A couple of weeks ago, a tweet was making the rounds among the secular because, to the ears of the materialist heathens, it sounds batshit. The tweet:
I'm against transhumanism as it's a possible gateway to the sprit world. We humans are less than insects there. Plugging into that world without the control to leave would be folly beyond imagination. You'd become a plaything of entities beyond comprehension or control.
He follows this up with:
Imagine your most challenging experience / "bad trip," except you can't leave. Ever. That's the end result of "transhumanism." No thanks.
The critical response was loud and predictable. Of the cliches employed, the most popular was "I'll have what he's having." I'd post some of the quote tweets, but they are all variations on that theme, so why bother? I'd rather get on to explaining some basic Christian theology so that my readers (estimated to be between zero and three people) will be prepared next time they hear a peep out of the strange creatures who comprise 50% of the American population but 100% of the bake-sale population.
Religious stories are mythic stories. The whole point of a mythic story is to tell you something important about human existence, something that benefits from being expressed implicitly in a narrative rather than being explained as philosophy. Often times what's being said isn't even understood except as a story. The modern literary genre of fantasy (like its grease-smudged cousin, science fiction) uses myth-like elements in mostly unmythic stories, as entertainment. It's the dance remix of myth. The individual sounds are similar, but the purpose is something foreign to the original material. Myths were not created to be entertaining, as anyone who watched the antediluvian abomination Noah will have found out.
Point being, we can't interpret religions the way we would modern fantasy. Christians believe in a spiritual "world," and it's no metaphor, but it's also not some kind of location that Doctor Strange steps into through a cheesy visual effect to battle an omnipotent being in the form of an equally cheesy, computer-generated homonculus. The spiritual world of the Christians is a world in the way the world of computing, the world of stand-up comedy, and the world of alcoholic spinster journalists are worlds. The best parallel I can think of would be the "quantum world" - ever-present, infused in all occurrence, yet not easily detected. It's no coincidence that would-be gurus invoke both as a means to cheap mysticism.
The spiritual world is the world of spirit detached from the material world. And "spirit" means mind, sometimes narrowly referring to consciousness. Mental phenomena are seen as fundamentally spiritual. Thus, the spiritual world really is ever-present, especially from the perspective of a human being. The Abrahmic religions believe that human beings are simultaneously spirit and flesh - that is, spirit and matter. This makes every person a kind of living miracle in these religions. This idea takes on cosmic significance in Christianity, where God Himself is flesh and spirit, in the form of Christ.
Christians also believe in a great conflict between the spirit and the flesh, which is one and the same with sin, and that the spirit, being eternal rather than temporary, needs to win that battle. Yet they believe that, ultimately, matter is a good thing. It is the right and proper state of a human being to be matter and spirit, together, in a material world that is a blessing rather than a curse. Although they have beliefs about a purely spiritual Heaven and Hell, they also believe in a future resurrection, at which point human beings are again made whole.
The transhumanists claim the consciousness of a human being can be "uploaded" to a computer, like a piece of software. If that is true, the mortality of the body is no longer an issue, we are promised. Our consciousness can be moved from one piece of hardware to another indefinitely. Back ups can be made. The implications of such a transformation are well known to anyone who has watched Black Mirror. In fact, I have to wonder how anyone who's seen that show could even blink an eye at Cernovich's tweet. It's really just stating the damned[sic] obvious, but I'll get to that in a minute.
It's clear that what secularists call consciousness is just the same thing the Christians are referring to with the word "soul." Christians may have some wild theories about the soul - such as, that it can be made eternally happy by dying while thinking Jesus was right - but still, they're talking about the consciousness. That means, if you can separate the consciousness from the body, as by uploading it, that constitutes putting your soul into the spirit world literally, not figuratively.
"OK," says the heathen, "I suppose I can tolerate talking about the internet as if it's the actual netherworld, but what's this load of hilarious crap about 'entities beyond comprehension'?" This touches on another aspect of Christian theology, one that crosses into psychology. We've all struggled with an impulse. I'm struggling right now to keep writing this blog post instead binging on whiskey, porn, and several orders of curry chicken wings. Maybe you're a saint and have to think back several half-hours to the last time you fought an urge, but if you say it was yesterday, you're a liar and you know it. Ask yourself this: when you fight an impulse, what are you fighting against? It's not you, at least to the extent that "you" refers to your consciousness. That's the part that's fighting not to give in. What's the opponent, then? Your unconscious, your subconscious, your instinct? Fine, but the fact is you made that up. You have no name or explanation for what it really is. Even if you can offer a quasi-scientific explanation for it (and you only sometimes can), it still doesn't make sense as an experience. The experience of it is always baffling. It's you and you alone, trying to do or not do something, and having a brutal time managing it. That urge won't just won't go away. It's real, it's undeniable, and it isn't you. It's a thing.
Go beyond the subjective, though. Where do these urges come from? I know your brain is doing it - I mean, no kidding. But why do you have that urge? Many times, it's because of influences. It's a food your mother made for you as a child; it's a stress reliever you discovered by binge drinking with your friends as a teenager; it's a habit you picked up from your coworkers, or a turn of phrase you lifted from a TV show. When the source of the behavior is small enough and verbal enough, we call it a "meme." But the broad, general category of these phenomena - these communicable thoughts and feelings - have no name. Not among the secular. But, to the Christian, they are spirits, angels, and demons. That temptation you feel is a voice (it is, isn't it?), and that voice corresponds to a real entity that has a nature. To traditional Christians, temptations are the will of demons who are trying to ensnare you. Some Evangelical sects roll up all experience of temptation into a single evil spirit, Satan. And that "voice" that tells you can resist, urges you to resist, that's an angel, or Jesus, or the saints. When you harm another person, you are embodying the will of demons. Having no bodies themselves, the evil spirits have hijacked the material of your body to do their bidding. This is what Christians refer to as "spiritual warfare."
Enter transhumanism. Imagine the barrier of the body is removed. The bad thoughts, bad intentions, bad habits, and bad groupthink are no longer limited by the physical facts of what one body can do to another. Neither time nor distance, weight nor scale, the bandwidth of nerves nor the finitude of neurons, have any bearing on experience of pleasure or pain. Watch Black Mirror again. Watch the really nasty episodes. Decide for yourself whether demons and damnation might not be the right ideas to describe what Britain's most psychopathic TV writer has imagined for you.
Bonus round question: Does Satan whisper promises into women's ears to manipulate them into getting abortions, as Marjorie Taylor Greene claims? This is left as an exercise for the reader. Meanwhile, reflect on how lucky you are to find yourself at this moment in history, and how much you have to look forward to as Big Tech becomes ever bigger and all-encompassing. Welcome to the Vortex, dear reader, like it or not!