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As some of our readers know, not long ago Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science featured a thesis written by Professor S. Jonathon O’Donnell from the Department of Religion and Philosophies at the University of London titled, “Secularizing Demons: Fundamentalist Navigations in Religion and Secularity.”
O’Donnell’s aim? According to the article’s abstract, it was to explore at a deeper level than his peers the “anti-transhumanist apocalypticisms” of our day, the central voice behind which he identified as “evangelical conspiracist Thomas Horn [and his] milieu [community gathering place]”[i] Throughout the academic paper, O’Donnell simply refers to me and my co-obstructionists as “Horn’s Milieu.”
In other words, the University of London professor has determined that I and those who work with me at SkyWatch TV and Defender Publishing are the “leaders of the transhuman resistance” the members of that community had better pay attention to. The peer-reviewed Zygon agreed at least to the point they found reason to promulgate O’Donnell’s thesis.
A title such as this placed upon me and the associates within “my milieu” is, I assure you, not as offensive as it may seem. Quite the contrary, I am encouraged that my line of work in the media has captured the attention of renowned spokespersons of the scientific world—such as those deemed worthy of being featured in Zygon. The very fact that personalities of such high regard and academic acumen are addressing what I’ve concluded throughout my career proves that my work is worth addressing. If I was completely off the mark out in La-la Land, I may still gain attention for being an agitator, but to persons such as O’Donnell, I would simply be considered inconsequential and not worth the precious time it takes to write such a detailed response to my convictions. Likewise, I am deeply flattered to see how professionally and fairly my stance on the subject was handled, as I nearly expected this to be yet another “hit piece” upon myself and my associates. Most naysayers who have come against our work have formulated little more than a straw man’s argument. It’s clear by their retaliation that they haven’t truly read my work to begin with. They assume—errantly so—that we are just religious men and women who cry “sin” against anything laboratory-created, as it doesn’t innately have the hand of God upon it. Such may not have been the case for O’Donnell. Much to my surprise, O’Donnell did not appear to be driven by the sole desire to paint me as a half-witted lunatic like some others have done throughout recent history. For that, I openly offer my gratitude.
There were, however, a few intrinsic flaws in his conclusions about us and our “demonologies” of transhumanism and secularism.
Religion? Science?…or Common Sense?
There is always an inherent fallacy when a personality trained in the scientifically oriented school of “show me proof/evidence” analyzes a stance based on religious conviction, particularly as it relates to eschatological prophecy and ruminations about events that have not yet occurred. It will probably always be this way on this side of eternity, since what we “evangelical conspiracists” see written on the wall regarding the scriptural warnings of God aren’t impartially considered amidst the “proofs” and “evidences” of science. It’s no secret that science recurrently discounts religion, and by extension any conclusion that a religious spokesperson may come to. Though I wouldn’t immediately accuse O’Donnell of it personally, well-learned academics heavily entrenched in the scientific community or its publications quite frequently respond to religious concerns with “intellectual snobbery.” And we’re not guiltless on the religious end either, as many a minister will immediately regard people who place their faith in science with an air of “moral snobbery.” It should not have to be this way, but it is a reality perpetuated just as much or more by the Church than by the secular world as I see it. Religion—especially conventional Christianity—recurrently discounts science, and though I understand why, I think this is an unnecessary tragedy. Many preachers and teachers of the Church today distance themselves from addressing scientific development and discovery (and the more “fringe” the topic, such as transhumanism, the greater the distancing), because the Bible is always the final authority, so “science is irrelevant when it contradicts Scripture”—or so the thought process relates. On the other hand, the world at large (including Christians) considers most aspects of transhumanism (and science in general) to be enormously important to our current and future generations, so it matters a great deal. How sad, then, that any minister willing to tackle the “fringe” topics is seen as a conspiracy-theorist whacko (often by the Church as well) instead of the man with the salve that could potentially help heal some of the festering tension between secular and religious people groups.
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ON DAYSTAR: Dr. Thomas Horn and Jimmy Evans Explain The Greatest Threat Transhumanism Poses To Humanity
In many cases, such as a pastor of a local congregation whose duty is primarily to sharpen the Body of Christ and spread the Good News of our Savior, speaking of transhumanism and its potential travesties might be a distraction from what he or she is personally called and gifted to do. Though, there remains a massive deficit of voices on the God-fearing end of the spectrum that choose to stand in opposition to certain aspects of transhumanism and its prospective travesties, and the result of this is a tragedy in itself. When so few spokespeople of the Gospel are willing to address such a hot-button issue in the secular sphere: 1) Believers have nobody on their side to tell them why or how these scientific developments are immoral and possibly devastating, and they are therefore misled to support what they don’t know the Bible expressly forbids; 2) nonbelieving agitators against religion have that much more reason to blast the world with the claim that the Church is outdated and irrelevant; and 3) those who may or may not feel convicted to believe in or follow God already (or those who have yet to even consider what they believe) have a scarce few intelligent, educated theological responders to listen to and guide them (most of whom are already squelched by a “conspiracist” label), and therefore have no reason to see Christianity as anything more than an archaic system of beliefs that can’t relate to the modern world they live in.
The more a minister of the Word compares Scripture to science and the convictions and agendas therein, the more Scripture proves itself true from the beginning, so really, a minister’s attention toward what is happening in laboratories across the globe today should not be as intimidating as it has become anyway—yet it appears that hardly anyone in the mainstream Church takes this position. Ministers are missing a great opportunity here to reach those who are confused about what Scripture actually says on the subject…
I don’t wish to insinuate that it is every Gospel minister’s responsibility to drop everything and start preaching about the inner workings of every sinister scientific organization and the impending dooms that may be birthed from them (and, as I said prior, this might prove to be a distraction away from many ministers’ personal callings), but it is my goal in this thread of thought to point out that there have been very few ministers of the Gospel who have stood up to address these issues for all three people groups just mentioned—which covers all three known categories of people in existence (believers, nonbelievers, and those who haven’t decided yet).
I can’t say that I blame anyone. To take the bull by the horns and speak out regarding the concerns of modern science is a risky move, and it places one in a minority position. My opinions and concerns about the incoming “replacement humans” are often disregarded or staunchly opposed by the scientific community (and lay readers who follow it), despite that a great deal of my arguments have been solidly based on what concern-flags the scientific community has raised in the first place. (As for me or my associates being labeled “conspiratists,” a conspiracy is not a conspiracy when there’s proof, and much of my research traces back to the horse’s mouth, so that label largely cancels itself out if we’re all willing to be honest here…) A minister can quote from the same ten science journals in a row and identify the same impending catastrophes as a secular spokesperson on any given day, but between these two voices, by default of his religious distinction, the minister’s warnings may be discarded by the mainstream who believe his conclusions to be born out of a sacred duty that many believers don’t yet fully comprehend, and toward a God that nonbelievers need not heed. He or she has become a part of the minority, much like many of the prophets in the Old Testament when the majority of Israelites were so consumed with pagan revelry that the warnings of God fell to the wayside until it was too late—and seasons of great tribulation followed every time. (In the case of transhumanistic sciences, however, we are not talking about “seasons” of tribulation, but potentially a permanent and unchangeable reality that no petri dish or super-computer on the planet can reverse.)
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Check Out The Trailer For May’s SkyWatchTV’s Defender Conference (The Unveiling) In Which Several Speakers Including Dr. Thomas Horn Will Disclose What Is Rapidly Unfolding In HUMAN-ENHANCEMENT / THE HYBRID AGE:
I can certainly relate to this—not because I equate myself with an Old Testament prophet, but because I have attempted to raise awareness of irreversible dangers transhumanism poses to the human race that God designed, and because I have watched as, over the years, many have ignored the warnings I believe God has entrusted me to put out there. How exciting and flattering, then, that my warnings have been heeded by a man in O’Donnell’s position who finds it necessary to concentrate upon and attend to the research I’ve compiled regarding the relationship between today’s “Promethean faith” (transhumanistic ideals of “playing God” by redesigning His creation; more clarification on this later) and the clear-cut commands of God against some of these practices as addressed in the Word—even as early as Genesis.
But what of scriptural warning, anyway? Right? If a person doesn’t believe in God, why would he or she care what His Word has to say about anything?
At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily all about “what the Bible says” or how many Christians are informed, and I think this is a big-picture fact that most (including O’Donnell) miss when reflecting upon the work of The Milieu (hereafter capitalized to identify us as the official group O’Donnell coined). Just as often, it’s a matter of common sense that even on a purely biological level—removing religion and Scripture from the equation entirely—science is changing what it means to be human, and there will never be enough genetically, artificially, or chemically engineered rats in a labyrinth to confidently show all the inconceivable ramifications of indefinitely altering the genetic makeup of humans.
When the rubber meets the road toward an unknown destination for humanity’s future, the argument doesn’t have to take place between science and religion in order for an immediate and terrifying Pandora’s Box to present itself on the horizon for the human race. It doesn’t take a Bible scholar to see the red flags of many modern sciences and feel concerned about the irrevocable repercussions of tampering with our human genome to the point that we no longer resemble what God or evolution formed us into at the onset—whichever of these two convictions one may belong to (I obviously belong to the former)—and the disastrous implications that may hold for all people on the earth. Intervention is not always driven by religious duty; sometimes it’s driven by a preventative, humanitarian duty, and I believe most people would agree that if another life is in danger, we should all strive to be humanitarians.
Motives of The Milieu
The question then becomes: Does transhumanism pose a threat to the future of human life? We will spend a great deal of time unpacking that question and its potential answers in the coming pages. For now, suffice it to say that if transhumanism poses a threat to human life, then suddenly the label stamped upon the whistleblowers of The Milieu no longer reads “evangelical conspiracy” but “prudent forethought,” and our motives are no longer related to proselytization, but to a humanitarian duty.
This is an approach that O’Donnell didn’t address at all in his article. I only wish that, in all O’Donnell’s complicated, grandiloquent speech (not intending to make a jab here, but he used only the most complex terminologies and word arrangements possible throughout most of his article when much of what he said could have been easily simplified), he would have shown a willingness to look a little deeper into our motives than he did. In my personal opinion, the reason he was so far off the mark in this area is because of the method he used in analyzing our common theologies. Instead of acknowledging that anyone out there including The Milieu might hold a cautionary stance against transhumanistic developments because they could be dangerous to our fragile mortality (concerns of this current life as it applies to everyone, regardless of religious conviction), he focuses only on how we interpret Scripture and what threat transhumanism holds over the immortal soul, as well as what role it plays in eschatological and societal events (concerns of the next life and Bible prophecy).
From the standpoint of The Milieu, it’s irresponsible to separate one from the other: It’s not just what the Bible says about the spiritual realm, and it’s not just how all these sciences affect the future of humanity on this earth…it’s both.
By choosing to only list what The Milieu believes about the spiritual implications of today’s scientific trends, O’Donnell has whittled our message down to one that can be immediately written off by any secular mind who doesn’t believe in or care about what the God of Christianity is offended by. This was the first glaring error in his breakdown.
As for the second: Many of the assessments he makes about The Milieu lack pure objectivity… For instance, he tends to cherry-pick what sticks out to him from a number of different theological discussions, threads, and voices—many of which were produced over the period of several decades—and then mesh them together into one grand-scale theological conclusion under which everyone within The Milieu answers for as a group. Yes, we are all united as a group, and yes, we have the same awareness-raising goals, but nobody should take a subject as complicated as religion’s response to science’s “transcendent man” from twenty people over twenty years, find a few common fibers, weave an all-consuming, authoritative “umbrella” doctrine from the blend…and then publish an exhibition piece blaming The Milieu for why such a garbled mess sounds irrational. We could arrive at the same irrationality if we took our favorite blips of medical advice out of twenty diet books by twenty dieticians over twenty years and formed a nonsensical “diet theology”; these dieticians would all be united toward seeing everyone eat healthier, but each expert would have a slightly different approach to and application for his listener or patient based on his area of study and expertise. Yet, by piecing together a grand diet plan under which the entire “medical milieu” would be accountable, we could do just as O’Donnell has done and make them appear—as a united whole—to be ignorant and foolish. By including bits and pieces of The Milieu’s theology—thrown in a blender and funneled through a secularized worldview—O’Donnell has only shown that his argument against us lacks its own rational legs. However, because of how he articulated his position using intellectually dense (read: bombastic) words, any readers who may have approached his article with an open mind finds it tempting by the end to write off the entire Milieu community as irreconcilably conspiratorial and illogical, unless they are perceptive enough to pick up on his marshaling technique and make a conscious effort to remain objective.
NEXT: Do Warnings From Horn’s Milieu Relate To Anyone Besides Christians?
[i] S. Jonathon O’Donnell, “Secularizing Demons: Fundamentalist Navigations in Religion and Secularity,” abstract, Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, issue titled Nuclear Waste, Conspiracies, and E-Meters: Remarkable Religion and Technology (Vol. 51, No. 3, September 2016), 640.