Friday, September 23, 2016

Hell is My Destiny

If you were to ask me, a Christian, if I think you’re going to Hell, this would be my answer: It’s your destiny. And mine.

Somewhere between disdain and confusion, you might settle on curiosity. Why would I tell you that we’re both bound for Hell? Don’t I have some good news for you? Shouldn’t I say something positive and uplifting so you will feel better about yourself and know that God loves you?

In this season of history, not many of us think about our eternal destiny. Life is hell enough for most people. During my summer-long blog break, a number of atrocities grabbed the writer in me, but I kept the page blank.

It started with a mass murder in my own backyard—forty-eight people gunned down. I could have written my own personal commentary about it, but so many others took care of that. My people, at least those of us with our halos on crooked, showed deep sympathy and abiding concern for their people. We aren’t so far apart—their community and mine. We share a common destiny.

Other countries experienced more deadly disasters. A truck plowed into a crowd in France, killing over eighty people. A coup in Turkey left 260 dead, and three suicide attackers killed over forty people. Other senseless attacks killed other people. But the murderers and the murdered all share the same destiny.

Again in on my own backyard—the Zika virus made itself known. It started out with mosquitoes, but then Planned Parenthood classified it as an STD. It’s just one more plague on the human existence, and this one attacks the unborn. Some reports note a rise in abortions in Latin American countries. Concern has been expressed over abortion restrictions in the U.S. if the virus becomes a national threat. I stand against that ungodly agenda. But I share a destiny with the abortionist.

The Olympics played out, stirring patriotism here at home. Big wins. Profound words appreciated by the Christian community. Stupid antics not appreciated by anyone. Opposing destinies? Not at all.

The Conventions kept some of us up at night ruminating over whether to go north of the border or south to start our new lives. As the day approaches, the two potentials just seem to make the voter booth an even scarier place. What will become of us? I don’t know, but I do know the destiny of all who vote for one and all who vote for the other.

The unpredictable summer only verified this world is bound for something we can’t change. Our destiny is before us, globally, nationally, and individually. God’s got the whole world in His hands, so I won’t fret over that. He’s got the election too, and the new POTUS will fulfill a purpose according to God’s plan, whatever that may be. As for me and the confused and curious, well, destiny is just as much beyond our control.

Nothing we can do will change our destiny of death and Hell. No amount of goodness, benevolence, altruism, religion, or positivity will change a thing.  We can’t escape it, avoid it, or climb out of it. We’re on a fast track headed right for it. We are most hopeless. Seems unfair, doesn’t it?  But the entry fee for the other place is way beyond our ability to pay. So we all share a common destiny, whether we believe in destiny or not.

Maybe that’s not what you wanted from me—to hear I share your destiny. Maybe you were hoping against hope I’d tell you how to get out of it. Well okay, here’s some good news: While Hell is my destiny, I’m not on that train. Next blog, find out why Heaven is my destination.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Get Ready for Spectacular Brain Function

Hey, I'm branching out with a whole new blog site. To get started, here's my most popular post from blogs past. (Yes, this is a test.)

Who wouldn’t want to be a nethead?

Nethead: a person who is an enthusiast or an expert on the Internet. Like most of the techno words I used in Wake the Dead, this is another one of those terms I didn’t make up.  After studying transhumanism, and assuming the rest of the reading population had at least heard of it, it surprised me when I had to tell people I didn’t make it up. Not the word, or the science, or the social movement promoting it as the next leap in the evolution of mankind. It’s all astonishingly real.

I didn’t make up nethead, but I think it will take on a new meaning. Beyond expertise in the use of the Internet, netheads will be classified as those who can pull up a website without a computer. They will order pizza, reserve a hotel room, call the doctor, and monitor their kids simply by thinking about it. No laptop, tablet, or smart phone needed. Just a chip, maybe an electrode and they…we…will be on the grid.

Your augmented cyberabilty may mean you won’t even have to think too hard to get your own needs met. If your brain knows your body is lacking a nutrient, you might find a yummy vitamin bar delivered before you request it. You can thank the personal assistant robot that’s cyber-connected to your head. Your doctor may be informed long before you notice signs of illness. How? The nanobots coursing through your blood vessels will tell your brain implant there’s a problem, and your implant will send a report to the appropriate medical specialist. As well as being a nethead, you could be a botbod.

These are some things I thought I made up when I wrote Wake the Dead: Implants that allow you to see in the dark, to hear beyond normal human ability, or to instantly speak any language. Turns out all these enhancements are coming soon to an implant store near you. Well, it won’t be that easy, but it is coming. Some things I knew about from my study of transhumanism: Superior brain function—math will no longer be an issue for people like me. Remote control devices will require nothing more than brain waves. Access to information will be instantaneous. Learning any new skill will require no more time than it takes to think about learning a new skill. Will the body be able to keep up with the brain? The transhumanist believes it will. When will this happen? The plan is for some of these advancements to be available by 2020.
Wake the Dead takes place in the 2030s. By then the whole premise of the story may be outdated.
Chances are things won’t progress as quickly as the H+ (transhumanist) community hopes. But progress is being made, and at least some degree of human enhancement is inevitable. In fact, it’s already happening. People have asked me why I wrote about something so strange and unsettling. I jokingly say, “The voices made me do it.” I’m a conservative American Christian woman, so you’d think I’d be writing inspirational romance. Or something Amish. Well, Chase Sterling (the transhuman on the cover of my novel) is a romantic soul, but he’s also a nethead. He can see in the dark, and hear a cricket fart, and he has superior upper body strength that kicks in when he needs it. Did he want to become the world’s first transhuman? Not at all. Do I? Not for a cyber-coded nanosecond.

Do you? You might have to make that decision before too long. Or you might not have the option. My issue with the prospect of wide-spread transhumanism is kind of like my inability to grasp the concept of time travel. I like the stories, but I don’t get it. If you go back in time, are you still in the present? If you’re not, won’t people miss you? If you are, do you know you’re also in the past? And doesn’t your activity in the past change the future—your present—so that you might not even exist in the future? So, do you only exist in the past? If that’s true, then how did you get there from the future? Wait, what?
Too many implanted brains doing the same thing at the same time could make the transhuman world just as confusing. Chase can shut down a government operation with just a thought, but he hasn’t come up against another transhuman who might be working against him. (Not yet anyway.) What if 100,000 brains were working against each other, or all trying to manipulate the same system at the same time? I use that number because I read there are currently 100,000 people living with brain implants. They aren’t able to function like Chase, but the next generation of implanted humans might be.

Do I really believe that? Yes and no. I think it might happen. Science is gearing up to make it a reality. But I think it might fail. Like the tower of Babel. We all know how that worked out for the human race. Here we go again.