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Church Delivers Entire Service Created by ChatGPT

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A church congregation in Germany got a special treat this past week when the one delivering the traditional evening sermon was not the church’s pastor, but an AI bot.

The service, which was attended by over 300 parishioners at St. Paul’s Church in Fürth, Bavaria, was almost entirely carried out by ChatGPT. From the prayers, psalms, and music to the sermon spoken by four different AI avatars on the screen in front of everyone, the whole production was prompted by University of Vienna theologian, philosopher, and AI artist Jonas Simmerlein. But Simmerlein only takes credit for about 2% of it.

Jonas Simmerlein ChatGPT Sermon

A ChatGPT Sermon

“I conceived this service — but actually I rather accompanied it, because I would say about 98% comes from the machine,” he told the AP. “I told the artificial intelligence ‘We are at the church congress, you are a preacher … what would a church service look like?’”

ChatGPT has already proven itself worthy of mastering other professions, such as doctor and lawyer, so why not a reverend? As part of the church’s theme for this year’s Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchentag event that brought tens of thousands of Christians to the area, topics focused on hot-button items such as climate change, the war in Ukraine, and artificial intelligence. Of course, this dive into the future didn’t sit well with everyone.

“There was no heart and no soul,” Heiderose Schmidt, 54, told the AP. “The avatars showed no emotions at all, had no body language, and were talking so fast and monotonously that it was very hard for me to concentrate on what they said.” Perhaps unexpectedly, fits of laughter erupted during the service throughout the AI avatar’s deadpan delivery.

But many others thought that the AI service was quite good. Lutheran pastor Marc Jansen told the AP: “I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked. But one thing that I definitely missed, of course, was simple emotionality.”

So what exactly did ChatGPT have to say to a church full of Christians about their faith and the future? Apparently, it was a “pretty solid church service,” according to Simmerlein.

The sermon focused on moving forward and leaving the past behind, not fearing death, and growing faith in Jesus Christ. As strange as it may sound, this whole thing reminds me of lyrics from The Who’s classic song, “Christmas” from the album “Tommy”: “And Tommy doesn’t know what day it is. He doesn’t know who Jesus was or what praying is. How can he be saved, from the eternal grave?”

Hmm, good question. Maybe ChatGPT can tell us.

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    Shawn has been infatuated with the post-apocalyptic genre since he wore out his horribly American-dubbed VHS of the original Mad Max as a child. Shawn is the former Editor-in-Chief at, creator of the Aftermath post-apocalyptic immersion event, and author of "AI For All," a guide to navigating this strange new world of artificial intelligence.
    He currently resides on top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere with his wife and four children.

    Don't even think about sharing this article.

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