Answers to common religious arguments and misconceptions against the prospect of radical life extension.
I want a life after death, I want to go to heaven
What heaven are we talking about? They vary according to the religions that offer them. If the one from your religion suits you, know that the radical technological extension of life will not prevent you from accessing it. For radical extension of life does not mean immortality. If after having lived 1000 years in excellent health, you decided that you didn’t want to live anymore, one could imagine that you could resume the process of natural aging and thus die of natural death. This would not constitute a suicide. You would then go to your Paradise if it exists.
You might also choose not to benefit from radical life extension technologies. It is crucial that all these future technologies remain accessible on a voluntary basis and not imposed. This is the approach advocated by Future Is Great.
It’s against my religion
It should be verified in each religion, but did a God or Gods ever specifically express themselves against a very long lifespan? On the contrary, religions tend to be rather pro-life. A radical extension of life would not constitute a miracle nor immortality. It would just be a medical practice like any other one whose goal would be life preservation. The interruption of perpetual youth should remain an option so that the process of natural aging and the ensuing death can resume their course for those who desire it.
The intellectual and cultural currents engaged in the radical extension of life usually do not pretend to replace religions. For example, Future Is Great has no dogma, does not claim any truth, has not been revealed by a prophet, does not carry a divine message, does not explain the origin or the end of the universe, is not a guarantee of eternal life, reincarnation or rebirth, and is not based on the supernatural.
If we could radically extend our life, no religion would be formally invalidated. Religions, death and the notion of the soul can quite coexist and even adapt to the radical extension of life, as they have always done with historical medical advances.
Death is natural
Fortunately for us, we have never, ever accepted to undergo all that nature had in store for us.
- Saving an infant from premature death is unnatural.
- Using an antibiotic to avoid dying from an infection is not natural.
- Vaccinating a population to avoid epidemics causing millions of deaths is not natural.
- Getting a shower is not natural, nor is cutting one’s hair.
- Cooking food is not natural.
What would be natural in the end? To live naked, without ever washing, in a cave, at the mercy of the least wild beast or microbe passing by … this would indeed be natural…
Anyone who objects to the radical extension of life on the pretext that it is not natural, is himself in default of naturalness if he does not live as a caveman without medicine and hygiene.
The desire to improve and prolong our lives rather seems built deep into our nature!
That’s not what God wants
This concern can bother those who need transcendental validation for life and death. They would like the approval of their God before allowing themselves to benefit from a radical extension of life. This is in some ways connected with the previous point on “natural death”.
We can notice that no God has come forward to condemn the current medical care that is already extending our lives. Increasing the lifespan by controlling the aging process is only the logical consecration of medicine.
Religions are for the most part against suicide, and for procreation, so pro-life.
It is also interesting to note that today we are actively trying to cure diseases that are often the CONSEQUENCE of aging: Alzheimer, dementia, some cancers, clogged arteries …. Preventing the aging process itself would eradicate the CAUSES of these diseases.
- God never manifested himself to prevent us from healing ourselves; shall we treat the causes or consequences of our diseases should be indifferent to him.
- The extension of radical life does not confer immortality.
- Each individual must remain free to benefit or not from technologies allowing radical extension of life.
- Each individual must remain free to voluntarily resume the natural aging process.
- If it is God who chooses the moment of our death, if the extension of radical life does not confer immortality, then it will always be in his omnipotent power to take away the life of those who deserve this destiny (by accident, sudden death…).
- God is eternal, whether we live 85 years or 1000 years is indifferent to him.
Here is a series of arguments in favor of the radical extension of life with regard to Gods and religions:
- Living a longer lifespan would allow learning more about God’s creation.
- Living a longer lifespan would make it possible to love God and his creation for a larger amount of time.
- The desire to live longer is a proof of love for God’s creation.
- Living a longer lifespan would permit to better master and apply the teachings of God and/or his prophet.
- Living longer would allow procreating more.
- If the whole universe is the creation of God, then it might certainly please God to see us explore it to admire his creation. A longer lifespan would allow longer space travels, making it possible to reach destinations ever farther away.
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