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What If AI Makes People Reconsider Christianity?

May 30th, 2024 | 2 min. read

By Ian Harber

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Without making the whole case here, I don’t think it’s a reach to say that uninhibited social media use undermines a thriving faith. I talk about that more here. That’s not to say that social media can’t be used to strengthen faith. It absolutely can. But left to its own devices, it is more likely to erode faith than build it up. Digital Liturgies by Samuel James is an excellent book discussing this in depth.

But while social media erodes faith, what if this new AI era causes people to reconsider Christianity afresh? There are multiple ways this could happen. One of them is through AI tools like PulpitAI, which allows small and midsized churches to create local digital content to help disciple their congregation. But what if there is another way?

Check out this comment on a Facebook post of AI-generated content:

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This individual is finding artificial intelligence so devoid of humanity that it is causing them to rethink what it means to be human in the first place. What if this happens at scale? What if the hyperinflation of AI-generated content causes people to rethink their anthropology? 

People who assumed that humans are mere animals, devoid of souls, nothing more than our personalities and passions—what if the stark contrast between “a computer generated this” and “a human made this” makes them wonder if humans really are more than mere animals or machines? What if there is an immaterial part of us that sets us apart from the rest of the created order? What if there is something more to us that makes us unique? And if humans really do have souls, how did it get there? What do we do with it? Does it live after we die? How do I care for it here and now?

It’s been said by many contemporary theologians that, just as the early church had to get clear on their definition of who God is. The Reformation had to clarify how someone is saved; our generation will have to be exceedingly clear on what a human is. As radically individualistic transgenderism gives way to technological transhumanism, it will be increasingly necessary for Christians to hold up a vision of humanity that takes all of us—heart, soul, mind, and strength—into account.

Maybe this generation’s bridge to the gospel is the bridge of anthropology going over the gap of transhumanism. Maybe artificial intelligence is the black sheet against which we hold up the diamond of Jesus’ vision of humanity. Man is more than a machine. We’re more than interchangeable parts to be modded on culture’s assembly line to fit the arbitrary set of expressive values of the day. All it took to realize that was seeing soulless computers imitate soul-filled humans. Bits and bytes will never replicate the dust and breath of humanity. Perhaps when we look at the long arc of history, instead of taking our humanity away from us, AI will have reminded us of who we genuinely are: the image of God.

Ian Harber

Ian is a marketing manager at Endeavor and is a digital marketing practitioner with 10 years of experience. He has written about faith and technology, deconstruction and reconstruction for The Gospel Coalition and Mere Orthodoxy as well as appearing on podcasts such as Reconstructing Faith, The Alisa Childers Podcast, Love Thy Neighborhood, The Living Room Disciple, Everything Just Changed, and more. Additionally, Ian has contributed to the book, Before You Lose Your Faith: Deconstructing Doubt in the Church (TGC, 2021) and is the author of an upcoming a forthcoming book about deconstruction with InterVarsity Press (2024). Ian lives in Denton, Texas with his wife, Katie, and son, Ezra and is a member at The Village Church Denton.

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