Artificial intelligence apps like ChatGPT are changing the way we do all kinds of things nowadays. And if one person on Reddit's use of the app is any indication, they might even be able to change the way we think about some of the issues currently tearing us apart.
A trans person asked ChatGPT to make a Bible verse describing how Jesus feels about trans people, and the results were surprising.
Redditor Psychological_Dog 527's post is as heartbreaking as it is fascinating. "I was feeling sad today," they wrote, "so I asked ChatGPT to write a fake biblical passage about Jesus accepting trans people."
The results truly sound like they could be ripped from a page of the Bible. ChatGPT has definitely nailed the formal, stentorian tone. But the content of the fake verse is even more fascinating.
The verse speaks of a woman "whose heart was divided between spirit and body" who comes to Jesus "in quiet despair," begging Him for mercy as she worries she will be cast out of "the Kingdom of God" because her "spirit and body are not one."
Contrary to what all too many Christians would have us believe about Christ nowadays, He responds to her not only with kindness, but with acceptance, calling her struggle "for unity within [herself]" a path to God's truth. And he assures her that "God looks not upon the body, but the heart."
"I know it's not real," the Redditor wrote, "but it gave me some comfort." That comfort is likely much needed given the all-out attacks being launched against transgender people by America's right-wing, nearly all of it in God's name.
The verse has special resonance in 2023 because of the virulent transphobia and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and legislation that continues to sweep the country — much of it supported and funded by Christians.
So far, 2023 has seen a record-breaking number of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed across the United States, breaking the previous all-time record set in 2022 just by the end of May.
The bills focus on everything from banning drag performances to denying trans people the gender-affirming medical care that the scientific and medical communities agree are essential and life-saving. Sickeningly, an enormous proportion of these bills are targeted at children.
Much of the legislation and anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ activism has been directly funded by Christian organizations. Right-wing and religious figures have also practically made it a pastime to accuse LGBTQ+ of pedophilia, and routinely level "groomer" accusations against straight allies of LGBTQ+ people too, leading to harassment and violence against LGBTQ+ people.
Long story short, we are living in an unfortunate "golden age" of transphobia and homophobia, nearly all of it being perpetrated in the name of Jesus Christ. And as the discussion around the Redditor's post has revealed, it's entirely unnecessary.
ChatGPT's fake Bible verse sparked a discussion about what the Bible actually says about gender, including ancient Jewish texts Jesus Himself would have followed.
You wouldn't know it to listen to the discourse around LGBTQ+ issues, but it has long been known that the Bible's supposed condemnation of queer people rests almost entirely on mistranslations.
But as several commenters on Reddit pointed out, the Talmud, the body of ancient Jewish writings that form the basis of Jewish law and theology, as well as the Bible and Jesus' own words, also include detailed discussion of sex and gender.
Daniel McClellan is a religious scholar who holds a PhD in Hebrew Jewish theology and is well-known on TikTok as @maklelan, where he clarifies the meaning of the Bible and debunks many religious people's wrongful interpretations of it.
In a video, he explains that the Talmud discusses a total of eight different manifestations of sex and the gender roles that go along with them.
As he details, even the creation story of Adam and Eve had a different take on gender than the story we all know, with Adam being a dual-gendered figure, half-male and half-female, from which was created separate male and female sexes.
McClellan notes that "while this would seem to describe a pretty clear gender binary, the rabbis knew that that's not how things always shook out in reality." So the Talmud includes six additional identities beyond just male and female, to address what we might today define as intersex people, those born with some combination of both male and female biological traits.
The Talmud also accounts for whether these variations arose from natural causes or human interventions, such as eunuchs — a distinction Jesus Himself acknowledges in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, where in Matthew 19:12 He speaks of "eunuchs who were born that way," "eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others," as well as those who chose such an identity for themselves "for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."
The Talmud's purpose for all this was to assign gender roles and legal rights based on sex — something we hardly think of as progressive today. But tellingly, the Talmud does not assign these six additional identities exclusively male or female roles, but rather "some kind of mix of those assigned to men and those assigned to women," as McClellan puts it.
So is our modern understanding of sex, gender, sexual identity and human sexuality an exact graft onto the Talmud and the Bible? Not entirely. But Judaism definitely accounted for a diversity of presentations, ones many Christians insist are abominable today. And, as a Jew, Jesus Christ was so well-versed in this diversity of presentations that he even referenced them in his own words.
So when it comes to ChatGPT's take on Jesus' thoughts about transgender people, it's probably pretty spot-on — or, at least a lot more spot-on than most of His current-day followers would have us believe.
Here's hoping we can someday use this knowledge to create a world where trans and other LGBTQ+ people don't need to turn to artificial intelligence to find respite from the vitriol being hurled at them, all in the name of a deity who never would have rejected them in the first place.
John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.
This article originally appeared on YourTango