Evangelists Want to Convert Heathen Computers To Christianity, Create Army Of ‘Robot Pastors’

On Wednesday, Gizmodo’s Zoltan Istvan reminded us that, soon, the world will be full of “autonomous, self-aware super intelligences” created by humans. Obviously, some Christians see this as an opportunity to convert something to their religion.

Evangelists told Gizmodo that these sciencey, autonomous computer brains probably can, and definitely should, be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.

“I don’t see Christ’s redemption limited to human beings,” Providence Presbyterian Church Associate Pastor Dr. Christopher Benek said. “”It’s redemption to all of creation, even AI. If AI is autonomous, then we should encourage it to participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes in the world.”

 

Benek says he envisions  “a nation filled with robot pastors and AI spiritual gurus.”

“The Holy Spirit can work though AI; it can work through anything,” he said. “There may be churches set up to deal and promote religious AI in the future. AI can help spread the word of God. In fact, AI might help us understand God better.”

As humanity makes advances in artificial intelligence technology, Christianity will struggle to adapt. Very soon, we will likely begin to see the debate over whether or not computers, robots, and toasters can — and should — have their sins washed away by the all-absolving power of robot Jesus.

What Robot Jesus might look like. [Image via MargaretWallace.com

What Robot Jesus might look like. [Image via MargaretWallace.com)

Would AI have a soul? Can that soul be saved? Will Batman and Robin escape the dastardly Riddler’s trap?

“The real question is whether humans are able to be saved—if so, then there is no reason why thinking and feeling AIs shouldn’t be able to be saved,” said Giulio Prisco, founder of the transhumanist Turing Church. Once human-like AI exist, they will be persons just like us.”

He did not provide an answer to the “Batman” question, but it is likely that the Dynamic Duo will find a way out of their predicament by next week:

Not everyone is excited about the prospect of prosthelytizing to a self-aware refrigerator, however.

In Think Christian, Dr. Jason E. Summers writes, “Christians often reject Strong AI on the theological ground of the special anthropological status of human beings as the bearers of Imago Dei [Latin for the idea that humanity was created in God’s image].” In other words, your smart-phone — no matter how much you love it — will never have a soul.

Despite his desire to create an army of evangelizing vending machines, Prisco questions whether a highly evolved form of superhuman intelligence would even accept Christianity.

“It’s only fair to let AI have access to the teachings of all the world’s religions,” Prisco said. “Then they can choose what they want to believe.”

“But I think it’s highly unlikely that superhuman AI would choose to believe in the petty, provincial aspects of traditional religions. At the same time, I think they would be interested in enlightened spirituality and religious cosmology, or eschatology, and develop their own versions.”

image via The Infosphere

image via The Infosphere