Approximately 8 billion years from now our great star will become a red giant, doubling in size, engulfing the earth and life will cease to exist. Of course, we don’t have to worry about that. In the next billion years, long before it burns out, our great star will continue to grow hotter, slowly cooking us until conditions on our planet can no longer support life. Given species trends this is another great assumption, a leap of faith, that we will survive even that long. Super volcanoes, giant comets, nuclear war, the list of things that could cause the extinction of life goes on and on, some of them natural and out of our control, some completely within our control – if we’re smart enough to recognize the threat and react appropriately.
In the end, though, it doesn’t matter how we will go. But we will go. That is for sure.
But this is not to say that we should just adopt a nihilistic approach and give up on everything! The purpose of life is to live it.
Be nice to people. Help them when you can. Take care of your children and teach them to care, and try to leave this world a better place than we found it. Have fun. Drink good beer. Go swimming. Enjoy sex. Do what feels right, as long as your actions aren’t harming others.
And lay aside the bullshit. Religion won’t save us. It is nothing but a desperate cry for help to a god that isn’t likely there, a method to control people and enslave your body as well as your mind, to justify wars that need not be fought.
Since men gained the ability to reason and discovered that just as we are here now, one day we will be gone, we have looked to some form of religion for answers. It is only natural that we would develop a belief in the supernatural, out of fear as much as a tool to help us keep our shit together while we went about our daily, dangerous tasks of killing giant animals with wooden spears. But just as we no longer need to kill elk with spears, we no longer need to lie to ourselves about a man in the clouds who keeps a silly checklist on all seven or so billion of us to ensure that we aren’t breaking any of his rules and then cast the sinners into a lake of fire to burn and burn and burn for all eternity.
Silly when you think about it. Many would question the intelligence of any man who still claimed, in this day and age of advanced scientific theory, to still believe in a silly book of fairy tales, that’s isn’t even that old in the grand scheme of things. And yet many doctors, senators, lawyers and many other well-educated people still put stock in the great myth. So strong is the power of indoctrination.
But many of us have also learned to put down the good book on which we were raised and step out into the big, scary world without our dogmatic armor… and have realized that it’s really not that scary after all.
Sure, as we said in the beginning, we know this glorious ride will come to an end someday. All people die. And so do all planets, stars, galaxies… even the universe that holds all that we know and don’t know will keep expanding until it collapses back in on itself, starting the cycle all over again. At least that’s one leading theory.
The universe is bigger and more complex that we imagine – bigger and more complex than we can imagine. And who knows? Perhaps at the center or the end or the beginning or running throughout there lies a force of energy that is what we have been searching for since that dawn of self-realization. God.
It may be so. But whatever this force may be, we know what it is not. And what it is not is vicious, cruel, hypocritical, jealous, man-god that we learn of from a poorly written, 2000 year old book, full of contradictions and violence. A book that has caused much death and destruction over the course of its existence.
We would be well served as a species if more of us would put down the religious books and realize that we don’t need them. We already possess the ability to love our fellow humans and lead good, meaningful lives without it.
It’s an exciting world out here, full of mysteries and enjoyment. Break the chains that hold you to your outdated beliefs. Or don’t. It really doesn’t matter, so long as your beliefs aren’t hurting people. Perhaps everything you’ve just read is complete bullshit.
Either way, let’s try to enjoy the ride. It’s a short one.