists from How the Universe Works (or Through the Wormhole): "We are all stardust," born of supernovae that created the spark of life. So ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust ...
It was Sagan who famously said “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
And this is, I guess, why I don't personally understand religion. And I am speaking in very broad terms here -- I know what follows does not apply to all religions or all believers: I can understand how religion is likely to have evolved, but I don't understand the drive to believe. Isn't the natural world enough? Isn't it beautiful, bizarre, curious, and profound enough on its own? Why must we cling to a supernatural, when there is so much wonder yet to be understood. To me, our habit of "projecting our own nature onto nature," to quote Sagan once more, seems trivializing, and it is the height of arrogance to imagine that it was all created just for us.
My kids recently asked what everything is made of. They wanted to know what the actual "substance" of everything was. I explained that all the elements of which everything is built came from stars (except for hydrogen.) I had to explain it a couple times before they really got it, but once they did, they thought it was the coolest thing in the world. "You mean we're made out of stars?!"
"Not just you, but everything around you! We're all made of stars!"
"That's so cool!"