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Source: PRNewswire

"Jesus charges his disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead. This is consistent with common Transhumanist aspirations to overcome death.." 



The first-ever Christian Transhumanist Conference will be held on Saturday, August 25, at Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN.

The conference will be sponsored by the Christian Transhumanist Association (CTA), based in Nashville, which pursues a better conversation between religion and  technology.

The keynote speaker will be Aubrey de Grey, a Cambridge researcher working to end aging, and create biological immortality through science. The conference will focus on the religious implications of biological immortality and other cutting-edge technological possibilities—such as artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, brain augmentation, and space exploration.

Other speakers include Jeanine Thweatt, author of "Cyborg Selves: A Theological Anthropology of the Posthuman," Ted Peters, Professor in Systematic Theology & Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, Scott Hawley, A.I. researcher and Professor of Physics at Belmont University, and Derek Webb, Dove Award-winning musician, formerly of Caedmon's Call.

"This is an incredibly controversial subject matter, drawing recent interest from a number of religious groups, including the Vatican," said Micah Redding, founder and executive director of the association. "Many of the people pioneering these technologies are claiming these technologies will end religion, or bring about the creation of a new 'A.I. god'."

Conference organizers include Neal Locke, graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and pastor of First Presbyterian Church of El Paso, who organized one of the first religious communities in Second Life, and Mike Morrell, who is founding organizer of the Wild Goose Festival, as well as being co-author with Richard Rohr of 'Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation'.

About Aubrey de Grey

Dr. Aubrey de Grey is the biomedical gerontologist who researched the idea for and founded SENS Research Foundation. He received his BA in Computer Science and Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge in 1985 and 2000, respectively. Dr. de Grey is Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, is a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association, and sits on the editorial and scientific advisory boards of numerous journals and organizations.

About the Christian Transhumanist Association and founder Micah Redding

Founded in 2014, CTA has been featured on BBC World Service, The Guardian, Vice Motherboard, Inverse, Slate, Huffington Post, N+1, The Daily Beast, and Humanity+ Magazine.

Redding grew up as a preacher's son, spent eight years as a rock musician, and has traveled extensively, including places such as Afghanistan during the war, and Tahrir Square during the revolution. He is an international TEDx speaker, and a writer and software developer in Nashville, TN.

Redding wrote an essay titled "Christianity is Transhumanism" in 2012 which was widely circulated in the transhumanist community. He regularly holds public conversations with leading technological futurists and religious thinkers, like Kevin Kelly, N. T. Wright, David Deutsch, Greg Boyd, Ilia Delio, and "Human GMO" Liz Parrish.

The following is an example of how christian transhumanists are using the Bible to support their views.

The Bible teaches Christian Transhumanism. Or, in other words, as presented in the Bible, Christianity entails Transhumanism. Of course some Christians would disagree. And some Christians may not understand what that means. But we can make a reasonable case that the Bible teaches Christian Transhumanism nonetheless. To illustrate briefly, here are my top 10 Christian Transhumanist scriptures:

#10 — 1 John 3: 1-2

"See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3: 1-2)

In this scripture, John says that we are children of God and that we will be like Christ, suggesting that humanity has divine capacity. This is consistent with common Transhumanist estimations that humans have sublime capacity.

#9 — John 14: 12

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." (John 14: 12)

In this scripture, Jesus claims that his disciples will do the works he does and even greater things, suggesting that humanity will do divine works. This is consistent with common Transhumanist expectations that humans will do sublime works.

#8 — Revelation 21: 1-4

"Then I saw 'a new heaven and a new earth,' for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.'" (Revelation 21: 1-4)

In this scripture, John claims God will dwell on Earth when it is renewed, suggesting that Earth may become heaven. This is consistent with common Transhumanist aspirations to transform Earth toward sublime potential.

#7 — Hebrews 11: 7

"By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family." (Hebrews 11: 7)

In this scripture, Paul explains that Noah exemplifies faith by building an ark to save his family, suggesting that engineering is among divinely prescribed means of salvation. This is consistent with the technological advocacy that is central to Transhumanism.

#6 — Jonah 3: 3-4, 10

"Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, 'Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.' ... When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened." (Jonah 3: 3-4, 10)

In this scripture, God retracts a prophecy of destruction when people change, suggesting that apocalyptic concerns are justified but fatalism is not. This is consistent with technological optimism when accompanied by acknowledgement of and work to mitigate risks, as advocated and exemplified by many Transhumanists.

#5 — 1 Corinthians 15: 35-44

"But someone will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?' How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians 15: 35-44)

In this scripture, Paul suggests resurrected immortal bodies will differ from each other as the sun, moon, and each star differ from each other. This is consistent with common Transhumanist esteem for morphological freedom.

#4 — Luke 24: 36-43

"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, 'Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.' When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, 'Do you have anything here to eat?' They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence." (Luke 24: 36-43)

In this scripture, the resurrected immortal Jesus tells and demonstrates to his disciples that he has a body of flesh and bones. This is consistent with the physicalist metaphysics of most Transhumanists.

#3 — Matthew 10: 7-8

"As you go, proclaim this message: 'The kingdom of heaven has come near.' Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give." (Matthew 10: 7-8)

In this scripture, Jesus charges his disciples to heal the sick and raise the dead. This is consistent with common Transhumanist aspirations to overcome death.

#2 — 1 Corinthians 15: 51-54

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.'" (1 Corinthians 15: 51-54)

In this scripture, Paul claims that not everyone will die. Eventually, the living will change and the dead will rise to immortality. This is consistent with common Transhumanist aspirations to immortality.

#1 — James 2: 14-19

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, 'Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,' but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder." (James 2: 14-19)

In this scripture, James explains that faith without action is dead. If we have faith in clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, we should make clothes and grow food. If we have faith in healing the sick and raising the dead, we should do something about that. This is consistent with the technological advocacy that is central to Transhumanism.

In reading this its important to read between the lines.

Transhumanism is a philosophical and cultural position that encourages human advancement through technology. More specifically, transhumanism encourages the use of artificial enhancements to push mankind towards something “more than” human. Fundamentally, it is a form of Utopianism, the belief that human beings can change themselves and create a heaven on earth. The basic idea of improving the human condition is perfectly compatible with the Bible. In fact, it’s one of the purposes of a Christian lifestyle (John 10:10). But transhumanism contradicts the Bible when it assumes that humanity is completely sovereign and capable of self-directed change without the need for God (Jeremiah 17:9).

Like any other cultural movement, there are subsets and sub-genres of thought under the transhumanist tent. There are some admirable motivations behind transhumanism. For some, the intent is to reduce suffering or improve quality of life (Luke 12:33). Taken to an extreme, though, it can become a pursuit of immortality, an escape from moral boundaries, or a form of religion in and of itself. The ultimate redemption of mankind is something that will be accomplished by God alone (Revelation 21:1), not by technology.

Since God gave mankind dominion over the earth, there are spiritually acceptable means of improving the human condition through technology. That doesn’t mean that humans are fully capable, or even fully free, to change ourselves in any way we choose. Ultimately, God is sovereign over us; we are not sovereign over ourselves. Once a person takes the view that they can re-create themselves, they place themselves in an unrealistic spiritual position and usurp the prerogatives of God. Our knowledge, power and ability simply cannot compare to that of the Creator (Job 38:2-5).

Modern man has technology unimaginable to generations of a thousand years ago, but we’re still human, still flawed, and still in need of a Savior (1 John 1:8). Experience has taught us that human beings tend to be just as immoral with technology as without it. Aldous Huxley noted that “what science has actually done is to introduce us to improved means in order to obtain hitherto unimproved or rather deteriorated ends.” In other words, science doesn’t make humanity less sinful, or more moral; it just makes our sin more sophisticated. Human experience demonstrates that the utopian side of transhumanism is just as fictional as its spiritual side.


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