Transhumanist Advent: She is not dead but sleepeth

"While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat." (Luke 8:49-55)

Modern advances in medicine and technology have blurred the line between life and death as we progressively reach to the dead using our tools, technology, and desire to heal as we call them to "arise".

  • We now have the ability to preserve life in vegetative or comatose states allowing doctors and family to explore many types of treatments. These states, which would have meant almost certain death -- if not interpreted as death -- in ancient times have become increasingly treatable.
  • Cryonics is an emerging field with successful outcomes performed on animals. This offers hope to some who may be able to "sleep" until treatment can be found for their illness.
  • Certain types of surgeries involve stopping the heart and lungs for hours at a time.
  • Doctors and nurses follow rituals of defibrillator use to restore heart function.
  • CPR techniques save the lives of many, bringing them back from death.
  • We use the organs of the dead to preserve life for the living -- which would have been unfathomable and likely objectionable to ancient and even relatively modern peoples.
  • Some engage in early, crude efforts to replicate the consciousness and intelligence of loved ones from their digital artifacts.

Certainly, along with these tools and technology come the ethical questions of how & when to administer them. But as we seek to ethically preserve life and to recover our dead we can follow the example Jesus set in healing, even when that healing crosses (and blurs) the line between life and death.

-Caleb Jones

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