When you hear the term “artificial intelligence” you may think of Beth Moore. But others think of its abbreviated form, AI, a quickly expanding technological revolution. Some religions are beginning to replace or supplement their current clergy staff with AI and robots.
The Daily Star reported a 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, and a new priest called Mindar who has started leading Buddhists in prayer there.
The Buddhist preacher told the crowd of worshippers convictedly, “You cling to a sense of selfish ego. Worldly desires are nothing other than a mind lost at sea.”
The crowd agreed with the robot preaching them the sermon.
Above a photo of a Catholic priest in an elaborate sanctuary and a caption that said “Flesh and blood priests could be on their way out,” The Sun explained that the Buddhist priest robot cost more than $1,000,000 and was an “android made of steel and silicon with a face made of synthetic ‘skin’.”
What the robot says is mostly pre-programmed by its designer, Hiroshi Ishiguro, but Ishiguro claims that with a little technological tweaking, the robot could be gifted with “unlimited wisdom.”
The priest said…
“This robot will never die, it will just keep updating itself and evolving. That’s the beauty of a robot. It can store knowledge forever and limitlessly.
With AI we hope it will grow in wisdom to help people overcome even the most difficult troubles. It’s changing Buddhism.”
However, it isn’t only Buddhism that’s using Artificial Intelligence to create android clergy.
Vox reports that an animatron resembling the Hindu god,Ganesh, has been performing the Aarti ritual.
Likewise, Catholics have used San-TO, a 17-inch-tall robot saint that uses a mic and facial recognition camera to help it choose the right Gospel quotation for unhappy parishioners. As reported in the WaPo, and also in the tech magazine, Futurism, the tiny little idols are made to look like various saints and are equipped with software it uses to listen to people, scan their faces for signs of specific emotions, and select religious texts that may be relevant to their troubles.
For some, this reminds them of the eschatological warning in Revelation 13:15, in which an image of the antichrist would be given the power to speak and, in some capacity, snitch on those who aren’t worshipping it to be killed…
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
Particularly with most Protestant confessions naming the Pope an Anti-Christ, it is particularly troubling that this technology exists and it’s being placed into people’s homes.
However, Protestants are also getting weird with technology. The Guardian reported the creation of BlessU2, a German clergy robot that would issue ‘blessings’ and beam light from its hand over the congregation. Its unveiling was in celebration of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation last year.”
Its designer, Stephan Krebs, said, “We wanted people to consider if it is possible to be blessed by a machine, or if a human being is needed.”
And in American evangelicalism, people don’t seem to be turning to robots, but happily watch a big-box church preacher tell anecdotal stories and sell life-tips and diet plans from over telecast screens, and their worship is increasingly assisted by technology-driven ‘worship experiences.’
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