Perfect Chaos

The Blog of Author Steven Colborne

Christian Morality and AI

The world in which we live today is so different in many ways to the world that the authors of the Christian Scriptures inhabited. This being so, Christians must continually reinterpret the moral lessons of the Bible so that we can heed their guidance in the 21st Century.

One area that presents a problem in this respect is our growing reliance on technology and artificial intelligence. The inventions of the digital age present us with scenarios that are unprecedented in human history, and pastors and theologians need to respond. In this short post I will reflect a little on some of the new moral problems Christians will face in the coming years.

It may make Christians feel deeply uncomfortable, but it’s likely that robots capable of sexual intercourse will be widely available before long. Some people might regard these as elaborate sex toys, but the question arises: If a married person engages in intercourse with a robot, have they committed adultery?

It would seem obvious to me that such an activity would be adulterous, but such a perspective is necessarily subjective as there is no guidance on this issue in the Bible. Perhaps the Catholic Church could score a few points here, as they could argue that the magisterium exists precisely to provide clarity on issues such as this where guidance is not explicitly found in Scripture.

This is one example of a wider issue which is that new inventions are increasingly blurring the line between what is biological and what is technological. We see this in the area of genetics and genome editing, one issue being whether or not it’s morally acceptable to tamper with genes if such tampering will lead to the eradication of certain diseases, for instance.

In the coming years, every Christian is going to face difficult moral decisions concerning the extent to which they allow technology to infiltrate their biology. Electronic implants are already widely available for a variety of purposes, and it might not be long before we find ourselves under pressure to yield to invasive technologies that compromise those aspects of our lives where we currently enjoy biological freedom.

What do you think? Is the church ready to deal with such issues? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. My new single entitled ‘Machines Taking Over the World’ will be released on 10th March 2018.

33 responses to “Christian Morality and AI”

  1. You have an interesting point, but I don’t believe that technology will have any bearing on true holiness. Why? Because holiness is in the heart. Remember what Jesus said – But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    Matthew 5:28 NLT
    On the face of it, that text seems to show Jesus making the law stricter. But what he’s actually doing is fulfilling Jeremiah’s prophecy that the law would be written on the heart. The judge is now inside us! On that basis, there’s no difference between viewing pornography and engaging in pseudo-sex with a robot. They are the same sin. Our conscience has already judged us long before we get physical.
    So, the message to us doesn’t change as technology changes. We need to seek righteousness in the heart – today and in the future. It’s a battle, but it’s one we can win by God’s grace.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Some good points, thank you Derrick!


    2. I agree. “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” (JER 17:10). Love God, love others–the two Greatest Commandments, summing up the entirety of the law, seems to set in play moral law regardless of technology’s influence.
      Regarding the Catholic Church … the Church already opposes artificial means of sexual intercourse. If used purely for pleasure, it is a selfish act. If used for artificial insemination, it has already been judged as something that goes against moral law.
      When we use technology to become like gods, we have believed the serpent in the garden and eaten from the forbidden tree. We exist to “praise, reverence, and serve God” (St. Ignatius of Loyola). We need to use the tools of our era to help us do that, not make us equal to Him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good insights, Tim, thank you!


  2. Fascinating topic! I love thinking about AI and issues surrounding it, and having gone to school for engineering, it’s something that I readily thinking about with as much excitement about the potential of AI as concern for the challenges AI presents. For this reason, I love watching films like “Ex Machina” or “2001: A Space Odyssey” because they give us multi-dimensional scenarios for us to think through.

    Here, you present some of the challenges relevant to the Church, noteably the issue of Christian sexuality. You present a clear, well articulated and probably necessary heads-up. You rightly caution us to think through these things when so many just don’t seem to grasp the importance of these tchnological developments.

    The above commenters make some good points, already. I guess my one thought is that the Church needn’t reinterpret scripture, but simply apply the moral principles in scripture to this new, unpresedented reality, as it is a timeless, always-relevant revelation.

    Thanks for the great read!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much, Nate. I thought of you as I was writing because I know this is an area related to your studies. I need to watch those films you mentioned! God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Very good and thoughtful post, Steven. Regarding the first issue, “sexual robots,” I think the Bible does give good guidance here if we accept that Scripture teaches that sexual activity should ONLY occur within marriage and between husband and wife. This would also answer the questions people have about “self-gratification” (to put it mildly).

    Regarding the second issue you mentioned regarding genetics and concerns connected with it, you are spot-on. I often think of these things myself and wonder about them. And, as you said, the more technology develops, the more Christians will be challenged by such concerns. I believe many of decisions Christians make in these areas will be on the individual level and the relationship of that individual with the Holy Spirit.

    One thing is for sure in this ever-growing-more-complicated-world: It ain’t easy!

    Good job, Steven.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, David. Really appreciate your response, which makes good sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Let’s coin a new word – “Idoltery” – defined as engaging in sexual activity with an idol… Okay, I’m tired. Overlook me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very good, we’ll have to wait and see whether your word makes it into the theology dictionaries of the future! God bless.


  5. Steven, I think, as others have pointed out, that the genetics issue is probably more of a gray area than the sex-robot. I like the pursuit to eradicate disease, but I think we can cross other moral boundaries in such pursuits. Sacrificing the lives of others who have no choice in matter isn’t justified by the intended goal. Sacrificing ourselves to save others might be. But where those lines are drawn are difficult questions, and probably not easily made “universals”.

    Good questions, and good insight from the other comments! Way to get us thinking! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Matt! Thank you so much for reading, and for your thoughtful comment. These are indeed difficult issues. God bless.


  6. I don’t think that technology is so much a bad thing than as much as we do with the technology. However, I do think that if it becomes possible for AI to then have sexual intercourse; I think that it’s something that not just Christians but we as a people would have to think about. The fact that that is how far we as humanity have fallen to the point of using AI for our own pleasure is in direct contrast to God’s purpose for sexual intercourse is potentially harmful to the next generation as well as the current, if that makes sense.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi God’s Warrior. Thank you for those reflections. I agree it’s an issue for the whole of humanity, but some would argue that most human beings aren’t really interested in the moral arguments that Christians make.

      I love technology, but also think it’s very dangerous, perhaps more dangerous than we sometimes acknowledge.

      God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I feel whatever a person is lead to do it between them and God, who am I to judge. For myself, I won’t be partaking in any genetic altering. My family wanted tests run for the issue I am having right now. I conceded to blood work, and that’s it just to make them feel better. My doctor knows how I feel. He said if whatever is wrong, he would want to do everything he could. My reply, what’s the worst that can happen, I go to heaven? And that’s how I feel. I appreciate this life God has blessed me with, and if He has decided it is my time to come home, I will not reject Him, and fight to stay here. Having said that, it’s not my place to say what anyone else should do, again, that is between them and God. Intriguing as always Steven. It’s a blessing to have a safe place to discuss “touchy” issues :):)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Margaret. It’s good that you are able to be bold and honest with your doctor. A lot of people in the scientific and medical communities are more inclined towards atheism and materialism, which can lead to difficult conversations with those of us who believe in God and an afterlife.

      Glad to have you reading. Thanks for your comment and God bless 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. God blessed me with my doctor, Steven. He has been my doctor since I was 11 or 12 years old. He is a God fearing man who will pray for you :):) I am blessed to have him 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Wow, that’s amazing! I’m so pleased for you 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thank you Steven. :):) You are very kind 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  8. As if things weren’t already tough enough morally. Thankfully the Spirit’s message hasn’t changed and we can rest in his revelation to us in our hearts. Nice article brother.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! God bless you 🙂


  9. I have to agree with some of the other comments. It is a matter of the heart. The more we choose to hear the voice of the Lord by relationship with him via prayer or reading of the Word, the more clear his voice becomes in your heart. What does Psalm 119:11 state? “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” There comes a time when we must choose what the Lord says regardless what might seem correct to the rest of the world. I guess that is why a lot of people think that we who call ourselves Christians, are living in the “dark ages.” And yet, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is not changing like the technology of the world, but is a consistent light. Another thought provoking post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Beehopper! Good to get your thoughts 🙂


  10. Neil Raleigh avatar
    Neil Raleigh

    Please don’t take this as a critical statement, as that is not the intention, but more of a half serious, half joking matter.

    I was actually expecting more from you on this topic. Maybe the title threw me off, but I was actually expecting a theological examination of the relationship between morality and artificial intelligence. Quite the topic, don’t you think?

    I don’t think the issue of sex robots is as much a concern as you seem to make it out to be. Don’t get me wrong, it does get moral gears grinding, and there’s plenty of debate material. But I don’t think the clear thinking Christian will have much difficulty recognizing the particular dangers of the development of intercourse-capable AI.

    Steven, thank you for the article, my brother. I admit that it did get me thinking about the technical and theology aspects of this odd spectacle. I believe that was your goal, and so your mission is accomplished.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Neil!

      Many thanks for you comment. My aim was to write a post that would get people thinking, and hopefully lead to some constructive discussion (which, thankfully, it has), rather than writing an exhaustive essay. There are issues about which I do write in depth (see my Essays page and my Books page) but chose not to do that on this occasion. Actually, a lot of people don’t want to read a long essay, and I am sensitive to people’s attention spans. You can’t please everyone!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and have a wonderful weekend.

      Peace and blessings,



Steven Colborne

About Me

Hello, I’m Steven and I’m a philosopher and author based in London. My main purpose as a writer is to encourage discussion about God. I write about a wide variety of subjects related to philosophical theology, including divine sovereignty, the nature of God, suffering, interfaith dialogue and more. My mantra: Truth heals.

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