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Brave New Salvation

A vision of a sinless future.

On April 21, 2447, the death of a 143-year-old woman hailed a new era. Lungs of people everywhere swelled with relief. Impeccability had dawned.

The deceased, Rosa Pecadorita, a coca grower in a remote village in the Andes mountains, was widely believed to have been the last living sinner. As the obituary in The Global Times put it, she was "the last remaining human whose genes had not been therapeutically adjusted to prevent her from engaging in behaviors that the Global Referendum of 2304 deemed harmful to society and which the treaty that ended the Great Wars of Religion of 2105-2304 classified as sins."

The referendum and the treaty had made way for the implementation of the internationally binding Humane Humans Project, which went into effect one nanosecond after Pecadorita was born. The project, hailed as the most moral tool people had ever invented, dictated that all fetuses be altered while in their mothers' wombs. Diagnoses were made before symptoms occurred; cures were secured before diseases appeared; salvation came before sin. As the legendary World Mayor Anna Odwanza forwardly put it, in an apparent allusion to George Orwell's myopic Animal Farm, "Who said we can't all be more equal?"

But unlike her cohorts, Pecadorita did not want to be spared from herself. Along with everyone else born before the implementation of the project, when she reached 15 (the global age of legal responsibility), Pecadorita was offered an all-expenses-paid corrective treatment by the World Care Organization. She declined, citing concerns over "losing [her] soul" and "playing God." Her parents were Pentecostals, and she said they'd inspired her sense of ethics.

The fears expressed by Pecadorita were common around the time the first genetic ...

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Taste and See
Agnieszka Tennant is a former associate editor and editor at large for Christianity Today. She earned her master's degree in international relations at the University of Chicago, where she focused on how religiously-rooted norms influence world politics. Her "Taste and See" column ran from 2006 to 2007.
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