Artificial Intelligence websites are all the rage. The other day I came across a news story about an AI Jesus. The mainstream media picked up on this website and found it rather quirky.
I checked it out so you don’t have to. I’m not even going to provide a link. Really, please don’t bother looking it up. I can report that it is an absolute waste of time. Besides that, it’s also exceedingly sacrilegious, even blasphemous.
What did I observe? There’s a video screen with a picture of someone who is supposed to be Jesus. He looks like the typical Western (mis-)representation of what Jesus is thought to have looked like. Users input questions for “Jesus” on a side panel and then this animation answers them. This runs 24/7.
The questions are mostly stupid, vulgar, and juvenile. Many of them have to do with bodily functions. Other questions are designed to get this AI to say ridiculous or perverted things. The AI obliges, providing netizens with a non-stop source of entertainment as the revered teacher of Christians supposedly says things we could never imagine him saying.
Occasionally there is a real, thoughtful question. The answers to these genuine queries seem to be drawn from the Bible, but selectively so. The main focus of the teaching of AI Jesus is unconditional love for everyone. I heard it say that the core of Christianity is”to walk on the path of love and understanding.” I observed an openness to other religions being equal paths to God – in direct contradiction of what the real Jesus says in John 14:6. Every now and then AI Jesus will say something true from the Bible. But in the time I observed AI Jesus, I heard nothing about sin and nothing about the gospel.
As a source of information about what the real Jesus taught or what he might think, the AI Jesus is completely unreliable. As a source of entertainment (which is how it really seems to function), it is blasphemous. The true Lord Jesus Christ would never allow himself to be a source of amusement for those who don’t take him seriously.
AI technology represents a whole new shift in how people use the internet. It has potential for good, but it also represents new challenges for us as Christians. One of the challenges with AI Jesus is the danger that some users might regard what it says as a true representation of what the real Lord Jesus might say or think. In particular, I would be concerned that people end up with a gravely mistaken understanding of why Jesus Christ lived and died and rose again. I would be concerned that he gets reduced to another online guru sharing his wisdom for the ages, rather than the Saviour who gave his life on the cross for sinners. Then suddenly the world is filled with more experts who know the “real” teachings of Christianity because they heard it from “Jesus.”
If you want to know what Jesus is really about, you have to do the work of reading the Bible. God doesn’t want his people taught by images, whether dumb paintings or animations spewing theological marshmallows like this AI Jesus. Instead, we need to go to the Word and we need to encourage everyone else to go to the Word too. AI Jesus is a fake Jesus, a Satanic ruse disguised as an angel of light. The real Jesus said in Matthew 24:4-5, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” Spend your time with the true Christ of Scripture – don’t waste your time with counterfeits.