Hindu Robots & AI Spirituality
by Linda Nathan
“Robots are performing Hindu rituals — some devotees fear they’ll replace worshippers.” Religion Hub, ANS Religion News Service. By Holly Walters, March 13, 2023.
Hindu ritual robots?
AI Jesus? 
Is there an “AI spirituality”?
The biotech industry is exploding with ways to improve aging and performance and transcend our humanness. Many scientists are willing to go to extreme lengths to accomplish these ends by using such converging technologies as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science.
There’s no denying it. Robots are helpful in industry, and AI can write an essay, create a good book cover, and even win a war. An artificial leg, arm, or new heart can be a great blessing. We all want to overcome aging, but many transhumanists have a far greater goal. They hope to escape death and live eternally through the merger of humans and artificial intelligence.
In other words, to become “post-human beings.” 
Dr. Martin Erdmann in his book, The Spiritualization of Technology: The Quest for Human Perfection (Verax Vox Media, 2022) rightly refers to its practitioners as “technicians of transcendence.” And these “technicians” have increasingly powerful platforms in this world today. AI is suddenly everywhere; robots are moving into new spheres of industry and daily living, and of course there’s the military—whose secrets we mostly can only imagine.
But something else is happening too.
AI is moving into religion as well. We might have expected that it’s already being used to rewrite the Bible,  and it’s bringing a new-old spirituality with it.
One that’s been around a long, long time.
One place we can see that spirituality at work is in Hindu devotees and their robots.
The quote at the beginning of this article comes from another article that focuses on the use of robots and AI in religious ceremonies. It points out that their use works best in the type of religion that focuses on perfecting practice and not on belief. In other words, it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’ve got the method down right and do your best. In the case of Hinduism, “a robotic arm performs ‘aarti,’ a ritual in which a devotee offers an oil lamp to the deity to symbolize the removal of darkness.” A variety of other religious robots perform similar types of tasks throughout East Asia and South Asia.
Christians know this approach as salvation by works, or as the Apostle Paul warned, “another Gospel”:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:6-9
Really? Isn’t that kind of extreme?
Why would you be accursed just for trying to do your best? What’s wrong with that?
What is Paul saying here? And why does it matter?
Works vs. Grace
Paul is making the life-shaping distinction between works and grace.
Every religion in the world except Christianity practices a works-based religion: Do your best, be a “good” person, please your “god,” kill infidels, and you’re headed for Paradise. Ring those temple bells, hold that yoga posture longer, meditate more, connect your brain to the Cloud and transcend mere humanity. It’s all human-based.
Only trouble is, have you ever tried to do your best—and failed? Tried over and over again? And failed? And failed again? Failed miserably? Given up? How many times have you turned that prayer wheel, burned that incense, and found no comfort? Have you ever done something against your conscience? What do you do with that guilt? Where do you turn? Do you suppress it? Harden your heart? Convince yourself through some form of “therapy” that it’s wrong to feel that way? Do more rituals of perfection?
The Wheel of AI Spirituality
You can be free from the wheel of AI spirituality, the treadmill of works to save yourself. No amount of effort can wash away real guilt or give you new life and freedom. Jesus Christ came to give real freedom. He alone can wash away your guilt, your bitterness, your pain, and your failures and wrongdoing. Only Christ can cleanse your conscience. Only Christ can really forgive and free you from that “AI spirituality”—that endless treadmill of trying to work off your guilt—with His peace, grace, and love. Only Christ can give new life.
Works is an endless treadmill with no hope in sight.
Grace is a free gift. All you have to do is accept it.
Turn to Him now with all your burdens and ask Him to give you grace, peace, and new life. And He will.
Salvation is the greatest miracle of all. If you have not yet experienced this miracle, why not now?
The saving Gospel is simple to understand:
We are all sinners, born in sin, rebels following the prince of the power of the air, the devil, and headed for hell. The wrath of God is on us until we repent and turn to Jesus Christ.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. Ephesians 2:1–3.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. Romans 1:18
God has provided the only solution to our terrible situation: We must repent of our sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, and be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit.
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 1 Peter 2:24
How is one born again?
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” Romans 10:8–11
But how do you get that kind of faith?
Read the Bible and pray for the gift of saving faith in Jesus Christ. Pray for forgiveness for lacking it.
So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, John 1:12
We become new creations in Christ Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
All other avenues are doomed to fail and be buried with our human bodies for there is no other way to transcend our humanness and enter eternal life than the way God has ordained: to be born again through repentance of our sin and faith in Jesus Christ.
(All Bible quotes are taken from the English Standard Version.)
REFERENCES & SUGGESTED RESEARCH
 Erdmann, The Spiritualization of Technology, Kindle version, Location 84 of 10464.
Comments are closed.