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What Makes Humans Human

“If we do it right, we might be able to evolve a form of work that taps into our uniquely human capabilities and restores our humanity. The ultimate paradox is that this technology may become a powerful catalyst that we need to reclaim our humanity.”
– John Hagel

The emergence of artificial intelligence has brought about a profound impact on religion, challenging long-held beliefs and prompting theological reflections. AI technologies have enabled the automation of certain religious practices, such as AI-powered chatbots that offer guidance and support for spiritual seekers. Additionally, AI-driven data analysis has opened up new avenues for religious leaders to gain insights into the beliefs and behaviors of their congregations. 

However, the integration of AI into religious contexts has also raised ethical questions, especially concerning the role of AI in decision-making processes and its potential to replace human spiritual leaders. Moreover, the idea of AI achieving consciousness has led to theological debates about the nature of the soul and the divine. Overall, AI’s influence on religion is a complex interplay of technological innovation, ethical considerations, and theological inquiries that continue to evolve as the field of AI progresses.

Oh and by the way, the previous two paragraphs were written by ChatGPT … 
           Could you tell? 

I asked ChatGPT to write a paragraph about the impact AI could have on religion. It took about three seconds. I watched it happen on the screen of my laptop. (By the way, I split the response into two paragraphs because it was kind of lengthy.) 

This week, we are going to think about artificial intelligence (or AI), the cutting edge science that develops computer systems capable of performing tasks that typically require human intelligence to accomplish. In short, AI is machines doing what people typically do, including reasoning, learning, making decisions, and problem solving.

Theologically, we understand that human beings are created in the image of God. Genesis 1:26 reads, “Then God said, ‘Let us make humans in our image.’” In Psalm 8:5 we read that God has made humans “a little lower than elohim,” which is translated most often as “God,” but is also translated “divine beings” or even “angels,” depending on which version you read.

Which begs the question –
            What does it mean to be created in the image of God when there are robots who can do pretty much everything that we can?

So come to worship this weekend, and try to guess which sections of the sermon are “real,” and which were written by ChatGPT! I’ll see y’all in church! 


Pastor's Note

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