Re: Extropian Religion

From: Alex Future Bokov (
Date: Tue Jun 27 2000 - 21:48:34 MDT


Wow, Brent. That's pretty intense. I needed some time to digest that.

There are just a couple of problems.


The nurturing environment from youth onward approach means that you'll
have a lot of people accepting the Extropian Church on faith rather
than coming to it through reason. I could be wrong on this, though. If
any indoctrination is to be done, it will have to be into critical
thinking, and then let the kid make up their own mind. Let them
independently come to the same conclusions we have. Or not.

We can't afford to have people out there claiming to be proponents of
rationality, who have their own rational faculties compromised by

Also, the temptation to exercise power, to manipulate would be too
great. Cf. Scientology.


We've already been through the Science as Savior phase. It was the
Enlightenment and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution. People
who believed many of the things we do were the *dominated* intellectual
discourse in Europe and America. We're still living down the backlash
against science and reason. Why?

Because, unlike God, science delivers measurable results. Results that
can be measurably disappointing. When the public builds these steam and
steel (or DNA and diamond) castles in the sky, and is then disappointed,
it swings in the other direction. Hence the communist revolutions at
the beginning of this century, the youth unrest of the 60's, and today's
greens. Cautious optimism is too subtle for most people. It's certainly
too subtle for me and my wishful thinking, gambling-on-an-IPO ways often

So, we can't go wrong attempting to spread the benefits of transhuman
technologies to as many people as possible. We can't go wrong being kind
and generous without God or Caesar breathing down our necks. Especially
if we're kind and generous in a way that bolsters self-reliance and
self-sufficiency instead of encouraging dependence.

However, we can EASILY go wrong by taking that final step and turning
it into a religion. Which is not to say that I don't have certain
sympathetic attitudes toward what religion *could* be.

Religion could be a constructive force. Religion could be something
that's indifferent or maybe even cautiously supportive of progress
instead of an obstacle to it. Religion can be a form of psychotherapy.
And there is no need to reinvent the wheel here. Existing religions
can be reformed. *** There is a common ground to be found between
religion and atheism, which can benefit both ***

How can this be done? I might have a plan, but that's the subject of a
later post. Let's just say that there's a common theme to the changes
sweeping through business, law, technology, and culture. So far,
religion hasn't really started feeling this paradigm shift.

PS: Brent, would you have any interest in us writing up these letters
as a point-counterpoint feature for the new >H site (I'm not sure
whether or not it's polite to advertize non ExI URLs on here, so I

- --

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