Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement

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Overview

The timeless human desire to be more beautiful, intelligent, healthy, athletic, or young has given rise in our time to technologies of human enhancement. Athletes use drugs to increase their strength or stamina; cosmetic surgery is widely used to improve physical appearance; millions of men take drugs like Viagra to enhance sexual performance. And today researchers are exploring technologies such as cell regeneration and implantable devices that interact directly with the brain. Some condemn these developments as a new kind of cheating -- not just in sports but in life itself -- promising rewards without effort and depriving us most of all of what it means to be authentic human beings. "Transhumanists," on the other hand, reject what they see as a rationalizing of human limits, as if being human means being content forever with underachieving bodies and brains. To be human, they insist, is to be restless with possibilities, always eager to transcend biological limits.

As the debate grows in urgency, how should theology respond? Christian theologians recognize truth on both sides of the argument, pointing out how the yearnings of the transhumanists -- if not their technological methods -- find deep affinities in Christian belief. In this volume, Ronald Cole-Turner has joined seasoned scholars and younger, emerging voices together to bring fresh insight into the technologies that are already reshaping the future of Christian life and hope.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589017801
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,508,819
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Cole-Turner holds the H. Parker Sharp Chair in Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He is the editor of Design and Destiny: Jewish and Christian Perspectives on Human Germline Modification and coeditor of God and the Embryo: Religious Voices on Stem Cells and Cloning.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Transhumanist Challenge Ronald Cole-Turner 2. Contextualizing a Christian Perspective on Transcendence and Human Enhancement: Francis Bacon, N. F. Fedorov, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin Michael S. Burdett3. Transformation and the End of Enhancement: Insights from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin David Grumett 4. Dignity and Enhancement in the Holy City Karen Lebacqz 5. Progress and Provolution: Will Transhumanism Leave Sin Behind? Ted Peters6. The Hopeful Cyborg Stephen Garner7. Artificial Wombs and Cyborg Births: Postgenderism and Theology J. Jeanine Thweatt-Bates8. Taking Leave of the Animal? The Theological and Ethical Implications of Transhuman Projects Celia Deane-Drummond9. Chasing Methuselah: Transhumanism and Christian Theosis in Critical Perspective Todd T. W. Daly10. Human or Vulcan? Theological Consideration of Emotional Control Enhancement Michael L. Spezio11. Whose Salvation? Which Eschatology? Transhumanism and Christianity as Contending Salvific Religions Brent Waters12. Transcendence, Technological Enhancement, and Christian Theology Gerald McKenny13. Transhumanism and Christianity Ronald Cole-TurnerContributors

Index

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