TRANSHUMANISM, PART 2: WHO ARE THEY AND WHAT DO THEY BELIEVE?
Increasing intellectual ability and capacity, creating perfect memory, enhancing physical strength, eradicating diseases, erasing disabilities and eliminating death itself–these are the main goals of the transhumanist movement. Whether we know it or not, this crusade to break the boundaries of what it means to be human is gaining steady momentum in a world fueled by computers, devices and nanotechnology. What does this mean for Christians, who must live among this emerging belief system?
Let’s start by defining what transhumanism is. According to the World Transhumanism Association, it’s “a philosophy that advocates for the use of technology in order to overcome our biological limitations and to transform the human condition.” It is also “part of the natural evolution of the human being, or an extension of humanization.”
Transhumanists believe that adding technological implants, as well as editing or inserting DNA in humans, will transform and improve the human condition. The core technologies of transhumanism are: nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technologies, and knowledge sciences. Gene editing and the creation of hybrids are essential components needed for overcoming disease, disabilities and aging. By using these, transhumanists believe man will be able to evolve and live beyond human limits.
Transhumanists want to produce humans who are stronger and more athletic, as well as intellectually superior. Many envision boundaries removed, such as the idea of male and female, or even human and non-human. Their future encompasses a world where man and machine merge. Humans as cyborgs isn’t something to fear, but rather revere. In fact, they even believe humans can have intimate, personal relationships with robots. The ultimate goal, however, is eternal life, even if it means being merged with the digital realm.
The Transhumanist Declaration states: “Humanity will be radically changed by technology in the future. We foresee the feasibility of redesigning the human condition, including such parameters as the inevitability of aging, limitations on human and artificial intellects, unchosen psychology, suffering and our confinement to planet earth… transhumanists advocate the moral right for those who so wish to use technology to extend their mental and physical (including reproductive) capacities and to improve their control over their own lives. We seek personal growth beyond our current biological limitations.”
The idea of transhumanism was introduced in 1957 by Julian Huxley. It started gaining popularity in the 1980’s when the first self-described transhumanists met at the University of California. Fast forward to 2021 and now the movement is being propped up by big tech companies like Google, which created Singularity University in 2008. The inspiration for this university comes from famous transhumanist Ray Kurzweil, who defines singularity as “a future period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed. Understanding the Singularity will alter our perspective on the significance of our past and the ramifications for our future.”
Taking a deep dive into the transhumanist movement means looking at some of its key players and what they seek to accomplish. Let’s start with a very vocal and prominent journalist/entrepreneur by the name of Zoltan Istvan, who ran in the 2016 Presidential election under the Transhumanist Party platform. He could be seen arriving at political rallies in what he dubbed the Immortality Bus. An article highlights the bus this way–“Appearing as a 40-foot coffin, the Immorality Bus will roll down American highways, stopping at rallies and events, instigating the kind of clashes and debates this country (and the world) needs to challenge archaic cultural ideals that are holding science, technology and medicine back. The Immortality Bus aims to usher in the next great civil rights debate: Should we use science and technology to overcome death and become a stronger species?”
If you go to Zoltanistvan.com you can read all about the Transhumanist Bill of Rights. Here’s just a small excerpt of what you’ll find. “Under penalty of law, no cultural, ethnic, or religious perspectives influencing government policy can impede life extension science, the health of the public, or the possible maximum amount of life hours citizens possess…Human beings, sentient artificial intelligences, cyborgs, and other advanced sapient life forms agree to uphold morphological freedom–the right to do with one’s physical attributes or intelligence (dead, alive, conscious, or unconscious) whatever one wants so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.”
In a January 17, 2020 You Tube video, Zoltan Istvan talks about brain implants. He discusses biohacking, which he describes as “putting all sorts of stuff in yourself to monitor what’s going on, and help you do things you can’t do.” Brain implants allow you to “interface directly with machine intelligence.” By doing this, Istvan believes humans will be able to think faster and more efficiently. He says, “In order to have humans keep up with machines, they want to merge our brains with machines so that we can think in real time…the thing in your pocket–cell phone, smart phone– basically can be put in your head through an implant or headset.”
Other popular transhumanists have similar ideas. In an April 2018 Ted Talk, MIT biomechantronics professor Hugh Herr discusses neuro-embodied design. He explains how we can become cyborgs and extend human potential. He says, “In this design process, designers contemplate a future in which technology no longer comprises separate, lifeless tools from our minds and bodies…a future in which technology has been carefully integrated within our nature–a world in which what is biological and what is not, what is human and what is not, what is nature and what is not will be forever blurred. That future will provide humanity new bodies.”
The Word of God promises that believers in Jesus we will receive new bodies one day, but certainly not through technology, and not by becoming cyborgs. 1 Corinthians 15:51-53 flies in the face of the transhumanist movement.
“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies.”
Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk do not understand this biblical concept and continue to pursue transhumanist goals that envision our brains being linked to computers and mobile devices. He’s invested over 100 million dollars in Neuralink, a neurotechnology company developing implantable brain interfaces. The website describes the implant like this: “Micron-scale threads are inserted into areas of the brain that control movement. Each thread contains many electrodes and connects them to an implant, the Link.” One of the goals of the Neuralink implant includes helping patients with paralysis and other neurological disorders. Of course, the possibilities are endless and will go far beyond just these goals.
At the same time, Musk recognizes the dangers of such an advanced, invasive technology. In an October 14, 2019 YouTube video, he highlights these issues and explores what he calls, “democratizing AI.” By this he means that we must keep tight control on the capabilities of AI so they do not control us. He believes “God-like” digital superintelligence can become more dangerous than nuclear warheads. If left unchecked, it could become an “immortal dictator.” Because of this, Musk advocates for oversight in developing AI safely.
There’s one giant problem Elon. It’s called SIN. How can we expect oversight on a technology connected to a movement that takes God out of the equation, and does not recognize the sin that resides within all humans? Without Christ, the purveyors of this technology could try to become gods and wield this power in evil ways. Elon Musk was asked if he believed in God. He said, “I think the universe has to better explain this.” When asked if he prayed, his answer was, “I didn’t even pray when I almost died of malaria.”
The transhumanists want to live forever without God. But we cannot live without the One who created every living thing on earth. We cannot receive eternal life without Jesus Christ. The transhumanists focus on overcoming suffering, disabilities and brokenness, but they don’t realize that the key to eternal life and even agelessness doesn’t lie in technology overcoming these things. It lies in a suffering servant who was broken on the cross for all humans who receive him as Lord and Savior. Transhumanism misses the whole point. Instead of resurrection, they want to keep living in a sinful world indefinitely through the means of a manmade “matrix.”
The Bible tells us that, “our earthly bodies are planted in the ground when we die, but they will be raised to live forever. Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength. They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.”
That my friends, is true transformation and you can’t get this from a machine.
Ray Kurzweil, engineering director of Google, says that as part of his daily routine he ingests 250 supplements, 8-10 glasses of alkaline water and 10 cups of green tea. He also has 40-50 fitness indicators to help track his bodily functions. He dreams of blood-cell size robots (nanobots) that will keep him young and repair his body systems so he can live long enough to see humans reach immortality.
Well Ray, good luck with that. I’m here to tell you that there can be no eternal life without Jesus Christ and you need the Living Water, not alkaline water. If we use artificial intelligence to “google” how to receive eternal life, likely we will not find this powerful truth as the answer. But Christians know more than computers. We have the super powered Word and Holy Spirit which say, “Death is swallowed up in victory…O death, where is your sting? For sin is the sting that results in death…But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 15:54-56. This trumps any transhumanist declaration. Man has his plans, but God says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails,” Proverbs 19:21.
Prayer Points to consider:
Let’s pray for the Lord to change the hearts of transhumanists who do not realize they are on a path to death, rather than a path to life. We should pray that, “God will grant them repentance, leading them to a knowledge of the truth and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will,” 2 Timothy 2:25-26.
Pray for the cessation of technologies that cross the boundaries by manipulating the human body in ways that attempt to fundamentally change who we are as humans.
Open the eyes of Christians and non-Christians so they understand the dangers of this agenda that is disguised as being for the common good.
How else do you think we can respond to the transhumanist movement? Let us know in the comments below!
Angela Rodriguez is an author, blogger and homeschooling Mom who studies the historical and biblical connections between Israel and the United States. You can visit her blogs at 67owls.com and 100trumpets.com. Her latest book, Psalm 91: Under the Wings of Jesus, was just released in June. Photo by IStock.
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