The Conflict with Religion

Made in God’s Image

While Transhumanists champion the potential of altering the human mind and body to attain goals such as increasing the quality and length of life, members of the religious community strongly disagree. One of the fundamental aspects of the Judeo-Christian tradition, particularly that of Roman Catholicism, concerns the idea that God created humans in His likeness. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27). Christianity teaches that the fundamental imperfections of humanity are less significant than the divine features inherent in each human being. Transhumanism directly contradicts this notion, emphasizing the perceived flaws in both the human mind and body. The idea that human condition requires improvement signifies a disdain for God-given abilities. Father Edward Richard, the pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor in Sulphur, Louisiana and noted moral theologian, stated, “…[Transhumanism] seems to have a contempt for our humanity as it is ‘confined’ in or limited to the present state of our corporeal existence. Our higher selves are being limited by the capacity of our bodies. There is a contempt for the flesh”[1]. Although Transhumanists present their ideas for changing the human condition in a way that emphasizes their positive potential, members of the religious community argue that such alteration indicates a lack of respect and appreciation for God-given life and abilities.


 

Predetermination
Most religions operate with the belief that their deity has established a plan for the life of each individual. Transhumanism overlooks, and even violates this principle by attempting to extend life past its natural conclusion. Christian scholars base their views on the natural beginning and end of life on several Bible passages, but one is particularly applicable and oft cited,  “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up” (1 Samuel 2:6). Although Christians believe that life is a gift from God and must be protected, they also believe that it is God’s right to take it away.


 

[1] Leslie Fain quoted Father Richard in her article entitled “The Surprising Spread and Cultural Impact of Transhumanism,” published in The Catholic World Report on 3 Oct. 2013.