What is Transhumanism?

Transhumanism is a word that has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Instead, “Transhumanism looks at not just augmenting or bypassing the frailties of the human body but also improving intelligence, eradicating diseases and disabilities, and even equipping us with greater empathy. The goal is to stay alive as long as possible, as healthy as possible, with greater consciousness or humaneness. No-one wants to stay alive drooling in a wheelchair.” These words are from  Natasha Vita-More, as reported by the Irish Times here.

Is Transhumanism Christian?

As a Christian, I find myself oddly against the idea of mixing technology and humanity for the purpose of removing what makes us human. Death, sickness, aging – none of those are enjoyable, but they are human experiences. To me, people seem to tend toward two extremes: they either believe that God does not want us to use modern medicine, or they believe that modern medicine is the answer to solving life’s problems (without God). I realize that I’ve created two stereotypes, and I’ve done that on purpose to illustrate the extremes that come from each end of the spectrum. Both of those extremes create problems for those of us who are Evangelicals.

When we (I’m speaking as a Christian here), engage those who argue for transhumanism, our theology of creation – and what it means to be created probably seems crazy. We believe something along the lines of: “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore, every person of every race possesses full dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.” from the BFM 2000.

In order to keep this post short, I’ll close with a few personal remarks. 1) I am convinced that God has given us technology (even medical technology) for good purposes. 2) I am convinced that God expects us to steward (manage) the world we are in charge of, including the use of technology. 3) We as created beings need to use technology (such as medical technology) for good, and at the same time use it without undoing what God has created. To put it simply, I’m not sure that these physical bodies were intended to live forever. The older I get, the more convinced I become, that God allows us to age and become frail so that we realize how dependent on him we really are. Yes, I realize that not everyone will agree with me.

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