Jaron Lanier has written wisely about how religious fervor can be repurposed in a more algorithmic age, with AI becoming a new faith, the Singularity being anticipated as a Second Coming of sorts. This subtext has come to the surface in certain corners, one being the Church of Perpetual Life in Florida. Bankrolled by wealthy businessperson Bill Faloon, the institution is a sanctuary for belief in radical life extension and a-mortality, things theoretically possible in the very long run but incredibly unlikely to be available to the parishioners hoping to dodge death.
Transhumanist Presidential candidate Zoltan Istvan, who’s made mortality’s endgame a central tenet of his campaign, visited the Hollywood house of worship and filed a report for Business Insider. The opening:
Many people think of transhumanism — the belief that humans can evolve through science and tech — as a secular movement. For the most part it is, but there are a number of organizations that aim to combine science and spirituality together.
One of the largest is the Church of Perpetual Life, a brick and mortar worship center near Miami, Florida that looks like any other church. It has a minister, a congregation, and church activities. The only difference is this church wants to use science to conquer death.
I was asked to speak at a Church of Perpetual Life service while traveling across America on my Immortality Bus — a coffin-like campaign bus I’m using during my run for president of the US (under the guise of the Transhumanist Part). Services at the Church of Perpetual Life don’t revolve around worshiping a deity. They’re passionate exploration of life extension research. It’s a group of people that want to live forever, but also want belong to a spiritual community.
Conversations are centered around how humanity can improve itself through science, how we can overcome death with technology, and how suffering can be broadly eliminated.
The church itself welcomes people of all religions, and sometimes explores concepts of a benign creator in very nonspecific terms.•