Reaching the High-Tech Heaven of Man

In the last few days I’ve listened to a podcast
from a Christian organization about transhumanism, and read an article declaring
Elon Musk is on mission to link human brains with computers in four years.
I was both surprised and relieved to hear a group of
theologians discussing the issue. The  moral, sociological, and even religious
implications need to be addressed before we all end up with enhanced gray
matter. As for Musk’s agenda, the progression of transhumanism, as always,
promises incredible benefit for the human race. A microchip bringing full
recovery to a stroke victim is not something to fight against. If it would
benefit me or a loved in such a way, I would allow the implant. But is there a
greater scheme at work?
In past articles and in my fiction, I’ve noted the parallel of
our current technological ambition and the tower of Babel. If we are working
toward, as some call it, godlike intelligence then we are building that virtual
high-tech tower. Infinite knowledge will propel us to new heights, but it will
be a revolution void of godly wisdom.
And an act of God will be required to tame
our aspiration.
I wrote this article a couple of
years ago. In light of our impending ascension into a manmade cyber-ruled heaven,
I’d like to share it again:
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Top Ten Things Christians Should Know About Transhumanism
Victoria
Buck

1)
It’s a science.
Maybe you were absent the day your high school science
teacher addressed transhumanism. More likely, your teacher never heard of it.
Where does it fit? Biology? Physics? Yes. As well as computer science—it takes
a computer to make a transhuman. And social sciences—it will, if permitted,
change the core of culture and society. Scientific study includes:
Cryonics: Preserving the body, or
simply the brain, after death with the hope of reawakening in the future.
Gene therapy: Manipulating genetic
code for the purpose of improved health and function, longevity, eliminating
birth defects, and creating designer babies.
Cybernetics: Technology enhances life
in positive ways. No one can deny improved function for a disabled person is a
wonderful achievement of modern medicine. A deaf child hearing for the first
time brings tears of gratitude to all who witness the amazement on the little
one’s face. But how far will a healthy human go in obtaining super hearing,
vision, strength, speed, and knowledge? The transhumanist will answer that
question.
Mind uploading and AI: Non-biological
intelligence may seem impossible. The computer, after all, only puts more
information in one place than a person could possibly remember. A computer in a man’s brain might not make him
smarter, but it would give him unparalleled recall. But consider this: if a man
is enhanced to take on the characteristics of a computer, might the computer
take on the characteristics of a man and begin to reason?
2)
It’s a social movement.
Social
science records and interprets societal movements in the past and the present.
Transhumanism, or H+ (humanity plus), is a movement in society past, present,
and future. It will affect the interrelational categories of social science:
anthropology, economics, politics, psychology, and sociology.
Anthropology: The human being as the
subject of varied studies—biology, humanities, and history—will no doubt take
on new meaning with the transcendence of the human.
Economics: Cost-effective
transhumanism will surely struggle to find validity. Perhaps only the
super-wealthy will experience the bounty of the movement. Or maybe the
government will choose those worthy, and leave the rest of the human race
unenhanced. Imagine the monetary implications of transhuman corporations.
Politics: Already, bioethics is a
force governing the present and preparing to govern future technological and
medical advancements, and how those advancements can and cannot be used in
reaching goals nonexistent twenty years ago. Government funding now pays to
research a transhuman future.
The National Institutes of Health has allocated $46 million
“to support the goals of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative
Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.” 1
Professor Thomas Sugar and Jason Kerestes, designer robotic
engineers with the iProject: 4MM (4 minute mile)
from Arizona State University (ASU) has been granted monies from Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to create a “jetpack to increase a
soldier’s speed and boost a PT record to that of a four minute a mile.” 2  
Psychology: A massive shift in the perception of humanness
will come as cognitive ability increases, motivation and capability for
extending life becomes reality, and relationships once required for the
continuance of the race are deemed unnecessary. The resulting emotional
struggle and moral reckoning will likely be met not with therapy for the mind,
but with a tweak to the brain.
Sociology: Social class, law, religion, sexuality will take
on new roles, or no role at all.
Government and family structure will be challenged. Belief
systems will adjust, or else become channels of open rebellion against the
transhuman emergence.

3) Its aim is the Singularity.
If you’re unfamiliar with
transhumanism, you’ve probably never heard of the singularity. This is the
point in time when the human race can no longer understand or predict the
outcome of its own technological advancements. As science fiction would say,
the machines take over. In the words of transhumanist frontrunner and author,
Ray Kurzweil,
“Within a few decades, machine intelligence
will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological
change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human
history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence,
immortal software-based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that
expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.” 3

4) It has prophetic significance.
This is not too hard to fathom. Some
interpret transhumanism will bring posthumans into a position of waging actual
war against God. Not in the spiritual sense, but the physical. From
end-times-bible-prophecy.com:
… it seems reasonable
to assume that humanity will have to undergo some sort of radical
transformation in order to plot a war against God Almighty. The arrogant
impulse already exists. All that remains is the need for an exponential
increase in human power which deludes humanity into believing it can overcome
the Lord of lords. And make no mistake about it, the Bible is clear that this
is where humanity is ultimately headed – physical conflict with God: “Then
I saw the beast gathering the kings of the earth and their armies in order to
fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army.” Revelation 19:19 (NLT)
Do not confuse the
“war” with a spiritual struggle. According to Strong’s Concordance,
the key word here is translated “polemos,” and means:”warfare (lit. or fig.; a single encounter or a series) – battle,
fight, war.” The word “polemos” appears at least 16 times in the
New Testament, and in each case, it refers to physical conflict, not a
spiritual one… 4

5) It has historical significance.
Again, it’s easy to see that
transhumanism is yet another attempt at building a tower to the heavens in
order to become like God. As addressed by author Britt Gillette:
“Let’s build a great city with a tower that
reaches to the skies, a monument to our greatness!” (Genesis 11:4, NLT).

The human race set out to build a monument to its own greatness,
exalting mankind above God and extending its tower far into Heaven with the
sole intent of usurping God’s glory and authority. This innate human desire did
not end with the Tower of Babel. It continues to this day, and soon it will
result in one final attempt to usurp the authority of God. 5

6)
It assumes both creation and evolution are failures.
The
argument that God’s creative power is not good enough is an obvious one. Yet,
from a transhuman mindset, it doesn’t exist at all. The transhumanist will deny
creation and embrace evolution, but then insist that even the natural process
of improving the species isn’t good enough. For all its altering of the fabric
of society, the theory of evolution is just as much a lost cause as creation.
The transhumanist can do it better. Evolution needs a techno-boost. Humanity
will become more than Darwin ever imagined.

7) Intermingling of faith and transhumanism is
on the rise.
If
considering a future of human life enhanced by technology isn’t quite relevant
in your thinking, consider that a growing number of pseudo-Christian
organizations believe transhumanism is the actualization of God’s plan for the
salvation of mankind.
What it means to be human
will change soon and you will probably experience it. So read carefully. In the
coming years computer-human interfaces will become so intimate that users may
be considered superhumanly intelligent transcendent
humans, or “transhumans”
. We
will have a choice in how to use vast new power. Use it for material gain? Or,
aim this power at spiritual growth. In this new era of
understanding, most will see the dead end of material gain, and see a better
outcome in a life dedicated to spiritual growth. For individuals taking the
spiritual path, the lower hierarchy of material needs will fall away and so
naturally the transhuman will become a benevolent and self-actualized spiritual being.  Ultimately, life
as represented by mankind will shift from consuming material for sustenance to
a flow of information. This means that we shift to a wholly spiritual life
where truth is the way. As material needs diminish, transhumans will
increasingly be sustained by a powerful flow of Word that can be called the
Glory of God. In giving up competition and control strategies and turning to
God, we grow to be all that we can be; Christ-like.
Essential to Christian
Transhumanism is the notion that love is a
cognitive process
 and God expects
us to participate in our salvation by learning
how to love perfectly.
 In this way we
access the Glory of God, becoming Christ-like
(Christian). 6

Other sects and religions embrace the transhuman
future as a responsible continuation of faith, and quite possibly the only way
organized religion will survive. There exists a Mormon Transhumanist
Association. Proponents cross religious boundaries, as might be expected in an
increasingly secularized society. As with Christians, people of other faiths
also oppose the movement. Atheists and agnostics support or reject. From all
walks and factions, it appears there is not one group that stands united. But
many in the Christian community who truly understand the ramifications of
transhumanism consider it to be the great delusion spoken of in the Bible.


8) It is anti-Christian
Even so, it’s not to say Christians won’t participate, to some degree, in
the rise of H+. If you can’t put down your iPhone or
if you’re lost without your Bluetooth, then you know dependence on technology
is an ever-increasing part of modern life. If your child is the one who can now
hear you call his name, you are blessed by God. Technology is not bad. But
don’t be misled by the message that our technological transcendence to being
God-like is our salvation. The transhumanist goals of ending disease and
poverty, of attaining eternal life, of saving the planet from the humans won’t
happen. God already set a plan in motion to take care of His creation in the
way of His choosing. Any other plan devised in the mind of a created being is
doomed. Consider this proclamation in an article by Zoltan Ivstan, author of
best-selling novel, The Transhumanist
Wager
.

One thing is for
sure, to the human species, the birth of an advanced artificial intelligence
will become far more important than the birth of Christ. Christmas, if it
survives at all, will be relegated to just another commercial and cultural
holiday that superstores and big business thrive on. Meanwhile, reasonable
people will celebrate AI Day, the real moment in history the savior of
civilization was born. 7

In response,
Gonz Shimura, in his article “The Trials of Transhumanism: An Assault on Christianity”,
writes:

First
off, it is clear that Mr. Istvan has a tremendous amount of “faith” in not only
our own human management abilities pertaining to these developments, but also
that any establishment of such a thing as AI would share in its consciousness,
the same moral and ethical framework as humans. Secondly, and perhaps more
importantly, as most know, Antichrist doesn’t mean “against Christ”; it means,
“instead of Christ.” It is the replacement of Christ. Therefore, what Mr.
Istvan is promoting here is quite literally the Antichrist. My particular views
are that AI itself will not be the Antichrist figure as described in Bible
Prophecy, but play a role in the establishment of the Image of the Beast. 8


9) You may be helped by it.

Again, technological advancements aren’t
necessarily evil. They may be inspired and brought to fruition by the grace of
God, whether or not the person who brings about the newest innovation
recognizes that fact or not. Christian or otherwise, you may be the one whose
paralysis is soon overcome. You may benefit from the use of techno-medical
breakthroughs to end dementia. Your grandchild may be the product of
reproductive science unheard of when your children were born. Go ahead and love
that child, who is no less a creation of God.
A human who becomes a transhuman will need the same thing every human needs—the
grace of God that leads to salvation through the death and resurrection of
Christ. Whether or not your life is improved by whatever God allows, for
however long He allows it, there is no other
way to eternal life.


10) It is not fiction.
Transhumanism is certainly the subject of fiction.
Many novels have been written in recent years from a secular worldview, both
pro H+ and con. At least one transhuman work of fiction written from a
Christian worldview exists. (Yes, I wrote it.) Some authors believe it will
happen. Some simply use H+ to carry their stories. Movies have been bringing us
cyborgs and AI stories for years, most without ever referencing transhumanism.
There is an H+ TV series (fiction) and an H+ magazine (non-fiction). Some say the
thought and goal of transhumanism is ancient, but the word came from Julian
Huxley in 1957. He did not intend to describe a fictitious world, but a very
real one. Behind each made-up story, and hundreds of non-fiction books and
articles, is an ever-progressing scientific and cultural movement intending to
redefine the meaning of life. To recreate the human being. To realize God in
self. Not a wilder theme exists for a novel. But in the real world, the
transhumanist plans to take us far beyond imagination.

Sources

1  Susanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The
US Independent, October 1, 2014

2  Susanne Posel
,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent September 13,   2014

3 The Law of Accelerating Returns,
Ray Kersweil, March 7, 2001

4  http://www.end-times-bible-prophecy.com/transhumanism.html

5  Transhumanism and the Great Rebellion, Britt Gillette

6  Prepare for HyperEvolution with
Christian Transhumanism, James McLean Ledford

7  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zoltan-istvan/ai-day-will-replace-     christmas_b_4496550.html

http://www.facelikethesun.com/trials-transhumanism-assault-christianity/

Not My Easter

On the first anniversary of the resurrection of Christ, what
kind of celebration took place? Was it dutifully noted as a special day? Perhaps
the fervor of the early followers had not yet waned, and so they simply paused
for a moment to remember that a year had passed since their lives were
transformed by the Risen Lord. And then they swiftly went on with their mission
to tell what they had witnessed. To proclaim the truth. To extend the reach of
the Gospel. After all, that was their commission.
History suggests the first Christians remembered the death
of Christ with a Passover meal, but there was no formality in observing the day
of His resurrection. Special days for the Christians were still primarily
Jewish events. Early Church historians note that changes occurred to allow a
more comfortable transition into the faith for those coming from pagan
traditions, and to peacefully transfer Christianity from its Jewish roots into
the larger order of things. Of course, much was gained in the matter of
extending the Gospel. But was something lost? Perhaps the early Church didn’t
cling to tradition. Maybe reaching the world—all of it—was worth giving way to
change.
In the course of time, Sunday became the day to remember the
death and the resurrection of Jesus, and the traditions of Easter became part
of the Christian faith. A few interesting bits of Easter history: It’s widely
known the name of our modern holiday is derived from the pagan goddess, Eostre
(Ishtar, or Ostara), but did you know the Easter egg is rooted deep in Babylonian
legend? Or that the Easter rabbit was said to lay eggs as gifts from the
goddess for all good children to eat? 
Christianity redeemed the eggs by giving
them a spin to representations of faith. One tradition says the rolling of the
egg symbolizes the stone rolled away from the tomb. At some point,
the eggs were tinted red to represent the blood of Christ. No matter
their origin, the pagan icons are are vaguely remembered in modernity, and the same can be
said of the symbols of Christianity. All has come to this: plastic eggs filled
with candy delivered by an oversized bunny who walks upright.
Pagan influence colored the true story of the day Jesus rose
from the grave, but earlier history does not leave out its Jewishness. For instance, in a tradition not typically associated with
Easter, some writings indicate first-century believers fasted on Wednesday and
Friday before the Sunday marking the resurrection. This is not as easy for modern
Christians to consider as it was for those who survived in a less substantial environment, but fasting is part of the Christian experience as taught in
Scripture. Maybe a day or two spent in obedience to this doctrine would help to prepare our hearts for a truly meaningful Resurrection Day. As it is, we do
well to spend a few moments reflecting on the One who saves us from all
condemnation. Our day is wasted on the trivial.
The American Christian has likely grown up spending Easter
Sunday morning in church, followed by an afternoon hunting eggs. Little girls still wear their frilly new dresses. Stuffed bunnies and baskets of candy wait
in the backseats of cars filling church parking lots. The day is Christian and
Jewish and pagan, and the lines are blurred now. But the truth must be kept in
focus.
This is not the day to honor the goddess of springtime or
fertility. We don’t need her rabbit to feed eggs to our children. We may allow
the melding of antiquity to mark our celebration, but never let it define the
reverent and joyous remembrance of our Risen Savior. Like the Easter holiday,
we are marked by unrighteousness. But because of the first Resurrection Day,
we’re redeemed for eternity, alive with Christ our Great Resurrected King.