Primer: AI & The Christian Life

Here are some items/resources for any Christian who is wanting to start thinking carefully about living life in a world with increasing access to and use of AI (Artificial Intelligence) tools.

(Disclaimer: By linking an article or website here, I am in no way giving approval to everything on the linked website or everything written/said by the linked author. The specifically linked items are helpful. Read everything with discernment. Feel free to ask me questions. Filter everything through the lens of Scripture.)

AI & Faith – Radio Rhema Interview (13 April 2023)


Web Articles:

Righteous AI: The Christian voice in the Ethical AI conversation

Gretchen Huizinga

PhD – 2022 University of Washington (A full PDF of her thesis/dissertation can be accessed here.)

that worldview (both implicit and explicit) informs every aspect of our approach to Ethical AI. While materialist thought seeks to compel humans to be good without transcendent reason or power, the Christian faith speaks clearly about the role of God as originator, motivator, and sustainer of human moral behavior. Christianity compels us to look beyond a humanistic idea of ethics and toward a creative notion of goodness that cannot be accomplished by our own will and power… When Christian wisdom is included in every phase of AI development, we begin to think beyond a minimum-standard culture of Ethical AI and move toward a robust culture of Righteous AI.

Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles

11 April 2019

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Romans 2:6-8 (ESV) He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

2 Peter 1:5-8 (ESV) For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:1 (ESV) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 

ChatGPT and the Rise of AI

Derek C. Schuurman

20 Jan 2023

Christian Scholar’s Review

I later recognized this approach as confirming the theological notion of structure and direction: the possibility for technology is rooted in the structure of God’s good creation, and direction refers to how we unfold technology in either obedience or disobedience to God.

We must reject a reductionistic worldview that sees all problems as reduceable to technical problems that can be solved by technology. A trust in technology, sometimes referred to as technicism, is essentially a form of idolatry. On the other hand, we should not view technological developments with a despair that they will inevitably threaten humanity. AI is part of the latent potential in creation, and we are called to responsibly unfold its possibilities. Theologian Al Wolters writes that “the Bible is unique in its uncompromising rejection of all attempts . . . to identify part of creation as either the villain or the savior.”

Second, rather than focusing on what AI can do, we need to start with an ontological question: how are people distinct from machines?… An AI chatbot or robot should never substitute for human wisdom, care, or companionship. Without a biblically informed ontological grounding, we will be susceptible to various reductionistic philosophies like physicalism and Gnosticism.8The Biblical story is clear that while humans are also creatures, we are uniquely created in the image of God and distinct from machines. The notion of the imago Dei endures, even as our machines become more capable of things that, up to now, only humans have been able to do. The theologian Herman Bavinck argues that “a human being does not bear or have the image of God, but . . . he or she is the image of God.”

Third, we need to discern norms for the responsible use of AI… Technology is not neutral, and neither are the algorithms and the training data used in AI.

Since norms are not simply reducible to algorithms, we will need wisdom to discern the extent that we ought to replace traditional human roles with machines. Moreover, appropriate norms should point us towards using AI to opening up new possibilities for showing love to our neighbor and caring for the earth and its creatures.

Despite the possibilities for sinful distortions, AI is part of the exciting possibilities in creation that Christians can help direct in God-honoring ways. Christians will need to join the wider dialogue surrounding these powerful new technologies, bringing insights into what it means to be human and to help shape public policy with a voice that is both biblical and relevant.

How to Lead Others in a Digital Age

10 Jan 2023

Jason Thacker

the assumption that the Bible is insufficient for the challenges of our day is misplaced. It’s driven by thinking of the Christian ethic as a set of rules rather than as a rich framework for pursuing wisdom no matter what comes our way.

Many, if not all, of our current ethical issues are rooted in deeper questions of what it means to be human and from where we derive our ethical norms… It’s a steadfast guide to living in an increasingly digital society in light of who God is and what he’s accomplished through Christ on the cross.