Thursday, January 21, 2021

Trading Today for (Maybe) Tomorrow

I wouldn’t trade tomorrow for today

-          Headlong Flight, Rush

Anyone familiar with the writing of Neil Peart, the lyricist for Rush, will understand the context of these words: Christians are so messed up, willing to sacrifice in this life for the promise of something more and better in the future – the promise of eternal life.  (In order to properly rhyme, he had to end with “today,” so the wording might seem a bit awkward.)

For Peart, this life was all there is.  I don’t know if he changed his views in his last years, knowing he would soon die of terminal cancer (which happened about one year ago).  I hope he is resting in peace.

This view tells us: There is no evidence of a future, eternal life; all there is we see around us.  Live each day to the full; eat, drink and be merry, because tomorrow we die; he who dies with the most toys wins.  Don’t sacrifice today for some unknown tomorrow.

“Christianity set itself the goal of fulfilling man’s unattainable desires, but for that very reason ignored his attainable desires. By promising man eternal life, it deprived him of temporal life…”

-          Ludwig Feuerbach, Lectures on the Essence of Religion

Christians are mocked for (supposedly) trading for tomorrow (eternal life) in exchange for giving up today (pleasure as I desire it, here on earth).


Is it living, or just existence?

-          The Enemy Within (Part I of Fear), Rush

We have spent the last ten months depriving ourselves of temporal life in exchange, not for eternal life, but for (maybe, or maybe not) adding some days to our future life.  In other words, society has accepted a cheap, bastardized version of Feuerbach’s caricature of Christian longing for heaven.

We have given up 300 days.  Will we get those days back in the future?  Who among us will live 300 days longer because of this?  What have we gained for this sacrifice?  Something close to 100% of the people under 70 years old will never get any of these days back, because virtually none of those under 70 were at risk of losing life solely due to this bug, this corona.

Don’t kill grandma, we are told.  What has she gained?  She is scared to death, shut in her home, not seeing children and grandchildren, not visiting friends, not going shopping, not going to church.  She is stuck watching the television, telling her to be scared to death; she is stuck listening to her children, telling her why her life will be better if she doesn’t see anyone – if she lives her last days alone.

Will grandma have 300 days added to her life because of this?  No one knows, no one can answer this question.  The only certainty is that 300 days of life are now gone – permanently, never to be returned.  Is this how we want grandma to live her last days, to hold as her last (or everlasting) memory?


Jonathan Pageau just put out a video, The Blindness of “Following the Science.”  It’s not long, just thirteen minutes.  But if you are looking for him to counter the science with science (for example, science demonstrates that masks for the general population are ineffective and may even be harmful to health), you will not find satisfaction.

We cannot just “follow the science.”  Science is always geared toward some end, but it cannot tell us the end toward which we should aim.  If we want to create weapons to destroy the world, that would have us follow the science toward that end.  If we want to make energy use more efficient, that would have us follow science toward that end.  You get the idea.

What “end” is the science of corona geared toward.  For every scientific “fact” one side presents about the need for lockdowns, the other side has scientific “facts” as to why this strategy is futile.  Well, it may be futile, it may not be, because this still doesn’t answer the question: toward what ends?


With an iron fist in a velvet glove

We are sheltered under the gun

-          The Weapon (Part II of Fear), Rush

The “science” we are told to follow is, at minimum, geared toward throwing away days of life today for the possibility of gaining more days in the future.  We can speculate about many other things: controlling the serfs, the depopulation of the planet, trillions of dollars to the financial system (well, this last one isn’t really speculative; it happened, and it was likely the initial purpose).

Reasoned as these might be, it is speculation.  The one thing we know with certainty is that the science of corona is geared toward trading today for tomorrow; it is geared toward trading current temporal life – not for eternal life, but for a possible (but far from certain) future temporal life.  Give up a certain number of days now, and you may or may not get some unknown number of days in the future.  Is this a worthwhile trade?

When Christians offer their eternal version of this trade (yes, I know it is a caricature), it is labeled as nonsensical.  But when “follow the science” offers us this temporal trade, it is deemed righteous.


Science cannot tell us of ends.  Philosophers can.  Christian theologians can.  The vast majority of both are failing at this today.  Most have accepted this trade: give up your life today (300 days and counting), and an almost insignificant number of us might get a few of these days back in the future.

Of course, those of us most likely to delay death by avoiding the corona (the elderly) are most vulnerable to the cost of being left alone.  The reality is, by scaring grandma into giving up those days today, we are also making it far more likely that we are reducing, not increasing, the number of days in her future.

If the only meaning of life is to avoid death, well… Dying from loneliness, from not seeing family and friends, from not seeing the doctor…is just the same as dying from the corona.  It’s just dying.


We have come full circle, but ended up in a much worse place.  We used to believe that there was a future after death, and this future was something worth striving for, something for which we would sacrifice.  This future was eternal.

No longer.  We sacrifice our days today, but for something far less valuable – and for most of us, something that is non-existent: the possibility of getting these days back later.

We have given up meaning in life by throwing away the ends for which we are designed.  We have given up meaning for the sake of the materialism (or physicalism) of science that we have lived under for the last few centuries.  No longer do we aim for happiness (better understood as fulfillment through other-regarding action, or beatitudo). 

The last 300 days have shown us where this materialist path leads: the only meaning in life is to avoid death.  It is the road where the materialism of science (and Marx and Darwin) leads…inevitably.  There is no meaning in life other than to avoid death.  But we all die.  Hence, there is no meaning in life.

Is it any wonder that western man suffers a meaning crisis?


Mostly I think about grandma.  I sure hope that if we are ever faced with such choices again in the future, my children don’t treat me this way.


Modifying the quote from Feuerbach, above:

The science (or Fauci, Gates, Marx, Darwin, whatever) set itself the goal of fulfilling man’s unattainable desires, but for that very reason ignored his attainable desires. By promising man he can avoid death, it deprived him of life…


The righteous rise

With burning eyes

Of hatred and ill-will

Madmen fed on fear and lies

To beat, and burn, and kill

-          Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear), Rush


  1. "Science cannot tell us of ends. Philosophers can. Christian theologians can."

    True. But philosophers have rejected logic to chase pleasure but only found despair. Theologians still hold knowledge of the true end, but many have followed the philosophers. There is now even a split among Christians. There are liberal, materialist Christians who are no different than the world. There are the orthodox, super-naturalist Christians who more and more find there is no place for them in this world.

    1. "There are liberal, materialist Christians who are no different than the world. There are the orthodox, super-naturalist Christians who more and more find there is no place for them in this world." --RMB

      And there are those who are dedicated to making a difference for the better, for the Glory of God. These are the real Christians. They are the building blocks of the Kingdom of God.

      The ones you mentioned fall into the category of Christian In Name Only (CINO).

    2. My two cents on this matter:

  2. Wonderfully put, as always.


  3. Great description of the response to covid that has been imposed on us, especially the modified Feuerbach quote. How would that apply to those choosing to get a vaccine with the risky side effects and indeterminate effectiveness against the virus as well as an uncertain means of escaping government imposed confinement?

    I wonder if many Christians really think much about the life after death stuff, or let it impact their decisions in any meaningful way. For me personally, it's one of the least attractive Christian ideals as I find it unlikely everlasting life could be anything but boring. Unlike the government imposed virus response, adhering to Christian morals has it's own reward here and now. The means and the ends are the same as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Jeff,

      I am curious. Why would you find everlasting life boring? If eternal life is a permanent extension of your life in the here and now, would this mean that you find your present life "boring"? Or, is your conception of eternal life one of disembodied spirits with haloes around their heads floating on clouds while strumming on harps?

      Truly, I would find that boring myself.

    2. Roger, everything I find entertaining in life is derived from learning. Since there is still much to learn I don't find present life boring at all, but in a hundred years I might. In a million years, definitely. I'm not commenting so much on what eternal life as provided by God will be like, but my inability to imagine it.

    3. Jeff, good answer. Thanks for being honest.

      My take on that is that God IS complete, exhaustive knowledge, omniscient is the word. We HAVE incomplete knowledge. We will never know everything exhaustively, so there will always be something more to learn.

      If there is no time in eternity, as some say, then there will be no future to think about. Instead, everything and everyone will be focused on the moment at hand, the present, right now. If that is true, then we won't have to consider what anything will be like in a million years. There will be no conception of a million years or even one year from now. We can enjoy what we have--today.

      I've read that the American Indians lived this way so much that they would literally die in prison within a short period of time. Even though they might have only been locked up for a year or a few months, they could not imagine that concept of the future. Instead, they only saw that they were imprisoned NOW and the only way out was to die. So they did.

      Sometimes I think my life would be easier if I lived that way. But, then I think about tomorrow and all the work I have to do. Hope springs eternal.

      I hope to see you in a million years.

    4. My engineer self struggles with the concept of no time, since all actions require time to complete. Also, if we can only focus on now we would have no goals and no need to act. That's sounding more and more like disembodied spirits floating on clouds!

      There could be an "all time" existence in which we are capable of perceiving time as a dimension similar to distance. Currently we can only perceive time by moving through it.

      Anyway, hopefully God will read our posts and have a good laugh at our imaginations.

  4. Here's the irony eluding the freethinking-and-oh-so-enlightened gang. In focusing on eternal life, Christianity improved temporal life. In focusing on temporal life, the professed freethinkers trashed temporal life *even as they squashed all hope for life beyond the grave*!

  5. "The last 300 days have shown us where this materialist path leads: the only meaning in life is to avoid death. It is the road where the materialism of science (and Marx and Darwin) leads…inevitably. There is no meaning in life other than to avoid death. But we all die. Hence, there is no meaning in life."

    Does the "inevitable evolution of materialism" lead to a society in which its members seek to memorialize themselves forever by downloading their "brain" (soul?) into a digital format? Is this not an attempt to forestall death? Eternal life forever, without dying?

    Best of all possibilities, perhaps? New religion gaining ground?

    1. I don't believe free will can be achieved digitally, even if a convincing emulator might one day be possible. No physics or mathematics can account for or predict free will and without it does the soul even exist? I think that would be a religion of suicide.

    2. I am with Jeff on this one. Whether one believes we were created by God as we are, or that we are the products of billions of years of evolution, or some combination in between... "science" (as the term is used today) will never be able to duplicate, replicate, or artificially improve human "being."

      It can certainly destroy it.