Micah Redding — Christian Transhumanism: faith, technology & the future

Believe or Don't Believe

Belief in God amounts to a perception that the universe is bending towards good. Good is winning out, complexity is increasing, beauty is spreading. If you accept that, then the lines of our future are converging on a reality that is increasingly compassionate, intelligent, and relational. Follow those lines long enough and you realize that the gravitational force that is curving reality towards these ends has begun to take on all the traditional attributes of God.

There's no other alternative. Just as following the expansion of our universe backwards forces us to acknowledge a big bang, following the progression of our universe towards goodness forces us to acknowledge the place where all such progressions meet.

You can legitimately reject such a view entirely. It's possible the world is not advancing in any sense. If so - if in the end, reality is hopeless, and life is destined to futility - then indeed, there is no God.

But be assured, this is the true question on which it all hangs. No other theistic or atheistic argument matters.

Chris Smith:

I do happen to think the world is getting better at the moment (largely due to cultural and systemic changes accompanying globalization), but to say reality itself is bending toward the Good and the Beautiful is something else entirely. Since the law of entropy suggests the universe in the long run is bending toward cold, dead, empty chaos, I don't see how such a claim could be sustained.

micahtredding:

Thanks Chris, for chiming in. That's exactly what I'm saying here...science has certainly placed a lot of weight on the "everything is meaningless" side of the argument. If everything ends in nothingness, then everything is futile, in the long run. (Which isn't to say one can't have a very rewarding life in the meantime.) But entropy only dictates this end result if the total energy available to life is finite. If the total energy available happens to be infinite, then entropy is actually just part of the path towards ever-increasing progress.

Lincoln Cannon:

Micah, I like how you put that. I'd add, though, that most theists are concerned also with how the good relates to them personally and as a particular community. We like abstract goods, but we like even more the goods we know intimately.

micahtredding:

Thanks, Lincoln, this is a good point. On first glance, I'd say this translates roughly to the different religions within theism - Islam, Judaism, Christianity, etc, etc - all express different ideas about how that good relates to them, and how they are best to "go with the flow". Jesus theism, as I understand it, expresses a particularly counter-intuitive notion about how good is achieved; a notion I find more beautiful than many other more conventional notions. Jesus applied it to his time, and his disciples, to offer a different path forward. To me, some of these understandings are clear choices between competing ideas. Theism (as I've framed it above) and atheism, are one such pair. Properly defined, an intellectually honest person could go either direction. It's important to me to be clear on just what such decisions entail, so that we give proper respect to those who choose differently than we do, and so that any "leaps of faith" we make are leaps of hope, not leaps into intellectual mush. Anyway, I think I'm rambling. :)

Chris Smith:

I actually think the accelerating "expansion" of the universe means the universe could still end up fairly cold and dead even if the total energy is infinite. Take an infinite series of particles and insert a large amount of empty space between each successive particle in the set, and the result is still pretty empty. Personally, I think the potential for progress is clearly finite, and we should be content with that and make it as meaningful as possible while it lasts.