Human enhancement technologies are opening up tremendous new possibilities. But they’re also raising important questions about what it means to be human. These technologies are currently geared towards upgrading or restoring physical and psychological abilities for medical purposes. An application is surfacing, however, that is designed with another goal in mind: embellishing performance. An international team of researchers has been examining the ethical issues arising from these experiments. (1)
Society is based on humans getting together.
But humans want to improve.
And, thus, they believe society will do too.
Society is based on humans and humans are based on society. But this was not always the case. Society is a very recent construct. We used to be alone. And only at some point did we start realizing the potential in cooperating with others. It seems like a noble cause. But it is not. Humans have always looked towards their personal interest. They wish they could cooperate with others to serve that interest, through society. They wish they could enhance themselves to serve that interest.
But there is another way of seeing things.
A Man tried to teach that way once.
But we killed Him. Because it is not easy to kill one’s self.
That there is no us. That there are no others. There can be a society based on these premises. But not a society with other people.
During the European Middle Ages, literacy and written texts were largely the province of religious institutions. Richly illustrated manuscripts were created in monasteries for use by members of religious institutions and by the nobility. Some of these illuminated manuscripts were embellished with luxurious paints and pigments, including gold leaf and ultramarine, a rare and expensive blue pigment made from lapis lazuli stone.
In a study published in Science Advances, an international team of researchers led by the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and the University of York shed light on the role of women in the creation of such manuscripts with a surprising discovery — the identification of lapis lazuli pigment embedded in the calcified dental plaque of a middle-aged woman buried at a small women’s monastery in Germany around 1100 AD. Their analysis suggests that the woman was likely a painter of richly illuminated religious texts. (1)
Reading. Writing. Praying.
We see the evidence.
To prove that something happened.
We analyze the dental plaque.
To know what this woman did.
And yet, all her efforts are cancelled.
By our lust for proof.
By our eagerness for knowledge.
For the books she helped write, called on for a different kind of knowledge. Knowledge not based on books or proof. Knowledge not based on what you see or hear. But wisdom based on the unseen and the unprovable. For it is that which is the only thing worth seeking in this irrational life governed by the unseen and the unprovable.
That woman did write or supported the writing of holy books. And she did so without the need to prove that to anyone. Her belief was strong enough not to ask for such earthly manifests of recognition. For she recognized the true essence of herself in the humility of a God who came to Earth as a Man and who was recognized by only a few fishermen.
So, the next time you open such a book, remember.
It is not a book written to be read.
But a book which is already read and that is why it was written…
A friend recently initiated a discussion regarding science, religion and the ‘war’ between them. One of the basic elements of the discussion was the number of scientists who are Christians and of course the actual number of christians in the world to-day. The discussion heated up, with many people invoking researches and polls where the number of scientists who are religious or atheists was documented, explained or projected, while taking into accounts multiple criteria and factors.
Yes, the number of religious scientists may be falling.
On the other hand, there could be polls claiming otherwise.
But at the end, does it matter at all?
Should Christianity care about diminishing or increasing numbers of christians?
If we take a good look we will understand that we are looking at the whole topic from the wrong angle. The problem of Christianity to-day is not that it has a dropping number of faithful going to the church. Or an increasing number of people going to the church. The problem is that Christianity (and christians) care about the number of people going to the church…
Nietzsche once said that the first and last Christian died at the cross. Whether this is true or not I do not know, however I do know that I would surely prefer to have Christianity with only one Christian who is a good and humble person, than having billions of followers who argue and debate about whether the numbers of Christians are rising or falling…
And since the discussion is abour religion and science, the same applies to science as well. I would also prefer science with only one proper scientist, open to all possibilities, self-criticizing eveything and with a free spirit, rather than millions of self-proclaimed scientists who are just parroting the same things over and over again because someone else has said them.
In every case, remember: Less is more…
Be aware and be worried when your followers increase too much.
You are doing things suspiciously right…
PS. All the above also apply for atheism and agnosticism as well.
There was a lot of discussion recently on Greek Facebook about a famous and popular priest who decided to stop being a priest. A choice that divided and provoked either positive or negative comments. I will not dwell on this discussion and on whether a priest who does such a thing is doing the right thing or not. Instinctively, I believe that such an act involves more the element of cowardice, as a friend of mine mentioned, than an element that could arouse admiration. Anyway, I did not know the man so my judgment is superfluous and may also be wrong.
This small event though made me think about another much more important issue: What effect does the fall of a person who is nothing more than an idol have on the people who followed him and believed in him as their guide in life? It may sound funny, but many people are looking for such guidance. Many times I have heard people talk about a priest in terms like “He is good, come and listen to him” or “He is an enlightened man” etc. What do the same people say when this priest gives up? Does their system collapse? Do they just… go to the next priest available? And regardless of that, the views these people had and which they based on their… previous idol, have they remained intact? If so, what role did this idol play in their lives? If not, then what role did these views play in these people’s lives?
These questions may seem funny or a little serious – especially to those who follow such idols – but they can be made even more serious by choosing another example: Christ.
Many Christians say they believe because they believe in Christ. What does this really mean? That their faith is based on His Resurrection, which they have believed beyond any doubt? So if they somehow go back in time and discover (hypothetically speaking) that the Resurrection was a complicated lie, then they would cease to be Christians? Or that if Christ suddenly started saying nonsense (again, hypothetically speaking), would they follow that nonsense literally because He says it? What does it mean to have a faith based on your faith in someone, even if that person is God?
To me, a lot of faith is a sign of little faith.
If you believe in the teaching which says “Love each other” (Gr. Αγαπάτε αλλήλους) you should do it not because someone else said it, but because you heard it, processed it and decided that you agree with it and incorporated it into your life. And the interesting thing is that if you did all of the above, it no longer matters who you heard it from or who said it! The seed that Christ sowed, if it eventually sprouts, belongs to each one of us. It no longer belongs to Christ, in the sense that a fool who follows someone else ‘belongs’ to the latter without mind and knowledge. If you believe in the teachings of Christ, then it does not matter if He even existed! Let alone if He was crucified, if He did what they say he did, etc. Because now this love is your own and you are now its self-luminous bearer. By your choice. And even if you took a time machine to go back in time and see that Christ did not even exist (the permanent dream of all hardcore atheists), your Christian values will not and should not be affected. If that happened then we would all be in big trouble and these values would not be actual values to be honest.
So let’s leave all the fake idols. Let’s stop following them. Let us ask ourselves simply and honestly.
Would we follow… us?
On the other hand, I may just say nonsense. Who told you to follow me?
We have a lot of discussion today about the “persecution” of Christians. Modern “Christians” feel persecuted because the churches are closed, because they do not open together with the… other businesses, because there are no religious events while other events perhaps are allowed, because they will put a chip in us and the Antichrist will come, etc. All this – at least some – are legitimate questions that need to be addressed. However, there is a fine line between what concerns us as Christians and what is really important. And equally important is the way we express our concerns. A post? Two posts? Crying out loud (online) about upcoming doom? Because anxiety is good to have in moderation if needed, but a lot of anxiety eventually becomes funny.
Christianity will not die because COVID-19 has come. Not even because of the lockdown. Christianity has survived – to be more precise, it had FLOURISHED – in times of great persecution. If today’s concerned “Christians” were living in the times of the great persecutions, they would probably have died on the spot from a stroke before they had time to worry (or they would have changed their minds and denounce Christianity). Because, unfortunately, hypocrisy, like stupidity, seems to have no limits. From the time when some people went to church, we have now reached to a time when online hordes of Christians protest because the churches were closed. Not because they are anxious about Christianity per se. But because they are anxious that they do NOT appear to be Christians. And in today’s era phenomena are not just important, they are all we have left.
Hey you. You, who are protesting …
How many times do you pray at home? How honestly do you believe in God? How much do you need others to know that you believe?
I’m sorry to say it, but the comparison with Muslims is heartbreaking. No, I am not in favor of Islam as you (might) know. I am a Christian. But let’s be honest. While we are anxious and afraid that Christianity may be destroyed by “persecution” on Earth because due to a sudden WORLD VIRUS OUTBREAK and in the middle of GENERAL LOCKDOWN the churches are closed, the Muslims simply continues to believe and pray wherever they can.
No, Christianity is not going to die because of quarantine. It has already died inside you a long time ago…