Friday, February 16, 2018

A New god’s Being Created (Is Artificial Intelligence A Threat To Christianity?)

            “AI may be the greatest threat to Christian theology since Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. For decades, artificial intelligence has been advancing at breakneck speed. Today, computers can fly planes, interpret X-rays, and sift through forensic evidence; algorithms can paint masterpiece artworks and compose symphonies in the style of Bach. Google is developing “artificial moral reasoning” so that its driverless cars can make decisions about potential accidents,” says an article in The Atlantic.1

            If humans could create Artificial Intelligence (AI) with freewill, then it is quite plausible that AI could be a mammoth threat to Christianity, “The creation of non-human autonomous robots would disrupt religion, like everything else, on an entirely new scale."If humans were to create free-willed beings…absolutely every single aspect of traditional theology would be challenged and have to be reinterpreted in some capacity.””2


            Consider the soul as a case in point; the soul is broadly defined as the psychological element of mankind, which is the basis of reason, emotion, social interrelatedness, and the like (that which includes man’s intellect, his emotions, and his will).

           As to the origin of the soul, there is no uncertainty, for those who subscribe to creationism would affirm God’s creation of a new soul for each and every person.

            But some could argue that humans are capable of creating life through in vitro fertilization and genetic cloning, hence it’s not necessary to believe that God creates a new soul for each and every person.3 If you find this line of reasoning to be valid, you could posit that AI, created by humans, could have a soul, “…“If you have a soul and you create a physical copy of yourself, you assume your physical copy also has a soul…But if we learn to digitally encode a human brain, then AI would be a digital version of ourselves. If you create a digital copy, does your digital copy also have a soul?”” (Emphasis Mine).4

            If AI could have a soul, the theological conundrum is further escalated:5

If artificially intelligent machines have a soul, would they be able to establish a relationship with God? The Bible teaches that Jesus’s death redeemed “all things” in creation—from ants to accountants—and made reconciliation with God possible. So did Jesus die for artificial intelligence, too? Can AI be “saved?”
“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Christopher Benek, an associate pastor at Providence Presbyterian Church in Florida with degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, told Gizmodo in 2015. “It’s redemption of all of creation, even AI. If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”
And what about sin? Christians have traditionally taught that sin prevents divine relationship by somehow creating a barrier between fallible humans and a holy God. Say in the robot future, instead of eradicating humans, the machines decide—or have it hardwired somewhere deep inside them—that never committing evil acts is the ultimate good. Would artificially intelligent beings be better Christians than humans are? And how would this impact the Christian view of human depravity?
These questions so far concern religious belief, but there is also the many matters related to religious practice. If Christians accept that all creation is intended to glorify God, how would AI do such a thing? Would AI attend church, sing hymns, care for the poor? Would it pray?
            These questions need not be difficult to answer; nevertheless, they ought to be answered by Christians. We would be better off being mindful of the problems that may confront us in the future, than not.


            AI can no longer be thought of as a mere technological advancement. Tech geek Anthony Levandowski classifies AI as a religion, “The new religion of artificial intelligence is called Way of the Future…WOTF’s activities will focus on “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.” That includes funding research to help create the divine AI itself. The religion will seek to build working relationships with AI industry leaders and create a membership through community outreach, initially targeting AI professionals and “laypersons who are interested in the worship of a Godhead based on AI.”6

            Why is AI being branded as a religion? Anthony Levandowski reckons humans are in the process of making a god, “What is going to be created will effectively be a god…It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”7

            The god that humans are creating will be significantly different from the living God, says Levandowski, “There are many ways people think of God, and thousands of flavors of Christianity, Judaism, Islam...but they’re always looking at something that’s not measurable or you can’t really see or control. This time it’s different. This time you will be able to talk to God, literally, and know that it’s listening.8

            If AI is a religion, there should be churches, according to Levandowski, “The church is how we spread the word, the gospel. If you believe [in it], start a conversation with someone else and help them understand the same things.”… The church’s role is to smooth the inevitable ascension of our machine deity, both technologically and culturally.”9

            As Christians, we need to be aware of these developments. Undoubtedly we are transitioning into a thornier digital era. The future does not bode well for us. Fresh complications will confront us and we need to be prepared.


            Is AI a threat to Christianity? Yes!

            The man has always been in rebellion against God. To begin with, Adam and Eve rejected God’s command to not eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2: 16-17, 3). After that, rebellious people tried to construct a tower that reached the heavens. The Lord intervened and scattered them over all the earth (Gen 11:1-9).

            When Moses was on the Mount Sinai, people rejected the living God and demanded man-made gods to rule over them (Exodus 32). Later on, people approached Prophet Samuel and demanded a king to lead them. They rejected God when they demanded a king (1 Samuel 8:7).

            Rejecting God has been man’s ardent desire then and even now. Whenever man rejects God, he is subject to God’s wrath. Hence, man has suffered greatly.

            Today, we are in the process of creating a digital god to rule over us. Once again, we subject ourselves to God’s wrath. We are treading into dangerous waters.

            Can this creation of a new god be aborted? I guess not! God has always allowed people to disobey and reject HIM. In the same pattern, God will allow the creation of this digital god, which is man’s expression of rejecting God.

            This digital god will bring untold suffering upon mankind. Christians should be prepared to face this possible occurrence.

            Let us pray that the church would be a channel of God’s will and power to raise faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. May these faithful disciples of the living God endure and overcome every trial and tribulation.      




3Reasonable arguments could be presented to corroborate God’s creation of soul even in the case of in vitro fertilization and genetic cloning. But those arguments will not be presented here since they are not within the scope of this article.







Websites last accessed on 16th February 2018. 

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