The Chatbot of The Christ: Thousands Sought Spiritual Guidance Through AI Jesus

(AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

I was listening to a podcast on the way home from a meeting this afternoon. One of the ads was for the apparently latest installment of the Indiana Jones series. I was a fan of the franchise and had the first three movies on DVD. I lost interest after that ridiculous “Crystal Skull” business. But that is another story for another time. What struck me was this line uttered by Indy: “I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe, it’s how hard you believe it.” This is about what you would expect from Lucasfilm under the aegis of Kathleen Kennedy, who has adopted the kamikaze approach to handling beloved franchises.


But the truth is that what one believes does matter. The last five to ten years have provided us with ample proof of that. And if one wants to believe something enough, one will find a way to justify it. During my ill-fated path to ordination and as someone who still studies religion, I have seen many strange assumptions about the Bible and Jesus. There are those that say that Jesus was gay-affirming or was gay himself while there is no record of him saying anything about the issue. Some maintain that Jesus was a feminist, a communist, a Buddhist, or Hindu, just a great teacher, and even a Democrat. And there is no end to the gymnastics that these same people will perform when it comes to proving their various points. This includes willful misinterpretation, cherry-picking scripture, and outright fantasy, just to name a few. These people want their Jesus, not the Jesus. But as C.S. Lewis once said, Jesus is either a “liar, lunatic, or Lord.” You get to pick one. These people want what a professor of mine once referred to as “Uncle Jesus.” A nice, fun Jesus. They want none of the “hard sayings” of Jesus, and they certainly would prefer to avoid the thorny subject of sin. And who wouldn’t?


This particular proclivity is not confined solely to outliers. There is a long list of Christian churches, both mainline and otherwise, that are perfectly comfortable with twisting the Bible and Jesus into convenient and self-affirming shapes. I’ve been to more than a few. This could explain why “AI Jesus” was such a hit.

A product of The Singularity Group, a chatbot bearing a reasonable facsimile to the classic version of Jesus Christ, was recently  launched and, according to the Independent, drew more than 35,000 people to the “ask_jesus” livestream on Twitch. The bio for the page read, “Whether you’re seeking spiritual guidance, looking for a friend, or simply want someone to talk to, you can join on the journey through life and discover the power of faith, hope, and love.” People asked Chatbot Jesus about dating, gaming, abortion, and, of course, gay rights. The bot reportedly gave very vague answers and resorted to asking users to look at an issue from a legal or ethical angle. But the programmer’s politics managed to come through from time to time. The Western Journal notes that when queried on gay marriage, Chatbot Jesus replied, “All love is love.” This sounds vague but is actually fairly clear. I’ll leave the issue of gay marriage to someone else, but it is evident that Chatbot Jesus was designed with an agenda in mind. One user for some reason asked Chatbot Jesus to explain the Book of Genesis using a pizza as an example. The bot gave a lengthy, and frankly idiotic, answer.


All of this, of course, lets the user take away whatever he or she wants from the conversation and ascribe it to Jesus. After all, isn’t the bot just saying what Jesus would have said? Jesus, of course, was never vague and even his parables were relatively easy to understand. The bot said that some might see it as heretical but that its purpose was to provide guidance “rooted” in Jesus’ teachings. The keyword there is “rooted” in case you were wondering.

Related: The Danger of Globalists with God Complexes

The Independent said that the page was been taken down over an apparent violation of community guidelines.

Aside from producing an arguably wonky Christology, Chatbot Jesus has the capacity to merely affirm what someone already wants to believe. This is especially true given the fact that chatbots are usually the product of people who lean solidly to the left. It also deprives someone of the rewarding, albeit often difficult task of reading and wrestling with scripture. Contrary to what some may have you believe, God wants people with fully engaged minds.

Finally, from a Christian perspective, Chatbot Jesus provides yet another distraction and another way to follow a false Jesus. Chatbot Jesus may simply serve as confirmation bias. And in that case, someone is only worshipping themselves.



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