The Afterlife Versus a Longer Life
Religion in the Age of Longevity
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
OODY ALLEN ONCE joked, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve it through not dying.” His statement effectively makes light of humanity’s collective anxiety over death, an issue that can be traced back to the very beginning of human culture.1
From East to West, every religion promises transcendence to some form of an afterlife, whether it is heaven, hell, Jannah, Jahannam, nirvana, or moksa. Life after death is one of the most compelling aspects of religious belief, and some scholars, such as Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker, have ...