I do not believe that human beings are sacred, that we have souls, that we serve any purpose or that there is an afterlife or a place to live it. I think that we have no notion of what eternity is, what it would mean to live that lengthlessly long, or even why such an endurance would be thought a good.
We are formed, as all life is, to reproduce ourselves. If there is a purpose within that purpose, that is the purpose. For us, the urge to do so runs from never to ever. Any disciplining of the urge is arbitrary, but not therefore wrong. It becomes wrong when a discipline turns an artificiality into a reality in order to subordinate one half of a species to the willful ignorance of the other half. For to say that a spermed ovum is a person is to say that the R at the beginning of my letter is the letter.
While I am not one to get into any kind of theological discussion, especially with such a firm believer in atheism, I do wonder if Mr. Fleming has ever had to face the kind of situation that the survey above was reporting?
My first wife was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1987 while I was finishing up a tour in Germany at the time. She had gone to Virginia to await my return, and she was studying to become a special education teacher at the time. She fought the battle bravely, but in the end, due to the progression of the disease, and the lack of similar progress in a cure, her body was self destructing.
I remember sitting with her every hour after work until they kicked me out every night. We would talk, but we both knew that there was no talk of the future. Even so, I prayed as hard as I could for a miracle. I read everything that I could on colon cancer, and no doubt annoyed the bejeebers out of the doctors and nurses at St. Patrick's with questions. Grasping for any tidbit of hope that might come my way. The last three days of her life, she was in a coma. At the end, having not spoken for some time, she suddenly started talking to her brother. Her brother killed himself before I met her. Now, I know that it could have been just the remnants of a brain shutting down, but it was startling nonetheless.
After 10 weeks in the hospital, the end came at 4:12 p.m. on the 16th of February, 1989. Even as the beeping machinery that monitored her earthly shell started the long continuous high pitch, I still was reaching for the nurses alert button, hoping that it was just something wrong with the monitors, even while knowing at the same time, that they were functioning properly.
During that entire period, I prayed almost continuously for a miracle that never happened. Some might have turned in anger against God for betraying their faith in that way. I may have made the mistake of slipping in another direction.
I believe in God, I believe in a hereafter, I believe that good and moral and decent people will go there, and I believe that my wife is there. But I also believe that God doesn't intervene. Having set the universe in motion, God simply observes. I know that is heresy to some. My brother, whom I love like a brother, is more fundamentalist, and believes that I just wasn't doing something right. Maybe I wasn't, but that doesn't mean that I wasn't trying.
I pity Mr. Fleming for his view. In some ways, they are similar, in that I too don't believe that there is a rope that will be thrown to us by God. But, we differ in he sees nothing, and I still believe that for all the troubles and travails of life, there is something better, and when we get there, we will wonder why we waited so long.