Friday, May 08, 2009

Christianity 3001 A.D.

What will Christianity look like in 500 or 1,000 years? While Christianity can still be integrated into past manifestations of its history, no matter how modern or contemporary it has become or is becoming, it is not necessarily a given that the distant future of this religion will be as recognizable as its past has been.

Some of the realities that may well come to pass in the future will, no doubt, also have their impact on Christianity. Some of these are briefly described below.

Christian cyborgs - A cyborg is a being that is composed of both cybernetic as well as organic components. To a limited extent cyborgs already exist today as technology works wonders with those who have had limbs amputated due to war, disease or other mishaps. When a future individual becomes more cybernetic than biological--perhaps some even out of choice--how would this reality impact its experience as a Christian? In such a case the person in question would be more a work of man than a work of God. Of course, it would still be God who gave humans the knowledge to enhance or refashion one of his creatures. Would cyborgs be the only ones who could share their faith with other cyborgs? How would they fit in when worshiping among biological Christians? Might not the ultimate symbol of their acceptance into the community of believers be a painting of Christ washing the feet of a Cyborg apostle at the last supper? Paul's familiar text about there not being neither slave nor freeman, Jew nor gentile, male nor female, may very well one day include, neither biological person nor cyborg. All are one in Christ.

Christian A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) Entities - Some may scoff at the mere mention, but keep in mind that earlier generations had similar attitudes toward in-vitro humans, as well as the still-forbidden cloning of human beings. If one day A.I. persons can pass for human or accomplish most human activities except anatomical reproduction of offspring, how would Christianity deal with these seemingly improbable humans? They would be perhaps one of humanity's greatest scientific accomplishments. Already one can carry on conversations with proto-humans via computer that sometimes jars one's mind as how human they appear in their thought patterns and approaches. If free-will is built into these A.I. Christians, might they not also seemingly want to relate themselves both to the God of its human creators and to their designers themselves? Could these A.I. Christians also be considered one in Christ?

Interplanetary/interstellar Christians. These are not so unlikely as one might think. In a hundred years or less, when Christians are born on Mars or the moons of the gas giants, how would they relate to their savior who will not only come for those he originally promised to retrieve at the end of Earth's history, but to their off-world descendants who also have a hope in the return of Christ. Centuries later when humanity leaves its solar system behind, what will Christ's return to Earth mean to those who are light years from Earth?

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