Lessons On Following Jesus From A Chatbot

If you are unfamiliar with the recent surge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) sites like copy.ai or chatgpt, let me enlighten you.  These two are the most well-used sites for producing content through AI on the interwebs.  

In a nutshell, you can ask any question, give just about any kind of prompt that you want, and the AI will produce an answer, create an outline for a talk or writing project, give you ideas for drafts on emails, marketing tools, social media posts and all manner of things. 

A whole cottage industry is being created to determine if the content you are reading is produced by AI or a human being.  

This is important for teachers, university professors, and the like trying to figure out whether the term paper, research project, etc., they read was written by the student or by a chatbot.  

Conversely, a cottage industry is being created to get around the software used to discover these things.  And so it goes. 

I've been playing around with AI on these platforms to get a feel for what it can and cannot do.  So I decided to ask the following question: 

"What does it mean to follow Jesus?"  

This is what the AI on chatgpt responded: 

Following Jesus means different things to different people, but at its core, it means striving to live your life in accordance with the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. For Christians, this means having a personal relationship with Jesus and seeking to emulate his love, compassion, and sacrifice in all aspects of life.

Following Jesus involves surrendering your life to him, acknowledging him as Lord and Savior, and striving to live in obedience to his will. This includes reading and studying the Bible to gain a deeper understanding of God's plan for your life, participating in worship and fellowship with other believers, praying regularly, and seeking to serve others in love and humility.

It is important to note that following Jesus is not a one-time decision or event, but rather a lifelong journey of growth and transformation. It requires commitment, perseverance, and a willingness to trust God's guidance and direction in every area of life.

Now, the AI that produced this is obviously working with every bit of information that is out there on the interwebs about what it means to be a Jesus-follower. 

But what is extraordinary about this particular paragraph the AI produced is that it focuses on the essential teachings of Jesus from Scripture and then extrapolates a way of living according to them that is spot-on and true. 

And the theological underpinnings of what the AI produced are primarily solid and free from the divisive and exclusive rhetoric that pervades much of the conversations about what it means to be a Christian in our current culture. 

I might have changed the phrase "God's plan for your life" to "God's purposes" and probably "God's guidance and direction" to "God's presence and leading" or something to that effect, but honestly, it's pretty good as is.  

The bottom line is if a computer can come up with such a simple and compelling explanation for what it means to be a Christ-follower, why can't we?  

Some folks might say, "Well, there's more to it than that, pastor.  You can't rely on a computer to tell you about your faith." 

Is there more to it than that?  Really?  

The lesson for those of us who say that we want to follow Jesus is that if you read and study Jesus' teachings and seek to follow his example, you get precisely what the AI produced. 

The chatbot may be on to something. 

May we follow Jesus in the simplicity of his instructions and example. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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