Friday, 21 December 2012

Hyperreality, and Christianity....?


 

Title of Original Article

TransChristianity - Simulating the Hyperreal Kingdom of Heaven

Posted: Thu, December 13, 2012 | By: Jason Xu

Hyperreal computer simulation could create the ‘New Jerusalem’: a realm in the world, but not of it.
Even if the “naturalistic materialistic” view of reality espoused by most atheists is correct, the prophecies of the bible can still be fulfilled via hyperreal computer simulations.  When virtual reality advances to the point when it cannot be distinguished from actual reality, it is possible to create any world imaginable. This includes the “Kingdom of God” which Jesus prophesised.  Furthermore, with future sensory enhancements available, we can identify and amplify feelings of love and connectedness to God in a computer-brain interface.
“Christian Heaven” can be a hyperreal simulation created by tech-advanced posthumans.  As an idealist, I view a hyperreal simulation with an exponentially-enhanced brain as far more “real” than material reality.

I am a very spiritual person, and that spirituality will be devoted to complete surrender to Jesus when I am in the computer simulation described above.  Besides, in a sense, “material reality” is a computer simulation done by God, who is “hypermaterial” and “hyperreal”.  When hyperreality becomes infinestimally more desirable than real reality, we will have created a spiritual plane of existence.
Specific Biblical descriptions of heaven are found in Relevations 21: 
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west.
14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia [or 1,400 miles!] in length, and as wide and high as it is long [1,400 miles wide and tall!].
17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits [that is 200 feet!] thick.


18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.
19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 
20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst [these last two stones are unknown or only exist in heaven today].
21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.
24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.
25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there.
26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.
27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. 
——
My ideas are not entirely new; they were expressed initially by the Russian Cosmist below:
...The deepest and fullest assimilation of the idea of duty is needed in order not to fall into despair and lose hope, and in order to remain always faithful to God and the ancestors, because humanity will have to overcome difficulties of such magnitude as may frighten away the most daring imaginations. Only hard and prolonged labour will purify us in the fulfillment of our duty, bring us to resurrection and the communion with the Triune Being, while we remain, like Him, independent, immortal persons, capable of feeling and conscious of our oneness. Only then will we have the ultimate proof of the existence of God and behold Him face to face.” -Nikolai Fydorov
If you could enter the hyperreal computer simulation of the Kingdom of Heaven just by entering a computer simulation, would you do it?  What if the computer simulation was so hyperrreal that you are overwhelmed with a transcendent love towards God, that the materialistic world cannot provide?
The Singularity will provide a day when hyperreal computer simulations overwhelm the senses, exponentially more “real” than real reality.

Perhaps Heaven itself, the Kingdom of God, is a hyperreal computer simulation created by future transhumanist Christians.
I felt at home with my Christian faith since my pre-teen years, attending Asian-American youth groups and growing closer to God.  Gradually, via internet research, I lost faith.  I cried when I read atheist material online, convinced by its logic but deeply hurt by its telological implications.  Accepting the annihilation of my conscious being for all of eternity was deeply depressing.  My purpose in life required that I be conscious forever in order for it to be truly meaningful.  Achieving symbolic immortality for me was akin to the parable of the tree that fell in the woods with no one around to hear it.  The thought of spending eternity as a nonexistent entity was unbearable.
Now, I believe we are already living in a simulated world constructed by an omnipotent God, whose essence is mysterious.
The miracles and gifts provided by believers is testament to the supernatural graces Christians need to fulfill the mission of the church.
Atheists have long dominated transhumanist/singularitarian thought and scientific advancement.
The true test of faith is ensuring heaven is achieved regardless of whichever metaphysical reality exists.
A key to remember when undertaking this project is to have a submissive heart to God when constructing the simulation.  Because “God” himself is a hyperreal construct, the temptation will always be to make oneself God and ruin the project due to pride.  The Tower of Babel is a testament to this mistake that many current Transhumanists are making.
As Paul foresaw: “For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed – the one who brings destruction. He will exalt himself and defy every god there is and tear down every object of adoration and worship. He will position himself in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
Not even the “reality” of atheism scares me from pursuing this goal.
 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” -1 John 3:2
I believe Life Extension groups should promote transhumanist ideas to Christian groups, ideas such as the Omega Point, that’s endorsed by physicist Frank J. Tipler.
Life Extensionists should urge Christians to form transhumanist communities. Ideally, these new congregations would be tithed for health extension projects. Christians believe in the resurrection of all; wouldn’t Christian transhumanists seek to achieve this, and donate 10% of their income to have it realised?

Christians would be perfect transhumanists because they have a long “evangelical” tradition, that ventures out to proselytize and convert others.
We need to create more “life extension evangelicals” - people like myself, people who are willing to sacrifice the “normal” pleasures of a 80-year lifespan to gain an indefinite length of years, with the possibility of morphological freedom and enhanced future capabilities.
Living forever is a powerful idea - immense enough to captivate people and make them willing to dedicate their entire life towards activism and convincing others to do the same.  In both its fanatical enthusiasm and its promise of eternal life and happiness, it resembles the successful spread of Christianity.
Radical Life Extension is like Christianity on steroids - Onward, evangelical life extensionists!
We have everything to sacrifice for: our minds and consciousnesses will be eradicated for eternity if our goals of health extension and universal immortalism are not met.  Our victory is contingent on our passionate effort!
How lucky we will be if we are the first generation to live forever!
“I’m spending the rest of my life in the future”
 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8: 38-39
“The only significance of life consists in helping to establish the kingdom of God; and this can be done only by means of the acknowledgment and profession of the truth by each one of us.” - Tolstoy
New priorities for TransChristians:
1) Radical Life Extension
2) Creating mind files for loved ones to preserve memories
Take the vow below:
 I swear…That if it is in my power to do so… I will resurrect the willing dead… and allow them to progress to the destinations they sought or hoped for in life… Having done so… I will reveal the truth of their situation… and offer whatever resources are necessary and possible to complete their journey… in the light of the new reality… consistent with the well-being of other sentient creatures.


http://transhumanity.net/articles/entry/transchristianity-simulating-the-hyperreal-kingdom-of-heaven

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