Good article that raises great points
The concept of the Singularity—the point when machines become so intelligent that humanity can no longer keep up—has captivated many technologists and futurists in Silicon Valley and beyond. The Singularity is so hotly anticipated by these believers that conservative commentator Wesley Smith described it as the “materialist version of the Rapture,” where man abandons his body through technology to become immortal. But if this techno equivalent of the Second Coming did occur, how would the world’s religions react?
Not every Singulatarian agrees on what the exact consequences of the Singularity will be. Some suspect that it could create a sentient artificial intelligence that’s smarter than a human. Others suggest that it will allow humans to implant a small computer in the brain that will give them access to infinite knowledge. Some believe that it will be the point where humans figure out how to transfer a mind into the computer.
The Catholic Church has issued an official declaration about the Singularity and transhumanism, which is the idea of using technology to achieve the next state of human evolution. In the declaration, the XVIII International Science and Life Congress stated that the movement’s tendency to emphasize non-human forms of life has the side effect of devaluing human life in itself. However, most religions haven’t taken time to officially deal with the potential existence of the Singularity. As a religion journalist, I believe it’s possible to predict how the leaders of the major world faiths might react to the Singularity based on relevant doctrine.
Only a regular at /r/atheism would think religion will be dead within a single generation. Then again, if the Singularity occurs, that might wind up becoming true... or it might wind up leading to a massive religious blowback. Not one that threatens the Singularity, but one that leads to something akin to a Great Awakening. Both are equally likely, as obviously we cannot predict anything with any accuracy past the Singularity.
What really excites me is the idea of a Hindu-Buddhist reaction. We in the West tend to see these two as peaceful and benign, but the fact is they're set with their own groups of psychotic extremists, and they can be more anti-technology than anyone. If you want to see a real life Eastasia, complete with Death Worship and all, I say startle H/B fundamentalists with an AI with a god complex...