Pastors See Potential for AI, New Study Shows

Pastors See Potential for AI, New Study Shows

A recent U.S. Barna Group study reveals a fascinating difference in perspective between pastors and churchgoers on artificial intelligence (AI). While a significant majority (77%) of pastors believe God can use AI to connect with people, only 31% of churchgoers share that sentiment.

This finding comes amidst growing public concern about AI, with the release of powerful AI tools like ChatGPT in 2022 further fueling anxieties. Overall, U.S. adults are divided on AI: 32% view it with excitement, while 33% express fear, and 41% voice general concern.

However, pastors seem to recognise the potential benefits of AI alongside the concerns. A large portion (76%) believe AI can empower individuals with disabilities, and nearly two-thirds (57%) see its potential for healthcare advancements.

Brian Paige, a technology leader at Calvin University, emphasises the importance of discernment but not succumbing to fear.

He highlights the media’s role in amplifying fear-mongering around AI, urging people to focus on the potential for good alongside potential drawbacks.

He told Relevant that: “If God is in control and God is not fearful of this, what is causing this fear? Is it because somehow I’m not in the right relationship with God, or am I not in the right relationship with technology?”

Paige suggests using these concerns as a springboard for personal growth and reflection on our relationship with both God and technology. He encourages us to ask ourselves why we might be afraid of AI and what those fears reveal about our connection to the divine and the technological world.

Learn more about the Barna Group survey here.


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