New Scientist shared the results of a survey of the public which indicates that most people would not choose to live forever. This raises interesting questions for the future of conservative Christianity, which for an extremely long time has been cultivating a focus on eternal life as the thing it can offer to attract people. What happens if we reach a point in the future at which human beings, for the most part, do not view immortality as something attractive – and the few who do and can afford it can achieve something akin to it through technological means.
In another piece in New Scientist, two editors explain their conflicting views about whether it is desirable to live forever.
For some, it is simply unimaginable that anyone would find the hope of immorality – and more specifically, their view of what the afterlife or eternal life is like – could be unappealing to anyone. But it doesn’t take science fiction or public surveys to challenge this assumption. A comparison of views of how the afterlife is envisaged among different religious groups will also convey the same point.
I haven’t found the time to pursue such a project, but am hopeful that others will lead the way in pursuing academic books that engage with the intersection of religion and shows like Westworld and Altered Carbon, both of which explore the human quest for technologically-provided immortality, or at least life extension.