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'CHAPPiE' and the New Transhumanist Religion


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Oct. 21, 2015

CHAPPiE is a movie about a police robot with advanced artificial intelligence who gets kidnapped by gangsters. However, the true story of the movie is told through allegory and symbols: CHAPPiE is about the abandonment of old religions for a new, futuristic, transhumanist religion.

Warning: Massive spoilers ahead!

CHAPPiE was created by Neill Blomkamp’s, the South African director who is also behind District 9 and Elysium. As in his two previous films, Blomkamp hides a deeper message beneath the guns, the robots and the gangsters, one that even goes in the spiritual realm.

At first glance, the movie appears to be an odd mix of science fiction and Zef aesthetics (South African street culture championed by the rap duo Die Antwoord, who also star in the movie), but there is more than enough symbolism, mainly Biblical, to read a second level of interpretation. Indeed, the story of a sentient robot that becomes aware of its own “mortality” (its battery is dying out) evokes religious and existential questions in the real world where intelligent robots are just about to mix with humanity. However, the movie does not raise its questions or invite reflection. It simply proposes an answer. And that answer can apparently accomplish what religions have been promising since the dawn of time: Immortality. The answer CHAPPiE provides? Transhumanism.


The concept of transhumanism has been mentioned often on this site because it is an important part of the mass media agenda. In a nutshell, transhumanism is about the merging of humans with robots in order to create “enhanced” humans. Along with the pragmatic, scientific side of transhumanism comes an entire philosophy and belief system, which mainly rejects the concepts that God’s creation is perfect and that humans should not play God.

Max More, the father of transhumanism, eloquently described the spiritual thinking behind the movement in his 1990 essay “In Praise of the Devil”. Here’s an excerpt: (you can download the full original article here).

“The Devil – Lucifer – is a force for good (where I define ‘good’ simply as that which I value, not wanting to imply any universal validity or necessity to the orientation). ‘Lucifer’ means ‘light-bringer’ and this should begin to clue us in to his symbolic importance. The story is that God threw Lucifer out of heaven because Lucifer had started to question God and was spreading dissension among the angels. We must remember that this story is told from the point of view of the Godists (if I may coin a term) and not from that of the Luciferians (I will use this term to distinguish us from the official Satanists with whom I have fundamental differences). The truth may just as easily be that Lucifer resigned from heaven.

God, being the well-documented sadist that he is, no doubt wanted to keep Lucifer around so that he could punish him and try to get him back under his (God’s) power. Probably what really happened was that Lucifer came to hate God’s kingdom, his sadism, his demand for slavish conformity and obedience, his psychotic rage at any display of independent thinking and behaviour. Lucifer realised that he could never fully think for himself and could certainly not act on his independent thinking so long as he was under God’s control. Therefore he left Heaven, that terrible spiritual-State ruled by the cosmic sadist Jehovah, and was accompanied by some of the angels who had had enough courage to question God’s authority and his value-perspective. Lucifer is the embodiment of reason, of intelligence, of critical thought. He stands against the dogma of God and all other dogmas. He stands for the exploration of new ideas and new perspectives in the pursuit of truth.”

– Max More, In Praise of the Devil, Atheist Notes 003