The intent of these books was to see how artificial intelligence (A.I.) dealt with the Bible and with humor. Since A.I. is generated by godless algorithms and computers, the authors sought to see if ChatGPT would treat faith issues with respect, especially in a world where Christianity is coming under increasing attacks and where the architects of A.I. seem to demean religion regularly. Additionally, the authors sought to see if A.I. had a sense of humor and if ChatGPT could generate rib-tickling jokes based on some standard comic memes and on topical and controversial issues in contemporary culture.
The results were surprising with A.I. generally being respectful of religious issues but failing to show a refined sense of humor. The books provide as much insight on artificial intelligence’s “thinking” as much as it does faith and comedy.
A Test of Faith
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a part of many facets of life today. It is a tool designed to increase productivity using machine learning from vast digital data sources. Many fear the overreach of technology and need help understanding how to take advantage of its value rather than be used by it. Preston and Harriet Lewis, both devout Christians, methodically used ChatGPT to explain facets of teachings from the bible. The process used in this technology test was consistent with specific questions and desired output. Well-known and obscure bible passages were used with ChatGPT’s requests to create 500-word devotionals and an associated prayer.
The chapters are common Christian tenets like Truth, Life’s Lessons, Marriage and Family, Forgiveness and Transformation, and so forth. Multiple scripture passages are included for each subject, many of which are learned at bible study, School, church camps, and Sunday services from the pulpit. The data source is the King James Version of the Bible because it is public domain and has been widely used by churches in the United States for decades.
After reading the first four chapters, I found the results to be good and aligned with prior teachings in church. No intrusion on my faith or beliefs. Each devotion felt like the foundation of a Christian sermon where adding relevant hymns would be easy. What was fascinating was the cited prayers related to each scripture. These lacked any personal, relatable accounts of sincerity. The wording was accurate and inoffensive yet took on a tone of repetitiveness, which, for me, spoke to the book’s title—Devotionals from a Soulless Machine. Machines have no soul.
Those who like to explore the Christian faith will learn something from this book. When guided, technology advocates will appreciate what AI can do, ChatGPT included. When used wisely, technology can expand learning paths and open new ideas. Preston and Harriet Lewis’s faith and knowledge of the bible from years of study provided the human balance needed to make this an exceptional and highly recommended read.
Preston Lewis is the award-winning author of more than 50 novels and nonfiction books as well as numerous articles, short stories, and book reviews. He began his career working at four Texas newspapers before moving into higher education communications and marketing at Texas Tech University and Angelo State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Baylor University plus master’s degrees from Ohio State University in journalism and Angelo State in history. Lewis’s honors include two Spur Awards for western novels and articles from Western Writers of America as well as nine Will Rogers Medallion Awards for western humor, novels, short stories, and articles.
Harriet Kocher Lewis is a retired physical therapist and academician at Angelo State University, where she co-authored or edited numerous scientific articles or professional presentations. Her other writings include several published meditations for her church. As a member of an American Physical Therapy Association work group, she helped write the advanced level clinical education curriculum for therapists nationally. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology/PT at Baylor University as well as a PT certificate from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Lewis also has a master’s degree from Texas Tech University in health, physical education, and recreation with an industrial engineering minor. She is the wife of Preston Lewis, the mother of two, and the grandmother of five.
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