Transhumanism as a religion
Transhumanism has been compared to a religion from time to time. One can analyse this comparison by analysing existing definitions of religions:
- 1 Overview
- 2 The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods
- 3 A particular system of faith and worship
- 4 A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance
- 5 Transhumanism as a Cult
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Many transhumanist commentators such as theologian Ted Peters have made favourable characterisations of transhumanism as a religious movement.
The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods
Example: "ideas about the relationship between science and religion"
Belief in a god or the supernatural is not inherently required by transhumanism, a position very strongly held by many atheistic transhumanists, some of whom argue transhumanism is, or should be inherently atheistic. However there are a number of religious groups involved in transhumanism such as the Christian Transhumanist Association and Mormon Transhumanist Association. So what does this mean?
Although not all transhumanists believe in a higher power, many individuals and some groups within the movement as a whole may take alternative positions. An increasing number of people describe themselves as spiritual but not religious and would not full under this definition. Buddhist transhumanism is arguable more spiritual than religious.
A particular system of faith and worship
Example: "the world's great religions"
Transhumanists could be argued to have in faith in certain techno-optimistic ideas such hope for the future or anticipation of various future desirable scenarios. Transhumanists may consider transhumanistic goals as transhumanist inevitablism, scenarios such as an AI that helps humanity, maybe a technology that can save the world's eco system, or emerging technologies covered here and in the community. Not all transhumanists are likely to agree with this specific goal or end point. Some may have their hopes pinned on the singularity, others may see new life extension technologies coming via biological methods, and some are just in it for the laser guns and robotic legs that make them run like The Flash.
There is an element of cult of personality associated with prominent figures such as Ray Kurzweil and his telepresence robot appearances, or Aubrey de Grey and his outstanding beard. Elements of technophilia could be comparable, as well as scientism and technoprogressivism and other political ideas. Few would argue these relationships constitute worship however.
A few small initiatives have directly brought together the ideas transhumanism or life extensionism into new age type initiatives:
There however are a very fringe element of the movement.
Religious transhumanism associated with established religion tends to provide a continuity of the existing structures rather than developing exclusively transhumanist ones.
A pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance
Example: "consumerism is the new religion"
It is not clear how seriously a typical transhumanist rates the movement in their life. Indeed, there may be many de facto transhumanists who work entirely independently of the movement.
Certain advocates such as Eliezer Yudkowsky have showcased the importance of the idea through their writings, whilst People Unlimited use evangelical style energetic rhetoric to motivate people about longevity. These may be exceptions however.
Transhumanism as a Cult
One other similar term sometimes used by Anti-transhumanists is to describe transhumanism is as a cult.
Simple Definition of cult
- a small religious group that is not part of a larger and more accepted religion and that has beliefs regarded by many people as extreme or dangerous
- a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
- a small group of very devoted supporters or fans 
Definition 1 is taken care of above, let's look at the other 2 points.
a situation in which people admire and care about something or someone very much or too much
If you can define "very much" or "too much", then yes it could be described as a cult. It's no more a cult than anything else in the world though. Animal rights activists could be called cultist, fan bases of sports teams large and small, etc. etc. Ditto for the next definition:
a small group of very devoted supporters or fans
Again, the term "cult" can be applied to almost anything.
Reasons for labelling it a cult are most likely because of the negative connotations associated with the word. Largely used by dark mainstream media conglomerates who want to control your mind with their programming. (see how persuasion works?)