Chapter 32 - The future of the human race

In this book you have gained a key insight: There is no God. You have proven this to yourself in many different ways. See Chapter 26 for details.

From that insight you can derive a great many others. The most important of them is this: You are a mortal being. There is no heaven, and there is no hell. You are on earth for 80 years or so, and then you vanish forever. See Chapter 27 for details.

A common philosophical question is, "Why do we exist?" Given these two insights, we can now answer the question definitively: There is no "reason" for our existence. The fact is that we do exist. Through an evolutionary process, nature has created rational creatures called human beings.

The question that we should be asking ourselves is the more profound one: "Given that we do exist, what are we going to accomplish with our existence?" Right now, we are largely squandering our existence because we never ask ourselves this question as a species.

What is our situation? We find that we are a race of approximately six billion people. We inhabit a chunk of iron, rock and water that is floating though the vacuum of space. The universe we exist within has a volume of perhaps 3,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 cubic light years. To our knowledge there are no other intelligent, conscious beings in this universe. Even if there are, they may be millions or billions of light years away, making them completely unreachable for the time being.

Now what?

The question that we should be asking ourselves is simple: What is our goal as a species? We are, potentially, the only intelligent species in the entire universe. What are we going to do with our existence?

Have you ever considered it? Have you ever thought about the goals of the human race?

Heaven on earth

I would like to make a suggestion. Here is one thing that I believe we should be doing with our existence: we should create Heaven on EarthTM for every human being on the planet.

That's right: Heaven on EarthTM. Since God is imaginary, there is no "afterlife" and no "heaven" in the religious sense. Therefore, we should begin to build Heaven on Earth.

Why is this important? Because right now, for a majority of people on this planet, what we have created is Hell on Earth. As discussed in Chapter 22:

    Even in the United States -- one of the wealthiest nations on earth -- poverty is a major problem. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, more than 26 million children in the United States participate in the National School Lunch Program, which provides low-cost or free lunches to children at or near the poverty level. [ref] 26 million children represents about half of all the children in the United States.

    One thing that you quickly realize, if you allow yourself to think about it, is that the number of people living in abject poverty on this planet is staggering. A "fifth of the world’s people" is more than a billion people. You also realize that $1 a day means that these people are living in hopeless, wretched conditions. Think about how little food you can buy for $1. Now consider the fact that the $1 is spent on that little bit of food, so there is no money left for housing, clean water, restroom facilities, clothing, shoes, health care, education, infrastructure, etc. etc. Disease runs rampant. Starvation is common. This level of poverty is nearly unimaginable to most people in the United States, yet more than a billion people live this way today.

    Now consider the fact that, if you raise the bar to $3 a day -- still an extremely meager amount -- half of the people on the planet are living at that level of poverty. More than three billion people. As discussed in Chapter 5, 10 million children die every year as a result of abject poverty.

For these billions of people, eliminating Hell on Earth and replacing it with Heaven on Earth would be a major blessing.

What would Heaven on EarthTM look like? We would take many of the common conceptions from the imaginary heaven and attempt to create them here in reality. For example:

  • No one in the imaginary heaven would get sick. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, medical technology will cure all diseases, reverse the effects of aging, etc.

  • No one in the imaginary heaven would be an amputee. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, we should find a way using stem cells, limb cloning, nanotech or prosthetics to recreate the limbs of amputees at a level equal to or exceeding their natural limbs.

  • In the imaginary heaven, everyone has eternal life. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, people will not die. Or they will live far, far longer than we do today, without the debilitating effects of aging.

  • In the imaginary heaven, no one would be poor. Starvation, malnutrition, etc. would not exist. Everyone in the imaginary heaven would have identical "wealth" -- the same access to everything good about heaven. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, we would find solutions to global poverty and the concentration of wealth. Everyone on the planet would have equal access to the world's wealth and the same standard of living.

  • In the imaginary heaven, no one would have to work. Each person would have true economic freedom. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, we should eliminate work and allow everyone to go on perpetual vacation.

  • In the imaginary heaven there would be no pollution, extinction, habitat loss, Global Warming, etc. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, we would solve all of these problems.

  • In the imaginary heaven there would be no crime, and "bad" people would be cast into hell. In the same way, in our real Heaven on EarthTM, we would eliminate crime with a much swifter and stronger criminal justice system.

  • And so on...
Is it possible to create Heaven on Earth? Yes, it is. We are already heading in that direction to some degree. For example, medical researchers are busy ending disease and lengthening life. If we made Heaven on Earth a point of focus for our society, we could greatly accelerate the process. We would also find a way to spread the benefits of medical technology inexpensively and universally to everyone on the planet.

There are a number of different ways that we can create Heaven on Earth. For example, we may be able to use capitalism to get there. It's not clear, however, that capitalism is up to the task. After all:

  • The United States is one of the most capitalistic countries in the world. Yet, as noted above, half the kids in the United States can't afford lunch.

  • It is also the case that capitalism, in its modern form, has been in place for over a century. Yet, as noted above, there are still three billion people on the planet -- half the world's population -- living in startling poverty. Capitalism does not seem to be very quick in getting the job done either.

  • China is rapidly taking on capitalistic tendencies. Yet we know that many Chinese workers work in conditions that in America could be compared to slavery. The number of hours worked and the meager amount earned gives anyone in America with a conscience a reason to pause and question what is going on.
If capitalism can adapt to the challenge, great. If not, let's invent something new. We are intelligent people, and, when we put our minds to it, we are good at solving problems. Human beings are fundamentally good, and none of us like the fact that three billion people live in such crushing poverty.

If we design our economy properly, the advent of robots, nanotech and other advanced technologies will give us the opportunity to create Heaven on Earth in the very near future. In the process we should be able to completely eliminate poverty, raise the standard of living for everyone and give each person on the planet true economic freedom.

But that will happen only if we make the conscious decision to do it, and then we follow through.

It is time for the human race to grow up and embrace reality. It is time for us to discard our imaginary gods and move to the next level of our intellectual evolution. It is time to understand our place in the universe and take control of our destiny. It is time to create Heaven on Earth for everyone. There is no God, and there are so many good things that we can accomplish as a species. Let's make the most of the opportunity that the universe has given us.


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by Marshall Brain

New York Times Coverage
discussed in a
New York Times piece
by N. D. Kristof.
For a counter-point to Mr. Kristof, please see
Chapter 26.

Recommendation by Sam Harris
Sam Harris recommends WWGHA in his book Letter to a Christian Nation.

Endorsement by Richard Dawkins
In a New York Times Letter, Richard Dawkins calls WWGHA a "splendid Web site."

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