Response to Why Christianity & Transhumanism Are Not Enemies by Guillermo Santamaria

By Cris D. Putnam

This is a response to part 1 of Guillermo Santamaria’s article at H+, “Why Christianity & Transhumanism Are Not Enemies.” While I want to make every effort to be charitable and represent his arguments accurately, Santamaria doesn’t seem to understand Christianity. I contend the philosophy of transhumanism is antithetical to Christianity in a fundamental way and I will examine his counterarguments. First, he defines Transhumanism in this way:

First we must state the main tenet of transhumanism.  Transhumanism’s main idea is that the physical limitations of the human body can and should be overcome.  The first goal is supersede the limitations of our biology, with the eventual goal of merging our bodies with machines, most likely the computers, rendering us cyborgs.  The ultimate goal of this movement might be the installation of consciousness inside an otherwise artificial machine.

While Christianity and TH may have similar goals, they are antithetical. Christians also believe that the physical limitations of our bodies will be overcome but I will show that far from being a compatible vision, transhumanism is an alternative vision. One elevates man, the other elevates Christ. Santamaria seeks to mitigate this hopeless inversion. His first argument is:

Just because some members of the transhumanist community are atheists is not enough of a reason for those who believe in a personal God to reject their research and results. No technology should be judged primarily on the metaphysical beliefs of those who developed it.

I have no problem with this. I would drive a car  designed by an atheist. So what? This is non controversial. He misses the point in that our argument is not that transhumanism is incompatible because atheists are involved, rather that its philosophy is atheistic. What exactly is God’s role in transhumanism? It offers a competing vision, it is an alternative to Christian hope. Do you trust in God’s promise for eternal life or would you rather upload your consciousness to a machine? They are alternative eschatologies, the law of the excluded middle applies. But of course, he does not see it that way and lays down a challenge:

The critical question is, is there anything in the goals of the transhumanist community that inherently goes against Christianity? We answer no and we will demonstrate why.

Of course he has already missed the forest for the trees, the fact that we have similar goals is exactly the problem! It is not the goals of the TH community but the means of achieving them. They want to achieve immortality by their own effort instead of trusting God.  This is the opposite of faith. Because he fails to recognize this, all of his subsequent arguments are all self defeating. He cites the account in John 11 of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead as support. He argues that Jesus chose life extension as his means to authenticate his Messianic status. Jesus was demonstrating his authority over death, so that one might believe in Him (Jn 20:30-31). But he was not advocating life extension on its own merits. To the contrary, the dominant overarching theme of Christian life is dying to self. John the Baptist understood this, speaking of Christ, “He must increase, but I must decrease”(Jn 3:30). We die to self and selfish ambitious so that Christ may increase. While this is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, the Christian does play a part. In Romans, Paul extols both practice of virtues and avoidance of evils (Rom. 12:9, 16–17). Believers put to death the works of the body (Rom. 8:13) and present their bodies a living sacrifice:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.(Ro 12:1-2)

Transhumanism is about human augmentation and glorification. It is fleshly and worldly, a work of the body (Rom 8:13). Christianity is about humility and sacrifice.  It is of the Spirit. It calls one to die to oneself and one’s desires so that Christ may increase. Unfortunately, Santamaria has missed Jesus’ primary message for the Christian:

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”(Mt 16:24–25)

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”(Jn 12:24–25)

This brings the incompatibility with life extension into sharp relief. Transhumanism is openly hostile to Christ’s teaching. Paul understood this and also taught it clearly:

“always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.(2 Co 4:10–12)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.(Ga 2:20)

Furthermore, he fails to understand that the promise of God to the Christian is that the limitations of our physical body will be overcome not in a cold, hard, lifeless machine but a glorious spiritual body:

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O death, where is your victory?

O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Cor 15)

Transhumanism is a substitute vision for Christian hope. It is opposed to Christ.  In the sense that the prefix “anti” means “instead of” it is antichrist. In truth, it is attempting to supplant the promises of God through humanly contrived means. It is offering the same things but not through Christ, rather technology. It’s a very poor trade. Transhumanism will ultimately fail because it fundamentally misunderstands consciousness as I have written about here. Ultimately, Christians are in a process that makes the transhumanism seem tawdry and sad. Do not accept the imitation. I urge you to forego the faux, pick up your cross and follow Christ. Jesus’ message was not about life extension but being born again to a new life (Jn 3:3).

Read more about it from me and my friends Chuck Missler, Tom Horn, Gary Stearman, Carl Teichrib, Mike Bennett aka “Dr Future”, Sharon Gilbert, Noah Hutchings and more! Get a signed copy of Pandemonium’s Engine here for $10.00

About Cris Putnam
Logos Apologia is the ministry of Cris D. Putnam. The mission of Logos Apologia is to show that logic, science, history and faith are complementary, not contradictory and to bring that life-changing truth to everybody who wants to know.

Comments

  1. Mark says:

    I find it strange, even almost comical with how religions still seek to condemn mankind to eternal ignorance and subjection.
    Think about this. The most novice of paramedics can perform “miracles” by administering CPR. Something a person named John, Peter, Luke, Mark or Matthew in the bible would have wrote down as acts of god (miracles).

    The tenets of christianity are faith. Some believe in works. And even more believe in both. Which in itself has evolved.
    Faith is a dangerous concept in the treating of your fellow man of diseases. Works by themselves is nothing without some education in the subject. If a man had a head injury. Working on his foot would not eleviate the problem. Just as chanting something in Latin, killing animals or children, praying to statues or evaluating by the phase of the moon will do nothing to correct the injury.

    Don’t you think it’s past the time of superstious thought that has brought so much misery to mankind? Even though the intentions may have been good. The vain and perverted way of religions have stunted man’s natural way and tormented his offspring must meet it’s final demise. And go the way of the dunken stool, self mutilation, witch burnings, animal/child sacrifice, slavery, inquisitions and crusades.

  2. Nelson says:

    As a theological noncognitivist (hard-line ignostic), the language of the theologian has no relativistic meaning. The Christian Bible is no more than one of many indefensibly allegorical religious manuscripts subject to interpretive bias and ridden with both intentional and unintentional gross errors in transliteration, the result of hundreds of years of dogmatic and pathologically elitist control and oppression of the masses by church leaders. In other words…it’s BS. Give me the demonstrably certain future of life extension technologies any day over the empty promises of a belief system which, after thousands of years of force feeding the masses its religious doctrine, often at the expense of the deaths of millions, has failed to produce the fruits of its eschatology. No thank you..

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Nelson, I agree theology has no relativistic meaning but it does have objective meaning. Thanks for clarifying that. I wonder if you have any evidence for your view or are you just repeating things you’ve heard. You seem to believe the Bible is a product of some elitist conspiracy? What led you to that conclusion?

  3. philosopher says:

    Let transhumanist con men talk of things they have no idea about, and you’ll get plenty of rubbish. I’d compare transhumanists to children, but vile, vicious, completely self-centered, and above all, utterly clueless children would be a more correct comparison.

    I can’t speak for Christianity, but one thing that I can certainly say is that “consciousness” (which no one, least of all transhumanists, can even properly define) can be connected only to certain chemical structures. One can think of such chemical structures as sending and receiving antennas. Some say that DNA acts as an antenna, and that is truer than they think.

    In other words, a natural structure has to be in resonance with “consciousness” in order to “host” it. Hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen (biological components) form such structures, while heavier elements (like silicon, germanium, metals, and all the rest used in electronic components) are absolutely useless in that regard. No resonance – no “consciousness” in a structure, regardless of how “smart” that structure may appear to a pseudo-scientist.

    “Ghost in a shell” (that is, a consciousness in a machine) is a fictional concept that has no connection to reality, whatsoever. Any machine that is not based on hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen is simply a high-level *dumb* information processor. A mere “improved” successor of today’s computers.

    But, just to be fair, not all biological structures have “consciousness” worth mentioning. Or, in Christian terms, not everything that looks like a human has a soul. Those who have are saved, and those who don’t have are just (incredibly complex) biological machines.

    One doesn’t try to save a (non-existent) soul of a desktop computer, so why should one try to save a (non-existent) soul of a biological machine, even if the said machine looks exactly human? It’s really not that hard to tell the difference if one cares to look closely enough.

  4. Danbug says:

    Hey. I don’t mind if these people want to trust their lives and souls to man made machines — just so long as they don’t force their false gods and flawed technology on me.
    I’ve been a computer expert since 1983, and I’m hear to tell you that the human body is much more reliable than anything man has created. These people can keep their delusions of grandure, and perhaps they’ll eventually learn that God knows what he is doing.

  5. Mark says:

    Of course Christianity is a conspiracy. So is it’s precedent Judaism. I can trace the Holy Roman emporers to the Egyptian Order of the Snake around 2700BCE. All of middle eastern religions intersect in Egypt. From the beginnings in Sumer to the Mormon church. I can list the financiers and kings/priest that have sought to control mankind through the “church”.
    Just read the torah. You will find out that the father of so-called Judaism is/was a Sumerian. Abram was born and raised in Ur (Iraq). He traveled to Egypt and studied the Mysteries in the TEMPLE. He became very wealthy from his inituation into the Mystery Schools. Abraham was chosen to lead a nomadic tribe to invade and steal the wealth from weaker tribes in Mesopatamia. The “booty” was then shipped back to Abraham’s masters in Egypt.
    The same can be said of an Egyptian called Moses. He to was an Initiant of the Mystery Schools in Egypt.

    It’s sad that the fake tribe that controls Hollywood has duped the population into believing these TEMPLE AGENTS were some kind of shepards or men of goodwill.
    If you wish to find out where your religion came from. Just follow the bloody trail of money. From there you will clearly see the desception used to oppress the resisters and subjugate the masses.

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Mark,

      You have made a lot of strong claims but you have presented no evidence. Why should anyone believe you? What led you to this conclusion?

  6. Nelson says:

    Cris, in light of philosophers excellent and thought provoking post, and because I have just finished reading two equally inspiring books-“Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos” by Dr. Ervin Laszlo, and “Radical Nature: The Soul of Matter”, by Christian De Quincey (which I would highly recommend), I am finding more and more that the human body, the universe itself and the incredibly complex and diverse ecosystems we live amongst speak to the existence of an organizing cosmic principle that the materialist cannot adequately dismiss. If you wish to refer to this organizing principle as “God”, then who am I to judge? In any event, you have my vote as a clearly intelligent, well versed and courteous host.

    As for my assessment of the Bible, you have to admit it has quite a checkered history and is a controversial read, perhaps no more so than any other religious dogma which seeks to divide the world into “believers” and “unbelievers”, however, with respect to the church itself, I stand by my conviction that too many authoritarian elements within the Christian religion have, historically speaking, sought to subjugate the movements detractors at the end of a sword, be it a metaphorical or literal one, to eschew any virtue it might have as more than simply another polarizing “belief system”…

    • Cris Putnam says:

      Nelson,

      I agree that church history is troubling. I just finished 2 semesters in graduate school on Church History. I am appalled by the Popes and those who abused the word of God for their own ends. However, I would remind you that the biblical worldview tells us man is prone to disobedience and that that worldview also includes a highly intelligent supernatural enemy that seeks to counterfeit God’s work and deceive humanity. The Bible itself does not really have a checkered history, rather it is the best attested piece of literature in all of ancient history. We have more ancient manuscripts of the New Testament than any other book. Many fragments within 100 years or so composition. This is unparalleled by anything else. We have every reason tom believe the text is accurate to what the original authors wrote. So how do you get from there to believing it is truth? The resurrection of Jesus. The evidence is actually very compelling that it occurred. In this way God authenticated Jesus’ message and he authenticated the Old Testament. I made a few videos on this which I posted to You Tube:
      That Amazing Creed in 1 Corinthians 15
      The Resurrection Challenge

      Have you ever considered that the evidence for the Resurrection shows that the “organizing principle” you observe actually brought Jesus back from the dead?

  7. Natalie says:

    Cris! i read Guillermo’s article also. this critique is great. Thanks so much!

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