He’s the Mess-AI-ah.
Now even Jesus Christ is an AI influencer on TikTok, not unlike Meta’s “creepy” Kendall Jenner clone.
A TikTok account that boasts daily blessings from a generative artificially intelligent depiction of Jesus Christ has amassed a near million followers online, despite the fact he looks closer to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jared Leto or a Hemsworth than the Lord’s historically accurate and darker complexion.
The page, Daily Believer, shows the amateur anointed one rattle off generic, inspirational and comforting speech with a synthetic voice as he cites Bible verses, promises good fortune and asks you to not skip over the videos.
“Send this video to all your friends and family, if you reject, remember what he said: ‘If you deny me before men, I will deny you before the father,’” the robot said, quoting Matthew’s synoptic Gospel, in a clip viewed over 22 million times.
Many devout followers praised TikTok’s AI Jesus who made bold proclamations in other videos, including, “God sent me to tell you this” and “God has heard your prayers and at this very moment, he is taking action on your behalf.”
However, one expert warns the fake prophet is bearing false witness to Jesus’ genuine ideologies.
The copy-cat Christ’s sermon, according to University of Iowa religious studies professor Brandon Dean, is a “thinly veiled threat of damnation” for those who don’t spread the good news.
Of course, TikTok’s AI Jesus is hardly a new concept in the history of the internet. Ask anyone who was on Facebook in the late 2000s and they’ll recall a bevy of “share if you love Jesus” photos on their feeds or the use of religious figures for online clout.
But Dean wrote in the Conversation that it’s likely the Daily Believer was created not to introduce a new prophet but for financial profit.
“Whether or not there are religious motivations underlying the Daily Believer’s desire for viewer engagement, there are monetary benefits for sure,” he wrote.
Dean cited the TikTok creator fund, which compensates popular video makers for their thousands or millions of hits. Every one thousand plays can yield about two to four cents, according to Influencer Marketing Hub.
“For example [the video] ‘Welcome Jesus into Your Home’ could have earned the creator $900 from TikTok views alone, with the possibility for additional money earned on sites like Facebook Reels,” he explained.
He added that the Daily Believer TikTok using AI tactics may indeed just be for online popularity, just like the “share for Jesus” Facebook post era of over a decade ago.
“The closest nonreligious analogy to the Daily Believer’s content is the chain letter where the recipient is promised good luck for forwarding and curses for breaking the chain,” he wrote.
That’s not to say technology and faith are at odds like the climax of “Angels and Demons,” though.
Several pastors, priests and rabbis have tinkered with language learning models like ChatGPT for preaching purposes in front of live congregations.
Though, as Southern Baptist pastor Hershael York said, AI religious writing “lacks a soul.”