Evangelical Christian or Transhumanist? A Quiz

Test your knowledge!

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Jun 14 2015, 11:00am

Ray Kurzweil. Image: Alfred Essa/Flickr

YAY-YUH-SUH! I shall be saved! Eternal life is mine, sayeth the Kurzweil!

Forget about down home revivalist preachin' on the banks of the Missipp', come to Silicon Valley, where eternal life can be yours. Together we shall upload our consciousnesses into nanobot swarms and roam the universe, our souls filling the void between the stars, dancing with comets, making sweet love to solar systems yet unknown. The Rapture is coming. The Singularity is near. Don't be left behind!

*ahem*

Am I the only one who finds transhumanism's religious overtones...well, creepy as fuck? Technology is cool and all, but transhumanists' belief in the overwhelming goodness and necessity of any given innovation has me clutching my pearls. Nuclear weapons were a good idea? SRSLY? I suppose mustard gas was a big step forward for mankind. And let's not get started on mass surveillance.

Transhumanism has a lot in common with evangelical Christianity—both, so far as I can tell, are a refuge in nonsense. So I put together this little quiz.

Can you tell the difference between the two religions?

1. Believe, and ye shall be saved.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

Faith is critical to salvation, whether you worship Yahweh or science.

"We reject divine inspiration and other metaphysical approaches to arriving at truth. Instead we rely on reason, rational thought, and the scientific method as our tools to guide us down our path. The past century has shown us some of the wonders we can achieve when we properly direct our efforts. But these tools can also lead us to destruction and chaos if put to the wrong use. We must be ever vigilant and hold to the tenets of our faith."

-Church of Transhumanism

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

-John 3:16

2. I'm gonna live forever. YEE-HAW!

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

Why pray to God when you can become God?

"We have the means right now to live long enough to live forever. Existing knowledge can be aggressively applied to dramatically slow down aging processes so we can still be in vital health when the more radical life extending therapies from biotechnology and nanotechnology become available."

-Ray Kurzweil

"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."

-John 5:24

3. The Rapture is coming, when all shall be lifted to a new, higher plane of existence.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

Transhumanists call it the "Singularity," but same diff.

"As we gradually learn to harness the optimal computing capacity of matter, our intelligence will spread through the universe at (or exceeding) the speed of light, eventually leading to a sublime, universe wide awakening."

--Ray Kurzweil, The Singularity Is Near

"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words."

-1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

4. Human beings have souls.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

If you had enough punch cards, could you store this soul thingy on one of Chuck Babbage's newfangled Difference Engines?

"We have a soul and it is informational in nature. The soul, by definition, is the center of our being, the essence of who we are. In most religious systems the soul is seen as a metaphysical entity not of this world. We do not accept the supernatural definition of the soul, and instead provide a rational, scientific definition of what constitutes our soul."

-Church of Transhumanism

"Our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life (our human spirit) will go back to God, who gave it to us."

-Ecclesiastes 12:7

5. We will become all-powerful god-like spirit creatures.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: B, Transhumanist.

Transhumanists believe that we could become like gods in the future. Christians believe in eternal life, but even in heaven God is still top dude.

"Some of the prospects that used to be the exclusive thunder of the religious institutions, such as very long lifespan, unfading bliss, and godlike intelligence, are being discussed by transhumanists as hypothetical future engineering achievements."

-Transhumanist FAQ

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever."

-Psalm 23:6

6. You abhor this husk of flesh you inhabit, and long for higher things.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

"We're going to become increasingly non-biological to the point where the non-biological part dominates and the biological part is not important any more."

-Ray Kurzweil

"I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable."

-1 Corinthians 15:50

7. If eternal life bores you, you can kill yourself.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: B, Transhumanist.

In fabulous tomorrowland, if you get bored with your god-like powers somewhere between here and the as-yet undiscovered Gandalf Cluster, just blow your brains to nano-smithereens. Don't worry. No one's going to mind.

"If eternal life becomes boring, you will have the option of ending it at any time."

-Transhumanist FAQ

"And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Matthew 25:46

8. Be nice to each other.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

Nothing like a little Golden Rule to make eternity pass smoothly.

"Kindness pays huge dividends. Express it often!"

-Zoltan Istvan

"Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets."

-Matthew 7:12

9. Only the Chosen shall have eternal life.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: C, both.

Because only billionaires will be able to afford to upload into nanobat swarms, they will quickly enslave the rest of us meatbags. But don't worry. We'll be plugged into a virtual reality matrix that makes us think we'll all-powerful spirit creatures. Not a bad second best, amiright?

"One can speculate that some technologies may cause social inequalities to widen. For example, if some form of intelligence amplification becomes available, it may at first be so expensive that only the wealthiest can afford it. The same could happen when we learn how to genetically enhance our children. Those who are already well off would become smarter and make even more money."

-Transhumanist FAQ

"Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left."

-Matthew 24:40-41

10. Humans rule the world, and animals exist to serve us.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: A, Christian.

"Transhumanists reject speciesism, the (human racist) view that moral status is strongly tied to membership in a particular biological species, in our case homo sapiens. ...Transhumanists insist that all beings that can experience pain have some moral status, and that posthuman persons could have at least the same level of moral status as humans have in their current form."

-Transhumanist FAQ

"Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

-Genesis 1:25-26

11. We can go back to the Garden of Eden.

A) Christian

B) Transhumanist

C) Both

Answer: B, Transhumanist.

A clean pre-industrial world can be ours, if only we had just a little bit more industrialization.

"Once we develop molecular nanotechnology, we will not only have clean and efficient manufacturing of almost any commodity, but we will also be able to clean up much of the mess created by today's crude fabrication methods. This would set a standard for a clean environment that today's traditional environmentalists could scarcely dream of."

-Transhumanist FAQ

"After he had expelled the man, the LORD God placed winged angels at the eastern end of the garden of Eden, along with a fiery, turning sword, to prevent access to the tree of life."

-Genesis 3:24

The key element of both transhumanism and evangelical Christianity is to distract ourselves from the cares of everyday life--not to mention the hard challenges that press upon us from every side--with unrealistic dreams of a heavenly future that is always "just a generation away."

Marx called religion "the opiate of the masses." What would he call transhumanism, I wonder?