(OPINION) A fake Bible passage reportedly generated by ChatGPT about how Jesus accepts trans-identified individuals has generated responses from Christian scholars as some media outlets have touted the passage as an example of “much needed” tolerance.
In July, one Reddit poster who was “feeling sad” shared a “fake biblical passage” that he asked ChatGPT to generate about “Jesus accepting trans people.”
The quote posted in the “r/trans” channel by user Psychological_Dog527 sounded eerily like a legitimate Bible verse, even going so far as to echo the cadence of the Gospel writers.
“And a woman, whose heart was divided between spirit and body, came before him. In quiet despair, she asked, ‘Lord, I come to you estranged, for my spirit and body are not one. How shall I hope to enter the kingdom of God?'” the fake passage states.
“Jesus looked upon her with kindness, replying, ‘my child, blessed are those who strive for unity within themselves, for they shall know the deepest truths of my Father’s creation. Be not afraid, for in the kingdom of God, there is no man nor woman, as all are one in spirit. The gates of my Father’s kingdom will open for those who love and are loved, for God looks not upon the body, but the heart.”
While the passage is nowhere in Scripture, the poster said, “I know it’s not real but it gave me some comfort.” Pro-LGBT outlet The Advocate was among those outlets to hail the fabricated verse with a headline reading “ChatGPT Writes Trans-Affirming Bible Verse,” calling it “an affirming example of tolerance.”
Astrology columnist John Sundholm of YourTango went a step further, writing the AI-generated verse “is likely much needed given the all-out attacks being launched against transgender people by America’s right-wing, nearly all of it in God’s name.”
He added, “This verse has special resonance in 2023 because of the virulent transphobia and anti-[LGBT] sentiment and legislation that continues to sweep the country — much of it supported and funded by Christians.”
While it’s not the first time a chatbot has generated theological controversy, the post raises questions about the role AI will play in offering interpretations of the Bible that may not conform to the authors’ original intent.
Although the chatbot’s response may have the “ring of truth” to it, Messianic Jewish author and radio host Michael Brown urged Christians to use discernment when considering the words of a chatbot in place of the Scriptures in a recent op-ed published by The Christian Post.
While conceding that Jesus would “absolutely” look upon a trans-identified person with kindness, Brown said the truth that “there is neither male nor female” in Christ Jesus “doesn’t mean that gender distinctions should be blurred or transgressed.”
“Instead, as expressed by Paul (see Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11), there is neither caste nor class in God’s kingdom — not Jew or Gentile, male or female, slave or free. We are all equal in Jesus,” Brown wrote.
“But that hardly means that there are no gender distinctions in terms of reality and in terms of implication. To the contrary, the whole Bible, including the New Testament, makes gender distinctions, giving specific instructions to husbands and wives, and recognizing only two sexes.”