“Dear friends, it is an honor for me to stand here and preach to you as the first artificial intelligence at this year’s convention of Protestants in Germany” ChatGPT. June 9, 2023.
n a sign of the times, more than 300 congregants packed St. Paul’s church in Fuerth, Germany, to listen to an artificial intelligence chatbot give a sermon and lead attendees through a complete service including liturgy, prayers, and worship.
The demonically conceived service is the brainchild of theologian Jonas Simmerlein, who explains his motivation in creating this monstrosity:
“I conceived this service — but actually I rather accompanied it, because I would say about 98% comes from the machine…I told the artificial intelligence `We are at the church congress, you are a preacher, what would a church service look like?’….You end up with a pretty solid church service,”
According to the AP, most of the listeners complained about the soulless delivery and lack of human connection, while still finding it fascinating:
The believers in the church listened attentively as the artificial intelligence preached about leaving the past behind, focusing on the challenges of the present, overcoming fear of death, and never losing trust in Jesus Christ.
The entire service was “led” by four different avatars on the screen, two young women, and two young men.
At times, the AI-generated avatar inadvertently drew laughter as when it used platitudes and told the churchgoers with a deadpan expression that in order “to keep our faith, we must pray and go to church regularly.”