There are no right answers here, and I’m not looking for any. I’m asking for the Dope to do what it does best: wild-assed speculation.
Five hundred years in the future, we’ll have the ability to create custom-designed transhumans: mix and match DNA to produce any kind of offspring you want. Don’t like your body? Hop into a machine and in a few days you’ll have whatever body you want, of whatever race or gender.
We’ll have full-sensory Virtual Reality.
We’ll have human cloning. We’ll have the ability to scan in someone’s entire brain pattern and create a computer simulation of him: every memory, every tic and nuance. Don’t want to die? Download your brain into an android body and live forever. Keep a backup of your brain handy in case anything happens to you.
Okay, sure, maybe we won’t have all these things, but bear with me. How do religions respond?
Is a sin committed in virtual reality still a sin? Does the Jewish prohibition against working on Saturday cover thinking about work in VR?
Is an afterlife based on eternal blissful immortality less attractive if you have virtual immortality on earth, or would the definitions of Heaven change?
When you clone a human being, do you clone his soul? Does the clone’s soul bear the sins of his parent?
Can a human marry an android that is operated by a human-brain-AI?
Does a perfect computer simulation of a human mind also have a soul?
Would a religious objection to genetic tampering be able to withstand the lure of an expanded, healthier lifespan with a perfect physique, or would the religious people be content to live a shorter life, filled with illness and infirmity, as God intended?
I’m not looking for anything other than some guesses on what a future religion might look like.