You might have missed it, but the first Christian Transhumanist Conference was held in Nashville last month. Hosted by the Christian Transhumanist Association, the conference took place at Lipscomb University with the goal to prompt “conversations about where technology is going, what it means to advocate for positive, relational values for our human future,” in the words of the association’s director Micah Redding.
In layman’s terms, Christian transhumanists want to download their brains into a computer so that they can live forever.
Okay, to be fair, that previous statement doesn’t provide the complete picture of what Christian transhumanism is all about. The association’s purpose statement on their website says, “While many expressions of transhumanism are secular or anti-religious, transhumanism itself is simply a philosophy which states that we should use science and technology to make the world (including humanity) better.”
Because transhumanism is usually associated with atheists, the Christian Transhumanist Association makes a point of detailing their Christian beliefs in a short creed:
We understand our Christian faith to affirm humans as scientific and technological creatures—creatures who create and discover, and who are commissioned to cultivate life, create new things, and renew the world. We further understand our Christian mission to charge us with healing, feeding, and restoring life—activities which provoke us to scientific and medical innovations, just as they have throughout Christian history.
A more detailed statement of their beliefs can be read here.
Fundamentally, Christian transhumanists fail to understand Jesus’ primary objective during his earthly ministry. Because of that misunderstanding, they also fail to properly prioritize the mission of Christians.
In Luke 19:10, Jesus tells Zacchaeus, “the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Fleshing that mission statement out further, in John 10:10 Jesus says, “I came that [sinners] may have life and have it abundantly.”
Both progressive “Christianity” and adherents of the so-called Prosperity “Gospel” flatten Jesus’ teaching out and operate under the belief that this life is all-important. On the other hand, while recognizing that the gospel of Jesus Christ does have ethical implications for this life, true Christianity understands and teaches that our true hope and longing is for the new heavens and new earth. Our primary focus regarding others is to make disciples — to call people to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus.
Christian transhumanists aren’t wrong for working toward human flourishing through technology. They’re wrong for believing that’s the primary mission of Christianity. They also fail to understand that our hope isn’t in this life nor in our broken, sinful bodies (our souls are also broken and sinful).
The reality is that there is no evidence to suggest that the outer limits of transhumanists’ goals are even achievable. Placing any hope in the ability to manipulate technology to the point where all human suffering is eradicated reveals that transhumanists are placing their faith in man and not God.