Here's an excerpt from Mirror Reversal that supports Ruth's "Future generations" comment of Sept. 20. I think it's very beautiful and poignant, but I guess that doesn't count. I wrote it.
We shouldn't say atheists don't believe in the afterlife. All the nonsense about St. Peter and the Pearly Gates, divine judgment, and heaven and hell is folly or wishful thinking. Divine justice is a myth and I believe Hitler sleeps in his grave (nonexistence) as peacefully as St. Francis and the most devout and earnest saints.
This supposition has hurt the world in an ironic way. One of "The Brothers Karamazov" states emphatically “there's no morality without God” and most people accept it, theists and atheists. But bad people have abused the idea selfishly with the logic: being there's no God, there's no morality so I can do as I wish as libitum, as I please, and there's no divinity going to punish me. The only thing holding them back from doing evil and abusing others and the environment is their own inner conscience—a very weak force in nature.
But surely there is an afterlife. Just because we'll all soon die off doesn't mean that life on the planet will cease. We weren't conscious of life before we were born but surely the Roman and Greek empires existed. We can see undeniable proof in the ancient ruins. In the same way when we die “life goes on”. This is one of the few certainties of our existence and it can give our ephemeral lives meaning. Make the world a better place for its own sake, not for a seat next to God in heaven where you can worship Him 'til you're blue in the face or have sex with 72 hoaries. What a selfish concept: I'm going to do good so God will reward me with eternal bliss and pleasure. Being a good person is its own reward.
Instead, let's do good so the children of the future will be happier and more secure. “Futureworld” (my word being a bit of a neologist) could be one of the most important concepts in our lives and there's not even a word for it! As it is clearly certain now, humans are just another animal confined in the cage of the Prime Directive—self preservation and reproduce all you can. This “force” governs all life, though it's not quite so noble as “the force” in Star Wars. If humanity can break out of the PD incarceration, I believe our species could have a destiny in spiritual realms. I believe the immortal Beethoven proved mankind capable of spirituality, not a priest holding a chalice over over his head with an altar boy at his side chiming sacred bells and mumbling Latin catchphrases.
From Mirror Reversal, 2007... Cynthia has just broken off with her boyfriend and contemplates the future as she leaves his apartment
. … “Once you’re reached a certain level of education, the Bible’s quaint stories don’t answer the questions anymore. The hope for heaven and fear of hell are just that, mammalian emotions. But the reasoned belief that a futureworld will exist is all but certain. And what will the futureworld be like? That should be our main concern. Instead of worrying about an imaginary heaven as an individual, let’s devote ourselves to entering a real futureworld as Homo sapiens, the wise. At this very moment there might be future souls praying to us to preserve the Earth and its ineffable beauty. Sometimes, when I’m listening to Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, I can hear the sighs and yearnings of the world’s future citizens. ‘Please preserve the Earth,’ they cry, like mystical chants of Odysseus’ sirens carried by the winds of time, ‘it belongs to us also. Nature has only loaned it to you. Don’t destroy it any further; it can’t be replaced. Your awareness of the condition of the world, your Earth Consciousness, is the only thing that can save it. Just get us there and we’ll know what to do.’”