In any case, the general assumption that those who brought a religious worldview with them would hold on to the old dogmatism turned out to be off the mark. Instead, they acquired, along with a more compelling grasp of the sheer size and subtlety of the universe, a belief that a creating deity had to be much more complex, and ultimately less judgmental of minor offenses, than the one in whom their parents had believed. What came to matter most was their conviction that God existed, that, as some said, He was an engineer with remarkable talent, and that they were expected to take notice of that creation. Faith acquired a new immediacy and became for many the link with everything that mattered.
Marinda Harbach explained why we have such a bloody history. “Serious predators,” she said, “do not kill one another. Never have. A tiger understands, for example, it’s dangerous to attack another tiger. It’s not at all certain who will end up dead.” But humans had never been serious predators. On the contrary, they’d been innocuous creatures, had eaten whatever came to hand, and never developed the instinct to avoid quarrels. “After all,” she said, “when a fight breaks out between two monkeys, somebody gets a few lumps, but that’s about all. They actually enjoy it. Brain scans make the point beyond question. By the time the monkeys discovered advanced weaponry, it was too late.
The individual human life span is brief and, in the long view, inconsequential,’ he said. ‘We are children one day and signing out the next. Therefore, in the brief moment we are allotted, live reasonably, be compassionate, and when your hour comes, accept it without histrionics. Never forget that your handful of hours is a supreme gift. Use them wisely, do not fritter them away, and remember that your life is not an entitlement.