Transcendent Engineering

Discussion: a ‘Transfigurist Network’ for religious transhumanists

The discussion at the Mormon Transhumanist Association (MTA) Online Discussion Group, 23 November 2013, was focused on collaboration between the MTA, the Christian Transhumanist Association (CTA), and other religious transhumanist associations that may emerge in the future.

We discussed the creation of an umbrella “Transfigurist Network” for religious transhumanists. Your input is requested! Watch the video below.

We discussed the unique aspects of Mormonism that make it a fertile ground for religious transhumanism. One of the objectives of the discussion was to find ways to take advantage of the MTA experience to facilitate the launch of a Christian Transhumanist Association (CTA).

Lincoln proposed to start a “Transfigurist Network” as an umbrella organization to coordinate the work of different religious transhumanist associations, the MTA, the CTA, and other hypotetical transhumanist groups within other religions such as Buddhism and Unitarian Universalism (and why not Islam).

“Transfigurist Network” seems a good label, with the needed inclusive generality. From the MTA website: Transfigurism is religious Transhumanism, exemplified by syncretization of Mormonism and Transhumanism. The term “transfigurism” denotes advocacy for change in form, and alludes to sacred stories from many religious traditions, such as the Universal Form of Krishna in Hinduism, the Radiant Face of Moses in Judaism, the Wakening of Gautama Buddha in Buddhism, the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ in Christianity, and the Translation of the Three Nephites in Mormonism. Transfigurism also alludes to prophecies, such as the Rapture in Christianity and the Day of Transfiguration in Mormonism.

Micah mentioned the Bahá’í Faith as a good example of unity of religion. Bahá’í teachings and doctrine: the unity of God, that there is only one God who is the source of all creation; the unity of religion, that all major religions have the same spiritual source and come from the same God; and the unity of humanity, that all humans have been created equal, and that diversity of race and culture are seen as worthy of appreciation and acceptance. According to the Bahá’í teachings the human purpose is to learn to know and love God through such methods as prayer, reflection, and being of service to humanity.

Economy of scale: the Transfigurist Network could make administrative tasks and financial management easier for all participating organizations, which is important.

One possible objection to an open association of different religious transhumanist groups under a Transfigurist Network is that some believers may not wish to belong to an organization that is openly associated with faiths different from their own.

Lincoln’s answer to this possible objection is that the believers who would feel offended by the presence of other faiths in the Network are not our target audience. I tend to agree with Lincoln, but I think having this discussion is due diligence before proceeding with the plan.

So, please listen to all the arguments in the video and comment: Would you object if your religious transhumanist association becomes part of a Transfigurist Network in which other faiths are represented? Would the presence in the Network of faiths different from your own prevent you from joining?

The live discussion will continue at the next Mormon Transhumanist Association Online Discussion Group, on 28 December 2013.

  • To any Mormon that might have concerns with this, I’d appeal to the words of the founder of our religion, Joseph Smith: “We should gather all the good and true principles in the world and treasure them up, or we shall not come out true Mormons.”

  • Nathan Hadfield

    I think this is a great idea.

  • Giulio Prisco

    I also think it is a great idea. As Lincoln points out in the video, religious _transhumanists_, those who affirm transhumanism together with their faith, without internal conflicts, are less likely to reject believers on other faiths.

    I think, however, that we should keep asking for opinions and especially objections, on all mailing lists and Facebook, until the online meeting on Dec. 28. I hope we will move on with the creation of the Transfigurist Network then.

  • I think James McClean’s comments about good and evil (from a sort of “marketing” aspect of finding out what about transhumanism can be encouraging to other Christian religions) are the keys to the message for CTA. My observation about transhumanists are that we too often throw precaution to the wind and can appear to be very reckless. Many people will see the entire idea of transhumanism as evil. Pop culture has done a lot to reinforce these ideas. Many Hollywood feature films make technology look very dangerous. Many pastors, ministers, parsons, and preachers in general, may initially equate transhumanism with evil. Biotechnology, bioengineering, nanotechnology,etc, and their products like cell cloning, stem-cell, robotics, etc. are considered evil by main stream Christians (Mormons included). Mainstream movements like H+ (more recently >H) are good at promoting proactive human, but do a poor job (in my opinion) for promoting precaution. If we want a more mainstream adoption of CTA type ideals, we have to include more precautionary messages. We need to be able to set the Christian mind at ease that we know that evil is in the world. We know that technology can be use for evil. We know that we have to be constantly vigilant against these evils. We need to show that we are able to be precautionary about technology and transhumanism. Let’s let the world know that Transhumanism does not only mean arnold schwarzenegger looking robots from the future attempting to destroy the human race. What are we doing to ensure that evil is not allowed to usurp transhumanism? What can we do to appear more cautious and less reckless?

  • Peter Christiansen

    Perhaps Professor Messerly should be invited to join this discussion.

  • Peter Christiansen

    Theory proposed by medieval bishop resembles Multiple Universes

  • Peter Christiansen

    Transhumanist Christianity in a “post Christian” world