WASHINGTON – A Christian pastor from Florida is promoting acceptance of some forms of transhumanism, saying believers should be open to finding an “ethical alternative” to the complete rejection of the scientific, technical and philosophical transhumanist movement that has already begun.
Rev. Christopher Benek, associate pastor of family ministries and mission at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, writes in the Christian Post that it’s time for the development of “Christian transhumanism.”
“If you have read the The American Conservative’s recent postings about the evolving transhumanist movement, you have likely developed reasonable concerns,” Benek wrote. “People should be dismayed at Zoltan Istvan’s misguided article in TAC from two weeks ago entitled: ‘The Growing World of Libertarian Transhumanism.’ And, if one believes that Istvan’s transhumanism represents all transhumanists, then Kai Weiss’ follow-up piece “Transhumanism is Not Libertarian, It’s an Abomination,” is correct and appropriately titled. But these two depictions do not represent the majority of transhumanist thought. As such I would request: Please folks do not throw the transhumanist-baby out with Zoltan Istvan’s bathwater. There is an ethical transhumanist alternative: Christian Transhumanism.”
Benek says “Christians can make a positive moral impact” on the debate over transhumanism rather than throw the baby out with the bathwater.
“To be clear, transhumanism at its core is not some sci-fi or superhero that will happen in 100 years, concept,” he wrote. “Transhumanism is happening right now. As a pastor serving a local congregation, I see proof of transhumanism in my congregation every day.”
By that, Benek says, people who have hip and knee implants, pacemakers installed and get Lasik eye surgery to enhance vision are dabbling in transhumanism.
“Humanity is evolving beyond its current limitations by way of exponentially increasing advances in science and technology,” he says.
He cautions that Christians should not conclude “transhumanism is all bad.”
“I say this because holding an overly dogmatic position in a quickly developing technological movement is likely to leave one looking hypocritical in the long run,” he says. “Case in point: If scientists figure out a way to affordably use CRISPR technology to edit the human genome to eliminate the possibility of getting cancer – no one is reasonably going to reject that technological advancement.”
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Benek also promotes a new organization called the Christian Transhumanist Association, for which he serves as founding chairman. He says the group has 755 members and 2,000 Facebook likes.
“Just this past June of 2017, the CTA formalized the addition of a seven-member academic advisory council made up of renowned academics with the intent of establishing ‘a center of positive engagement at the intersection of Christianity, Transhumanism, and the academic world,'” he writes. “It appears that, every single day, the CTA’s numbers and influence are on the rise.”
He added, “Christians have the opportunity to radically influence the direction that transhumanism takes in the future. Morally guided, community discerned, Christian transhumanism offers a legitimate alternative to utilitarian, atheistic transhumanism.”