How The Church Can Use Technology To Reach A Changing World

How The Church Can Use Technology To Reach A Changing World

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

You’ve probably seen the results of the recent WSJ-NORC poll showing how much Americans’ views on patriotism, religion, and community involvement have changed in the past 25 years. It is disheartening. On a lark, I decided to query ChatGPT about this issue, asking:

How should the Christian community respond to generate interest in religion while remaining ambivalent about ideas of patriotism?

Here is ChatGPT’s response:

Firstly, the Christian community could focus on promoting the core values and teachings of their faith that resonate with people on a personal level, such as compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love. This can be done through various means, such as community outreach programs, social media campaigns, and interfaith dialogues.

Additionally, the Christian community could leverage modern technologies to make their religious teachings more accessible to younger generations who are more inclined towards digital media. This could involve creating engaging and informative content, such as podcasts, videos, and blog posts, that can be shared on various online platforms.

It is also essential for the Christian community to remain open-minded and inclusive towards people of all backgrounds and beliefs. By fostering an environment of respect and understanding, the Christian community can demonstrate that religion is not about exclusion or superiority, but rather about embracing diversity and promoting universal values.

Lastly, the Christian community could work towards building meaningful connections with other faith-based communities and organizations to promote interfaith collaboration and mutual respect. By coming together with other groups and working towards common goals, the Christian community can demonstrate that religion is a unifying force that can transcend political ideologies and nationalistic sentiments.

You’ve probably noticed ChatGPT’s and all AI’s known leftist bias. But, again, this is something that the media has covered. These new technological marvels are known as LLMs (Learning Language Models). In other words, reading what humans have written makes them more intelligent. And many of these AIs got their samples from the internet. 

The internet is not exactly a haven for right-wing or Christian ideas. Values-oriented internet monitors have estimated that at least 80% of the non-dark web was pornography. Others argue that it is more likely to be around 30% pornography. Whatever the exact figures are, it should be evident that the ratio of non-Christian to Christian content on the internet is higher. Thus, we don’t expect AI to present God’s plan of salvation. That is why preachers exist (Romans 10.13–17).

That said, the insight of ChatGPT is fantastic, with a few caveats. Unfortunately, open-mindedness and inclusivity are typically buzzwords for turning a blind eye to sin, which we cannot do (Isaiah 5.20). Likewise, societal acceptance of abortion and sexual immorality doesn’t mean such things are acceptable to God (Acts 5.29). We also cannot fellowship with those who do not teach the truth, even if they call themselves “Christians” or are part of a monotheistic, Abrahamic faith (2 Corinthians 6.13–15; 1 Corinthians 10.21). Otherwise, this advice is surprisingly sound. 

As the gospel changes lives like nothing else can, why shouldn’t we preach God’s word to make it as accessible to others as possible? We should help people see how to apply the good news to their lives (Acts 8.30ff). To that end, we should go back to more expository-style preaching. 

There are so many broken homes that providing people with a sense of community and family is inviting. Who would not want to experience compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love? But this requires getting out of our buildings and going where the people are. 

And, while we should not change the “old Jerusalem Gospel,” there is no reason why we cannot use modern methods to reach out to a lost and dying world (Matthew 10.16, emphasis mine). Unfortunately, more conservative mindsets are slow to adopt the latest technology. By the time more conservative minds feel comfortable venturing into new areas, those with whom they disagree ideologically will have dominated them. 

That said, the number of podcasts and videos our brothers and sisters are beginning to make available inspires me, and I hope this pattern continues. Political pundits, gamers, and true crime fans bury our offerings with their content. So you have to know what you are looking for to find it. It requires advertising and sharing our content with others. 

Even though we don’t want to waste our Lord’s money by following trends, it is prudent to keep up with new technology and figure out how to use it to spread God’s message worldwide. It’s important to remember that technology is constantly evolving, and we must adapt to it and use it in ways that reflect our values. By doing so, we can reach a larger audience and share God’s message with those who might not have heard it otherwise. 

How would you have answered this question I put to ChatGPT? 

Brent Pollard

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