Re: Extropianism & Theology

Jason Spencer (
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 15:02:31 -0700 (MST)

On Wed, 24 Feb 1999 wrote:

> 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

In attempting to create a theology appealing to extropians or to define what such a thing would be like, you'd have to include some reason that it is better than no theology at all. Since extropians seek to increase efficiency, you'd have to avoid advocating something that is a waste of time and other resources. It would have to involve some sort of useful shortcut to thinking. You must avoid creating a meme that masks possibilities and ways of arriving at those possibilities. Most religions that I have come across do not come close to meeting these criteria. They also fall prey to the aesthetic problems that you state above.

Would you say that a theology requires some strong positive belief? If so, I suspect that no theology you create could be consistent with extropianism.

Why is a cosmology and value system centered around a god better than one which isn't?

Jason Spencer