Evangelicals have issued a statement of principles on artificial intelligence as the subject presents existential and theological questions posed by emergent technology.
The statement, “Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles,” which was released Thursday by the Research Institute of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, contains 12 articles touching on data and privacy, sexuality, the relationship between AI and humanity, and the future of AI and public policy. The document frames the subject in light of the Gospel.
“Christians must not fear the future or any technological development because we know that God is, above all, sovereign over history, and that nothing will ever supplant the image of God in which human beings are created. We recognize that AI will allow us to achieve unprecedented possibilities, while acknowledging the potential risks posed by AI if used without wisdom and care,” the preamble to the statement reads.
“We desire to equip the church to proactively engage the field of AI, rather than responding to these issues after they have already affected our communities.”
Already the statement has received signatures from evangelical Christian thought leaders, leaders of Christian universities, seminaries, influential churches and advocacy groups. Among the signatories are Erick Erickson, editor of the Resurgent; Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family; Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas; and Karen Swallow Prior, a professor of English at Liberty University.
In remarks before dozens gathered, ERLC Creative Director Jason Thacker noted that artificial intelligence can aid in human flourishing but can also be among the gravest of threats to human dignity.
“Nowhere in Scripture do you see the tool [of technology, AI] itself being condemned for being evil or bad,” Thacker, who is writing a book on artificial intelligence, said. “It is human beings that are evil and sinful and broken.”
Developing AI technology can be good provided that it is utilized to glorify God and love one’s neighbor, grounded in the understanding that every single human person bears God’s image, he emphasized.
“What we need are Scripture-formed Christians who are actually engaged on these issues,” Russell Moore, ERLC president, said in an interview with The Christian Post after a panel discussion and presentation of the statement Thursday.
“If Christians aren’t engaged on these issues there is a void that is going to be filled by someone else with some other worldview.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter