• June 3rd, 2023


Images: Duncan Thomsen

Lies can thrive in public when fueled by repetition and ignorance. While some falsehoods may seem harmless, such as depicting Jesus as a white person, they can be detrimental and hinder progress. That is why it is essential that we collectively condemn misrepresentations of Jesus as “white.”

The recent viral AI-generated selfies of a white Jesus prompted me to question whether ChatGPT-4 would also perpetuate this insidious lie. It is vital to challenge false narratives and promote a more accurate and inclusive representation of Jesus based on historical and cultural context.

This is what ChatGPT-4 had to say:

Although I am pleased that ChatGPT-4 acknowledged the inaccuracy of portraying Jesus as white, I have concerns about its last sentence. Could ChatGPT-4 have a proselytizing agenda?

But let’s stay on topic:

Before we ask ChatGPT-4 whether an accurate portrayal of Jesus would benefit society, let’s hear from the people’s champ, Muhammad Ali:

“I always asked my mother,” Ali said in 1971, “‘Momma, how come everything [is] white?’ I said, ‘Why is Jesus white with blond hair and blue eyes? Why is the Lord’s supper all white men? Angels are white, the Pope, Mary, and even the angels.’ I said, ‘Mother, when we die, do we go to Heaven?’ She said, ‘Naturally we go to Heaven.’ I said, ‘Well, what happened to all the black angels?'”

While I am terrified about the millions of job losses that AI will inevitably bring to society, ChatGPT’s factual analysis of Jesus not being white fills me with hope that we can eventually reach a consensus on this issue. In 2002, Popular Mechanics magazine published a depiction of Jesus based on historical and cultural context, demonstrating that the concept is not new.

In 2023, are we still clinging to the belief that Jesus was white? Are we being intentionally obtuse? The fact is, Jesus was a Jewish Palestinian who lived in a region where the people had darker skin and different physical traits than the white European depiction that has been peddled in mainstream culture. By better educating ourselves and striving for greater accuracy in our understanding of religious figures, maybe we can create a more empathetic and well-informed society.

Arthur Blare
Arthur Blare
Arthur Blare is a writer, AI researcher, and philosopher.

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