X-Message-Number: 12333
From: "John de Rivaz" <>
Subject: Religious Authority and Cryonics
Date: Thu, 26 Aug 1999 15:50:17 +0100

The following article is scheduled to appear in the *next* Longevity report,
but as this isn't published for a couple of months, I thought I'd post it
here now (with permission of the author), as it may raise some interesting

Religious Authority and Cryonics

by "Shiva" <>
"Shiva" is a certified clinical psychologist, a priest of the Woodlands
Nations of North America and holds a degree in theology from a Catholic

Editorial note: I asked Shiva to comment on some posts made on the Internet
newsgroup sci.cryonics, and received this in reply:
Now, as for posts which raise theological questions, you must  remember that
most of them are made by people who are not  theologians but, rather, people
who deem themselves to have some great understanding of Judeo-Christian
dogma.  One of the more entertaining of these was, of course, the woman who
was always condemning you all as being somehow evil or wanting to accomplish
something "God" had forbidden in some way.  How and when God did  this was
apparently manisfest to her but certainly would not be  to an appologist of,
say, the Roman Catholic Church.

Within the Judeo-Christian belief structure (if one disregards all the
small, self-styled, "Christian" churches which abound in the Western
Hemisphere) there is only ONE place where one might point, in an effort to
say God is against cryonics.  In the Old Testament BOOK OF JOB you will find
that Job believed God desired that he bury the dead.  Well, maybe God did
speak to Job about burying the dead.  Maybe God cared about the general
health of the living and told Job to bury the dead because of that interest.

In older writings, the Jews were forbidden to eat certain kinds of
shellfish.  That, too, may have come from God.  God was probably already a
pretty smart fella and knew the dangers of un-refrigerated shellfish.

The point is, any SERIOUS theologian will be hard put to justify any claim
that cryonics somehow manages to violate the will of  the Judeo-Christian
God.  The people who make postings to sci.cryonics that claim there is
something ungodly about the pursuit of cryonic preservation and re-animation
are not knowledgeable about the god they claim.

Do not misunderstand me here!  I do not say there are not men (or women, for
that matter) of great authority within the heirarchies of the Roman
Catholic, the Greek Orthodox, the Church of England or any number of
"Protestant" religions who could not point to some other "authority" and
say, "cryonics is evil."  Their problem is simply that from the end of that
part of the BOOK OF ACTS which was written in Jerusalem, there are no
acceptable authorities within the Judeo-Christian history.  The writings of
John on the Island of Patmos can be taken as authoritative but he didn't say
anything about cryonics.  All the confusion and contradictions begin with
the writings of Saul of Tarsis, who became known as Paul.

You may search the Old Testament books until you are blue in the face and
you will find only Job's belief in the burying of the dead. You may repeat
the "Ten Commandments" until hell freezeth over and find no admonition
against cryonic preservation or re-animation. Jesus himself reportedly
called Lazarus out of a tomb and none of the Four Evangelists so much as bat
an eye about it.  Among those who call themselves Christian, even appealing
to the BOOK OF JOB is a contradiction.  Jesus of Nazareth's own followers
did not bury him; they laid him in a tomb hewn from rock.

Sincerely, John de Rivaz
my homepage links to Longevity Report, Fractal Report, my singles club for
people in Cornwall, music, Inventors' report, an autobio and various other
projects:       http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/JohndeR

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