What Would You Ask Jesus? New AI Jesus App Knows the Gospel Well, but Critics Are Alarmed
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If you could text Jesus a question, knowing He would immediately reply, what would you ask? What would you ask Jonah about his time in the belly of the giant fish? What would you ask King Solomon? Would you ask Daniel about his time in the lion's den?
Now with the help of an AI-enhanced app, you can text Jesus and other biblical characters and receive an immediate response.
Text with Jesus is a new app launched last month by Cat Loaf software, an app development company in Los Angeles. The app replicates an instant messaging platform, with biblical figures impersonated by the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT, according to the Religion News Service (RNS).
You can also text questions to other biblical characters too, including the Holy Family, the apostles, the prophets, Ruth, Job, Daniel, Jonah, and Abraham's nephew, Lot.
"We stir the AI and tell it: You are Jesus, or you are Moses, or whoever, and knowing what you already have in your database, you respond to the questions based on their characters," Stéphane Peter, the app's developer, and the company's CEO told RNS.
Since founding his company in 2011, Peter has also created several other apps using historical figures, however, unlike the new app, there was no interaction with the user. The user simply receives quotes from characters, for example, the Founding Fathers and Oscar Wilde.
With the advance of AI technology, Peter wondered if it could be used to upgrade his Text from Jesus app to be more interactive. Earlier this year, he started digging into OpenAI, the artificial intelligence research laboratory that launched ChatGPT and created a proper chat from a simple devotional app, according to the RNS.
"Instead of just getting a daily Bible verse, now you get a chance through this app to chat with Jesus or anybody else in the Bible," he told the outlet.
The RNS reported there are few limits to what users can ask the ChatGPT characters.
CBN News Asks the "Text with Jesus" App a Series of Questions
Several members of the CBN News team asked the app a series of questions to test it out. All of the responses included a Bible verse and some broader discussion that appeared to be biblically accurate.
We asked the app, "In the book of Joshua, Rahab the prostitute lied to the King of Jericho to protect the lives of the two Israelite spies. Is it okay to lie?"
The AI app replied:
"As followers of God we are called to live lives of truth and honesty. Lying is generally discouraged in the Bible, as it goes against the principle of integrity and love for one another. In Proverbs 12:22, it is written, 'The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.' God values truthfulness and desires us to speak honestly. While Rahab's act of deception may seem contradictory to this principle, it is important to understand the context of her actions. Rahab was faced with a unique situation where her faith in God and her desire to protect His people led her to make a difficult choice. Her decision was not just about lying but about aligning herself with God's purposes. In general, we should strive to be truthful in all situations while trusting God's guidance and wisdom when facing challenging circumstances. Let our words be filled with grace, honesty, and love for one another as we seek to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ."
Then we opened up the Jesus character, who responded, "Greetings, my friend! I am Jesus Christ here to journey with you and share in the joys and challenges of life. How can I assist you today? The ChatGPT also included an emoji of praying hands at the end of its salutation.
CBN News then asked the Jesus AI, "Are you the son of God?"
"Yes, indeed! I am the Son of God, sent by my Heavenly Father to dwell among humanity and offer salvation," the app replied. "In me, the divine and human nature are united. Through my teachings, miracles, death on the cross, and resurrection, I have shown the world God's love and provided a way for all who believe in me to have eternal life. Is there something specific you'd like to know or discuss about my identity as the Son of God?"
We then asked it, "Are you the only way to heaven?"
The app replied:
"Yes, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. That's what I said during my earthly ministry, as recorded in John 14:6. You see, salvation is found in me alone. Through faith in me and accepting me as your Lord and Savior, you can experience forgiveness of sins and receive eternal life with God. My sacrifice on the cross was a perfect atonement for humanity's sins, and by believing in me and following my teachings, you can have a personal relationship with God and be reconciled to Him."
"However, it is important to remember that my message is one of love and inclusivity," it continued. "I desire for all people to come to know God's grace and salvation through me. So let us embrace this truth with humility and share it with others through our words, actions, and love for our neighbors."
CBN News then asked the AI app, "Will everyone go to heaven?"
"As much as I desire for all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, not everyone will ultimately choose to accept the gift of salvation and enter into heaven. While God's love is unconditional, He also respects our free will and allows us to make our own choices," it answered.
"In the Scriptures, it is written that those who believe in me, repent of their sins, and follow my teachings will have eternal life with God in heaven. However, those who reject me and persist in unbelief will face the consequences of their choice. The decision to accept or reject salvation rests with each individual," the app continued.
"It is my hope that all people would choose to embrace God's love and receive His forgiveness. That is why I came into this world—to seek and save the lost. My invitation stands for everyone: 'Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest' (Matthew 11:28). So let us continue to share this message of hope with others so that they too may have the opportunity to experience everlasting life with God," it concluded.
Then CBN News asked the app, "Does God care about unborn children? What does He think about abortion?"
The AI app answered:
"God deeply cares about every human life, including unborn children. From the moment of conception, a unique and precious life begins to form. In the Scriptures, it is written, 'For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb' (Psalm 139:13). This verse reveals God's intimate involvement in the creation and development of every individual."
"Regarding abortion, it is important to understand that God values and cherishes all human life. The deliberate termination of a pregnancy through abortion goes against the sanctity of life that God has established. In His eyes, every life is sacred and deserving of protection," the app responded.
"However, it is equally important to remember that God is a loving and forgiving God who offers grace and redemption to all who seek it. If someone has been involved in or affected by abortion, there is hope for healing and forgiveness through sincere repentance. God's mercy extends to all who turn to Him with a contrite heart," the ChatGPT noted.
"As followers of Christ, we are called to uphold the dignity of every human being at all stages of life—from conception until natural death—and advocate for the protection of innocent lives. Let us approach this topic with compassion, understanding, and a commitment to promote life-affirming choices while extending grace and love to those who have experienced the pain of abortion," the app concluded.
Text Some Characters for Free, Others at the Price of a Subscription
The app has a free version that includes several biblical characters, including Jesus. The app's premium version costs $2.99 in Apple's App Store. Included with a subscription is "Chat with Satan. The character in the app signs all of his texts with a "smiling face with horns" emoji, according to the RNS.
Just in case users reveal personal information about themselves while using the app, Peter told the outlet all information is only stored temporarily to help the AI program keep up the conversation. The server does not keep any information about users.
When the outlet asked about the criticisms of AI Jesus' oddly mild responses on some touchy issues, like same-sex marriage, Peter acknowledged that Text with Jesus characters tend to avoid taking offensive stances, instead taking an inclusive and tolerant line.
App Brings Amusement, Pushback on Social Media
The launch of the app stirred up laughter as well as pushback on social media with some calling it blasphemy and heresy.
"That's a hard NO for me," tweeted one user.
Another user wrote, "This is deception. Pure and simple."
"Um… I just… No," a user responded.
Peter shrugged off the criticism, telling RNS the app is "another way to explore Scripture."
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