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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Would You Opt for Immortality?

Michael Shermer
Originally posted March 2, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

The idea of living forever, in fact, is not such a radical idea when you consider the fact that the vast majority of people already believe that they will do so in the next life. Since the late 1990s Gallup has consistently found that between 72 and 83 percent of Americans believe in heaven. Globally, rates of belief in heaven in other countries typically lag behind those found in America, but they are nonetheless robust. A 2011 Ipsos/Reuters poll, for example, found that of 18,829 people surveyed across 23 countries,2 51 percent said they were convinced that an afterlife exists, ranging from a high of 62 percent of Indonesians and 52 percent of South Africans and Turks, to a low of 28 percent of Brazilians and only 3 percent of the very secular Swedes.

So powerful and pervasive are such convictions that even a third of agnostics and atheists proclaim belief in an afterlife. Say what? A 2014 survey conducted by the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture on 15,738 Americans between the ages of 18 and 60 found that 13.2 percent identify as atheist or agnostic, and 32 percent of those answered in the affirmative to the question: “Do you think there is life, or some sort of conscious existence, after death?”

Depending on what these people believe about what, exactly, is resurrected in the next life—just your soul, or both your body and your soul—the belief among religious people that “you” will continue indefinitely in some form in the hereafter is not so different in principle from what the scientific immortalists are trying to accomplish in the here and now.

The article is here.