Ending war and famine forever. Curing all childhood diseases with a single shot. Supplying all human energy needs with renewable, sustainable resources like wind, wave, geothermal and solar power. Discovering amazing things about the nature of nature - such as why particles have mass. Learning to fuse hydrogen so we can produce energy anywhere from the most abundant material in the universe. Traveling to the moons of Jupiter. Building hydroponic farm skyscrapers in urban centers. The list goes on.
For me, all these things are worth striving for on their own merits. I have not done enough to back that statement up. I feel that I have had to arrive at a state of mind that involved, among other things, losing god. I find it ironic that the 'god of love and compassion' has shackled my spirit like an insidious psychological ball and chain.
You see, as long as I believed that there was an eternal afterlife - even without the threat of a hell - this life lost value. As long as I believed that god was responsible for the fate of my fellows - even to a small degree - my selfish sense of helplessness was defensible. As long as I believed that praying for my own well being as a relatively wealthy citizen of Earth was a humble and worthwhile practice, I could believe that the problems of the world were beyond my ability to affect and, therefore, take any responsibility for.
Indeed, I have done, with my sleeves rolled up, many things to this effect that I am proud of. What I find remarkable is that, the more I shed my belief in the 'god of compassion', the more energy I have alloted to compassionate work. The less I have focused on my 'soul's salvation', the more I have done of value to my fellow man. The greater the emphasis I have placed on the brevity of my opportunity to be here, the more passionate I have become about what I have to offer.
Once, I truly thought I would be lost without god. Now, having lost god, I have found my own power. I do not need the threat of hell or catastrophic climate change to compel me to do awesome things. I want to do awesome things because I can. And I want to do them with and for as many other people as possible.
So, tell me its 'all well and good' and that is what I will hear. I will ignore the feeble objections that usually follow that cliché. Act like that old New Englander saying "Ye can't get theya from heya." And I'll say, "Just watch me old man."
It's time for a Re-enlightenment. And we all can be a part of it - not because we teeter on the brink, but because we are poised on the verge. The view is great. The water is fine. Hurry up, my friends. Its not as if anyone gets to live forever!