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AI and the Church

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
July 13, 2023 12:00 am

AI and the Church

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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July 13, 2023 12:00 am

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Well, today is Thursday, July 13th. My name is John Galantis. I'm here once again with Dr. Abbadon Shah, and you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at If you have a question for Dr. Shah, anything you'd like to write in, suggest we talk about it here on the show. Send us a text at 252-582-5028. You can also email us at contact at You can help us keep the conversation going by supporting the show.

You can like it. You can share it online with people who need to hear the Gospel of Christ. You can leave us good reviews on iTunes or Spotify. Every review that you guys leave helps to boost that algorithm so that iTunes sees it, so that Spotify sees it.

We're going to leave a couple of links in the podcast so you can do just that. Dr. Shah, today's verse of the day is coming to us from the book of James. In chapter one in verse five, it says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

That passage is given in the context of trials. In the midst of trials, what is the one thing that you really want to know? When's it going to be over? You know, you're looking for wisdom, right? Yes, you do need some relief. You do need some hope. But in all of that, how do I have the wisdom I need to make the right decisions, to be in the right mind zone so that I don't get discouraged or feel hopeless? Wisdom. And how amazing it is that the Bible does not give you some fluff and say, you know, if any of you lacks money, if any of you lacks friends, if any of you lacks the comforts of life? No, because those are the things we typically think will help us get through trials, but actually it's wisdom. This is happening, but do I need to think of it in the most visceral gut sense, or do I need a much more sophisticated, God-centered, future-oriented, uplifting understanding? And that's wisdom.

Yeah, that's right. And most of us, and I know this is true of me, most of us, when we encounter problems, we don't want to hear that we're thinking about it the wrong way. Because we want a short-term solution to this immediate problem. So like, I'm having a problem.

I need someone to tell me what to do. And so when someone comes along and tells you, think about it differently, use some wisdom, ask for wisdom so you can think about it differently. It's like, no, that takes too long. I don't want that. But we reject it. I'm just going to do what comes naturally. And I can tell you 100% of the times when we do things naturally, we make a big mistake. So wisdom, whether it's relationship problems you're facing, whether physical problems, financial problems, spiritual problems, or mental health, whatever you're facing, your greatest need is for wisdom. Of course you need grace.

Of course you need God's love and mercy and comfort in your life. But listen, all those things are connected to wisdom. And it's funny because, you know, Solomon had all those things that we typically want in life, like money and influence and people, relationships, right. He had all those things, but that's not what he asked for. He didn't ask God for all those things.

He asked for wisdom and then God, through that, he attained all those things. Yeah. Well, we're going to start the show in just a moment. We're going to jump right in because we have a really exciting topic that we want to talk with you guys about today. But if you guys have any questions or suggestions for other topics that we can talk about in the future, send us a text at 252-582-5028. Or you can visit us online at We'll be right back.

Hey there, listeners, I'm Jon Galantis, and I'm Ellie Galantis. And we just want to take a quick second and talk to you about Dr. Shah's and Nicole's book, 30 Days to a New Beginning, Daily Devotions to Help You Move Forward. You know, this is actually the second book in the 30 Days series. And the whole point of this devotional is to help us get unstuck from the ruts of life. You know, when it comes to running the race of life, it matters how you start, but a bad start doesn't ultimately determine how you finish the race. You can have a good finish, even with a bad start. And that's where this book comes in. No matter who you are or where you are in life, you're going to get stuck.

Instead of going out and buying some gadget or some planner, like I know I've done several times. I know that's right. 30 Days encourages you to find your fresh start in God's word. Life doesn't have a reset button, but our God is a God who does new things.

His mercies are new every day, which means every day is a new chance for you to start over. You can grab 30 Days to a New Beginning on We're going to leave a link in the description box below. And if you already have the book, let us know what you think about it.

That's right. Send us a text, 252-582-5028. Share what God has done in your life through this devotional. Hey, maybe we'll even read your story on the air. Ellie, you ready to get back to the show? Let's do it.

All right. Well, welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at or if you have any questions for Dr. Shah, anything you'd like to write in, suggest we talk about here on the show, send us a text, 252-582-5028, or you can email us, contact at And listen, if today's your first time ever tuning into the show, we want to take a moment and say, welcome. Thank you for tuning in. We want to let you know exactly who it is that's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadon Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all of his work on his website. That's You know, Dr. Shah's website is pretty up there. I mean, they don't just give those things out. You know what I mean? Website.

Website, email address. Those are big, big things to have in the technology world. Obviously, I'm being kind of surprised.

Yeah, I was going to say, you're being dated here, my friend. Well, that's what we're going to talk to you about today. Technology moves at a really rapid rate. That's right. Because you work, and this is something that we've talked about a little bit, you work in the field of New Testament textual criticism, where new developments can take decades to manifest. That's right. And yet you also work in the church, in a church that uses technology very, very heavily.

And that's a field where your big investment can be obsolete in a couple of years if you don't use it correctly. Yes. When I look at our history, and I'm talking about biblical history, I'm talking about early church history, God's people always made use of the most advanced up-to-date, I wouldn't say technology necessarily, because technology is something new, but advancement.

They use whatever was most advanced for their time to communicate the timeless message that God has for us. When I look at, let's say Moses, right? So, you know, I'm going to talk about Sennin Mut. That's his Egyptian name.

Okay. So when I went to Egypt, I wanted to go to Sennin Mut's tomb. This is the unfinished tomb that I believe and many scholars do that Moses made for himself. And this was the place I wanted to go see. And usually people don't get to see that. People have written books on it and haven't walked inside that tomb.

Very small space. But he was building a massive tomb under this precinct that led to his mother's temple, Hatshepsut, the Egyptian princess who adopted him. What I noticed, and what you know very well, Jon, and David as well, is the ceiling is covered with drawings and information about stars and constellations and movements of planets and sun and all of that is covered.

Now, the reason I share that is this. He was leading God's people to the wilderness. Don't you think he knew where he was going?

More than just like, I think it's like it this way. No, I think he was very, very careful about seasons. I mean, look, they had to deal with the rain. They have to deal with so many issues, cold and heat. I believe they were using the best technology of the time, albeit the pillar of fire was there and the pillar of cloud was there, but they were using the best technology of the time.

That's right. And they were out there. We lose sense of time. They were out there for 40 years.

He had no choice but to find some of those patterns in the sky. Or else it would mean catastrophe for all of... Millions of people. Right, right. I mean, think about Joseph. Joseph, he was there in Egypt. This is going beyond Moses, but he had to build those silos. And when you go to Saqqara, you can see those silos. People think they're graves. They don't have graves.

Oh yeah, you showed us those in the video. Massive, huge containers. What are you going to do, dump bodies in there?

No, there's silos to store grains. And when you look at them and you go, wow, this guy was working a system that was the best advanced system of the time. Why do you think people are afraid to jump on technology, even nowadays? Or advancement. It's just a fear, a fear that this will compromise our beliefs or our doctrines and all that.

And that's not true. I mean, think about the apostle Paul writing on parchment. Parchment was there.

He didn't say, hey, clay tablets, guys, clay tablets. No, he said parchments. How about the early church? You know, we know about something called codex. For those of you who are watching or listening, codex was a new way of writing knowledge. Previously there were rolls, but codex was when they took these parchments, goatskins, cut them up into these rectangular pieces and they were made into a book form. Our book form, many scholars, I'm not sure, I think it was always there, right? But our book form, like we have it today, okay, this was made popular by Christians because when you examine writings from the time period, a lot more Bible was written like this. I'm talking about the New Testament on than in scrolls, which means what? They wanted people to do this so they can quickly get to references. So they can do cross-referencing.

So they can go, yeah, in the Old Testament, in this passage, can do that with a scroll. So they were using the most advanced invention of their time and then printing press and then computers. All these things should, so we're going somewhere with this today, this conversation. Well, yeah, because you start to see how information is, I mean, all of this, all of these advancements, not all, I mean, yeah, pretty much all of them are, how do we relay information from one medium to the next? And then, like I remember coming out when internet was, I think internet was already kind of around when I was small, but then when it's now commercialized, you can have it in your home, you can have it in your business, you can have it in your church. And then with the coming of social media, that was the next big thing. But now we're starting to see another humongous shift that I think we've only barely tapped into. Right.

Since November, right? This has really become open source. We're talking about this AI, this artificial intelligence, and it comes in many forms. We, chat GPT is out right now and people have been playing with it, like you said, since November. But there's also lots of other AI applications out there. And so the question is, how do we utilize this new technology in the church?

How do we make the most of it for the kingdom of God? That's right. I just want to tell you guys, you know, I remember in the early nineties when the world wide web was going to be launched. Now this is a privileged viewpoint because I don't have, I don't remember that at all. I remember sitting in my classroom and the buzz was there for a while, you know, that there's going to be the internet and this we can do with this and that.

I had no clue. I was just like completely in my own world that, that the idea of something being there, it didn't even make sense to me. I'm like, what, like you can get in, what do you do? Like get inside a screen. I mean, how do you go, you can have website and people can go check it out. So I'm thinking it's like, like, what are they checking out? Like, how do you check it out? Like, do you create a little ecosystem that you walk into or like stick your nose in it? I mean, how, how does this work?

I was so naive and I believe most people were. Well, I think that's, that's kind of where we are now is that it's so new. We don't know how to frame it and all we really have to go on is science fiction. Like we're thinking about Ultron coming to life. We're thinking about these AIs taking over the world, getting the nuclear codes. Or always, you know, sexual promiscuity, which again is a very real danger. Not just with AI, but virtual reality with internet is there. Okay. So just be prepared for that.

It always has stats. Enemy will always use something good for something bad. Just be prepared. But because it's so new and we genuinely don't know how it works, we're turning to fiction or we're turning to our base understanding or our fears or we're just saying, Hey, I don't get that at all. So let's not touch that. Let's not even worry with it. And what I noticed that back in the nineties, when this thing was coming in the worldwide web was coming a lot, my professor in class, I mean, he was talking about how this is going to really be dangerous when it comes to pornography or child abuse and child porn and all that stuff.

And I was like, definitely don't want it. Fast forward 10 years or even less, everybody has an email account. Everybody's on the web.

Every one of those same people have now a website. So what happened? Well, what happened is this. We realize that yes, something can be used for good or for bad, and we have to not just abandon them or, or, or keep them at arm's length or put a wall around us, but we have to go, let's use it.

That's right. We don't, we don't fear our laptops. Even if, even though we input data into it, it processes the data, it puts some outcomes into it.

Now AI will just adjust those outputs and adjust those processes until it gets it right. So, so it's not an inherently dangerous thing. And, and we, the more that we understand it, and I know you've done some research on it as well.

The more we understand it, I think the less, cause that's how I come over my fears when I was afraid of flying. You and I, I remember we sat down and we just talked about it for awhile. I was like, what is it like when you fly? What does it feel like? What is this?

What is that? And then I went and just looked up how a plane works, the physics of it. Yeah. When I sat in the plane, yeah, a little nerves, but nowhere near as bad as it was. But you had no problem with driving. No, not at all.

You had no problem with driving or with somebody else driving. Nope. Did you know that when the cars first came out, some of the biggest fears was that people's hearts will stop if the vehicle goes beyond 35 miles an hour. I didn't know that. You didn't know that? No. Yeah. They had this fear that if you let people ride in these things and for a prolonged period above 35 or 60 miles, somewhere there, that their hearts will, they'll have heart trouble.

Like their body just can't handle. I remember as a kid, see, I grew up here in the South. I remember as a kid getting in the bed of my dad's truck and riding to the gas station and like riding back home in the bed and like I would stand up and pretend that he would knock on the window, sit down and I'd sit back down.

Not a problem. That was a fun summer, but getting in an airplane, the safest thing that you can do, I was terrified because I didn't understand it. So I guess the point we're making in these past 10 minutes is this. Typically when something new comes along, we immediately boycott it or we fear it or we only think the negative. And by the way, all those things are very real. Our fears are not unfounded.

They're really true. Having said that, we have to make a choice to go, okay, so it can be used for that. How can we use it for good for our own lives, but more importantly for the gospel?

That's right. And I think also, if you're listening to this more than likely you're in the church, no matter what you feel about it, businesses and corporations are going to, they're already using it. They're already, many of them are already using it. What do you think runs Wall Street? You think it's like investors in a stockroom somewhere? It's bots. It's algorithms.

That's what makes, that's what runs our economy. I was at Barnes and Nobles and picked up Harvard Business Review, the latest one that just came out. This is for July to August, 2023, and they had Generation AI and the New Age of Human Creativity. And I said, oh yes, you're going home with me.

So I brought it. And one of the statements that I thought was good was this. It says, generative AI's greatest potential is not replacing humans.

It is to assist humans in their efforts to create hitherto unimaginable solutions. That's true. That's true. So, and I know that wrong people will use it for wrong purposes.

And I know the enemy's already got his hand in this thing, but I want to use it to create solutions that will not only enhance our lives for the better, but also promote the gospel of Jesus Christ. That's right. If you worked in the TV or the film industry, YouTube didn't put you out of a job. So also, AI and adaptive learning technology is not going to necessarily put people out of jobs. That's not something that is aimed to do. It's just, here's what happens, you know, just the way we looked at the internet and all of that back in the early nineties, and now everything we do, we do on the internet, basically. Same thing with this.

Let's not be behind the eight ball. Let's jump ahead and say, I want to know what this is about and know where the restrictions are, know what things are not good and what things we can use. I think one thing that catches me is that you always are willing and ready to start at ground zero. Let's understand this thing first. When we take AI and we introduce it into the church, we're not trying to write sermons and replace all of the people who are on the stage.

What we're trying to do is process our workflows to remove redundant tasks off our employees' plates so that we can do bigger and better things. Absolutely. I didn't say any better. Yeah. And once we understand it, now we start to take things to the next level. Right. Well, just for the benefit of those who are still sitting there going, what is AI? Yeah.

John, you want to kick it off and maybe David can join in and maybe say a few things about it and I can share it as well? The best way that I've come to understand it is that AI is basically an algorithm. It's a set of math problems working in tandem with one another that takes data set or data input and it processes them. It can manipulate them. It can, quote unquote, learn with all of these inputs.

It tries to output a solution and if it doesn't work, it'll assess why it didn't work and then it will alter its output until it works. It does this about three or four billion times per second. It's super, super, super fast. It's very, very fast.

Your mind can't comprehend how fast it works. There are different programs out there. I have membership to at least five or six of them. I haven't really delved into creating things quite yet, but I'm aware of them.

I have, of course, ChatGPT. That's one of the big ones that you will see if you want to figure things out and what's going on. That's one. Dream Studio is another one. It's kind of crazy stuff in Dream Studio. Show me an elephant and a butterfly.

It puts an image together that looks really weird. Things like this can happen, but people can use this for something better. Like, hey, we're having a church event. Let's see. It's going to be a hot dog supper. This fun for everyone. Children, we're going to have slides and whatever.

Come join us. Create an image. It'll create something. Sometimes it'll be kind of weird. You're sliding down a hot dog or something. No, I hope not.

You've got hot dogs sticking out of your ears. No, I haven't seen one yet like that. Most times it'll create something just like this. Back in 1970, this is in the Harvard Business Review, MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Eric Von Hippel coined a term called democratizing innovation. Innovation, or creating images or sales or promotions. Usually you have to spend so much money to make these things happen. But now with AI technology, a small business can do it.

A small church can do it. Because it's at your fingertips. That's right. I think one of the things that makes it successful is that, like you say, you get one of those weird images and you're like, no, no, no, no. Let me be more specific. You input more data and now it starts to assess it and it starts to learn.

And I'm putting that in air quotes. It starts to learn what it is that you're looking for. And so the more that you use AI over longer periods of time, it almost becomes adaptive to you as a person. It learns what you want from it. There are other programs like AI Test Kitchen, Mid-Journey, Stable Diffusion.

Some of these are expensive and I haven't quite done that part of things to create credits or to buy credits so I can create pictures or emails and things like that. I haven't gone that far. But what I'm seeing so far, I see a lot of potential. And it's tough to say because we're right in the beginning of it. We're right at the beginning of this massive, massive paradigm shift. I think this is going to be bigger than what social media was. Social media was huge. But what you saw, and I think you said this earlier when we were off mic, people were scared of it and they didn't want to jump on, churches especially, didn't want to jump on the bandwagon until most everybody had moved on. So it was like everybody's on Instagram and Twitter and then all these churches are like, let's get on Facebook.

It's really important. Like, yeah, you can. You can certainly, and we still have a huge Facebook presence. But then Snapchat comes along and everybody's on Snapchat and they're like, let's try out this Twitter thing.

Now TikTok is here and so people, churches, I still see churches, they're like, should we really start up our Snapchat? It's like all these things you're doing are good, but you should have done them two or three years ago when they were, so now we're on the precipice of AI. Let's jump with it. Let's see where this thing can take us. And don't worry, we have a few more minutes so we can tell you where you have to be very cautious when it comes to AI.

True, true. You know, it's, it's one of those things that people want to jump straight into the deep end and say, well, is this thing alive? Is it, can it feel, is there any emotions? Will it take over? Well, is it going to take over? Like if I, can it disobey me? Yeah.

What do you think, David? Is that, can that happen? As of now, I don't think that's even anywhere near possible because literally all that's happening is just taking the stuff that you prompt it and it's making either dialogues or like words, if it's like chat GPT or it's using your text and searching a database of like, I think it's 45 terabytes or something like that. It's like a big database and making images or it can, I'm looking into some stuff for here that we can use to like maybe animate or I actually had something today that I typed in a prompt about revelation and Ephesus and it made a video, like a 10 second video. Yeah.

We're not going to put the video out. It's not like evil or anything. It was just like, huh? Some part of it looked pretty cool. It even went and got pictures from Ephesus.

I've been to Ephesus in Turkey and I was like, wow. So it actually found that place. But then there were other elements in there of some preacher that, you know, it's a good preacher, but I'm like, no, I don't want him in there. What is that doing? Right.

So as of now, no, it's not something that we have to really be concerned about, at least in my opinion. And it's something that can be more used as a tool or something that you can use as a jumping off point because like with that video that I saw, it was 10 seconds long, but I was like, Hey, that actually has some pretty cool elements. Some things that might could be copied or like with an image.

We have an image for this weekend sermon already, but I typed in a prompt of like a sick bed in a dark room because this weekend sermon is bedridden. And it was actually kind of cool what it came up with, just some different stuff. So the problem with AI, let's talk about that in the last few minutes we have left is that there are definitely biases. So don't think for a moment that if you go and say, is this lifestyle sin? I promise you is going to give you an answer that is completely contradictory or contrary to the Bible. That's true. That's true.

So just be prepared for that. The people who have set the parameters because you cannot set the parameters. I can't do that right now. This is not at that place where I can buy this thing and then I can program it as I wanted to. That doesn't exist. It's still being programmed by a human being with an agenda and with a mindset and a worldview, a philosophy.

And that's not us. If you type in stuff in chat GPT that will try to prompt it. And we've tried this to say that transsexualism or homosexuality is a sin. It will say, I can't answer that question at this time. Right. Or it will say something like, I'm not called to judge or something like that.

I'm just a machine or something weird. Like you go, what? Okay. So I asked the question about John 3 16. It gave a great answer that this is the passage that talks about salvation that comes to Jesus Christ.

I was like, wow, that's pretty good. So then there are things you go, okay, that's good. But then there are things that are completely contrary to our biblical values that it will give you an answer that is not true.

So be prepared for that as well. Can this be used for sermon prep and things like that? Maybe for research purposes, but just keep in mind when you go on Google, when you go on Safari or when you go from any of the search engines and you type in a name or whatever, some articles will show up or websites with certain information will show up, but then you have to have the discernment to know, is that website legit?

Is this article done by somebody who is credible? When you put information in these AIs, it's deciding for itself and it's going to spit it right back at you. Right.

And many times, here's the funny thing. It will also make up stuff. It will. It will make up things to try to fill in the blanks. Right. So it'll make up incidents from history that never happened.

It'll give wrong dates, wrong names, fictitious people. But I think we are on the verge of a humongous creative boom, especially in the church. We're going to see the church exploding creativity if we're bold and are willing to use it to its full potential.

But also know what not to trust in. That's right. So I don't know. I hope this episode helps people. I think it's going to, and I think this is something that we're going to hear. We're going to get a lot of requests to talk about more in the future.

I hope so, because it's really fun to talk about and it's fun to kind of learn it and experience it together. We're on the verge of, like I said, a massive, massive communication shift. And to be the ones talking about it and be at the forefront pioneering it is really exciting.

I appreciate your going into it and researching it. Absolutely. And to have the wisdom. We began with wisdom. You'll need a lot of wisdom to know what aspects of AI to use and what aspects of AI to discard. That's right.

That's right. Incredibly important going forward. If you guys enjoyed today's topic or you have suggestions for future topics, let us know by sending us a text at 252-582-5028. You never know, a bot may just be there to receive it. You can also visit us on, that's not true, we get all the text, but you can visit us online at And don't forget, you can support us financially on that same website as well. That's Every single time you guys give or donate, you are helping us make an impact for the kingdom of God. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Cleaview Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-13 02:17:45 / 2023-07-13 02:30:25 / 13

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