Are humans grasping for the hand of self-divinity?
There is an idea that is trending among many of our movers and shakers. It is the idea that humans can and will become something more than they are and have been through the power of technology. This movement is called Transhumanism.
It has prominent advocates such as tech billionaires, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, which also have a large media presence in our society. Other powerful adherents, Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerburg publicly cite the works of one of the most zealous promoters, Yuval Noah Harari, an Israeli public intellectual and best-selling author. His statements on the topic are stunning, which we will come back to a little later when we discuss the darker side of Transhumanism.
"A different species entirely"
These enthusiasts talk of the lame walking and the blind seeing, creating an earthly utopia where benevolent gods walk among us in the form of A.I. or Artificial Intelligence. The belief is this will solve the great problems of the human race, physical and moral weakness, and even cure death itself! They speak of humans being the first evolutionary step to becoming something amazing. This will be achieved by taking control and directing ourselves in the evolutionary process. Promoters of Transhumanism describe the progression as starting from smartphones to virtual reality, then brain-computer interfaces, also known as BCI’s, to brain chips being surgically implanted, which has led to an internet of bodies and biohacking, leading to the path of greatness that is envisioned.
But, as you look deeper into the vision that Transhumanism lays out, there is a looming dark side to this evolution, by not adapting to these “upgrades” many will not only be left behind, but they will become of a different species entirely! This “problem” population will be entertained by a combination of drugs and video games according to Yuval Noah Harari. This is eugenics 2.0, repackaged for the 21st-century audience. Only part of humanity is to be raised which is a deeply troubling prospect.
The Call To Christians
This brings us to our duty as Christians, what are we to make of this equally terrifying but glorious hope of Transhumanism? This innovation by all accounts leaves out any religious transcendence, guided alone by science, reason, and the desires of self. This progress strives to end the human longing for the divine by becoming the divine ourselves. There is no barrier or taboo to this bending of the universe to our desires, which indeed, to Transhumanism is our duty.
In contrast, Christianity has always stood opposed to the unbridled pursuit of power, restraining the strong from oppressing the weak. It has also been a bulwark against any idea that attempts to recreate man. As important as both of those are, there is something greater, the opportunity to reach young people through the hope of Transhumanism.
I often talk to young people about the parallel between the Christian hope and Transhumanism hope. There is a deep desire to live forever in a utopia, for this is how God made us. He is the one that leads us to transcend this life, but not by a tower of our own making. Transhumanism is a substitution of the real hope we are made for. Both beliefs intersect at several points, connection to superhuman intelligence, death of the old man and being reborn without flaw and, the internet of bodies and the body of Christ. When questions are being posed such as the one by Oxford University Transhumanist, Elise Bohan, is there a future beyond our “ape-brained meat sacks”, we have the answer.
Photo by Michelangelo Buonarroti: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-in-white-long-sleeve-shirt-8721723/