Human Exceptionalism

“Christian Transhumanism” is an Oxymoron

A Presbyterian pastor/ethicist named Mark Douglas has apparently claimed that transhumanism is consistent with Christian theology. Pshaw. They are theologically diametrically incompatible.  From the Toledo Blade story:

Theologically, one can find support in the Bible for transhumanism, he said, citing Scriptures that describe a future change or transformation. For example, I John 3:2 states that we “will be like him, for we will see him as he is.”…

In summarizing the theology of posthumanism, Mr. Douglas said Christianity is shaped by the belief that “God is doing something new to us, and that, therefore, we neither can nor need to transform ourselves.” Rather than naive optimism or nihilistic cynicism, Christians ought to practice “prophetic hope,” he said. “Believe in a better future because God is doing something.”

Good grief.  Christians certainly believe that they will indeed become a new (“glorified”) being–but not “post human,” and certainly not through human efforts.  And Rev. Douglas also seems to embrace a trend I see growing within some Christian circles, which expediently conflates what I want with that which supposedly God wants for me. 

But more fundamentally, transhumanism’s eschatology is incompatible with that of Christianity.  Transhumanism embraces materialism with white-knuckled fervor, believing that its “New Jerusalem” (if I may) will be wholly here, a human creation located in this “place,” that is, in the current “creation” as we know it now.  In contrast, Christian orthodoxy holds that the current reality will “pass away,” and in its place God will create something altogether new, a future reality that is different from the current corporeality, in which Christians will be raised physically but transformed–the same, yet different–and abide for eternity in the very presence of God, in whom most transhumanists disbelieve or find irrelevant– except perhaps, for wanting God’s job.

But the incompatibility is most vividly seen in the two theologies’ contrasting beliefs about suffering: The overarching purpose of transhumanism, its very point, is to avoid suffering–all suffering–whatever the cost and effort that project requires. In contrast, Christians see suffering altogether differently, although there is much confusion in the secular world over this. In Christian theology, suffering can be redemptive. That is not to say that Christians revel in suffering or want others to suffer.  To the contrary, it is a Christian obligation to alleviate and palliate the suffering of humanity whenever possible, that is, to take others’ suffering upon their own shoulders. But suffering can also be a trial to accept with humility and for which to give thanks because it can lead the sufferer and his/her caregivers directly into the unconditionally and eternally loving arms of God.

There is much more that could be said, but I will summarize: “Christian transhumanism” is an oxymoron.

Most Popular

Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Elections

It’s Not Because She’s a Woman

In early October, Elizabeth Warren hit her stride. Her stock in the Democratic primary had been climbing steadily since midsummer, and as Joe Biden continued to lag, the Massachusetts senator became the first presidential hopeful to overtake him as front-runner in the RealClearPolitics polling average. She’s ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Knives Out Takes On the Anti-Immigration Crowd

Since the beginning of the Obama era, the Left has broadcast two contradictory messages on the subjects of race and immigration. The first is that a so-called Coalition of the Ascendant will inevitably displace white Americans as the dominant force in the country’s politics and culture. The second is that ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Film & TV

Clint Eastwood’s Messy, Nuanced Triumph

After a pipe bomb exploded at a concert held to celebrate the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the FBI came to suspect that the security guard who discovered the device might have planted it to gain a reputation as a hero. The knotty story of that security guard, Richard Jewell, does not lend itself ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More
Elections

More Bad News for Medicare for All

The hits keep coming for Medicare for All. Gallup’s annual health-care survey of adults found that Americans back a system based on private insurance rather than government provision by 54 percent to 42 percent. “This could create a challenge in a general election campaign for a Democratic presidential ... Read More