(August 23, 2014)
There are those who claim atheism, but who see their attempts at immortality to be achieved through the arts, or science, or some other manner. But immortality – at least in a worldly sense – is fairly easy to achieve. Have children. Reading the huge genealogical lists demonstrates that.
If I were an atheist, it would be clear that the only thing that would really matter was the ‘stuff’ I was made of (and I have heard reductive materialists say this). If I had three children that survived me, that would mean there would be 3 x ½ or 150% more of me in the world, even after my death. If they each had 3 children of their own, that would mean that there would be 9 x ¼ or 225% more of me than when I was alive. It is fairly easy to establish a genetic lineage that exceeds your 100% that you have at your birth, assuming you survive long enough to reproduce.
Of course the irony is that no atheist actually believes in achieving immortality in this way – as evidenced by the fact that atheists have fewer children than believers. But having had four children, there is twice as much of me outside of me than in me, and if they each have large families of their own it will only grow and increase. The other irony – the positive irony – of this situation is that those who are the least in need of temporal immortality (those with firm hope of spiritual immortality) are those very people most likely to live in such a way as to achieve that temporal immortality.