Friday, July 29, 2011

A Reactionary Argument Against Deathism

Bob Ettinger went on ice last weekend, in the firm belief that he will defeat Death and rise again.

Lots of folks are under the mistaken impression that the life extension/actuarial escape velocity/filibuster death long enough for the 1st two to work crowd only has friends among the libertarians.

Quite simply, this isn't true. I, along with anyone else who takes seriously the faith of Christianity, worship the One who defeated Death. The call for Christians has ALWAYS been to imitate Christ insofar as we are able and to beg the grace from God to do so more faithfully. And, taken as a whole, relative to the remainder of humanity, the Body of Christ has historically stepped up to the plate.

Look in your city. If you're in the West, I'll bet at least half of your hospitals have Christian roots. What is establishing a hospital to heal the sick and comfort the afflicted but an attempt to imitate this aspect of our Lord? Christians have worked for centuries on efforts that have had the effect of raising our average lifespans and which now are poised to perhaps, if the center can indeed hold, approach closer and closer to actuarial escape velocity. Yes, we believe your body belongs ultimately to God.

But we don't believe that God is in any hurry whatsoever to reclaim it, nor that He lacks the means to do so in a time and manner of His choosing.

We believe that Life is at bottom a gift from God, not to be dispensed parsimoniously but rather abundantly.

Some of us, myself included, also believe that per the account of Genesis, that humans in fact had a significantly higher lifespan in the past and therefore believe that significant life extension is possible. My gut tells me that the telomere-based self-destruction of cells and age-based reduction of our damage control and self-repair capacity is primarily a defense against cancer. If I look at the particular language in Scripture about His spirit no longer contending with man, I get this impression. We can not correct the Fall, but we can, and are called to, correct some of the effects of it.

Most of the deathism that is so commonplace is I think really more of a Stockholm syndrome-style rationalisation of the horror of Sin, Death, and Aging. Because we presently can't do much about the aging process that leads to death, we feel compelled to tell ourselves that it isn't so bad, that it defines us as humans, and other such platitudes. Ask yourself what we'd likely say about a weapon that aged those hit by it by, say, 10 years. We'd call it a horror---far worse than bullets, and we'd almost certainly call for it to be banned. That, not our idle words, displays the true feelings of our hearts.

Mr Ettinger, you have no enemy in this Reactionary. I truly hope that one way or the other, you do rise again. And I wager that if you do, you'll find MY coreligionists standing ready to ease your afflictions and recover from the trauma of your reanimation. Such is true because we love life, not death---the mouthings of a few denominational elites aside.

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