God and Transhumanism

In my past two blogs on the transhuman singularity and its possible occurrence, I did not breach the topic of faith and its relationship to transhumanism. Many of the fore-bearers and leaders of the transhumanist movement are professed atheists. However, a number of Christians are starting to embrace transhumanism. The main reason for this popularity among Christians is that people see transhumanism as a way to bring God’s kingdom to earth, or accomplish the Christian mission. It is worth noting that not all atheists are on-board with transhumanism. These atheists could be classified as Darwinian conservatives, and they see transhumanism as an impossible step that would deprive the human race of its very humanity. The problem some Christians have with transhumanism is the thought that through the process of transcending to a singularity we could lose our souls, or in other words die.

The website for Christian Transhumanism specifies a belief in five major affirmations. In a nutshell, the Christian Transhumanist ethos states that transhumanism will make us more human as we seek to better love God and our neighbor through attaining the singularity. In congruence with this ethos, Micah Redding believes that Christianity is inherently transhuman. It is his belief that the redemptive plan of Christ will allow us to transcend our corrupt human nature, and live eternally, one with God and one another. Micah Redding sees transhumanism as a plausible way for us to bring the Kingdom, eradicating suffering, disease, and death. Some would argue that these symptoms of the human condition can only be destroyed by a supernatural invasion as depicted in the apocalyptic book of Revelation. However, the most plausible interpretation of Revelation as a whole, holds that it is a largely symbolic book about the character of God in contrast with that of the Roman Empire.

Now on to the problems of transhumanism. Some Darwinian scholars view transhumanism as a problematic and implausible way for atheists to have an afterlife without religion. In the estimation of one such Darwinian, the thought of not being a part of, and participant in a generational cycle would take away the meaning of life. Of presumably more concern to Christians is the loss of the soul. If one were to map my brain onto a blank and sentient AI, then kill me, one would not be left with me, but an AI copy of me. Thus, I do not believe the soul would transfer, because the process was that of copying and not interfacing. I would argue that if certain parts of the brain were replaced slowly enough with electronics or AI, one would be able to successfully keep their soul. This can be supported by the analogy of replacing parts on a ship or a car. Over time, it is possible to replace all of the parts in a vehicle, but you would not say it is a different vehicle. The vehicle would simply be the same vehicle with new parts. This idea may be an oversimplification of the problem, but there are no real ways to measure or observe a soul. Also, there are a variety of theories on the soul’s relationship to the body. Thus, there is really no real way to predict what would happen.

Overall, Christians are starting to see the possibility that transhumanism could be a way to further bring the Kingdom of God. The redemptive work of Jesus and the promises of God in Revelation are inherently transhuman. It might just be that it is God’s will that we obtain singularity in order to live forever with Him. While this previous thought makes me uncomfortable, there seems to be nothing but benefits for humanity if the singularity is pursued. In the end, to be a Christian is to be transhuman.