Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Friday, July 26, 2019


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith & Life for the Years of Winter – THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY

I’m really sorry I made somebody pay $30 to get me Michio Kaku’s The Future of Humanity. Fortunately, I can’t remember exactly who gifted me with this book, at my request, or I would feel even sorrier.

Old people are not easy to gift. We have too much already. Basically our gifts are things we can consume and read, meaning White Castle gift certificates and books. We read the books while recovering in the hospital from the White Castle sliders.

I read a lot of brain science stuff anymore, for I’m interested in how the brain creates the mind, or vice versa. I think that’s important for incarnational theology. In fact, Helen and I will soon be subjects in an IU study on “aging and cognition.”

I don’t read original research, of course. That’s way beyond me. But I get a lot from the synthesizers, like Malcolm Gladwell and Oliver Sacks and Daniel Schachter and, especially, Michio Kaku’s The Future of the Mind.

So I asked for the Future of Humanity as a gift, assuming it would be in the general category of Kaku’s Future of the Mind. Not so.

Its basic premise is: The world is coming to an end, because it will burn up, so we’ve got to get to Mars and other places in space as quickly as possible so we can survive. 

The book is basically a synthesis of current research and theory about how we can colonize space. And a lot of faith statements like “Mars will be easy once we have learned how to terraform it.” Yes, and I’ll make the big leagues once I have learned how to hit a curve ball.

The only future for humanity, Kaku and his ilk are convinced, is in space.

The book should be called The Future of Billionaires, because Kaku is quite enthralled by the billionaires who are financing space exploration. And, of course, they are the only ones who will ever get to go live in space. I mean, when the earth burns up, it’s going to take all the rest of us—who don’t have a billion for a rocket--with it. [Then the billionaires can repeat on Mars all the original sins that have made humanity unhappy and the earth uninhabitable.]

I have some inside information on this. Chris Voorhees, a little boy from one of my churches—the son of our choir director and organist—is working with the billionaires even now, primarily to mine useful metals in planetoids. When his dad and I talked on the phone a while back, I asked how Chris was doing. “Oh, he’s a rocket scientist,” Larry said. “He designed the Mars rover.”

“But he can’t do that,” I cried. “He’s only six years old, and our daughter babysits with him.”

The future of my mind doesn’t look so good. Somebody needs to synthesize Einstein and the space-time continuum for me!

As we celebrate, properly so, the anniversary of Apollo 11, it might be good to remember that if we can’t conquer the inner space of humanity here on earth, just transporting it to a different outer space isn’t going to do much good. The future of humanity has to include the love of humanity, or there will be no future, on Mars or anywhere else.

Don’t waste your money or time on The Future of Humanity. We must, however, expend our money and time on the future of humanity.

John Robert McFarland

“The future isn’t what it used to be.” Yogi Berra

“If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” Anne Lamott


  1. I really like this all, but I really like your next to last paragraph. Can I use that as a quote in my classroom?