We see and hear all kinds of crazy things these days…or at least we categorize them as “crazy” so that we might more comfortably push them off to the side, safely out of focus and away from serious consideration.
And while that can seem to work for a while, it never really does. In the end, it only and always makes things worse.
Take Transhumanism, for example…
The rapid, real-world advance of artificial intelligence and the equally remarkable progress of life-extending and life-improving technologies have combined in reality right here and now to create the very real prospect of men soon actually attaining a form of superhuman power, knowledge, and even immortality.
Not. Even Kidding.
Yet most of us – especially in the professing Christian sub-culture – have little appetite to even acknowledge, much less tackle, this reality head on.
Transhumanism is just the sort of thing that we aim to immediately file in the crazy bin, not because it is unreal, but because it makes us incalculably uncomfortable.
It is crazy that way.
So we don’t want to think about, much less deal with it.
That’s how we’ve been conditioned to respond to such things. Even most professing Christian churches tend to embrace this approach to reality avoidance, which is, of course, the primary reason for the rest of the culture following suit.
As long as we can keep the most alarming realities out there on the edge of our peripheral vision and never allow ourselves to look ’em straight on, we can continue to pretend and go about our business in a happily blissful state, or so we think.
But at the end of the day – or the end of the age – objective reality has a way of catching up with us.
- the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology.
In a nutshell, Transhumanism is the ultimate fantasy of the unbelieving mind. It is the culmination and (purported) realization of mankind’s relentless quest for knowledge, power, and immortality apart from God. Through the use of modern, emerging, and near-future technologies, life is now viewed as soon being both A) improvable to the point of incorporating near limitless knowledge, and B) extendable to the point of virtual, if not literal, immortality. (For one example of this vision as it is being pursued by many thousands of people from all walks of life right now, have a gander at the 2045 Initiative site.)
It is the pinnacle of satanic aspiration, and it is unfolding before our still mostly averted Christian eyes.
Our apathetic aversion to dealing with challenging (aka “crazy”) realities in the past has played a primary role in enabling the presently emerging sci-fi/horror-flick-like reality of Transhumanism.
With hindsight being 20/20, we can see that the same enemy who is now inspires the Transhumanist movement also paved the way for its success by first doing everything possible to encourage and promote church culture built upon the concept of surrender.
More specifically (and disgustingly), preemptive surrender.
While once upon a time the Church understood and fought for the lordship of Christ over every inch of territory (physical or otherwise) in His creation, we have for long ages now embraced a very Gnostic spin on what is “of the world” and therefore evil, and what is “of the spirit” or Kingdom of God, and therefore good.
So it is that in our surrender of the physical world to the spirit of worldliness, we have enabled and inspired all manner of evil…culminating now in this 21st century spin on Tower of Babel arrogance and pursuit.
In their passionate pursuit of advancing medical, computing, robotic, and other emerging technologies, the dreams of those seeking god-like knowledge, power, and immortality have accomplished much and seem to be tantalizingly close to their goals. However horrific the ultimate ends of these idolaters and their technologies may be, en route to that end they have crafted an interesting and challenging environment and context with which you and I must now contend. While it is true that our children’s future will be even more molded by these emerging threats and realities, make no mistake: We are no longer talking about a bizarre, sci-fi style storm “building on the horizon”. The storm is not “out there” and coming our way. It is here. It is upon us now…and it is only going to build in strength against us for as long as we ignore and abdicate our responsibility as Christians to look clearly at reality, apply the Word of God to all things, and confront even this most daunting and technologically advanced rebellion with true discipleship in practice.
One very basic idea at the center of this subject is the nature of technology as crafted and deployed by mankind. As with everything else that our fallen minds, hearts, and hands touch, we are inclined by our self-referential nature to corrupt technology. We are born predisposed to pervert everything to serve ourselves first. This has led us to craft technology after technology and develop application after application in such a sinful direction that professing Christians have to a great extent come to view technology and the pursuit of technology as inherently evil or, at the very least, acutely suspicious.
We’ve witnessed wave after wave of damage done throughout human history and right up to this very day by way everything from fire and the wheel to nuclear energy and the Internet. In the wake of these sad, historical and present day realities, many of us have become disposed to write off technology as a means by which we might cultivate and present the lordship of Christ in civilization. Instead, we have basically surrendered these realms of technology, science, and the like to an enemy who has passionately seized and exploited these realms to great effect.
We tend to fear technology…because we do not have faith.
Because we do not have faith – and the likes of the Transhumanists do have faith in their god(s) – they are winning territory after territory within Christ’s creation, more often than not without much of a fight.
What a sad and tragic commentary on the professing church.
Christ the King has lovingly and purposefully provided us with His material cosmos to observe, study, and cultivate. He has given us minds, bodies, tools and resources with which to work, invent, and create. Most importantly, He has given us His Gospel – the supernatural tool through which His people are saved – and the Great Commission – the supernatural calling to perpetually hone minds of obedience in His people so that they might do His will in every realm of His creation.
That Great Commission mandate certainly covers the contemplation, creation, and implementation of new technology.
Art, economics, education, science, history, and technology…it’s all His, it’s all about Him, and we have been blessed with the indescribably fantastic eternal mission to learn more and more about His nature by exploring and cultivating His creation…starting right here and right now…
Pretty cool, huh?
Apparently not. At least not to the church.
Sadly, the pagans are much more passionate about cultivating creation to their ends than we are about conforming it to His will.
So what do we do?
How do we honor our King?
How do we respond to the Transhumanist worldview in general, its motivations and goals in particular, and its practical, literal, material advance towards those goals right here and now on planet earth?
These are questions I’d like to tackle in some detail in future posts. This is a subject – or series of connected and very interesting subjects – that is more than worthy of ongoing consideration and conversation.
In the meantime, I suggest prayerfully studying Scripture with an eye on thinking through these many interesting issues connected to the Transhumanism movement.
It’s also probably a good idea to learn about the motives, goals, and practices of the Transhumanism movement. Articles like The Real Cyborgs, published recently by The Telegraph, can provide useful insight and understanding. In it, Arthur House asks important questions and provides useful background information:
Forget wearable tech. The pioneers of our “post-human” future are implanting technology in to their bodies and brains. Should we stop them or join them?
. . . One of the most prominent transhumanists is the inventor and philosopher Ray Kurzweil, currently director of engineering at Google, and populariser of the concept of the technological “singularity” – a point he puts at around 2045, when artificial intelligence will outstrip human intelligence for the first time. The predicted consequences of such a scenario vary wildly from the enslavement of humanity to a utopian world without war (or even, as a result of self-replicating nanotechnology, the transformation of the planet, or perhaps the entire universe, into something called “grey goo” – but that’s a whole other story).
Kurzweil, the award-winning creator of the flatbed scanner, also believes he has a shot at immortality and intends to resurrect the dead, including his own father. “We will transcend all of the limitations of our biology,” he has said. “That is what it means to be human – to extend who we are.”
Many transhumanists, particularly in Silicon Valley, where belief in the singularity has assumed the character of an eschatological religion, think that fusing with technology is our only hope of surviving the consequences of this great change.
Did you notice that last bit there?
The part about how “belief in the singularity has assumed the character of an eschatological religion”, I mean.
If that’s not a good springboard and motivation for Christian thought, consideration, and biblical response, I don’t know what is…
So let’s get to it.
Let’s ditch the apathetic, ignorance-embracing, truth-evading ways of “Christian” generations past (and present).
Let’s engage the enemy.
Let’s take up the Great Commission mandate to proclaim and apply the lordship of Christ in every realm of His creation, including science and technology here, now, and forevermore.
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© 2015 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.
Soli Deo Gloria!