Not Science Fiction: Robot Pastor Makes Debut as Pulpit
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A controversial new preaching robot recently made its debut in the city of Wittenburg, Germany according to the Daily Mail.
At glance, it looks like something out of a science fiction novel.
Dubbed "Bless U 2," the robot is programmed to give small sermons in five different languages.
Users are given prompts to choose from on a touch screen on the robot's chest.
Von Gehren, a Church Spokesman, says the robot has caused an increase in visitors. He also says that half the people who know about it support it, and that the other half finds it rather unbelievable.
However, he believes that it could never take the place of a human minister.
"The idea is to provoke debate," said Stephan Krebs of the Protestant church in Hesse and Nassau. "People from the street are curious, amused and interested. They are really taken with it, and are very positive.
Krebs also speculated that those within the Church are less welcoming.
"But inside the church some people think we want to replace human pastors with machines. Those that are church-oriented are more critical," he told the Guardian.
"The machine should not replace the blessing of a pastor," he said. "In the future there will not be a blessing robot in every church."
"We have to think of new ways, beyond our core communities," said visitor Brunhilde Hoeltz-Mettang. She added that although robot was "interesting and courageous," it lacked a sense of humanity.
The city in which Bless U 2 debuted is ironically the same city where Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to church doors.
And this year marks the 500th anniversary of the reformation he sparked.
It's not the first time a religious robot has made headlines. In April 2016, a robotic Buddhist monk was showcased in the Longquan Buddhist Temple near Bejing, China.
The robot monk preformed similar functions, delivering basic messages about Buddhism and chanting mantras.
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