In June of 2018, scholars gathered on the campus of the University of British Columbia (Green College) to formulate a vision for human flourishing. The posts below comprise the scholars' reflections on the presentations and discussions at the gathering. Watch this page for more reflections from this conference.
Clark Elliston explores the role of “play” in human life. He reflects on the nature of both sports and play with kids to contrast the all-encompasing nature of work enabled by technology.
Project Director Jens Zimmermann reflects on the recent year and looks toward the future of the Christian Flourishing project. The purpose of the first year was to define an underlying theory of the human person. With this in mind, Zimmermann codifies the various insights from our several scholars into a coherent summary of the first year, before moving on to the project’s vision for 2018.
This post traces the history of human nature and then relates this nature to the concept of “mind uploading.” Doede asks: “How did we get to the point where we can realistically entertain the notion of engineering the uploading of human identities onto inorganic digital platforms, especially given the prevailing evolutionary and physicalist ideological climate characteristic of contemporary western thought?” He argues that mind uploading is not our common destiny, and not even a coherent concept.
Michael Mawson asks “How should Christians understand and respond to recent technologies aiming to radically extend the human lifespan?” Responding through the work of Barth and Bonhoeffer, Mawson explores the key category of finitude for theological anthropology.
Celia Deane-Drummond introduces theologians to “extended evolutionary synthesis,” a concept known to some evolutionary theorists. She examines how this theory differs from other evolutionary theories, and opens some questions for the conversation between theology and science.
This post by Thomas Fuchs argues that the human mind must be understood through an irrevocable connection to the body. “Mind” could therefore never truly be replaced by “a computer algorithm, however sophisticated it might be.”
David Lewin argues that the identify-forming capacity of social media needs to be a key component of our understand of its role in our lives.
Fr. John Behr considers death and finitude, concluding that “If we don’t ‘see’ death today then, bluntly, we will not see God, and we will not see the transcendence of voluntary self-sacrificial love to which we are called.”
Dr. Brent Waters contrasts the “extraordinary world” we create through technology with the “everyday mundane” approach to being human, doing so in the context of what it means to love God and love neighbor.