Religious Reformation

If life is God’s creation, then surely protecting that life, and not letting people die when we have the means to prevent it, is a way to honor God’s vision?

One way to overcome religious objections to longevity may be to foster a religious reformation that shifts the emphasis from death to life.

Wow, is this ever a loaded topic!

I’ll jump in, briefly now, by putting these thoughts out there.

If ‘Life is god’s creation’…assuming the theistic position here, such an omniscient and omnipotent god did so create life (as we understand it) with a definite ‘best used by’ or ‘expiration’ date (maximum lifespan seems to be 120 years plus/minus 5 years). So, how much ‘longevity’ (lifespan extension) is within “god’s plan”? This would seem to be debatable but NOT open-ended (again, assuming that the present statistical human lifespan is universal, Methuselah not withstanding). On the other hand – adopting the theistic viewpoint again – god created doctors and scientists who discover cures for diseases that frequently (in the past certainly) shortened lifespans. But again, how much human intervention (in god’s creation) – resulting in lifespan extension – is “right”?

Adopting the atheistic (naturalistic) viewpoint: human lifespan is whatever we are capable of making it…there is only Nature (and its pathogens / pathologies) that has to be understood (through science), and/or mastered (through the practice of medicine).

However, ‘not letting people die’ must be qualified (somehow) in terms of a normal lifespan (or healthspan), that is, not letting people die* prematurely* as from preventable diseases or conditions which are mostly based upon our current biological knowledge and level of medical practice. These latter things are ‘works in progress’, and, given our fixation on longevity – and the commercial potential for exploiting it – it would seem that incremental (but continuous) life and health span extension is virtually guaranteed (a ‘black swan’ breakthrough not considered here).

Then, there’s this (anti-ethnocentric) objection: Humans – at their current average lifespans – have already done tremendous damage to the planet (i.e., its biosphere) including causing the accelerated extinction of thousands of plants and animals, and also exterminating other human populations (indigenous tribes people, worldwide)…will adding to human lifespans be demonstrably better for life on Earth? Consider a more ‘local’ example: the average American consumes 33 times the raw materials and energy than does a typical citizen of Nigeria. Longevity seems to be an obsession with US citizens more than most other nations…Does the world really need more Americans (or those imitating our lifestyles) living longer lives…??? Our currently unsustainable and woefully wasteful way of life would seem to be hazardous to all life on planet Earth.

Perhaps then, we should couple lifespan extension with lifestyle sustainability, thus engendering and enabling an ecologically compatible human lifespan.