It depends on what you mean by hope. Today RisenReviews will be reviewing the endgame of a few different belief systems around the world.
What about Future Progress?
For some people, the ultimate hope of the future is in the progress of technology. Some make bold predictions that artificial intelligence will cause rapid increases in technology, eventually leading to human immortality.
This won’t happen. Human bodies are incredibly complex, and when they are dying this works against us. So many things can go wrong in the body, and doctors can’t possibly fix them all and keep them all repaired. Humans are programmed to die at the cellular level, and only Genesis 3 can tell us why.
What about Transhumanism?
This idea says that humans can become merged with machines, or leave biology behind altogether. This is very popular in science fiction, but lots of people really hope for it.
The problem is that becoming a cyborg won’t prevent the bits of a person that are still biological from decaying and dying, and replacing every part of the body with technology would leave none of the person left. There would still be a dead person, just with a robot.
Others think we can “upload” the information in our brains into new synthetic bodies or into the cloud as though they were computer programs. The flaw in this thinking should be obvious: brains are not computers, and consciousness is not a program.
Okay, So Tell me About Other Religions
Other religions do offer hope for continued existence, sort of. Buddhists believe that the cycle of life and death is bad, and that the goal should be letting all individuality dissolve in a state called “nirvana.” So that’s a no on the living forever thing.
Hinduism teaches the existence of an immortal soul that lives in body after body, learning lessons in between reincarnations. The more it renounces pleasure and pain the better off it will be. So this is technically eternal existence, but not the fun kind where you keep all your toes.
Islam actually believes in the resurrection, along with Judaism and Christianity. The resurrection in Islam takes place at the end of time after everyone in the human race has died. Then Allah will sort out the people who followed his rules from those who didn’t and dispatch them accordingly. This sounds nice, although there is not much guarantee that one will end up in paradise. It is based on a person’s actions during life, and we all know how that goes.
How about Cults of Christianity?
Good news for Jehovah’s Witness, this religion really teaches a resurrection and an eternal life on earth! Unless you are in the top 144,000, anyway. If you are that good, you get to live as a spiritual being in heaven along with spirit-Jesus. So just make sure you mess up every once in a while to live forever with all your toes.
Mormons believe that they will be resurrected in their mortal bodies made immortal . . . and made without blood. Instead of blood, the bodies will be powered by some other substance. If it feels like we are making a full circle to science fiction, just remember there are lots of rules involved too.
So, which of these false hopes appeals to you the most? Me neither. None of them match that magical formula of resurrected, human persons living with a resurrected, human Jesus forever.