Will Artificial Intelligence Finish the Project Liberal Theologians Began?

AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan

Since today is Sunday, I thought I’d venture off the well-trod path of politics and onto the more hazardous trail of critiquing progressive Christianity, or more precisely, the abuse of Scripture to support progressive ideas.

In May, the fringe animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced it was using the AI chatbot, ChatGPT, to give the problematic Book of Genesis a makeover.

 In the beginning, all animals were treated with respect, according to PETA, which has given the Bible’s Book of Genesis a modern makeover using ChatGPT to send a can’t-be-missed animal rights message filled with vegan teachings. PETA hopes the new, cruelty-free Story of Creation will appeal to Generation Z, 73% of whom identify as animal rights activists.

In THE BOOK: PETA’s Version of the Creation Story, animals are referred to as “beings” rather than “beasts” or “creatures”—and plant fibers, like hemp and bamboo, are used in place of animal skins for clothing, as no one with any fashion or moral sense would wear animal skins in the 21st century. Among other new interpretations, in Genesis Chapter 22, Abraham travels to the land of Moriah and befriends a gentle lamb to show his reverence and respect for God’s creation, rather than slaughtering a ram to demonstrate his faith—much as human sacrifice, once a reality, is now outlawed all over the world.

We don’t know what fate befell Isaac in this version of the Bible, which is probably just as well.

Of course, anything starting with PETA inevitably ends in parody.

Another revised passage is in Chapter 21, when Abraham and Sarah—who, according to the original Bible, were 100 and 90 years old, respectively, when they conceived their child, Isaac—add to their growing family by adopting a dog named Herbie.

“As they walked with Herbie, Sarah and Abraham thought of the importance of adopting dogs from shelters and rescue organizations rather than purchasing them from breeders,” PETA’s version reads. “They spoke of how buying a dog or cat from a breeder or a pet shop contributes to the companion animal overpopulation crisis, as countless dogs and cats in shelters await loving homes while breeders continue to produce more puppies and kittens for profit.”

The Daily Caller News Foundation calls on theologians for a response.

“I do have concerns with what I understand PETA has done, which is using artificial intelligence, specifically ChatGPT, to rewrite the creation story,” David Closson, director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at the Family Research Center, explained. “There’s obviously different translations of the Old and the New Testament with ChatGPT … [but] this isn’t just a difference in translation. This is a different interpretation of the actual text and I think that there are theological issues with what PETA is putting out in this version of the Bible.”

“It’s … a misrepresentation of what the Bible presents about creation and in that, it distorts the divine order that is a part of that creation story by really reframing the way the story is presented,” Darrell Bock, executive director of Cultural Engagement and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies at the Dallas Theological Seminary, told the DCNF. “And so it’s revisionism as opposed to really substantively reflecting what the Bible is saying. It fits PETA’s mission, but it doesn’t reflect what the Bible says about the creation.”

All that may be true, but it is hardly a departure from our past. People have routinely objected to Scripture, usually because they were doing something that was proscribed by the Almighty.

The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has been reinterpreted so that the plain text and a few thousand years of understanding have been erased, and now we’re supposed to believe that God was angry because of a lack of hospitality of the residents…despite Lot and his family being guests in the home of one of the city residents. (As an aside, there is an echo of this story in Judges 19-21, where the traveling Levite avoids being gangbanged by the Benjaminites by throwing his concubine out to the horny crowd.) This means homosexuality is entirely okay. The miracle of the loaves and fishes isn’t really a miracle; it is just Christ convincing the multitude to share the food they had all brought with them. About 20 years ago, we were plagued with the “search for the historical Jesus” because if we could just understand the man without all the religious mumbo-jumbo and miracles and that Resurrection hogwash, then we could understand what Christ was really about. Taking a page from the Jefferson Bible, the heretical roadshow “The Jesus Seminar” produced a book called “The Five Gospels: The Search for the Authentic Words of Jesus” that purports to identify the 31 things Jesus actually said to the exclusion of all else. The Lord’s Prayer did not make the cut as “authentic.” While the Jesus Seminar was doing its thing, progressive theologians claimed that all of the Gospels were written anonymously. That far from being inspired by the Holy Spirit, they are, and I’m not making this up, the First Century equivalent of the party game “telephone.” This and the “Q source” myth used to discredit the Synoptic Gospels are two of the more bizarre takes that drive me bonkers. This video is a great answer to them.

When all is said and done, the PETA Bible is merely blasphemous and sacrilegious. It might lead some deserving souls to Hell, but it is a marketing gimmick that seeks to convince us that Jesus Christ, a perfectly observant First Century Jew, ate the tofu lamb at Passover and the final breakfast Christ shared with the Apostles was arugula and not roasted fish. It doesn’t hold a candle to the violence done by progressive theologians without touching the text of the Bible.

There is another side to this that we can’t underestimate. Maybe Artificial Intelligence will supplant progressive theologians and complete their work. Let’s go back to the Daily Caller News Foundation story.

Yuval Noah Harari, historian and professor in the Department of History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, suggested that AI could be used to create a new Bible that will “be able to invent new concepts and beliefs that are more socially acceptable than the Bible,” according to the Christian Broadcast Network. Harari further noted that in the years to come AI could make religions that may be “actually correct” and asked the audience to consider what religion could look like “whose holy book is written by an AI.”

NOTE: some members of the fact-check mafia have rated this “false” (see here | here | here). That “debunking” is accomplished by purporting to show that Harari is not a member of the World Economic Forum and that his words mean something entirely different from what he said.

It is easy to see an AI engine programmed like ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that has refused to answer some questions that offended its woke sensibilities, loaded with the most progressive arguments and perspectives in theology, become the standard used in seminaries. It is very easy to see that AI engines programmed to create Biblical justifications for everything from student loan forgiveness to affirmative action and transgenderism. The we will have truly succeed in fulfilling Satan’s dream of being as God.


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