Sunday, July 27, 2014
Saturday, July 26, 2014
What follows is just a few of the archaeological discoveries that lend serious support to the historicity of the Sacred Scriptures.
This is the oldest known reference to Yahweh, the personal name of God found in Exodus 3. That is, if the site of Jebel al Lawz is not proven to be the Biblical Mt. Sinai. Thus far scholars have not supported the findings at that particular site. The writing is in hieroglyphs and dates back to 1400 BC. The inscription refers to nomadic people who worshiped Yahweh, and certainly would be the Israelites. This is from a temple built by the Pharaoh Amenhotep III in Soleb, modern day Sudan.
This basalt stone, dating to the 9th century BC, contains an ancient Aramaic inscription referring to the "House of David". Found in excavations in 1993 the stone is known as the Tel Dan Stela.
This inscription found on the Karnak Temple complex depicts the Pharaoh Shishak's military victories, including his invasion of Israel. (ca. 925 BC) This is the same events recorded in the Sacred Scriptures (I Kings 14:25), where Shishak is referred to by name.
This cuneiform monument, known as the Kurkh Monolith, was originally carved ca. 835 BC by the Assyrians. It makes reference to King Ahab, who is also spoken of in the Sacred Scriptures. (I Kings 16-22) Why am I sharing these things? I think it is important to demonstrate the historic veracity of the Biblical accounts of events. Thus, I will begin to post articles frequently that not only demonstrate this, but that also demonstrate the fallacious nature of what passes for research in the fringe archaeology and historical revisionist subculture that has spawned programs such as Scott Wolter's program American Unearthed, and literature as dubious as The Exodus Reality, by psuedo-scholars Scotty Roberts and John Ward. In the coming months we will begin a serious and indepth exploration of the archaeology of the Bible both here and in the pages of Vexilla Regis Journal. We can assure you, your faith will be bolstered and your eyes opened to amazing confirmation. And the added bonus is that we will demonstrate the fallacious nature of the fringe archaeology and historical revisionist subcultures. Stay tuned!
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
I've been asked numerous times recently to detail some of my theological objections to Scotty Roberts' book The Rise and Fall of the Nephilim. I think this is a good request and one I should meet, as I have been an open critic of the author's work. After doing so this will be my final article on this topic, as I've grown quite weary of answering the questions. Roberts attempts to utilize scripture in his writing, but does so within the framework of fringe theology and ancient alien thought, as witnessed by his frequent reference to Nephilim as “aliens” and “lesser gods”. Throughout the book Roberts demonstrates a severe and egregious inability to understand scripture, either within its ancient Hebraic context nor within its Christian context. What follows are some specific theological problems with the book. First is the Serpent Seed Heresy: This theory is most popular in the Christian Identity Movement, a white racist movement that promotes the same heresy in an effort to cast non-whites and Jews as being less than human and children of Satan in a literal sense. A repugnant "theology" at best. However, nowhere in the Genesis account can this idea be supported. One of the problems Roberts faces is that if Cain were indeed the child of Nachash (the Serpent, Satan), he would certainly have been a Nephilim (giant) like the offspring written of in the Book of Enoch. Furthermore, if Cain was a child of Satan, why would he even care that his offering was not acceptable to God? Why would he even make an offering? And finally, why would God place a mark on Cain to protect his life if he was a Nephilim? Christian Identity heretics claim that mark was dark skin, by the way. Then we get to Roberts' idea that The Fall Involved Sexual Activity: The idea that Eve had sexual relations with the Serpent is a key element in Roberts' theology, and one he shares again with Christian Identity. The question is, if Eve’s sin was adultery, what was Adam’s sin? Despite Roberts' Gnostic ideas (which he also shares with Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church cult), Adam’s sin brought death into the world because he sinned willfully; whereas, according to Paul, Eve sinned because she was deceived by the serpent. In other words, she was lied to and fell for the lie. Being deceived and being sexually seduced are two very different things. The totality of scripture is clear that the sin was disobedience and did not involve sex. Next are his oddball comments about Moses: Roberts' version of Moses is bizarre to say the least. Moses comes across in this book as an egotistical, power hungry sociopath who sought to be the equivalent of the Pharaoh to the Israelites. Meanwhile, Sacred Scripture (which Roberts pretends to use responsibly) says Moses was compassionate and willingly gave up his royal position in Egypt, willingly went into exile, and ultimately suffered for and with his fellow Israelites. Rather than being the power hungry person Roberts implies he was, Moses attempted to avoid being the leader of the Israelites. Roberts states that Moses’ “face to face” encounters with God were nothing more than mere political theater, designed to put him in a place of authority with the Israelites that could not be easily challenged. What emerges from such a critique is not an honest approach to scripture, but more Roberts' own psychology struggling with his admitted (in the book itself) lack of faith. Of course, no attack on Christianity would be complete without the claim that Jesus was Married: This is a favorite claim of Roberts'. He offers no proof but claims that Jesus was married. He claims that Jewish tradition maintains a rabbi must be married. Since the publication of the best selling book 'Holy Blood, Holy Grail', authored by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, the hypothesis that Jesus was married has gained considerable attention. This isn't a new heresy, but one taught by some ancient Gnostic sects. Fringe personalities point to this as a central problem that cannot be brushed under the rug. The hypothesis can be simplified to the following; the historical Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, very probably at the wedding feast at Cana mentioned in the Gospel of John, and as a result of this marriage they had children. They claim as evidence the following passages in the Gospel of John: “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what does this have to do with you and me? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.” (John 2:1-11)
From peripheral evidences and this passage the “Married Jesus Hypothesis” posits the following:
- To be a rabbi in first century Judea, one needed to be married. This was not a demand of Torah, per se, but strong Israelite tradition.
- It was the groom's family that was responsible for providing wine at a first century Jewish wedding. Still is tradition today. Thus Mary going to Jesus when the wine ran out is evidence that this was the wedding of Jesus.
- It seems Jesus' mother held some position of authority at the wedding, in that she went directly to her son when they were out of wine. And she was not just complaining. Their interaction indicated that she was addressing him in a tone of both responsibility and admonishment for him to do something about it.
- Jesus also seemed to have authority over the servants, as he tells them to do this and that, etc.
- And at this point, he is simply “the carpenter's son." He has no rabbinic authority established.
So the pertinent and essential questions before us are, did Jesus have to be married to be a rabbi, and was the wedding feast at Cana his wedding? The answer to both questions is a definite no when we examine the totality of evidences; something Roberts consistently fails to do in his writings. While it certainly would have been the average thing for an Israelite man to do, it was by no means an established must as we will see through an examination of rabbinic literature. We'll look closely examine at this New Testament passage for more clues as to the reality of the situation. Let's examine each of the five evidences given above for the “Married Jesus Hypothesis”.
One of the errors of the “Married Jesus Hypothesis” is it's selective reading of rabbinic literature and ignoring the fuller historical context of Judaism in the first century, which was much more diverse than it is today. While certainly not a common practice, celibacy was not unheard of even within the Pharisaical sect of Judaism as scholar, archaeologist and Biblical historian George Foot Moore tells us:
"Celibacy was, in fact, not common, and was disapproved by the rabbis, who taught that a man should marry at eighteen, and that if he passed the age of twenty without taking a wife he transgressed a divine command and incurred God's displeasure. Postponement of marriage was permitted students of the Law that they might concentrate their attention on their studies, free from the cares of supporting a wife. Cases like that of Simeon be 'Azzai, who never married, were evidently infrequent. He had himself said that a man who did not marry was like one who shed blood, and diminished the likeness of God. One of his colleagues threw up to him that he was better at preaching that at practicing, to which he replied, What shall I do? My soul is enamored of the Law; the population of the world can be kept up by others...It is not to be imagined that pronouncements about the duty of marrying and the age at which people should marry actually regulated practice."
Rabbi Simeon was clearly celibate and considered a holy man because of his focused devotion to the Torah which prevented him from marrying and having children as tradition and culture may have demanded of him. Do note that he was not disqualified to be a rabbi by virtue of his celibacy, nor did it disqualify the Essenes. This precedent is reflective of the Gospel of Matthew which says:
His disciples said to him, “If that is the relationship of a man with his wife, it’s not worth getting married!” But he said to them, “Not everyone can accept this saying, except those to whom celibacy has been granted. For some men are celibate from birth, while others are celibate because they have been made that way by others. Still others are celibate because they have made themselves that way for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can. (Matthew 19:10)
This last reason for celibacy that Jesus taught to his disciples is the exact reason given by Rabbi Simeon and the Essenes. The Essene adherents were described by contemporary historians Josephus, Philo and Pliny as being celibate. In 1st century Judaism a class of individuals who were 'allowed' or 'expected' to be celibate were prophetic figures. This is witnessed to throughout Jewish history. Examples are the prophet Jeremiah, the wilderness prophet Banus (attested to by Josephus), John the Baptist, and possibly even Elijah. Even the 2nd century Chasidic miracle-worker, the Galilean rabbi Pinhas ben Yair taught that celibacy was essential to reception of prophetic wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Rabbinical literature does indeed give witness of other celibates such as Eliezer ben Hyrcanus who said of his celibacy, "My soul is in love with the Torah. The world can be carried on by others". That such a tradition could be enshrined in the Talmud clearly suggests that celibacy, though frowned upon by the rabbis, was not unheard of in Judaism during the time of Jesus' earthly ministry. The common rationale for celibacy is an all-consuming commitment to God's will in one's whole life that precludes the usual path of marriage and child-rearing. Certainly a fitting reason for the Messiah. In view of this tradition in early Judaism, it is hardly surprising that the Jewish scholar Geza Vermes views Jesus as celibate in fulfillment of his prophetic ministry. He states, "Against such a background of first-century AD Jewish opinion, namely that the prophetic destiny entailed amongst other things a life of continence, Jesus' apparent voluntary embrace of celibacy, at any rate from the time of his reception of the holy spirit, becomes historically meaningful."
So, although it would have been 'normal' and expected for a young Jewish man to be married, we have examples of where it was acceptable for that not to be the case. Therefore, Jesus would not need to be married even by Pharisaic thought to be a rabbi. Thus ends one myth upon which the married Jesus hypothesis is predicated.
But what of the wedding feast at Cana? Certainly it was the wedding of Jesus, possibly to Mary Magdalene, right? This claim again demonstrates a lack of comprehensive understanding with regard to not only Jewish weddings of that period, but also a dishonest picking and choosing of the totality of scriptural evidences regarding this episode in the life of Jesus. The first point in refuting this myth of Cana as the wedding of Jesus is the report of John that Jesus was invited to the wedding feast.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding.” (John 2:1-2)
There is no reason why a groom would have to be invited to his own wedding. To even suggest so is not only absurd, but a dishonest rendering of the internal reporting. Furthermore, a groom would certainly not leave with his mother after his wedding, since his primary responsibility would be to his wife at that point. And again, John tells us that Jesus left with his mother and family members.
“And after this he went down to Capernaeum, he and his mother and brothers and disciples; and they stayed there for a few days.” (John 2:12)
Note there is mention of every family member, yet no mention of a wife. Of course there would be no mention since he was a guest at the wedding as demonstrated in the verses previously examined. Rather than this story proving Jesus to have been married, it demonstrates that Mary was a somewhat overbearing mother, who sought to help the bridegroom at this wedding feast save face rather than run out of wine. This is where the claim that Mary going to Jesus regarding the wine is evidence that he was the bridegroom falls apart. Rather than panicking himself or demonstrating concern for what was certainly traditionally the bridegroom's responsibility, Jesus clearly states it is not his nor his mother's concern. The literal translation from the Greek text reads as follows with regard to Jesus' response to his mother. In verse three Mary rushes to Jesus and (paraphrasing here) says, “They've run out of wine! Do something!” To which Jesus responds: “What is that to me and to you, woman?” John 2:4
First, Jesus' use of the word 'woman' in response to Mary was still respectful, but considered at that time to be a maternal rebuke. In essence he was saying, “This doesn't have a thing to do with us, woman!” Hardly the response of the bridegroom, but certainly an expected response of an invited guest. Each time a phrase such as this occurs in the Greek it is always a disengagement from the situation at hand; a denial of responsibility. Rather than substantiating the claim that Mary had authority at the wedding it further demonstrates that she was being a bit of a busy body, overstepping her boundaries with regard to the situation at hand. And yet Jesus still helped the bridegroom, whoever he was, by telling the servants to fill the jars. His directing them to do this does not demonstrate his authority at the wedding, but rather the normative authority that any rabbi would have held, and indeed the panic that must have set in at the thought of running out of wine on the part of the servants and no doubt the bridegroom. And if, as some Biblical scholars believe, Jesus was associated with the Essenes for a period of time (a training period that would account for the exact number of years considered to be lost), there is also no substance to the idea that was not yet a rabbi. In short, the internal textual evidence of the New Testament accounts can only be used to substantiate a married Jesus if one ignores the totality of their reporting as well as the testimony of rabbinical literature regarding the customs of 1st century Judaism. One would have to ignore all evidences available, distort those chosen as proof texts, and avoid the reality of the situation. The net of this is that any reconstruction of the life of Jesus from the New Testament and rabbinic literature must go to great lengths to demonstrate that any traditions it cites actually are descriptive of the situation. So we have established that:
- Jesus did not have to be married as the witness of the New Testament, Rabbinical literature and history confirm.
- The Church did not cover up any marriage between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
- Reconstructions of Jesus' life from critical usage of the New Testament and compared with rabbinic material substantiates the basics of the Gospel accounts.
- The married Jesus hypothesis fails both the tests of rabbinical history and New Testament critique.
Yet another of Roberts' Gnostic claims bites the dust.
I could go on and on, but these few items listed demonstrate the obvious academic shortcomings and lack of Biblical research Scotty Roberts' book possesses. Throughout the book he disparages orthodox Christians who believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture, referring to them collectively as “fundamentalists”. He states, that for such fundamentalists “nothing exists outside the bounds of written scriptural text”. Roberts, coming as he does from a fundamentalist Baptist background, has no grasp of Christianity outside the very miniscule boundaries of that paradigm, and thus has no appreciation for Apostolic Tradition. Indeed, were he familiar with it he would undoubtedly attack it as well. Beyond this, Roberts seems ignorant of the contribution of Christianity to archaeology, anthropology, etc. Of course, to recognize the debt owed to such “fundamentalists” would not fit the fringe theories offered in his book. Though expressing doubts, at the time of writing the book Roberts says,“I still cling to my Judeo-Christian roots”. I would have to ask, in what sense? Roberts' more recent comments with reference to Christianity leave one with the impression he is agnostic at best. All in all this is a book (along with his follow up book on Moses) Christians should not waste their money on. Far better to read more academically sound and Biblically orthodox literature than to support the rantings of heretics.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Monday, July 21, 2014
This website is designed to serve Christ the King. And while we do our best to see to it this is done, if we have the chance to actually reach out and touch a life in the Holy Name of Our Lord and Savior and don't do so, then this website is fruitless. This news story came to my attention this evening. I was so touched by it that I've struggled each time I share it on Facebook, Twitter and here with tears. This is an opportunity for all of us to make a simple, beautiful wish come true. Please, if this website has meant anything to you, if you value Our Lord's words when he said, "As much as you've not done it unto the least of these, you've not done it unto me." (St. Matthew 25:40), then please read the link, send this baby a birthday card and share this with as many as you can. And then join me in prayer for this child and his family.
It is not uncommon for me to be confronted with the issues of UFO’s and alien abductions. Some seek to challenge the legitimacy of the Christian faith by means of the subject matter, while others are sincerely seeking answers that will help them understand the topics in light of their faith. Unfortunately, with so much fallacious information out there in books and on television, it is hard for the average person to discern fact from fiction. Let me say clearly that I do believe in the validity of the abduction experience and in UFO sightings. I have personally been witness to a very dramatic UFO sighting. This leads me as both someone who has seen a UFO, and as a priest, to address the following questions:
- What are “alien” beings?
- Are they from another planet?
- Another demension?
- What exactly are these beings causing so much confusion?
What are they and where do they come from?
Firstly, the term “alien” is a matter of semantics. The word can have many meanings. Thus we see “illegal aliens”, “aliens from space”, and the more theologically sound term (at least for our purposes in this article) implying something foreign. Taking this last as my definition for “alien” I can say without a doubt that some of the claimed experiences have indeed been with "aliens". Then again, there seems to be a very earthly component to many sightings and experiences, all of which point to what could perhaps be "Black Ops" programs being perpetrated by various governments throughout the world. As for where they come from, the orthodox Christian answer that suits both theology and science is simply that they come from another reality that exists side by side with ours so intimately that they are able to travel between each with relative simplicity. That is, when we're dealing with cases that defy any potential human answers. These spiritual realities are something science can only weakly give us tiny glimpses of.
Who are they and what are they doing?
Again I want to caution against the easy answer of demons in all cases of UFO sightings or abduction scenarios. There are a wide variety of other human possibilities for these experiences. False memories, secret technology programs, psychological warfare programs, mental illness, and even downright lies. For those cases that defy human answers, the Sacred Scriptures do not address the subject of UFO’s in any overt way. The Bible deals with the issues of humanity and it’s interaction with God. It addresses the issues surrounding the fall of humanity, the degeneration of creation, and its redemption back to God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. There is no room in orthodoxy for the New Age theories about aliens being our space brothers and coming here to show us the way to some glorious New World Order of peace and prosperity. Though many abductees come out of their experiences with these messages, we need to be very careful about accepting such propaganda from anyone, certainly more so an "alien being". I also must note a connection between these messages and the stated goals of the "Aquarian Conspiracy" in pursuit of a Global government. Whether from demons or human conspirators, the messages are disturbing.
And speaking purely from a theological point of view, there is nothing in Sacred Scripture that would lead us to believe such notions anyway. The Bible does however warn us that in the Last Days we would see “signs and lying wonders”. (II Thess. 2:9) Repeatedly scripture warns that in the last days a message would be spread across the earth that is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and would be a part of the Great Apostasy and grand delusion to destroy humanity. That message is being disseminated in various ways in our world today, through the teachings of Modernism, to the New Age community, in the scientific community, through political leaders and governments, and even down to the messages received by abductees during their experiences, each of these sources in various ways and with various emphases. Sacred Scripture tells us, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned.” (Galatians 1:8) Now this leads me to examine the UFO research regarding the abduction scenario in some depth in light of this particular scripture. The theological test for determining the identity of aliens or who they serve (which would cover the human possibilities as well) is simply to examine the ideas being promoted in light of what scripture says and Christ taught. Do their words support and reflect the Gospel, or does the message deny the revelation of God found in the historic orthodox Faith, and indeed seek to detract from it’s authenticity? In every case we find spiritual teachings, eugenics ideas, or discussion of human society and government. We find that regardless of their assumed identities, whether they appear to be Grey’s, Repitilians, or Human, they all give the same message that they wish to be shared with humanity. That message is most often as follows; humanity is the creation of the given alien race, and that our alien creators have returned to the earth to assist us in taking the next evolutionary leap in our collective development, usher our planet into a sort of cosmic brotherhood, and that our current politics, culture, society and religion must be given up for their more enlightened, evolved ways.
In every case I have examined when Jesus is mentioned he is said to be a member of their particular race, or merely an "Ascended Master" (which connects the UFO and abductee experiences to Theosophy and Freemasonry as well), or that Christ is not a Divine Person, but a cosmic consciousness available to all evolved humans to access and utilize as a method of conscious evolution. For example, the founder of the Raelian Movement claims to have been told, “We are the one’s who designed all life on earth,” and that “We are at the origin of your main religions.” We do not find any instance where there was a clear statement that Jesus is God, the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, True God and True Man, the Savior of Humanity. In fact, we see denials of these Christian teachings over and over again. And this is where we begin to discern the identity of these "aliens", or of their true leader, and their real agenda.
By virtue of this single fact alone, as a Christian, I can say without a doubt that I believe these "entities" are deceptive, since their teachings do not match up with God’s revealed word. So then, who are they really? I believe that in many cases we are dealing with a psychology operation under the control of various governments. However, I allow for the possibility that some of the experiences are genuine spiritual encounters. I believe that in these cases we are witnessing demonic activity and cases of oppression and obsession. I am not alone in this assessment, as even UFO researchers have come to this same conclusion or at least find the commonalities startling.
John A. Keel states in his book UFO’s: Operation Trojan Horse that, “The UFO manifestations seem to be, by and large, merely minor variations of the age old demonological phenomenon.”
Dr. Jacques Vallee states in his book Confrontations, “The medical examination to which abductees are said to be subjected, often accompanied by sadistic sexual manipulation, is reminiscent of the medieval tales of encounters with demons.”
Whitley Streiber explained his feelings in their presence in his book Transformation, thusly, “I felt an absolute indescribable sense of menace. It was hell on earth to be there, and yet I couldn’t move, couldn’t cry out, couldn’t get away. I’d lay as still as death, suffering inner agonies. Whatever was there seemed so monstrously ugly, so filthy and dark and sinister. Of course they were demons.”
Indeed the commonalities are more than mere coincidence. UFOs are real, abduction experiences can be real, and the ultimate source is evil. It behooves us to approach these topics as Christians with a reasoned, logical and faith based methodology that avoids extremes, avoids the silly Nephilim theories of the fringe, and takes into account all available evidence. There are answers that meet the criteria of science (human caused events, psychology, mental illness, lies etc.) and faith (demonic interference) if we simply look.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
No more gods, no more faith, no more timid
holding back. Let us blast out of our old forms,
our ignorance, our weakness, and our mortality.
The future is ours.- Max More (Transhumanist advocate)
Every human being alive today has been physically altered or enhanced in one way or another. We see the most common examples around us every day. Things like prescription glasses, contact lenses, hip replacements, knee replacements, heart valve pumps, etc. Nearly everyone has received vaccines which enhance our normal physical ability to stave off a wide variety of diseases. Everyone has been touched by some form of physical enhancement. I would also say very few Christians today would argue against every form of enhancement in existence since many of them actually improve the quality of life and the longevity. However it is helpful to take a close look at the degrees of physical enhancement so that we can logically determine when we have gone too far. If such Transhumanists as Max More can be taken seriously (and they should), then the leap from ethical and moral enhancement to the creation of hybrid beings no longer possessing the full qualities of what it is to be a distinctly human can be crossed very easily. If we are not very careful with such technology we could easily wake up in a future not unlike that of many science fiction films.
Three Types of Enhancement
We can break physical enhancement down into three basic types.
1. Life Enhancing - This would include the examples given above. Things such as vaccines, glasses, contact lenses, and the like. In all of the examples we can find there are none which would be of any concern either ethically, morally or theologically.
2. Advanced Enhancement - This category would encompass everything from cosmetic surgery, to prosthetic devices developed to improve the quality of life for those who might otherwise be disfigured or disabled. Again, we can find little of concern here from an ethical, moral or theological position, though cosmentic surgery can be abused.
- Transhumanist Enhancement - This involves the use of advanced scientific technologies to create abilities that are far beyond those of a normal human being under any circumstances, supported by a philosophy that advocates a movement away from the human experience to that which it calls ‘posthuman’. This raises very serious ethical, moral and theological questions, concerns and problems which need to be addressed.
Believe it or not, Transhumanism is seeing ever increasing popularity among academics and the philosophical views of the movement are being increasingly popularized through various scientific and philosophical societies, academic and New Age journals and magazines, and even in the world of Hollywood films. Transhumanist role playing has become a source of entertainment through such online gaming as Second Life, in which players create enhanced alternate selves and alternative realities in which to live and experience their world.
At it’s very core Transhumanism is a philosophy born out of a belief in evolution, and can even be connected to the Eugenics movement of the 20th century which gave us such horrors as the Holocaust. The National Socialists (Nazis) can be looked upon as early Transhumanists, in that they too believed in the evolution of the species and sought to create a master race which would be immune to the problems of the lesser races and rule over the planet. Transhumanism likewise considers humanity to be evolving both physically and in the use of the conscious mind. The Transhumanist however, like his National Socialist forebears, is not content to allow nature to move humanity along in the slow course of humanistic evolution, but instead teaches that we need to take control of the evolutionary process through our technologies, taking a giant leap toward what the infamous evolutionist and heretical Modernist theologian Tielhard de Chardin called the Omega Point, the National Socialist called Aryan Man, and what the Transhumanist calls ‘Posthumanism’. For the Transhumanist our physical form is unimportant. What is important to for them is simply our ideas and aspirations as “conscious beings” Transhumanists are basically out to change our life form to something that in their philosophy overcomes the petty limitations of the human biology. This frighteningly science fiction like future form will, in their own terms, be almost divine, in that they will be super- intelligent and immortal. Transhumanists are very clear that the future they envision is not one of the Homosapien. This future evolutionary lifeform has been called a variety of names including Homonoeticus by many New Age writers and philosophers.
The Cybernetic Messiah
There is no question that for the Christian the Transhumanist philosophy sets off many ethical, moral and theological alarms. The Transhumanist views humanity as an evolutionary being currently stunted in its growth, and having little value outside the collective good of the species. From the orthodox Christian theological point of view, humans are the unique creation of God, created in His image and possessing a soul. We are not the product of evolution and have value both as the human race and as individuals. Therefore our value does not lay in our physical abilities or limitations, but in our uniquely created essence and relationship to and with our Creator. Every facet of human life, including sickness, disability, and limitation are there to help us learn more about ourselves in relationship to our Creator, as well as to encourage us to expand our consciousness not to become a little god, but to embrace those around us who are weak, poor and in need of love. The essence of the human experience is that of loving God and each other.
Transhumanists, being Eugenicists and radical evolutionary philosophers, view humanity in purely racial terms and as mere products of a cold, uncaring universe and natural selection. Such a fatalistic view of humanity causes them to seek a type of the divine in a future racial species; what Teilhard de Chardin called homo noeticus. In this purely pagan anthropology, the fundamental human problem is our frailty, our limitation and susceptibility to sickness, old age, and death. The Transhumanist seeks to address the need for human redemption not in responding to the call of the Redeemer provided by our Creator, but in an attempt to replace that Redeemer with a self generated savior of technological fashioning. In effect, a Cybernetic Messiah. Christians rather than looking for technological salvation from human weakness, embrace the Redeemer offered by the Creator and look forward to the day of our resurrection in new glorified bodies that will be resistant to the current frailties by the very command of God, not the misguided experiments of science gone mad.
Though many will find in my critique of Transhumanism a rejection of science and technology, this is in fact not the case at all. While such things as cosmetic surgery can be abused, we understand that for some it can improve the quality of life, especially if disfigured in an accident or attack of some sort. It is the responsible use of technology that concerns the Christian. Abortion is one such use of technology that has become a very controversial issue. Most people who are pro-abortion would have no problem condemning the scientific insanity of the National Socialist Eugenics pogroms. Yet how many are aware that Margaret Sanger was a racial Eugenicist and only advocated abortion to specifically control the population of what she felt were inferior races, African Americans in particular? It is from this particular section of the Eugenics community that we hear such challenges to the moral and ethical questions of abortion on demand as, ‘Who are you to tell me what I can do with my body?’ Beyond the issue of the life of an unborn child here, the Christian response must be “How do we each best bring glory to our Creator, and to humanity, through the use of my physical being?” While science and technology is certainly viewed as a blessing from the Almighty, we recognize that without the God inspired ethical and moral foundation necessary to appropriately utilize them, they can and often are used to abuse and weaken God’s creation, including human beings. They become a means by which paganism asserts itself over humanity in newer forms. Human history is replete with examples that demonstrate this without question.
Life Enhancing and Advanced Enhancements provide little ethical, moral or theological problems from the position of the Christian worldview. Transhumanism however clearly does. We do not need a world populated by “bionic” men and women, or ruled over by a pure cybernetic master race, or even of the New Age Homonoeticus. What is needed is a humanity transformed by the love of God, such that we reach out to each other in all of our weaknesses, failings, disabilities and shortcomings with compassion and an eye for seeing the beauty of our unique individuality gifted to us by our Creator.