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Would you like to take an AI religious class? 

André Borowski, a philosopher and economist who is an active member of the Free Thought movement in French-speaking Switzerland, shares with us in this article (in French) his thoughts on the recent introduction of an Artificial Intelligence (AI) service for everyone by the Roman Catholic Church in Switzerland, under the AI pseudonym of “catéGPT” (can be translated as CatechismGPT).

In recent months, information from the media of this church in Switzerland has been disseminated in the French-language press, suggesting the major benefits for the common good of such an oriented AI system, to epistemologically objectify the existential responses of the Roman Catholic Church to spiritual questions.  The caté-GPT will therefore be an ‘objective’ service providing information and answers, under the seal of the most ‘accomplished’ modernity, to questions from the faithful, or not, of this religion.

These few thoughts and questions from André Borowski, author of the book “Considérations sur les pathologies religieuses” (Reflections on Religious Pathologies) published by L’Harmattan (Paris, 2021), invite us to reflect on some of the political and epistemological perspectives on the subject, in a country where the Federal Constitution begins, as we know, with the words “In the name of Almighty God”, assigning to it the whole of its population, and even its 32% non-believers – up to 50% of the population in several cantons, which have sovereignty to legislate on religious matters. Some Swiss theologians in these cantons use the constitutional argument of the Swiss federal preamble, or even of the cantons if it is included in their own constitutions in the form mentioned above, to justify … legally the objectivity, legitimacy and social and psychological, or spiritual, or even medical, necessity of evangelising everyone.

On this subject, we can only reiterate, from the point of view of the Libre Pensée of French-speaking Switzerland, convinced of the great principles of secularism (in the reflective and progressive continuity of the Liège Appeal in 2019), that Switzerland today is increasingly traversed by multiple updates and major returns, among other avatars, of techniques linked to “epistemological modernity”, with a view to regaining the existential hold religions have on consciences through evangelisation, whether clandestine or transparent. From a secular point of view, the country’s non-believers are currently confronted with the media discourse of a large number of academic and journalistic experts on religion from the very powerful theology faculties of Swiss universities, or of their main charitable organisations, using the disinvestment and exponential departure of people from churches in Switzerland as an excuse to label the behaviour of the latter as “anti-social”, “immoral” or “non-existent”, …. non-believers who are increasingly refusing to pay church taxes in Switzerland – taxes that are compulsory for everyone in most of the twenty-six cantons. These compulsory taxes legally finance social works and the salaries of church workers (priests, pastors, various chaplaincies, youth workers, etc.) to the detriment of other non-denominational organisations that respond to existential, moral and social issues.

Not only happy, indeed imbued, with their privileges, the churches are now using AI to strengthen their hold…

So, would you like a little cateGPT ?

The Free Thought movement in French-speaking Switzerland.