Transhumanism is a powerfully influential planetary movement that believes man can begin a radical transfiguration of himself by merging his brain with technology with the long term goal of eventually transferring his 'essence' out of his decaying body and into a highly advanced robo-machine. A DailyMail article reported that, '...inserting technology into human brains is not the only thing going on. Some scientists also want to insert human brains into technology" ("Hitler would have loved The Singularity: Mind-blowing benefits of merging human brains and computers," Ian Morris, 6 February 2012, dailymail.co.uk)
In July 2012, transhumanism officially came out of the closet and into the arena of politics when Italy, a longtime stronghold of the Catholic Church, became the first major Western nation to elect an active transhumanist to congress.
Though it lauds itself as thoroughly scientific, enlightened and forward looking, transhumanism is merely the pantheist counterpart of scientific materialism's secular humanism. In his book, The Abolition of Man (1947), C.S. Lewis observed that pantheist or cosmic humanism and materialist secular humanism and similar variants appeared in Western history in the heart of Christendom during the Renaissance. The Renaissance reawakened a magic view of the world closely connected with pagan Gnostic sectarianism, Eastern pantheism as well as Hermetic and alchemical-scientism. Along with Eastern pantheism came spiritual evolution, reincarnation, karma and occultism while for its' materialist counterpart there eventually came Darwinism and instead of karma there would be determinism.
Early on Lewis understood that Cosmic and Secular Humanism were merely two sides of the same revival of pagan monism. Thus he argued, Cosmic and Secular Humanism are not enemies in principle but rather cooperating philosophies united against the Creator Who exists outside of the time-space universe, His Revelation to mankind, Christian theism, and Christian-based civilization.
During Lewis's lifetime, cosmic and secular humanist ideas and philosophical systems were growing in acceptance and popularity throughout academia, within seminaries, universities and among the masses.
Among common points of departure for both types of humanism are the following ideas:
1. Rejection of the living God Who dwells outside the time-space universe with special antipathy directed against Jesus Christ God incarnate in favor of pagan naturalism, no God, a distant God or pantheist conceptions of God, and Jesus Christ as a mortal teacher such as Buddha, the brother of Lucifer, a highly evolved Transcended Master or spirit guide. 2. Rejection of the Genesis account of creation ex nihilo in favor of 'this-worldly' mechanical evolutionary processes 3. Rejection of fleshly eternal life in either Paradise (renewed earth) or hell in favor of no afterlife whatsoever or wholly spiritual conceptions such as man's ghost forever wandering about in the aerial realm of spirits or perhaps a phantom existence on a planet 4. Humanity as deity 5. Subjectivism: No right way, no wrong way, all directions lead to the same place
The dangers of holding erroneous views are profound and in his book, "The Great Divorce," Lewis attempted to address them by presenting us with a masterful study of the psychology of the hell-bound versus the psychology of the Paradise-bound.
As Lewis fleshes out his view of hell, he relies in part on his mentor George MacDonald, the old Scottish preacher and writer who believed there might be a final opportuinity for the unrepentant on earth to repent after their death. Building off this idea, Lewis depicts the damned as taking a bus ride from hell to heavenly paradise, where they come in contact with â€œrealâ€ reality.
Heaven is a place of matter, of weight and mass and the blessed inhabitants are the beautiful "bright solid people" as opposed to the self-idolizing dirty shades without mass, or matter. N.T. Wright explains,
"...there will be a new mode of physicality, which stands in relation to our present body as our present body does to a ghost....a Christian in the present life is a mere shadow of his or her future self, the self that person will be when the body that God has waiting in his heavenly storeroom is brought out...and put on...over the self that will still exist after bodily death." (Eternal Perspectives, Randy Alcorn, p. 154-155)
The bus finally arrives in heaven having arisen from what turns out to be a mere crack in the ground for Lewis sees all Hell as "...smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World."
As the hell-bound depart the bus they are shocked by the realization that not only are they dirty ghosts but they cannot abide the matter, the fleshiness of heaven because in life, like the Gnostic Arnobius and contemporary secular and cosmic transhumanists, they were dissatisfied with their own bodies and created condition, as either male or female for example, as well as with the finiteness of their own minds. In "Adversus nationes" (2.37) Arnobius complains,
â€œIf souls were of the Lordâ€™s raceâ€¦They would never come to these terrestrial places (and) inhabit opaque bodies and (be) mixed with humors and blood, in receptacles of excrement, in vases of urine.â€ (The Pagan Temptation, Thomas Molnar, p. 27)
Molnar explains that from Plato to Plotinus, it was held as axiomatic that from being as one with or an aspect of the Divine Substance souls had inexplicably fallen into the material realm, a place of misery and suffering. Salvation was secured through the mystery cults which,
"...afforded their devotees the opportunity to erase the curse of mortality by direct encounter with the patron deity, or in many instances by actually undergoing an apotheosis, a transfiguration of human into divine. The process of 'initiation' in the mystery religions, therefore, had as its objective the liberation of the soul from its earthly...chains" (C.K. Barrett cited in "The Interruption of Eternity," Carl A. Raschke, p. 28)
Carl Teichrib, author of "The Rise of Techno-Gods: The Merging of Transhumanism and Spirituality" writes that transhumanists believe thay are on the verge of evolving into deity. They are no longer mere humans but posthumans. Theirs is the technical quest for the Holy Grail, Ascension through engineering. Itâ€™s modern-day Alchemy and Magic, the contemporary manifestation of the Secret Doctrine; â€œAll is One, and that One is Divinity.â€ Transhumanist Mark Pesce, a co-inventor of 3-D interfacing for the worldwide web, and a panelist and judge on ABCâ€™s show The New Inventors, puts it this way,
â€œ.... we seek... a transcendence of transience, translation to incorruptible form. An escape if you will, a stop to the wheel. We seek, therefore, to bless ourselves with perfect knowledge and perfect will; To become as gods, take the universe in hand, and transform it in our image â€“ for our own delight. As it is on Earth, so it shall be in the heavens. There is no God but Man." (Carl Teichrib, www.forcingchange.org)
Blaming the true God for their misery the ghosts had transferred onto Him the reasons for their wrong choices and dissatisfaction with self and longing for eternal nothingness, absorption into the void, apotheosis, or some spiritual conception of afterlife, when the dirty shades step onto the â€œsolidnessâ€ of Paradise it is painful to them. The grass is sharp on their feet, the rain goes go through them like bullets from a machine gun. They can't even pick flowers as the stems are far too strong for them.
Here Lewis contrasts the psychology of the hell-bound over and against the psychology of the heaven-bound. He does so by clearly depicting just how repugnant heaven is to the hell-bound. To them, paradise is a place of pain and suffering because during life, they freely chose unwisely based on selfish motives.
Enormously proud, resentful and covetous, in the world they had their ever-expanding menu of privileges which they called 'rights,' their own version of the Golden Rule and of what constitutes good, such as their 'choice' to deny life to the inconvenient, to practice their own pansexuality, and to live parasitic lives at the expense of the productive. As they were morally-perfect and autonomous they traveled their own sovereign roads and expected the God of Revelation and everyone else to accept and tolerate them---to put up and shut up. This being the case, they resent the living God and blame Him for not accepting them just as they are, for not jumping through hoops for them, for not seeing things their way.
On the other hand, the heaven-bound think that anyone would be delighted to live for all eternity in the blessed realm---first in heaven and then one day on the renewed earth, Paradise. Yet the things of heaven and Paradise that bring unspeakable joy to its' bright, beautiful, eternally youthful inhabitants bring immense pain to the envious hell-bound as can be seen in the way that even the grass of heaven hurts the feet of the ghosts.
Lewis shows that heaven is a place of eternal joy, of unbelievably beautiful people, colors, music, flowers, birds, delicious food, and never-ending light, unencumbered by misery. This last was an especially good insight, for the self-idolatrous enviers love misery and demand that others share their misery, which in the end means going to hell for all eternity. In fact, the paradise-bound often feel that their joys and blessings must be constrained, hidden and even denigrated by sharing the miseries of the envious. Yet Lewis, speaking through the voice of George MacDonald, reveals that hatred of the good underlies the demands of the envious:
"That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it?" "What?" "The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be allowed to veto Heaven."
In his â€œJourney to the Celestial City,â€ Wayne Martindale similarly describes the envious as haters of good people. Self-centeredness, hate, and envy twist their hearts, thus they prefer evil thoughts, evil words, evil companions and evil acts, though it makes them wretched and miserable. Thus when they encounter good people,
â€œ... they condemn them, perverting their reason by rationalizing evil and finding ways to blame the good or God or religion for their problems and the problems of the world. They already hate goodness because it implicitly condemns the evil they have chosen. They wouldnâ€™t like heaven if they could have it. They are, in a sense, already in hell, preferring darkness to light.â€ ( Eternal Perspectives, Randy Alcorn, p 76)
In a further discussion with McDonald, Lewis speaks of the issues of the dirty phantoms and the reality of heaven and hell. The question of choices comes up and Macdonald says this,
"Milton was right," said my Teacher. "The choice of every lost sould can be expressed in the words, 'Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.' ..... There is always something they prefer to joy --- that is, to reality." (The Great Divorce, An Essay, Allen Adams, Into the Wardrobe--a C.S. Lewis website)
Lewis sees the importance of free moral agency, for the living God honors our choices, whether for good or evil, as demonstrated by the unwise choices of contemporary secular and cosmic transhumanists, liberal and/or modern Christians and others of that persuasion. Choosing pride and self-centeredness they are unwisely rejecting the God of Revelation and His offer of Paradise, and like a dog returning to its' own vomit, they are returning to the vomit of ancient paganism revamped, revised and made palatable for modern Western consumption. Thus their envy and self-idolatry lead to the conceptual murder of God and the rejection of His work on the cross, which means that by their own choice, they shut themselves out of paradise. So Lewis makes this point, saying that Hell is of their own choosing:
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' All that are in Hell chose it."