By Bill McKenzie / Editorial Columnistwmckenzie@dallasnews.com3:31 pm on August 13, 2013
Would you want to live forever?
Okay, maybe not forever. But what do you think about what’s called “radical life extension?”
For example, more than 50 percent of white evangelicals, white mainline Protestants and white Catholics thought “radical life extension” was a bad thing. But more than 50 percent of black Protestants thought it was a good thing. And 49 percent of those who believe in an after-life also thought this was good.
To me, that latter finding was the most interesting part of the survey. More people who believe in an after-life liked the concept than those who don’t believe in an after-life. (Fifty-eight percent of the latter thought extending life up to 120 years or so is not a good thing.)
So, what do you think of “radical life extension?”
MIKE GHOUSE, President, Foundation for Pluralism, Dallas and speaker on interfaith matters
The ability to extend life is a beautiful gift from God and he wants us to enjoy the good things he has bestowed on us. Indeed, we are discovering beneficence in everything that surrounds us to enhance the quality of our life. That includes living longer. Of course, I want to live forever, but stagnancy may not be in creators plan.
The scriptures and traditions extol the gift of life. “Everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission.” Native American theory of existence.
II Corinthians 9:8, “God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and provide in abundance for every good work”.
Quran 55:4-10, “He has created man and imparted unto him articulate thought and speech; and has spread earth out for all living beings.”
Bhagvad Gita 7:21, “if a person desires to have material enjoyment and wants to have such facilities from the material demigods, the Supreme Lord gives.”
Torah, 33:1, “ There is a closing benediction for all the tribes in which Moses reminds them of the abundance they are to enjoy and the goodness that God has bestowed upon them.”
Sikhism: “Giving or enhancing life through organ donation is both consistent with, and in the spirit of Sikh teachings.”
Not too long ago, when you reached 50 you were considered old. In the year 1900, life expectancy in the United States was 46 years, and it jumped to 65 in 1950, and by the turn of the century it was 74. The Center for Disease Control places life expectancy at 78.7 years now, whereas the average life expectancy in 1776 was 35 years.
Advances in public health, lower infant mortality, disease control and healthy living have contributed to living longer. Indeed it has more than doubled since our independence. In the first 125 years we increased the life expectancy by a mere 11 years, whereas in the next 113 years it went up by 32 years. Life expectancy has nearly tripled!
We are not “cheating death” as the title of an Atlantic
piece suggests. Life is God’s gift, and to protect and preserve it is a moral obligation. Thanks to the advancements in science and technology, we can appreciate the creator even more. Quran 55:13, “Which, then, of your Sustainer’s gifts can you disavow?”
To read all the responses from other Panelists – http://religionblog.dallasnews.com/2013/08/texas-faith-would-you-want-to-live-to-120-years-old.html/
Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a
writer on pluralism, politics, peace, Islam, Israel, India, interfaith, and cohesion at work
place. He is committed to building a Cohesive America and offers
pluralistic solutions on issues of the day at www.TheGhousediary.com. He believes in
Standing up for others
and has done that throughout his life as an activist. Mike has a presence on
national and local TV, Radio and Print Media. He is a frequent guest on Sean Hannity show on
Fox TV, and a commentator on national radio networks, he contributes weekly to
the Texas Faith Column at Dallas
Morning News; fortnightly at Huffington post; and
several other periodicals across the world. His personal site www.MikeGhouse.net indexes all his work
through many links.