Traditional-Religious Transhumanists like “Pastor” Alex McGilvery and Lincoln Cannon have articulated their views extensively at IEET in recent months, in essays followed by contentious debates. McGilvery and Cannon believe there’s easy compatibility between their creeds and H+. I welcome them, happily, because I want H+ to be a “Big Tent” with acceptance for everybody. That said, I fervently disagree with their theistic opinions. Wildly, totally, absolutely, passionately, face-squinched-up-in-an-angry-scowl Disagree.
What are McGilvery-and-Cannon thinking? I wonder. God/Religion is Lunacy!
Why does their theism make me crazy? Because, IMO, it is illogical, scientifically obtuse, and primitively deluded about Hope. Below I present my own Atheist-Transhumanist perspective:
“A good ‘God’ can’t exist,” scoffs by twelve-year-old daughter. “There’s too much murder, sickness and death in the world; an all-powerful ‘God’ would have to be mean, bad, extremely cruel, to create a world like this.”
Her point-of-view isn’t unusually nihilistic; it was my POV when I was her age. Additionally, I teach a Debate class at her middle school - every ‘tween and teen atheist in attendance asserts the same remarks. (About 50% are anti-religionist, especially the children of scientists employed at nearby UC San Francisco.) The World Was Created With Horrific Flaws, the children contend.
For example, almost all living beings murder and eat other living beings. That’s just totally, violently gross! Plus, there’s Pain, Sadness, Sickness and Death. An All-Powerful God who invented that “Natural Order” would just be… Evil!
My daughter is currently writing a term paper for her social studies class. Her topic - inspired equally by affection for Atheism and The Hunger Games - is titled, “Child Sacrifice in the Bible.” What she uncovered is quite illuminating.
The Old Testament God (Yahweh, Jehovah) was literally a bloodthirsty deity, with an appetite similar to other regional gods. Yahweh enjoyed blood sacrifices, reasoned the early Israelites. How did they arrive at this savage conclusion? Because, they surmised, why else would He create a world where human life was short, brutal, painful, tragic, abbreviated rudely in pestilences, famines, and massacres?
Answer: God likes to watch people die!
Human sacrifice was a prevalent, well-established tradition in the ancient world, for precisely this reason. BC and early AD priests believed that the blood-lust of God could be appeased through human sacrifice. Giving Him what He wanted up-front in horrendous rituals, they believed, was far better than pissing Him off with disrespect or neglect, and getting punished for it via battle defeat/genocide or a plague.
To honor and satiate the Creators:
* Phoenicians and Carthaginians roll their babies down the bronze arms of Moloch and Baal statuary, into pits of fire. (Jeremiah 19.5, etc.)
* Jephthah sacrifices his daughter Iphis to Yahweh in thanks for a wartime victory. (Judges 11:1-40)
* Abraham is willing to slice his blade across Isaac’s throat, before an angel halts him. (Genesis 22:2-12)
* Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphegenia to the goddess Artemis, so winds will guide his ships to Troy.
* Patriarchs in the Levant murder their eldest sons at newly-built fortification walls, to ingratiate their gods.
* Mesh, King of the Moabites, sacrificially burns his son to death, for the god Chemosh (II Kings 3:27)
* Joshua, directed by Yahweh, eliminates Jericho’s population - all men, women, children. (Joshua 6:25)
* Israelites, advised by Yahweh, annihilate Midiamites, Amalekites, Ethiopians, people of Laish and Ai, etc.
* Yahweh slays all the first-born sons of Egypt (Exodus 11:29-30)
* Mayans and Aztecs cut living hearts out of thousands of victims on their pyramids, to honor celestial deities.
* Romans strangle enemy generals in front of a statue of Mars.
* In Celtic rituals, victims for the god Esus are hanged, but Taranus wants his offerings burned alive, and Teutales likes his drowned.
* etc., etc., etc.
Was this artery-spurting tradition reversed in the New Testament? Absolutely not.
Christianity itself is based on blatant Filicide, i.e., Jesus was sent to Earth by his Father (God) as a human sacrifice, to redeem humanity. The Deity’s willingness to transport “only begotten son” to Earth as a victim - thorn-crowning, scourging, and crucifixion torture - is regarded by the era (and still is?!) as a normal, sophisticated gesture of religious sincerity. The barbarism of this event is reflected with hemoglobin-smeared realism in “The Passion” film by Mel Gibson, and the validity of it’s function is lauded in the Epistles: “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrew 9:22). Primitivity is continued in the Eucharist sacrament; a cannibalism ritual where devotees drink the blood and eat the flesh of Jesus.
One of my points-of-view here is that the Old Testament God - with His wrath, revenge, and vampiric lust for human annihilation - is actually a more honest, clear-eyed, and accurate portrayal of Nature’s Creator, than his parable-spouting, heaven-promising, poverty-is-blessed Jesus-the-Son successor. The Old Testament God kills us and causes suffering, even if we obey his numerous petty and aggressive demands. This is, of course, What Life Really Gives Us. Even if we do everything correctly, morally and physically, we’re still going to get tormented by Biological Nature with deterioration, decay, and death. Life also offers laughs, love and mental and emotional ecstasies, but our joys can conclude miserably any minute. Pain and Demise are Inevitable.
Heaven, of course, is an ambiguous, farcical hope. In actuality, there’s no escape offered by Nature / The Deity. Why would we trust Him anyway? He’s subjected homo sapiens to sadistic cruelties ever since we emerged as a species. We’ve all been compelled to exist within the boundaries of Nature’s Cruelty; ie. the incipient suffering in sentient life.
Theism, in my opinion, is a long weak attempt to understand the maliciousness of “God” and reach acceptance with the amoral laws of Nature. Religion is the pablum for our collective Thanatophobia.
Every compromising, cringing creed attempts to justify the Deity’s violent game called Life-and-Death with reasons like, “our reward for obedience is Heaven,” or “suffering brings us closer to Jesus because He suffered for us,” and “we can’t possibly comprehend Him because he’s so much Wiser than us, so let’s just have Faith.” The majority of religionists - when questioned about the despicable malevolence of “God’s Plan” - flaccidly recommend prayer, penance, and acceptance. Instead of viewing Death as the wretched ruination of our lives, traditional religion accepts the notion that we are all “sacrificed” for a higher cause. Death is thus accommodated, even glorified.
What are our choices? Are we doomed to either:
1) Deluding ourselves with sophomoric, self-belittling religions, bleating piteously like Jesus’s lambs.
2) Existing in anger at our circumstances, hating Life because we hate Death
Both selections above are miserable. However, I believe TransHumanism offers humanity a Third Option.
Our eventual escape from Pain and Death, our release from atrocious degrading lethal diseases, has always been and will always be via Human Accomplishment. No Deity has ever, or will ever, assist us. Technological achievements that reduce life’s squalor, brutality and pain, are invented by humans, not deities.
Eventually… soon… finally… Death will be destroyed! Human ingenuity and determination will Triumph!
To escape the carnivorous grip of of our enemy - Death - we must overcome the nefarious, corroding intentions of the “natural order” - we will control our own evolution - we will “Transcend the Biological.”
Opponents of this H+ vision are (quite often) religionists who are horrified that H+ rebels - arrogantly, in their opinion - against “God’s Plan” and “What is ‘Natural.’” Religionists are (quite often) an obstacle to progress - it would be better if they utilized their reverent passion in a “Crusade Against the Monstrosity of God’s Homicide of Humanity,” or a “Jihad Against Suffering.”
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. (1 Corinthians 15:26)
Humanity needs to unite itself in the Common Task, to exterminate the causes of our extermination.
When radical-and-indefinite life extension arrives in 30-60 years, what will Traditional Religion look like, in retrospect?
A Long, Mumbling Distraction. A Blind-Eyed, Pathetic Conciliation. An Idiotic Conglomeration of Useless Irrational Rubbish.