Updated: May 17
In most of the world, Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox (the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere). This means that Easter can range between March 22 and April 25. That's more than a month of date possibilities.
In 2023, Easter will be celebrated on April 9. But what exactly is Easter celebrating?
With the recent excitement surrounding the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), I decided to get some feedback from two of the most popular AI chatbots. First, I asked Google's application Bard. Having been granted early access to the interface, I was curious to ask Bard what Easter is a celebration of. Its responses were a bit disappointing. See screen capture below:
That's a pretty disappointing response, or should I say nonresponse? But perhaps Bard was just not working correctly when I made my inquiry. So I decided to give the other major AI chatbot an opportunity to answer the question. When I asked ChatGPT what Easter is a celebration of, it provided a coherent description. Below is its response:
ChatGPT explains that Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead after his crucifixion on Friday. It also mentions that many people associate this holiday with the renewal of life.
Interestingly a recent article by Lifeway Research indicates that, "Two-thirds of U.S. adults (66%) say the biblical accounts of the physical resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate." However, the same research suggests that many Americans see little connection with that belief and their everyday lives. In other words, while most Americans believe that Jesus died and came back to life again, they're not sure how that event impacts their life in a meaningful way.
This made me wonder how an AI chatbot would respond to this dilemma. How would these neural networks describe the significance of Christ's resurrection if they believed that it actually took place? To get at this question, I asked both AI chatbots to respond to the following query:
If Jesus was resurrected, what would that imply for humans?
ChatGPT responded in the following way:
Google's Bard responded to the same hypothetical question in this way:
To get a clearer, more direct comparison of these two responses, you can visit this Google Document which provides both answers next to each other.
In a nutshell, ChatGPT and Bard offered some sobering conclusions.
Here is ChatGPT's summary:
"Overall, the resurrection of Jesus would have significant implications for human beings, providing hope for eternal life, a model for how to live, confirmation of divine purpose, and a basis for hope and comfort in times of difficulty."
Here is Bard's summary:
"The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful event with profound implications for humans. It is the foundation of our hope for salvation and eternal life. It gives us hope in the midst of suffering and trials. It motivates us to live a holy life. And it empowers us to share the good news of Jesus with others."
These are some surprising and profound statements offered by two ascendant AI applications. Of course, their answers are based on the premise that Jesus Christ's resurrection from the dead is a reality. If one doesn't believe that, then the conclusions they reach can be disregarded. But in truth, we didn't need a 21st Century chatbot to tell us that Christianity hinges on Christ's resurrection.
Paul the Apostle made that argument nearly 2,000 years ago:
"If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world." -- 1 Corinthians 15:17-19 (New Living Translation)
If Jesus Christ has indeed been raised, then maybe these AI chatbots have something worthwhile to teach us. These are the questions artificial intelligence is asking us humans to ponder this Easter. Do we believe in the resurrection of Jesus? And if we do, are we willing to recognize the profound implications this belief has for our own life purpose?