Religion is Not the Enemy of Immortalism and Cryonics

by Robert Ettinger < >

On an email list, someone again raised the notion that religion is the enemy of immortalism and cryonics. This is a mistake.

First of all, the Cryonics Institute has a substantial minority of religious people, Christians and Jews, and so do the other organizations. We don't know exactly how many, because we don't ask them, but one can make a rough guess from conversations and correspondence. That is fact, not theory.

Another fact is that clergymen, Christians and Jews, who have written about cryonics, or have been asked directly, have mostly tended to be neutral, sometimes even favourable. On one occasion a Roman Catholic priest, with the approval of his bishop, consecrated a cryostat. Another priest helped us persuade hospital personnel to cooperate with a case. A Lutheran theologian, asked by someone who was thinking about joining, said he saw no problem as long as the intent was not to defy God but just to extend and improve life.

Further, it is a mistake to think that the main pull of religion is the promise of eternal life in the hereafter. Not all religions promise that. Some religions don't even have a deity. "Religion" is basically mostly a mixture of fellowship and dedication, with yearnings for exaltation or transcendence. Communism was a religion to many people.

It is another mistake to worry about science vs. religion. Religion (in the main stream) has always adapted and come to terms with science, and will continue to do so.

Perceiving religion as enemy of immortalism, or of cryonics, is neither necessary nor fruitful. Some people are always tempted to bash what they see as the logical failings of various religions; this temptation should be resisted, at least in the context of cryonics and immortalism.