One of my favorite people of all time is Cornel West. Two of his most well known books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters where his views on society are for the most part, incredibly on the mark. I've heard him live a couple of times and he is wonderful to listen to. He is also a frequent quest on Real Time with Bill Maher where he rails against the right yet at the same time has been known to call out Obama. Anyway as I was listening to him the other day, I started to think, how could a man of such intelligence, hold onto something as unintelligent as religion? He is a man of deep faith. Expanding on this idea, why is it that many people of incredible intelligence are people of religion? What is it about what they get from religion that allows them all to suspend reason on one day a week and give themselves to the land of the make-believe? One of the main doctors who is treating Hitchens is a man of faith. This is a guy who has studied science in depth and has seen cells divide. He knows there is no scientific basis for his beliefs. Yet he believes. Is it because all these people need to religion to deal with death? Is because it is what is expected in our society and to be otherwise is too difficult? I just don't understand.
I don't think living for an eternity would feel any different than living for 80 years. We don't remember not existing... and that's why it's so hard to imagine non-existence. As far as our wee brains are concerned, we have lived--and will live--forever.
I know people say they'd get bored, but I just don't believe them. You wouldn't get anymore bored living forever than you've gotten bored being alive for 20 or 30 years. Most of our lives are not spent in ERs, fortunately.
So, I will readily admit I'd love to live forever. I think I could accomplish a lot of cool things. I never waking up thinking, "God I'm so bored! When can I just die already!" I mean, when is a desire for death a solution to boredom? Sure, some people are suicidal, but I'd personally like to be around to see what happens in the future; what forms life can take on... how the earth will shift...
In a way I feel like atheists say they don't want to live forever because they don't want to give Christians a foothold to exploit in an argument. I've definitely had it exploited. I say, "sure I'd like to live forever, but..." and then they'll interject with, "...but you CAN live forever!!!" As if my desire could somehow change reality.
Either they say they don't want to live forever because they don't want to be caught in some kind of argument-trap, or they lack imagination in what all can be seen and experienced throughout eternity. I, for one, would love to see what happens.
Okay, but if all of life ceased... then I'd like to die. I don't want to be the only thing floating in deep, dark space.
Cora - I make my strong Atheist arguments because I don't want to deal with infinitesimally small philosophical issues with people who have zero intellectual integrity (theists). I make my argument that I don't want to live forever because I don't want to live forever. I think when I was about 25 I still had enough energy to want to live forever. It hasn't been that long since I was 25, but a lot of my energy has been zapped.
I want a long life, and I would like it if I could live 100 years with the sort of energy I had at 25. Living purely in some energy state is a rather spooky thought for me, though. In a way I might like to be reincarnated, but if I can't remember this life then I don't see any point to that. I really do want to die someday.
I guess it all depends on what being immortal would actually entail, right? You almost have to assume super-human strength would come along with it because you can't die. You could take extreme sports to even more harrowing extremes. Like, "snowboarding" through lava flows, or skinny dipping in Antarctica.
I mean, I know there is a very finite number of things a person could come up with, but... I just don't know that infinite entertainment is necessary.
I wouldn't like to continue living if everyone I ever knew were gone, though. I wouldn't want to live eternally alone. I suppose that's why the elderly long to pass on? But, we're bending the rules when we talk about immortality. Why would we be the only ones granted it?
I dunno... I guess I haven't lived long enough to be bored with life, or have the capacity to imagine wanting to die because I'd experienced everything worth experiencing.
Thinking takes what is, to many, exhausting focus - we just don't WANT to do the mental work that understanding the Universe in objective terms sometimes demands. Being INATTENTIVE is easy. FOCUSSING can be damn hard! The exit of "faith" works much the same way as a diet pill works as an exit to the would-be exerciser.
yeah sure i think being dumb is easy. all the same stuff about just accepting without question. i mean, given the uncertainty inherent in everything (or even if this weren't the case), any answer surely provokes another question. so if you're dumb enough not to ask in the first place, you'll be troubled by no further inquiry. some folks like to keep it that way. comfortable.