Many people believe that there is no way of bridging the gap between religious belief and scientific theory. But what if there is a way? Most religions believe in an afterlife. We live, we learn, we experience pain and loss, we have fun, we laugh, but ultimately we die and it seems to mean nothing without the idea that there is more to come. Scientists for the most part believe that life after death is nonsense, based on this fantasy of meaning.
Unknowingly, everyone might be a little bit wrong.
What happens when we advance augmented reality to such an extent that the constructed universe is indiscernible from the real one? Some scientists and philosophers have agreed that if augmented reality is truly possible, then civilizations have perhaps created millions or billions of these already. And if there are millions or billions of augmented realities but only one real–then who’s to say that we’re not living in The Matrix? In other words, if billions exist, then it is statistically improbable that we’re living in reality, making our entire concept of existence based on a lie.
I should also like to add the theory that it doesn’t really matter how far augmented realities come. For all we know, reality is exponentially more complicated than the universe in which we live. If we were to create an augmented reality in which cartoon artificial intelligence roamed around creating, warring, and dying…Well, to them, the world would be real. They would have no idea that life as we know it is far more complicated. We could construct any kind of universe we wanted.
And if we can, we usually do.
More interestingly, if the creators of these augmented realities decided to either program the augmented reality so that life, and eventually intelligent life, could evolve, then this new world would likely have the capacity for religious belief. If not, we’d likely have programmed it in.
If you could create an entire universe in this way, wouldn’t you show yourself in some way? In other words, to those living in the constructed universe, the creator would likely be their god. Perhaps, then, it isn’t a stretch to say that we are modeled in God’s own image.
People might wonder why someone would create a world in which it takes billions upon billions of years for anything to happen. But truthfully, a programmer could be watching our world unfold in a completely different scale of time. Every million or billion years for us could be seconds to him. What happens when he grows bored with the augmented reality? What if it’s just an experiment?
Hopefully he doesn’t decide to turn it off.
We could be gone just like that.
“Life” After “Death”
If consciousness can be created in an augmented reality, isn’t it then possible that death might lead to a birth in another augmented reality? Thusly, we would be allowed to attain the eternal life that the religious dream about. In theory, of course. Or perhaps we’ll be born into actual reality. More of a stretch, this life in which we experience all realms of creativity, thought, and feeling could just amount to training for whatever comes next.
Something to think about: If you believe in heaven or have any religious beliefs at all, or if you’re a scientist and have none…Well, there are alternative possibilities that can fit the beliefs of pretty much anyone reasonably well based on the ideas I’ve proposed. Isn’t that wonderful? Of course no one thinks about the similarities or the possibility of similarities in what we believe. Connectedness isn’t really what people seem to want. Instead we inevitably fight over the pointless millions of differences that make each person unique.
Do you agree? Did I lose you yet?