Re: Extropianism & Theology
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 10:26:49 EST

In a message dated 99-02-24 08:32:30 EST, you write:

<< Adrian & Anders,

As someone with an interest in both >H and Theology, I couldn't resist joining in on this discussion. I think one of the first things I would ask of
you is what you are using as initial parameters. Theology, if I remember correctly, means "The study of God (or gods)." This implies that you are predicting the existence and or emergence of a God or gods. So my first question is what criteria would a being have to meet to be classified as a god? There have been several such standards suggested. Two that seem to be fairly constant is Power and Worship. A god is thus defined as in some way being incredibly (transcendantly?) capable, and/or being worshipped. Given the strong libertarian and humanist background of Extropianism,
worship might be something that Extropians might find unappealing (for to worship implies a level of submission, and to be worshipped implies having others dependent upon
you). However, there is another way to look at the worship issue. If you think first what qualities are worthy of worship, by which I mean what principles (memes?) are you willing to give you life to and for (for some people, the answer would be none), now posit the possibility of a being or beings capable of exemplifying those principles perfectly, as well as having the power to back up those principles, then you might just have found that there is a God(s) to you.

Adrian, I believe you said you were interested in developing an Extropian
Theology. This I imagine would have two main qualities, one would be a God or
gods whom uphold Extropian values, and a Cosmology based on an Extropian worldview. In such a theology, I imagine a deity would begin in some material
substrate and develop through an evolutionary process. In fact, intelligent life in this Universe might be considered the raw materials from which gods will develop somewhere on the other side of the Singularity. I agree with you
that such a deity would likely not be very interested in worship. You may have some different starting points for the concept of a god, if so I would be
very interested in discussing them. I also have some other ideas to discuss as per the Monotheism vs Pantheism debate, but it will have to wait for another post.

Glen Finney >>

Great thinking, Glen! How about "all powerful, all knowing and Good" as a definition of God. I am certain God doesn't need worship in the traditional sense. However, I consider the study of science to be the study of the mind of God, and that this study is worship.

I include theology, ethics, morality, education, business, political science and social science as sciences as long as they are done scientifically.

Monotheism, Pantheism is moot. God is both. God is made up of distinct individuals (us or our successors) and an emergent corporate entity.

I have already developed my theology and am testing it in the Extropian group since I have always been a Libertarian and find that I definitely believe in the Extropian principles.

My cosmology is simply whatever is the standard model of the scientific community and will change as that model changes.

Glen, thank you for your terrific contribution. I am thrilled that Anders is interested (I consider him one of the most innovative thinkers and educators of our time) and you are certainly a worthy adition.

Adrian Spidle