The World Will Change by Creating a New One

There is a lot of uncertainty at present with the war in the Middle East, the devastation of Ukraine, the mass shooting in Maine and the lack of political leadership in the U.S. The Catholic Church concluded its month-long synod with no clear outcome or direction. The feeling of a destabilized world is creating global depression and anxiety, the feeling of a world out of control. We approach the world as passive recipients, a world that is distinct from us and to which we must respond. I am often astounded at the number of pundits who diagnose the world’s problems and provide all sorts of logical explanations, as if logical analysis could resolve the polarization in the Church or the total breakdown of a mass shooter. I am fairly certain that if we shut down all news outlets and social media apps tomorrow, we actually might be in a better place to assess what the world is doing and where it is going. From where I stand, the problems of the world are fundamentally the problem of God. Not that God is responsible for the world’s problems; rather, the world functions in the same way that God functions for us, as something or Someone distant from us, affecting us and to which we must respond. In classical theology, God is outside space and time and has no real relations with creation, as Thomas Aquinas taught:

Since therefore God is outside the whole order of creation, and all creatures are ordered to Him, and not conversely, it is manifest that creatures are really related to God Himself; whereas in God there is no real relation to creatures, but a relation only in idea, in as much as creatures are referred to Him.[1]

But the world is not something we participate in; it is something we are, in the same way that God is not a divine being we participate in, God is what we are in the ineffable depth of our existence. Without conscious materiality, we cannot conceive of God. This idea is heretical to most Christians because God still functions as the great sky God who oversees creation, a divine Being who providentially watches over created beings. Two weeks ago, I attended a daily liturgy and the elderly priest spoke in no uncertain terms: “God is in control.” I thought to myself, these words, innocently and fervently spoken, are more dangerous than lethal weapons. They create the illusion that passivity is acceptable because God will take care of everything. By doing so, we allow the wildness of the world to lash out in its hunger for wholeness.

There are two ideas I want to share here. First, we need a God revolution, a total and complete theological upgrade, including God’s relation to the world, salvation, and the life we hope for. Second, unless we begin to understand the relationship between God and technology, we will miss the jet plane zipping into the future. Religious people continue to use old language and old paradigms to try to make sense of the world—and it is not working. A God who is increasingly out of touch with the world is a God who is quickly dismissed from the world. Without understanding the meaning of God in relation to the whole, we cannot adequately relate to a God who is for the world in all its messiness.

The upgrade of God cannot begin with Scripture, as the sacred writings are a relatively recent phenomenon in the history of evolution. Rather the question of God begins with the twin pillars of evolution and quantum reality. Teilhard de Chardin considered matter and consciousness not as two substances or two different modes of existence. . .but as two aspects of the same cosmic stuff. The within is the mental aspect and the without is the physical aspect of the same stuff; matter and mind are co-related in the evolutionary movement of life. Evolution is the rise of consciousness, and the human person is the most complex, thinking portion of the universe, “the point of emergence in nature, at which this deep cosmic evolution culminates and declares itself.”[2] Teilhard recognized a unifying influence in the whole evolutionary process, a centrating factor that holds the entire process together and moves it forward toward greater complexity and unity. He called this principle Omega, the centration of love, and identified Omega with the biblical God. His faith led him to posit God incarnate as the future fullness of the whole evolutionary process. He spoke of the universe as “christogenic,” meaning that the convergent process of evolution, which consistently moves in the direction of greater complexity and consciousness, is the rising up of God through the energies of love. His ideas can be disturbing, especially if we think of God as a grandfather figure, but as philosopher Richard Kearny states, “there is more to God than being.” Being is dynamic, as Martin Heidegger realized, because being itself is the energy of becoming. God is not a perfect being; God is perfect becoming. God is the great “I AM” or “Life itself;” according to the Gospel of John, God’s life is love (Jn 4:13). Hence God is personal, relational, self-communicative love. God is other-centered, and we are the otherness of God. We are the children of divine, self-giving love.

Teilhard de Chardin understood that the universe is the unfolding of spacetime matter. All life is dynamically coming into being. God too is coming-into-being through the formation of conscious matter. In this respect, matter is God-filled; it has an ineffable depth of potential life. Without matter, Teilhard wrote, we would remain ignorant of ourselves and God. Conscious material life, therefore, will continuously search for more life primarily because divinity seeks completion in intelligent life. God and matter are entangled in a cosmotheandric whole and the whole is in evolution. We know this wholeness of life through the energy of love. It is love that awakens us to the whole both inwardly and outwardly. In and through love God is actualized because the divine energies of love are embodied, and it is the embodiment of divine love that unifies the world in its formation. Only in love are we the co-creators of a more just and peaceful world because we are creatively united with God. It matters, therefore, how we love, what we do in the name of love, and how love empowers us to create the world.

Teilhard did not see evolution as a forward movement without resistance. The forces of history acting on humanity must either complexify it, causing humanity to evolve, or force humanity to wither. The birth of the tribes, of the empires, and of the modern states is the offspring of the great movement of evolution towards socialization or collectivization. We have reached the end of the expanding or “diversity” stage and are now entering the contracting or “unifying” stage. The human is on the threshold of a critical phase of super-humanization: the increasingly rapid growth in the human world of the forces of collectivization, the “super arrangement” or the mega-synthesis.[3] At this point, Teilhard’s theory runs counter to Darwin’s in that the success of humanity’s evolution is that the second stage will not be determined by “survival of the fittest” but by our own capacity to converge and unify.[4] The most important initial evolutionary leap of the convergence stage is the formation of what he called “the noosphere.”[5] The evolutionary vigor of humankind, he said, can wither away if we should lose our impulse, or worse, develop a distaste for ever-increased growth in complexity–consciousness.[6] The danger he worried about most is that humanity, in losing its faith in God, would also lose what he called its “Zest for Living.”[7] He questioned whether or not the human race, having experienced “a scientific justification of faith in progress, was now being confronted by an accumulation of scientific evidence pointing to the reverse –the species doomed to extinction.”[8] The only solution he indicated is not “an improvement of living conditions,” as desirable as that might be; rather the inner pressures of history are the catalyst for evolution toward more being. Before the human emerged, Teilhard said, it was natural selection that set the course of morphogenesis; after humans it is the power of invention that begins to grasp the evolutionary reigns.[9] He predicted the evolution of the computer as the “brain” behind the noosphere and thus the catalyst for the next step of evolution.

Technology is speeding up evolution exponentially; the rate of computing power is doubling every two years. Futurist Ray Kurzweil anticipates an increasingly virtual life in which the bodily presence of human beings will become irrelevant. Kurzweil claims that machine-dependent humans will eventually create the virtual reality of eternal life, possibly by “neurochips” or simply by becoming totally machine dependent. As we move beyond mortality through computational technology, our identity will be based on our evolving mind file. We will be software not hardware. By replacing living bodies with virtual bodies capable of transferal and duplication, we will become disembodied super minds.[10] Robert Geraci states, “our new selves will be infinitely replicable, allowing them to escape the finality of death.”[11]

While most theologians are fearful of technology and do not understand Teilhard’s writings or dismiss him as spiritually lukewarm, evolutionary thinkers have grasped on to his new paradigm. Transhumanists look to a post-biological future where super-informational beings will flourish and biological limits such as disease, aging and death, and perhaps even sin, will be overcome. Katherine Hayles, in her book How We Became Posthuman writes, “in the posthuman, there are no essential differences, or absolute demarcations, between bodily existence and computer simulation, cybernetic mechanism and biological organism, robot technology and human goals.”[12] She concludes with this sober thought: “Humans can either go gently into that good night, joining the dinosaurs as a species that once ruled the earth but is now obsolete, or hang on for a while longer by becoming machines themselves. In either case… the age of the human is drawing to a close.”[13] While the Catholic Church is still trying to understand Vatican II which ended in 1965; the rest of the world is being remade by bits of information packaged into silicon form.

If we are concerned about the prevalence of war and poverty, the persistence of global warming and the lack of gender inclusion, among other concerns, then we have to ask, what moves the world? The short answer is creative ideas that improve life. Two thousand years ago, the words of Jesus of Nazareth sparked a fire by daring to imagine that something small and insignificant, like a mustard seed, could blossom into the reign of God. Today the mustard seeds of imagination are in the arts, such as music and poetry, but more so in the art of building things, the art of design. The scientific and technological feats today are astounding. New biomedical methods, such as gene-editing and prosthetic devices, can repair and replenish; engineers are building robots that mimic human form and function, and computer scientists are creating new software that can interact on the level of human thought. With each invention, life is being changed. Does theology and liturgy change us as well? Teilhard was deeply committed to the Catholic Church, but he was also aware that the changes needed to enact a new planetary wholeness will not take place in institutional religion. Religious institutions, in his view, are meant to be at the service of evolution and not the other way around.

The use of technology to transcend biological limits, known as Transhumanism, has its roots in the Christian tradition. The first written appearance of any form of the word “transhumanism” is found in The Divine Comedy by the Italian poet Dante (c. 1265–1321) who coined the word trasumanar to describe the glorious transformation that awaits human beings as they are taken up into the eternal presence of God. The word trasumanar suggests an ongoing process and not a final state. “To go beyond the human,” Dante writes, “is something that cannot be described in words.”[14] It builds on the scriptural passage of Saint Paul in his Letter to the Corinthians: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has it entered the conception of man’” (1 Cor 2:9).[15] Julian Huxley, brother of Aldous Huxley, was the first to use the word “transhumanism” in the modern context:

The human species can, if it wishes, transcend itself—not just sporadically, an individual one way, an individual there in another way—but in its entirety, as humanity. We need a name for this new belief. Perhaps transhumanism will serve: man, remaining man, but transcending himself, by realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.[16]

Technology builds on the ineffable God-dimension of the human person who, being created in the image of God, is oriented toward divinization, or becoming God-like. The essence of humanity, therefore, is to be unbounded, open to the infinite. The potential for the infinite is actualized in and through the finite. Our human openness to transcendence is grounded in the awareness of infinite reality or transcendence of God. Teilhard’s novel understanding of theogenesis is based on the idea that God is not outside us but the very ground or depth of conscious life and hence God is within and ahead since divinity itself overflows into the future. To enter into the uncharted depths of consciousness, which is the fruit of prayer, is to harness the energies of love for the forward movement of humanity.

Theology continues to have an allergic reaction to science, as if theologians might get infected with new age talk or corrupt the pristine and brilliant insights of the tradition. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the principal mottos of Vatican II was to “read the signs of the times.” One of the most glaring signs is staring us in the face each day, our computer screen by which we engage with one another through the global brain of the internet. AI is not a threat to religion but the very place where God is emerging, as Philip Hefner wrote: “If we cannot imagine that religion takes shape in technology, then we have eliminated the religious depth dimension of the most significant development in human becoming. To eliminate religion from technology, he continued, is to leave us vulnerable and fearful.”

Recently, I came across an advertisement for a course on “The Algorithmic Sublime: Technology, Infinite, and Transcendence.” The instructor, Frank Shepard, describes the course in this way:

The sublime as a philosophical concept refers to that which exceeds rationality: the incomprehensible beauty and horror of the spirit and the natural world. But if the sublime is irrational (literally, cannot be subjected to logic) how can we make sense of the various ways that it is mediated by the rigidly logical systems of computational machinery? Computer science has always been entangled with questions of growth and the infinite, theorizing its own limits, and transcending them. . . .In this course, we will. . .develop a deep understanding of how the unfathomable is rendered operable by algorithms and digital media.

Could you imagine if Gregory of Nyssa or Thomas Aquinas read this course description? I am sure they would sign up without delay. For the ground of imagination and creativity, the infinite potential of the psyche, the ground of which is God, is the stuff of AI pushing us into a radically new future. Borrowing the words of Rudolph Otto, AI is a mysterium tremendum et fascinosum, a tremendous mystery that attracts. It is both fascinating and frightful. It is changing the world on every level at an alarming speed. While the Catholic Church is wondering if women should be deacons or if LGBTQ+ persons can be married and fully included in community, developers of AI are imaging a world of robotics and implantable software, a world without religion because technology breathes the air of godly power. Karl Marx once said that religion is the opium of the people. He was not entirely wrong. Static religious ideas help preserve harmful status quos in an evolutionary cosmos where standing still is moving backwards. Keeping God at a safe distance is a recipe for disaster. We need a theological spring-cleaning, and new theological ideas to motivate and energize our weary minds and hearts. We need to pay attention to what drives technology, why technology pulls us into its expanse of infinite possibilities, and then we need to ask, who is the God of my heart?

Religious people have much to learn from technology on the possibilities of life itself. Teilhard insisted that technology is the new means of evolutionary convergence on a new level of biological life.[17] In his Future of Man he wrote: “We are witnessing a truly explosive growth of technology and research, bringing a…mastery…of cosmic energy. . .the rapid heightening of psychic temperature…the growth of a true ultra-human.”[18] He was also aware, however, that without religion or faith in a personal God, the world could culminate in the impersonal. A world culminating in the impersonal, he indicated, can bring us neither warmth of attraction nor hope of irreversibility [immortality] without which individual egotism will dominate and rebel. “The danger of technology,” Ron Cole-Turner states, “is that it offers the illusion of a managed grace whereby the self can fix itself up without changing and remaining in control – so we think.”[19]Technology is not out of control because it is a real power, he states, but because “we cannot control what is supposed to control it, namely, ourselves.”[20]

Teilhard thought that without a true center, evolution cannot progress toward its ultimate consummation.[21] While he was attracted by the computer and thought that technology could bring about well-being, only spirituality and an increase in Omega-consciousness can bring about more well-being.[22] Science is limited in what it can achieve: “However far science pushes its discovery of the essential fire and however capable it becomes someday of remodeling and perfecting the human element, it will always find itself in the end facing the same problem–how to give to each and every element its final value by grouping them in the unity of an organized whole.”[23] Science is not an end in itself but a means to harness the spirit. As he wrote: “It is not a tête-à-tête or a corps-à-corps we need; it is a heart to heart.”[24] If super-intelligence cannot ultimately lead to super-love and super-compassion, then we risk losing everything at the hands of a machine.

We need to upgrade God and pay attention to the impulses of technology. If we can adjust our sails and move in a new direction, we will begin to realize the energy within us that yearns for a new world is the energy among us waiting to be harnessed into new patterns of religious belief and ritual. We need to creatively engage and imagine together what the world can be, what the words of Jesus, the Buddha, Abraham, and all spiritual leaders mean for us in the twenty-first century. One of the guiding principles of the World Transhumanist movement is sapere aude, have the courage to think. Christians tend to distrust thinking as an act of power for reasons due to sin, the weakness of the flesh, and other outdated ideas; hence, they look towards the voices of ecclesial authority to help guide their thoughts. But modern science supports neither original sin nor the weakness of the flesh. God has empowered this creation with infinite potential for the fullness of life. Hence, we must overcome the fear of institutional constraints and go forth thoughtfully and in freedom to act wildly Godly, to harness the Godly potential for new life within, and to live to the point of tears. Faith is a technology of the spirit; to have faith is to be an artisan of the future.

Notes:

[1] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, Q 13, a. 7.

[2]Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, trans. J. M. Cohen (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969), 2

[3] Articulo, “Towards an Ethics of Technology,” 5.

[4] Teilhard de Chardin, Phenomenon of Man, 243.

[5] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 204. “In the 1920s Teilhard coined the word noosphere in collaboration with his friend Edouard Le Roy. Derived from the Greek word nous or mind in the sense of integrating vision, the noosphere describes the layer of mind, thought and spirit within the layer of life covering the earth.” Ursula King, “One Planet, One Spirit: Searching for an Ecologically Balanced Spirituality,” in Pierre Teilhard de Chardin on People and Planet, ed. Cecelia Deane-Drummond (London: Equinox, 2008), 82.

[6] Teilhard Future of Man, 213.

[7] Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Activation of Energy, trans. René Hague (New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1970), 229-43.

[8] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 298-303.

[9] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 307.

[10] David F. Noble, Religion of Technology: The Divinity of Man and the Spirit of Invention (New York: Penguin Books, 1999), 154. Ray Kurzweil defines the singularity as the point at which machines become sufficiently intelligent to start teaching themselves. When that happens, he indicates, the world will irrevocably shift from the biological to the mechanical. See Ray Kurzweil, The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence (New York: Viking, 1999), 3-5.

[11] Robert Geraci, “Spiritual Robots: Religion and Our Scientific View of the Natural World,” Theology and Science 4.3 (2006): 235.

[12] N. Katherine Hales, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 2-3.

[13]Ibid.

[14] The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Paradiso, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (New York: Bantam Books, 1984), 7.

[15] Peter Harrison and Joseph Wolyniak, “The History of Transhumanism,” Notes and Queries 62 (3): 466.

[16] Julian Huxley, Religion Without Revelation (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1979, reprint), 195.

[17] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 316.

[18] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 289.

[19] Cole-Turner, “Biotechnology and the Religion-Science Discussion,” 941.

[20] Cole-Turner, “Biotechnology and the Religion-Science Discussion,” 942.

[21] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 301.

[22] Grau, Morality and the Human Future, 275.

[23] Teilhard de Chardin, Phenomenon of Man, 250.

[24] Teilhard de Chardin, Future of Man, 75; Kenny, A Path through Teilhard’s Phenomenon, 138.

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21 Comments

  1. breaking news phoenix on December 5, 2023 at 12:26 am

    Your website is a safe place for my mind, and I appreciate how hard you work to find interesting material to post on it. Wishing you luck and a never-ending desire to learn.

  2. maureen hardiman on November 14, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    I don’t think the elderly priest was a simpleton, but was merely speaking of wisdom that is the fruit of a “trusting and surrendered faith.” When the person of faith lets go of egoic thinking that is time bound, logical , linear , mechanistic, categorical, separative and lets the divine consciousness take more reign, then one see that God is fully alive, present, and very much active in this world.

    If there is any passivity to be had, it is the quieting of the ‘small ego self ‘ we mostly identify with, and the allowing of the Christ self hidden in us to unify us, and gather us for active participation in the on going creation of God’s universe and God’s very self.

    For me, there are no greater teachers of the unitive way than the great mystics of all the spiritual traditions. As a practicing Catholic, I am deeply fond of the Greek Eastern fathers and the contemplative mystics of the Roman Church through out the centuries. The mystics teach us to open our eyes and listen. God is relational, God seeks us more than we know, and is always bestowing divine life within us.

    We don’t need complex Theology, , human enterprise, or institutions to give us what alone only God can give, and that is the presence and action of God living and loving us into being. As Ilia has said many times before, God is the newest thing, and is bringing us into the future.

    God is always asking us : ” Are we available ? ” God hasn’t stopped calling the prophets, mystics and disciples , its just that we have become so preoccupied with ourselves and our limited thinking. We have objectified God, instead of meeting God as real presence and knowing ourselves as the Christ mystery.

    God is not a competitive God, he is the ground of all being and creation. My particular experience of God comes through the filter of my Catholic Christian tradition, but my particular way of experiencing God need not exclude another faith or tradition for it to be valid. We all reflect the diversity of God.

    Getting back to the elderly priest, if we could stop talking and thinking about God and allow God to be God, we might be better off !!

    I love St. Maximus the Confessor who went to his death proclaiming: “Creatio ex Deo” as opposed to the belief in Creatio ex nihilo

    Peace and blessings to all!

    Maureen

  3. Kay Jackson on November 14, 2023 at 5:45 am

    Much of what you write validates my point. Enter the institutional church- any church – and the fight for “First” begins. This occurred long before the wanton genocide of the buffalo to exterminate the Native Americans. Extinctions exist as part of nature’s balance and they need no help from those who do not realize the sacredness of Mother Earth and Her children.

    Unless we so called advanced, complex, thinking, and reflecting beings stop patting ourselves on the back and wringing our hands we will have missed any opportunity for change.

    There is an educational system sorely lacking in its ability to teach critical thinking let alone sacredness of the earth. We have a healthcare system so broken that better care is received when most plan their care( the key word is plan). Broken politics, economics, loss of faith in government are just a few of the systems and their processes no longer working. Why? In my opinion, it comes down to the loss of lived sacredness in everyday life.

    If all is sacred and manifesting Christ, then how you live your life reflects this truth.

  4. George Marsh on November 13, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    God, we believe, understands, has compassion for and forgives all including sinners. Yet humans can show (divinely ordered) respect and love for their fellows by not committing crimes against them. People who cherish freedom find it difficult indeed to tolerate aggression, invasion and enslavement of themselves or their fellow humans by would-be tyrants, colonizers and other dominators, domestic as well as foreign. I am happy that police departments, courts and incarceration help keep peace and order, and I know that some police abuse their authority, some courts make mistakes, and some prisons are inhumane. Humans err, but some sensibly try to favor public security over lawlessness.

    Many animals went extinct, many are endangered. People I trust to know ecology think wolves should rove freer than they do now. Some would kill all wolves for the flourishing of their livestock. Aware people want a natural balance between predators and prey, for nature has long tolerated the delicate balance, setting sensible limits for the flourishing of as many species as possible. At one time, a finite number of hunters defied nature, so passenger pigeons were eliminated from the family of nature, and bison nearly were. Some today trust that AI will evolve so that ultimately humans will vanish from earth. (A long-term view many consider optimisitc and erroneous!) I trust that Wisdom will guide the choices of humanity for peace over war, for stewardly healing the environment over letting it devolve into entropy as humans burn gas and other fossil fuels recklessly.

  5. Janet Grevillea on November 13, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    I read the words of Ilia Delio and wonder how they relate to the on-the-ground struggles I am experiencing here in Australia. Jennifer Bilek reckons that the transgender/transhuman movement is a techno-religion. Seems to me that the techno movement has big flaws. Here are some examples:

    As a member of GeneEthics I have been involved in campaigns about designer babies, genetically modified Cavendish bananas (with antibiotic marker), gain-of-function research on pathogens (suspected to be a prelude to covid 19), human birth using mitochondrial replacement, etc. I read Ilia Delio’s passing reference to the ‘astounding new biomedical methods, such as gene-editing’ and wonder where she would stand on the many campaigns GeneEthics is involved in.

    In my state of New South Wales, we are about to have legalised voluntary assisted dying (VAD). As some opponents predicted, funds for palliative care are being reduced, some of the money will be transferred to fund VAD. It is worrying that he two programs are to be jointly administered. I fear we are heading down the Canadian path, not a good way to go. In her book, Bird on an Ethics Wire: Battles about values in the Culture Wars (2015), Margaret Sommerville comments on the pairing of voluntary assisted dying with the organ transplant industry, pointing out that the trend has been set within the prison system: ‘Compulsory euthanasia, state-run killing of criminals, already supplies organs to the human spare-parts industry’.

    I am personally affected by the change in the Australian anti-discrimination act that replaced the word ‘sex’ with the word ‘gender’ and thus paved the way for a radical change in the meaning of the word ‘woman’, which can now mean anything anyone wants it to mean. Trans-gender activists have gained considerable government funding, political power and ideological influence over the major institutions of our society (schools, universities, hospitals, law courts and mass media) all of which have accepted the acronym ‘LGBTIQ+’ without any awareness that many lesbians and gay men object, feeling we have been ‘force-teamed’.

    As a lesbian I am a member of a group that has been forced underground by the transgender movement. In Australia it is illegal for lesbians to advertise female-only lesbian events. To be legal, a lesbian event must welcome trans-lesbians, many of whom are adult males with fully intact genitals who understand ‘lesbian sex’ to be the coming together of a female vagina and the penis of a natal male who identifies as a woman.

    I am also aware of adolescent girls who are encouraged on social media to question their gender. Typically they are readily prescribed puberty blockers followed by male-sex hormones and progressing to having their breasts surgically removed, followed by hysterectomy and metoidioplasty.

    I have watched the video in which Jennifer Bilek asks, ‘Who is behind the Trans Agenda?’ and answers that it is billionaires, big pharma and big finance. She calls this transhuman movement ‘techno-religion’.

    Meanwhile, as Ilia Delio comments, the Catholic hierarchy are wondering if ‘LGBTQ’ persons can be married. As a once-Catholic I am aware that the commandment to be ‘diverse and inclusive’ has gained pre-eminence, leaving many of us excluded and condemned for being outside the ideological fold.

    I am left wondering how we are to imagine that transhumanism can emerge from all of this as divinity seeking completion.

    When I am computer-free, I work in our organic garden, watching fruit and vegetables grow, rejoicing in the singing of the reduced numbers of birds and mourning the loss of insect biodiversity. I sense divine presence there, but also divine suffering.

    So we are experiencing contemporary dilemmas arising from:
    the use of gene-editing and modification
    the pairing of medically assisted dying with organ transplants
    the dominance of hugely funded gender ideology
    the use of pharmaceuticals and surgery on young people suffering from gender-dysphoria

    Are these merely uncomfortable blips, or are they real impediments to the realisation of the fullness of life?

  6. Kay Jackson on November 12, 2023 at 8:36 pm

    Obviously, this essay has raised quite a bit of comment. For me, every problem can eventually be linked back to a religious issue. Whether economics, geopolitics, Ecotheology, land management, or even healthcare, religion will be, ” the heart of it all”. Why?

    For millennia, matter has sought meaning. The answer to the big why’s: why are we here, why am I here and so on. Obviously, the mountains answer differently than sentient beings and not all sentient beings answer the same. Unfortunately, early on, sameness created harmony. Harmony brought balance and no confluct but not much diversity of thought.

    This did not bode well for one major leap in consciousness-religion. The shared belief system and cultural practices surrounding Supreme Beings( or Being).

    Early on, these were lived systems, lived practices, with little to no separation between daily life and the Cosmos. Nature was the person,the stag, the Bison, the mountain, river, earth, air, and fire were all sacred and a delicate balance of harmony was essentially life incarnated. The Christ by another name. Christification was the constant miracle of the Cosmos

    Enter the Church. Really any church. The ancient truth that ” we are the world…” Was lost. Forever. Sever the connection between sacred Earth -Person and the concept that, ” we are manifestations of God” is lost and becomes a “burnable” offense.

    What is needed, in my humble opinion, is to reconnect, to re-align
    ( religion) with this innocent, yet sacred, truth. Sacredness is not created by the language- it is created by the life lived. Create parables reflecting the lived experience. The Good Samaritan? How about the “Others” came upon one of the “People” injured and rather than kill her she stopped and took her to help (even though she may have been part of the raid the killed many of the others). This is Christogenic. This is Love created.

    The AI of today is the pottery bowl of yesterday. Technology increases as our consciousness awakens to all the possibilities within and without our body but in relationship, always in relationship, to our connection with the Universe( both the seen and unseen).

    Somehow, this is new knowledge to people. This failure to see God in us and earth, and the failure to see God in our creations and how these creations act as extensions of ourselves and the world we create.

    We need a language supportive of this Presence without being academic or only Christian. A Universal God accepting of all regardless of creed and doctrine.

    Everything changes when everything is sacred. The interconnectedness of all matter, all time, all possibilities becomes paramount. Education is taught in wholes: how religion interacts with all areas of life and vice versa. Systems are seen in wholes: how do our politics impact our healthcare? Our economic structure?

    Thoughts matter.Thoughts drive actions. Unless thoughts turn towards compassion, healing, social justice and care for all we really haven’t learned much.

  7. George Marsh on November 12, 2023 at 8:50 am

    I am confident that I shall not be in my current embodiment in 30 years, let alone 300.
    I accept my current limitations, and I am happy to be conscious that dualism is less meaningful to me and others than a unitive spirit “in whom all things consist and hold together.” I decline to prejudicially exclude all “churchmen” from this concept. I have learned something of the new vision (“Spirit Science”) from some priests, like Chardin, Matthew Fox and Richard Rohr. I suppose there are more visionary clerics and vowed religious like Ilia Delio, but I haven’t come across their writings. I relish the freedom to give myself to a divine spirit of wildness, and I trust that it/she will illumine me with a growing sensitivity and respectful care for my fellow creatures of every kind.

  8. A theological upgrade – ted.today on November 12, 2023 at 1:49 am

    […] quote and image are from “The World Will Change by Creating a New One,” by Ilia Delio, New Creation Magazine, November 8, 2023. (New Creation is an online […]

  9. Joe Masterleo on November 11, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Note Ilia’s title, “The World Will Change By Creating A New One.” Making omelettes requires cracking eggs, changing their form while maintaining their essence. Not with a hammer, but with forces, “heat” among them, necessary to transform them. What makes orthodoxy defunct, and why people are flocking from the institutional church, is NOT that the truths of the Gospel message are out out of date. They’re not. As perennial truths they “endure forever.” It’s that they have little or no contemporary relevance to the post-modern age or mind. As such, as in every age, they must be updated, packaged differently with novel (conceptual) “wineskins.” And those new wineskins must be transreligious and transdiciplinary in nature, in keeping with the gospel significance and meaning of Omega, and Teilhard’s future looking vision of “Omega Point.” That is, in accord with unitive or Christ consciousness, it must harmonize with all fields of knowledge, bar none, and shown to be joined by a common universal element (in physics) that religion calls by many names. For Christians, such is known (in incarnated form) as a person, Jesus to his followers, “in whom all things consist and hold together.” Such implies a third, or organic nature to his universal presence (everywhere) that informs all created things. Naming that mystery element cannot be left to churchmen. Its the domain of a modern day, spiritually informed physics, (a Spirit-Science), to conceptualize, name, identify, and show how same is consistent with gospel tenets, all religions, and all disciplines. This will prove to be the chief wineskin, and basis of a new universe story. And it will put an end to all tribal definitions of God, rendering obsolete all dualistic thought forever. To date, the species is on the threshold of same, between 300 and 700 years away in realizing same fully.

  10. Lauri Raymond on November 11, 2023 at 10:54 am

    “God has empowered this creation with infinite potential for the fullness of life. Hence, we must overcome the fear of institutional constraints and go forth thoughtfully and in freedom to act wildly Godly, to harness the Godly potential for new life within, and to live to the point of tears. Faith is a technology of the spirit; to have faith is to be an artisan of the future.”

    Oh my God, Ilia, thank you. This is a description of the journey I’m on — a journey that I feel in every cell is a collective journey in which each of us has the profound privilege of participating. If we abandon ourselves to the faith that grants us the “freedom to act wildly Godly.”

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