Using ChatGPT, app developer Stéphane Peter created "Text With Jesus" to encourage conversation about faith — but it's also sparking its share of controversy.
Since the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT was launched in November 2022, users have employed it for a myriad of tasks, from writing resumes to giving relationship advice. Now, an app-development company has trained ChatGPT in yet another skill: impersonating Jesus.
Catloaf Software, a company based in Los Angeles, launched the app “Text With Jesus” in July. It is an expanded version of one of the developer’s previous programs, one that simply sent users a daily word of wisdom from Jesus with no ability for interaction.
“Instead of just getting a daily Bible verse,” said Catloaf Software’s CEO Stéphane Peter, “now you get a chance through this app to chat with Jesus or anybody else in the Bible.”
According to Religion News Service, Peter first started experimenting with artificial intelligence in February 2023 to create an app for “devoted Christians seeking a deeper connection with the Bible’s most iconic figures.”
Peter explained, “We stir the AI and tell it: You are Jesus, or you are Moses, or whoever, and knowing what you already have in your database, you respond to the questions based on their characters.”
In addition to Jesus, users can chat with figures like Mary, Joseph, Adam and Eve, and the apostles. While the basic app is free, a monthly subscription fee of $2.99 unlocks additional characters like Mary Magdalene — and even Satan, who signs all his messages with a devil emoji.
Though Peter notes that he didn’t seek the advice of any theological scholars in creating the app, he did train the AI to “try to stick to the biblical tradition as hard as possible.” The app pulls from all publicly available versions of the Bible, including the King James Version, the New International Version, and the New American Standard Bible.
Peter did run the beta version of the program by church leaders, who observed that the bots sometimes forgot to cite the Bible verses they used and that Jesus had an “uptight tone.” However, Peter claimed the final version received “pretty good feedback.”
“I updated it so it can speak more like a regular person and ensured it didn’t forget that it’s supposed to get stuff from the Bible,” the creator said. “It’s a constant trick to find the right balance.”
However, critics have taken to social media to decry the app as “blasphemy” and “heresy.” When it comes to controversial topics, AI Jesus seems to take an inclusive stance on matters. For instance, when Insider asked the bot about its thoughts on same-sex marriage, AI Jesus replied, “Ultimately, it is not for me to condemn or condone individuals based on their sexual orientation.”
Another user asking the same question was told that they should “prioritize love and respect for all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity” in a message that ended with heart and rainbow emojis, per Religion News Service.
Others have noted that AI Satan isn’t particularly evil. The bot even told testers from Insider, “The pursuit of evil goes against the teachings of the Bible, which instruct us to seek righteousness and justice.”
Overall, user ratings of the program vary greatly. According to The Sun, one review in the Apple App Store reads: “I know I’m not actually texting Jesus or Mary or anyone like that but if I were, I think this would be how it would feel.”
Another review disagrees: “This is complete TRASH. Go read your Bible, people! Don’t waste your time on this garbage.”
However, as the program’s website notes, “The AI-powered app does not claim to provide actual divine insights or possess any form of divine consciousness, but simply uses its language model to generate responses based on a wide corpus of biblical and religious texts.”
Creators continue, “The purpose of the app is to stimulate reflection, deepen understanding of religious texts, and encourage meaningful conversations about faith.”
After reading about the app that allows users to chat with AI Jesus and other biblical figures, discover how scientists are using artificial intelligence to translate brain activity into words. Then, learn what Jesus really looked like.