As many members of Atheistnexus expressed on these pages, I also was a victim of parochial schools. Not just Catholic school but all the other institutions that teach students how to worship and adore God, some more regimented that others. I learned to “march in step” with all the other kids and kneel, sit, pray, sing, stand, then kneel again according to how many clicks there were or stern whispers from an adjoining pew.
But in high school when I became a little more educated, especially in biology and science in general, it all seemed clear to me by the time I was a sophomore. Humans are animals like all the rest: humans grew out of the planet instead of being placed here by an omnipotent god; many animals like primates are close to us anatomically; humans have the same genetic code as all other living creatures. To think that humans are God’s gift to nature seemed ludicrous. Just take a stroll in some squalid slum in Mumbai, Mogadishu or Darfur. You’ll see how precious human life is. With study it becomes clear that the forces that created life didn’t have humans in mind as the end result. The whole concept of Intelligent Design is wishful thinking.
Once we accept Darwinist principles, to my mind the most plausible conclusion about death and the afterlife is that we return to the place we were before we were born, i.e. non-existence. And if we consider the vast, cosmic dimension of time dating back 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang, our paltry 80-year average life expectancy seems insignificant. We become ephemerons, like may flies, and life becomes an illusion—a snap of the fingers.
These considerations throw a new slant on Steph S.’s popular question about the purpose of life. Though life is an illusion, it’s almost certain that life will go on after we die. As proposed in Mirror Reversal, the concept of heaven and hell is a human-contrived ruse to control behavior but the concept of “Futureworld” is all but certain. It’s the future of the world that should concern us and gives our lives meaning and purpose.
In my case, the purpose of life is to help change consciousness and free mankind from the mental cage that religion has imprisoned humanity since the beginning of thought. When we consider how long it took for thought to evolve on the planet, the concepts in Revelation and the Second Coming become despicable. Religious people take the end of the world with a grain of salt and thereby increase the likelihood of a self-fulfilling prophecy. My worst nightmare is for some moron like President W. Bush to initiate the end times, and then followers say, “You see, we were right all along. It’s God’s will.”