Category Archives: christianity in technology

Eternal life on Earth? How can Christians participate with transhumanists?

Among the lofty goals of transhumanists is to guide human evolution so that we can live forever. Here on Earth.

If that notion alarms you, you are not alone. Russell Moore says the principles of transhumanism and Christianity are irreconcilably antithetical.

The idea of “Christian transhumanists is somewhat like having a carnivorous vegan society,” says the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. “They are completely contradictory. Scripture tells us how to transcend death, and it’s not through our own technology or prowess.”

But have Christians cried wolf too many times? How many times have we identified the number 666 with bar codes, chip implants or even vaccines? We must not ignore the pledge of worship and loyalty to the Beast which is part of Revelation 13.

Micah Redding of the Christian Transhumanist Society says believers need to join the conversation about these advances in science collectively known as transhumanism, not rail against it from the pulpit and assume an anti-scientific posture.

If you thought the current transgender craze is insane, just wait until transhumanism kicks into high gear.

It is from the realm of medical science that we are seeing the first advances in transhumanism. Researchers now are able to implant prosthetics that interface with the nervous system. Patients can “feel” and guide their hand (or foot) because of a sophisticated adaptation to the body’s neurons (which transmit signals to the brain by mimicable chemical-electrical impulses).

From there, transhumanists say we can replace body parts, rejuvenate the brain, splice in genes to remove disease and re-craft the human body to extend natural longevity to ridiculous numbers of years. Some predict lifespans returning to the pre-Flood days of Methuselah.

All of that sounds incredible. But some of the modifications on the human body made possible by science are troubling, especially when it comes to gene-splicing.

In 2017, scientists replaced a mutation in the genetic code of a baby to eliminate a heart defect. The baby was born with a perfect, healthy heart.

That’s cool.

Let’s take it one step further. Can we create a superhuman? Can we splice in super-intelligence, good looks, musical talent?

Will rogue nations like China create an army of genetically modified super soldiers, with the stamina of a horse, the eyesight of an eagle, the muscular build of a baboon?

Will the threat that our rivals may be developing super soldiers constitute the next arms race and force our hand on a matter of dark, highly questionable ethics?

Already, the US’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) produces bullet proof material from spider webs produced in the milk of goats that have spider genes spliced in. What other technologies is the super-secretive DARPA doing?

If those questions aren’t troubling enough, another one is this: Will the genetical-modified super soldiers join together, turn against us and take over? The movie the Matrix might prove less science fiction and more science fact sooner or later, though with some variation.

The concept of these “transhumans” is very much a part of the current scientific dialogue, which bases itself on the assumption of evolution. By mutation and natural selection, man and all species evolved, according to Darwin’s theory.

Now, the transhumanists say, humans must take matters into our own hands to guide our own evolution. To not do so would be to risk extinction, they claim.

Most Christians would take exception to that language. It precludes God’s hand in creation and His sovereignty. The brash atheism of the majority of transhumanists is enough to turn off most Christians.

“It is a terrifying development in our culture. It’s part of the breakdown of our culture because it’s a breakdown of distinctions” established by God, says devout Jew Barak Lurie, a real estate lawyer in Los Angeles. “With transhumanism it’s very clear to me that it defies God’s overall plan for us. Your friend could come in with big eagle’s wings so that he can now fly. You don’t know whether to call him an eagle or a man, or a combination of a frog and eagle and a man. There are many reasons why God gives us animals, but it’s not to become one of them.”

A man with eagle’s wings? Such a notion is not merely in the realm of comic books. In 2016, scientists in Japan “grew” an ear on the back of a rat to be harvested and implanted into kids mauled by pitbulls. Reverse the process from animal to man and it wouldn’t be far-fetched for a person to develop animal parts.

If the story of Frankenstein science doesn’t unnerve you, how about “uploading” your brain to the computer, a goal of the AI transhumanists. Since the brain works by electrical impulse to warehouse memories, could scientists learn and copy its functions to the point that you could upload your consciousness to a computer and subsequently download it to another body in the future? Read the rest: What should Christians think of transhumanism?

Ministry in tech: James Kelly and Christian hackathons

Eight thousand people a month searched Google in Canada to ask about suicide and the first article at the top of the search page is: “Seven Painless Ways to Commit Suicide.”

This fact disturbed James Kelly and he resolved to do something by marrying Christianity to technology.

But the young minister in Waterloo, Ontario, didn’t know what he could do. Fortunately, he knew guys who could, techies who were Christians but didn’t know what role they could fill in the church. They didn’t want to do public speaking, and they couldn’t strum a guitar. They were nerds. What could they do for Jesus?

James gathered a bunch of them together in a coffee shop 2016 and asked how to solve the suicide search conundrum on Google. They went to work on the assignment and managed to place a website on top that offers hope and persuades despairing people to NOT take their lives.

A year later, a team member was talking about the site to a friend who suddenly seized her arm with eyes widening. What was the URL? she asked. The team member answered. The friend started misting in her eyes. Just the night before, she contemplated suicide and searched Google.

“I landed on that website and that site saved my life,” she confided.

The URL is howtokillyourself.org, which is a strategy to respond to the search terms. But inside the website there is encouragement for people struggling. There’s a video about Kevin Hines, who attempted and regretted suicide. The three tenets are: you are not alone, here’s information, here’s a phone number.

“Did anyone know where he could build a website that could literally save people’s lives?” James asks on a This Is Me TV video. “The Lord’s like, yep.”

Today, James leads FaithTech, a place where Christian technology is a thing. Since starting in Waterloo, it has grown to major cities in Canada with “hackathons,” events where techies brainstorm solutions for ministries and kingdom business. It has inspired knockoffs in the United States.

James was drawn toward trouble like many 13-year-olds. He had begun to dabble in the party scene. But his dad slapped a Bible down in front of him and asked him to meditate for a couple hours on Matthew 7:13: Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

Kelly got it. Instead of living wobbly faith, he made the convictions his own, got baptized and put on a Jesus bracelet, which he would deliberately leave on the table to witness.

His dad and siblings were all business majors in college, so he followed suit. But when he consulted a mentor, he got clarity as to what he most wanted to do in life: usher people into the Kingdom.

With his wife, he lived in South Sudan for three months to see what the rest of the world looked like. From that experience, he determined not to do “parachute ministry” — live in a rich neighborhood and land in a poor neighborhood for short-term ministry.

Along with more than a dozen other young, earnest Christians, he moved into the poorest neighborhood in town and launched raw ministry with the locals. Read the rest: Ministry in tech: James Kelly and Christian hackathons