Why I Would not Preach an AI Generated Sermon
Should I Preach an AI Generated Sermon
Answering the question of whether you should preach in AI generated sermon boils down to one (1) thing: did God send you or not? Obviously, this website is built on offering Preachers, Teachers, Pastors, and Laypeople ready to preach sermon content. In fairness, I disclose this for integrity’s sake. However, I will attempt to be subjective with respect to whether you should preach artificial intelligence generated sermons. If God sent you to preach, you already know the answer to that question, right? If He did not, read the rest of this article.
We use artificial intelligence (AI) in content creation daily. Although someone like me takes that to an extreme, programs like Grammarly, Spell Check and others can be considered AI. Further, if you have ever used a chat feature to speak with an online customer service representative, you have used artificial intelligence. Do not be naïve as to believe because something sounds human, it is. Just so you know - 70% of the conversations with a “customer service” employee (chat feature) is artificial intelligence.
However, that is a long way from AI writing a sermon.
If the Lord Jesus sent you, and gifted you to preach the everlasting gospel, you should avoid artificial intelligence. That seems like a hypocritical statement from someone who sells sermon downloads, right? It is not in here is why. The pain and experience we pour into sermon content can never be duplicated by an AI language model. These programs write faster and more accurately than we ever could, but they will never communicate as effectively.
Beloved – AI has no “personal testimony” and is only capable of repeating the testimonies from human writers on search engines. Why not just go to the source and not lose Holy Ghost power through a software's interpretation? Do not forget that evil was overcome in the Book of Revelation “by the power of the testimony of the Saints”. Further, AI only learns from what HUMANS have made available to it so “who” is more intelligent?
Problems with AI Generated Sermons
A problem with AI generated sermons is they lack the wisdom to create a heartfelt message from the Throne of God. Sure, I understand some "self-called" preachers have the same issue! A second issue is what it produces is simply not engaging enough to capture and keep an audience's attention. This is not necessarily an attack on the reality that AI has no capability to produce "original" content in a humanly effective voice. Do any of us produce "totally" original content?
Understanding we have all repeated something from another source, and often without citation, it’s time to lean a little bit further into this conversation. We use Google, or other search engines, to locate scripture references. God did not gift me the ability to remember "where" only "what" (I read). In this cause, I use Google, which is another form of artificial intelligence, to locate scripture references numbers. Google is also a great tool to look up “like texts” to get a bigger thought from the mind of God. New AI is capable of serving as a great reference tool as well. Through testing, I understand why Google is so threatened by its emergence.
Here is an example of its utility: (I asked the question)
I first asked the question, and then artificial intelligence provided the answer. I asked in a further question and it did a wonderful job at explaining the “facts”. Nevertheless, artificial intelligence is unable to see any further than the facts. It aggregates pieces of text from all over the Internet to form a cogent thought. What it cannot gather, is the wisdom or humanity of what really happened in these verses. I assume Jesus sent you to preach, so I am not going to patronize you further.
For those with advanced theological education, we understand what we are viewing above. For those of you who have not decided on whether to achieve higher education in a university, there is something you should know. I attended one (1) of the top five (5) Christian universities in the country and here is what I learned. University nor seminary makes you a better preacher, or teacher for that fact, of God’s word. Just like an Olympic class sprinter, it cannot give you what God did not gift. No matter how hard someone works to become a 100m Olympic sprinter, they need a “fast gene”.
Higher Christian education is about studying what scholars think about the Bible, and never about studying the Bible itself. Over thirty-six (36) credit hours in pursuit of a Masters in Christian Apologetics, not once were we instructed to "research the Bible". NOT EVEN ONCE!!! 100% of study time was based on what scholars, who wrote books, thought about the Bible. Likewise, AI driven sermon content will only provide what others think about the Bible, and no wisdom on Bible teaching. Try getting AI to write a poignant, Holy Ghost "parable" to drive home your sermonic points. You will be quite disappointed with its response.
Does AI Plagiarize Sermons
The answer to whether A.I. plagiarizes sermons is yes but so do you. In fairness to A.I. created content, this point must be explained. Jesus Christ told us to provide the world with "duplicate content". Google, Christian colleges, and seminaries penalize copied content but in the Kingdom of God, it should be praised. There is two (2) words for original theology: false doctrine. Preaching and teaching God's Word must stay true to sound theology.
When it comes to the wisdom of God’s Word, the applicability, as well as spiritually communicated sermons, there is no such thing as plagiarism. The lie of illicitly copied content must be explained and exposed. In both the Gospel of Matthew 28, and Mark, the “Great Commission” from Jesus released any copyright claim. He did say: "go into all the world and preach the gospel, teaching all things I have commanded...", right? When we lean further into the biblical narrative, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to: “teach the things I have taught you to others so they may be qualified to teach still others.” (2nd Timothy 2:1-2).
If the Holy Ghost revealed it, how can anyone else claim copyright on something they are not the original source of? The Holy Ghost is a sentient being so the rules of plagiarism would apply in this scenario, right? I bring this forward because whether you choose to use A.I. “factual” sermons or not, reject the worldly teachings which “muzzle the oxen which treaded out the corn”. Religious scholars are rarely evangelist and have little idea what real world outreach is. I have advanced religious degrees, and Pastor a church so I’ve seen both sides of the equation.
In fairness, if a Christian archaeologists discovers a religious artifact in the Sinai desert, writes a scholarly paper, and someone uses it without citation, that is another conversation. However, archaeology has little to do with evangelism and is strictly a scholarly pursuit most often. The issue is not whether one is committing plagiarism - it is was the Word you received “Holy Ghost” breathed? AI could not, and does not, produce Holy Ghost breathed content. How could it if the software has no “soul” and therefore does not possess “life”.
Does Artificial Intelligence Have a Soul
The Word of God explains: “The Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground, breathed life into him, and man become a living being”. (Genesis 2:7). The King James version explains – “man became a living soul”. Nevertheless, for anything to have a soul, the breath of life must be breathed into it. This is not a philosophical debate on whether artificial intelligence can become “self-aware” or not. That most certainly will occur at some point. Yet that still does not negate the biblical imperative of how we become living souls. The bigger question, then, seems to be: “can a non-living soul preach the gospel of Jesus Christ”? We know God can get His Glory through anything, but does this mean that thing has a soul?
I bring this forward because someone wrote an article and exclaimed: “artificial intelligence should not write sermons because it doesn’t have a soul”. That it doesn’t have a soul is still irrelevant to a point brought forth earlier. There are people, with souls, who should not be preaching the gospel either. They were not “called” to do so and therefore, should walk in their true calling (whatever that may be).
Unfortunately, one (1) of the world’s greatest motivational speakers is believed to be a preacher and is not – Joel Osteen. Obviously, artificial intelligence is a great reference tool, but could not have been created to share the good news of Jesus in the way a human being is. AI “references” humanly created content which means it is little more than a sophisticated “parrot”.
Here is proof when I asked AI where its content came from:
AI is correct, there are tools to assist in creating unique sermon content. Nevertheless, those “tools” are 100% based on human input of the creator!
Are There Mistakes in AI Sermons
Yes, artificial intelligence does make mistakes when creating Christian sermon content. We all make mistakes so I’m not going to dwell there because there’s something worse. AI is software created by people, with a humanist view, who do not believe there is a God. Certainly, they take much objection to what you and I believe about Jesus.
The largest mistake an artificial intelligence language model makes is not understanding the audience to which you are preaching.
How a sermon is delivered must be relevant to the audience. I will not patronize any with Paul’s exhortation on the effectiveness of “shape shifting” for effective delivery. This does not mean, however, that sound doctrine should be compromised. As a Pastor, I lead a congregation with certain demographic and spiritual presentation needs. No matter what I feed into an AI language model, it will never grasp how an audience should be handled.
Another issue I ran into during my testing of this software is its penchant to mis-interpret the applicability of a passage. For instance, AI mentions “inclusion” as a cornerstone of Christian doctrine without the ability to explain what this means. In America, inclusion has taken on “demonic” form and such false doctrine has penetrated the church as well. There is no scenario in which I would preach these sermons without checking the validity of what was written.
An example of this mistake of both wisdom and doctrine, is the AI model teaches ‘Jesus’ message is one of unity’. Not only is that inaccurate, but it does not handle the nuance of scripture and will confuse many. Jesus said: “I did not come to bring peace but to DIVIDE people” (Matthew 10:34). However, this division is meant to “sort the sheep from the goats” and anyone can come to Him for salvation.
Too many are confused already believing Jesus to be some great “unifier” when He said “I have come to divide” must be rejected. Sorry – Jesus was/is not some great peacemaker with the wicked. The peace He brings is to deliver the wicked (like me) from it – not to be “friends”.
The Ultimate Goal of A.I. Language Models
The ultimate goal of A.I. language models is control. I am not someone who believes in these universal style conspiracy theories either. I do know, however, all sin can be traced to one (1) person’s desire to control others. It began in eternity with those famous words of the rebel angel Lucifer: “I will ascend to the throne of the Highest, and I will be like God”. Lucifer desired to control that which he was created to serve.
He proceeded to the Garden of Eden and convinced Adam and Eve to try to “control their place in the universe” as well. The reality is any such technology will always be weaponized to carry out the darkest desires of human sin. The applications for a functioning artificial intelligence are virtually limitless, so the manner in which is creates sin is as well.
It is not such a leap to believe this is how the end times “Anti-Christ” will control human civilization. World changing technology has always been, and will always be, used to subjugate other civilizations by those so creating. The conquering of America, by Europeans, was accomplished through their superior technology. The greatest example in recent memory is the creation of the atomic bomb between 1940-1945. President Harry S. Truman used the bomb(s) to destroy nearly 200,000 human beings instantly.
Whether you believe he was justified in doing so is another conversation.
The creator of this bomb was a scientist named Robert Oppenheimer. He did not accomplish this history altering task alone. Oppenheimer feigned sadness after it was used but he knew the bombing of Japan (or Germany) would result. Scientists have also created the new artificial intelligence language models. They were funded by people who have interests other than the betterment of humanity. When you dig deep enough, it is easy to discover the hidden hand at work and funding these projects. There has never been millions of dollars poured into a project without some form of commercial application being the end goal.
Those born to preach God’s Word have gotten used to ease of creation with readily available software. Yet how that software is used must still be based on the gifts God has given us. He brought you and I into the world to preach Jesus Christ, and we must not abrogate that responsibility to AI. If you require content, because we all go through dry seasons, let it be from a human source which combines wisdom and intelligence. Whether purchasing sermon content on this website or not, please, by the mercies of God, do not make the work of the Holy Spirit of non-effect. Your smart phone is meant to enhance your ministry, and not determine its direction.
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