Religion was actually the most interesting chapter of the book that I wrote. And that was because I started out with a premise that as we can live longer and healthier and get further away from death, then maybe we’ll become less religious. And that idea was based on the fact that a big part of religion is based on the afterlife. So if we get further and further away from the afterlife, maybe we won’t be so interested in religion anymore.
And it turned out that that’s not exactly the case. As we’ve doubled life expectancy from 43 years to around 80 years today, the world has not become less religious. In fact, it has stayed relatively even. 90 percent of the world essentially is religious. And that surprised me. And so I talked with a number of scholars of religion and it turns out that perhaps one of the reasons for this surprising fact is that there’s more to religion than the afterlife. The flip side of religion is it helps us understand what the purpose of life is. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What is good and what is bad? How should I live my life?
And so you could actually make the case that the longer we live and the longer our lives are, the more guidance we need. And so religion will not wither away as we live longer and healthier lives.