11/17: Ron Cole-Turner, “Seeking Immortality: Technology, Theology, and Endless Life”

On Thursday, November 17, we welcome Ron Cole-Turner, the former H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, to Drake to give the third Fall 2022 lecture in our “Transhumanism, Immortality, and Religion” series. The lecture, entitled “Seeking Immortality: Technology, Theology, and Endless Life,” will be held in the second-floor Reading Room of Cowles Library at 7:00 pm. 

Ron Cole-Turner taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary until his retirement in 2021. His research focuses on the theological implications of technological modification and enhancement of humanity, and he is the author of numerous articles on transhumanism and its significance for religion. Among his books are The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins (2016) and Transhumanism and Transcendence: Christian Hope in an Age of Technological Enhancement (edited, 2011). He has served as co-chair of the American Academy of Religion Unit on Human Enhancement and Transhumanism and on the Executive Committee of the International Society for Science and Religion. 

Once confined to myth and religion, the quest for immortality has now become a technological goal. What if we really could eliminate biological aging or upload the subjectively conscious human mind? Feasible or not, the fact that a technological quest for immortality is underway raises intriguing questions for Christian theology. Does technological immortality challenge or threaten Christian ideas of eternal life in the resurrection? Core features of the Christian view, such as resurrection as transformation and glorification, participation in the divine community, and endless advance into infinite mystery, will be described in order to contrast Christianity’s vision from technology’s hopes.

Here is a video recording of Ron Cole-Turner’s lecture:

And here is a recording of Seth Villegas’s response:

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