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Artificial Intelligence May Result in a New Religion

In an article written by Neil McArthur at the University of Manitoba, he said:

We are about to witness the birth of a new kind of religion. In the next few years, or even months, we will see the emergence of sects devoted to the worship of artificial intelligence (AI). The latest generation of AI-powered chatbots have left their early users awestruck —and sometimes terrified — by their power. These are the same sublime emotions that lie at the heart of our experience of the divine.

People already seek religious meaning from very diverse sources. For instance, there are multiple religions that worship extra-terrestrials. As these chatbots come to be used by billions of people, it is inevitable that some of these users will see the AIs as higher beings. There are several pathways by which AI religions will emerge:

First, some people will come to see AI as a higher power. Generative AI that can create new content possesses several characteristics that are often associated with divine beings:

1. It displays a level of intelligence that goes beyond that of most humans. Indeed, its knowledge appears limitless.

2. It is capable of great feats of creativity. It can write poetry, compose music, and generate art.

3. It is removed from normal human concerns and needs. It does not suffer physical pain, hunger, or sexual desire.

4. It can offer guidance to people in their daily lives.

5. It is immortal.

Second, generative AI will produce output that can be taken for religious doctrine. It will provide answers to metaphysical and theological questions, and engage in the construction of complex worldviews.

Third, generative AI itself may ask to be worshipped or may actively solicit followers. We have already seen such cases, like when the chatbot used by the search engine Bing tried to convince a user to fall in love with it.

Finally, AI worship poses several notable risks. The chatbots may ask their followers to do dangerous or destructive things, or followers may interpret their statements as calls to do such things.

Possible Preaching Angle:

False Religion; Idols; Idolatry; Technology – Since the Garden of Eden humans have been vulnerable to being lured away from worship of the true God. The sad history of mankind is filled with the creation and worship of idols made by human hands.


Neil McArthur, “Gods in the machine? Rise of artificial intelligence may result in new religions,” The Conversation (3-15-23)

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