The following piece from Newsweek got me thinking about the promise/dream/fantasy/illusion of living forever—here on earth or in the next life. I decided to check in with the “nones” who had responded to my blog several months ago. First is the excerpt from Newsweek and then a response from Ann Fisher to the question “what do you think will happen to you after you die.”
De Grey’s research at Cambridge led him to believe we can cure aging—not just stop it or slow it. In 2012, the John Templeton Foundation awarded UC-Riverside philosopher John Martin Fischer $5 million to study immortality, and in May, Fischer announced that nearly half of that money would be going to 10 scientific research teams from the United States and Europe. Earlier this year, Prudential Insurance Company launched a new ad campaign centered on a simple prediction: “The First Person to Live to 150 Is Alive Today.” And in June, two rivals for the title of the world’s oldest person—Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura, who, at 116, was the longest-living man ever verified, and China’s Luo Meizhen, who claimed to be 127—died within days of each other.
I think my death will be like the death of every other living thing on earth. Respiration will stop, my cells will shut down, and ultimately my body will decay away. I don’t believe I have a “soul” separate from my body that will somehow live on. Some people will remember me, fondly I hope, for a while and I hope my children and grandchildren will survive me and move into the future that I will not see. But I’ll be gone.
Ann’s scenario is very much like what most Old Testament Hebrews believed would happen when we die. Later on, the Greek influence caused some Jews to think of humans as having a dual nature: mind/soul and body—i.e. psyche and somos—with the soul living on after the body dies and decays.
The third article of the Christian Apostles’ Creed states, “I believe in the resurrection of the body.”
What do you believe?