I’d like to live forever, and under the right conditions I hope I can. I discuss that wish (and rebut those who look askance at the prospect) here. So I always remain puzzled by atheists/skeptics/naturalists etc. who insist that they really don’t want to live forever, even under the most ideal of conditions.
Soren Kierkegaard was taught by his father that he and his siblings would all die before the age of thirty due to a family curse. Imagine that you met a young man like that, one who believed he was fated to die by thirty. You might not be able to convince him otherwise. But what would you think if he insisted that he was perfectly fine with dying by thirty? I would think the poor man had resigned himself to his fate, that he’d given up hoping for something more. Moreover, I’d suspect he might suffer from a lack of imagination, a failure to appreciate the innumerable goods that life can bestow beyond thirty.
I have a similar reaction to those who insist they wouldn’t want to live forever. While I can’t claim to read their minds, the position strikes me as a combination of resignation and a failure of imagination.
Let me put this in concrete terms. Nothing, absolutely nothing, beats being a father. My kid is awesome, a chip off the ole’ block. I love hanging out with her, joking, talking, and simply sharing life. And I never want it to end. Because I find my purpose — my telos — in cultivating relationships with those I love.
Life in this present mortal coil has a painfully short shelf life. (I say that having realized, with some horror, that I’ve already reached the half way point … it’s all down hill from here!)
But should there be eternal life in the hereafter that offers the opportunity to cultivate relationships with those I love, then I want that, I want it desperately, for love has no shelf life.