Heaven, Atheism and What Gives Life Meaning

Oliver Burkeman at The Guardian:

Years ago, the magazine US Catholic ran a headline that had the air of being written by a devout believer who had just had an appalling realisation: “Heaven: Will It Be Boring?” If he believed in heaven, the Swedish philosopher Martin Hägglund would answer with an unequivocal yes. And not merely boring: utterly devoid of meaning. “If I believed that my life would last forever,” he writes, “I could never take my life to be at stake.” The question of how to use our precious time wouldn’t arise, because time wouldn’t be precious. Faced with any decision about whether to do something potentially meaningful with any given hour or day – to nurture a relationship, create a work of art, savour a natural scene – the answer would always be: who cares? After all, there’s always tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.

I sometimes feel oppressed by my seemingly infinite to-do list; but the truth is that having infinite time in which to tackle it would be inconceivably worse. The question at issue here isn’t whether heaven exists.

more here.