This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Comment

← Loss within the truth

cynicaloptimistrealist's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by cynicaloptimistrealist

Recently, however, being a parent to two wonderful kids and married to a beautiful wife it's hit me that beyond this reality I will never see them again. While I've accepted this as fact for some time, it's as if a profound sense of sadness has descended upon me. I know the answer is to love and cherish them with all that I am now, and believe I will, but it has made me wish that the fallacy that is religion were true.

The belief in an eternal paradise brings up so many questions as mentioned above. The belief in a personal God I feel leads many to a belief in a personal heaven. I have heard religious people actually ponder and worry about how their two wives will get along in the afterlife (first wife having died, but both loved dearly). Then there's the question of what state they enter that paradise, presumably if everyone lives to an age where our biological machinery starts to wear out, then will will that personal paradise will be gridlocked with 3 wheel shopping mobiles, reek of urine and every other premises will be a bingo hall? If as the new testament suggests the dead shall rise physically, then will the families of suicide bombers have to go through some process not unlike assembling a book cabinet from Ikea? The RC and Anglican faiths have glossed over that and preach a resurrection of the spirit while the fundamentalists believe that new bodies will be distributed in a fashion reminiscent to a cosmic Gap outlet (presumably without the bodies being made by children in sweatshops).

The greatest fear for most people is losing the ones they love, but eventually it happens to everyone, religion exploits that most basic fear. As a species we often fear change, friends who are parents fear that their children will make some of the mistakes they did, they also seem to have this feeling that the world is more dangerous than the one they grew up in which is a fear as old as civilisation itself. There is the fear of letting go, how many parents feel (even covertly) that their childs choice of partner could be a little better?

Immortality can now be achieved, not in a physical sense though. Think back 200 years, only those at the pinnacle of society could preserve their images and thoughts, slowly through photography it became possible to preserve one's image for future generations, through mass education it became possible to preserve one's thoughts through writing, many didn't as the demands of life left many in the lower social strata with little time. Now it is possible for almost everyone to preserve all of the above, plus many other details of one's life through the medium of video, it is even possible to preserve the essence of personality to an extent. How many of you have looked back at family photos from the 1880s to the 1910s and asked: Was that man in the military uniform really as stern as he looked? How about his masculine wife, did she also sound like a man in drag? For anyone with children I think it would be very worthwhile to regularly record ideas, views on the issues of the day and life in general, stick the HDs in a box somewhere (don't forget to update them as technology changes - you don't want your great great great grandchildren wondering what all those little cute circular mirrors are). Your children probably won't be very excited by them, but 100 years hence I am sure your descendants would be fascinated.

Sun, 29 Jul 2012 23:14:55 UTC | #950298