The advent of home artificial intelligence devices such as Amazon Echo (“Alexa”), Google Home, and Apple’s Siri represent a first incursion of artificial intelligence into the homes of Americans. It is predicted that A.I.s will continue to become more intelligent over time and even begin to develop unique personalities in response to their users. Might such A.I.s be perceived as religious persons? And if so, what strategies might the church use for their inclusion? In this article we will examine two examples in an attempt to look at the strategies that Christian churches have used to justify the inclusion of such persons: the sixteenth-century debate in the Catholic Church about the religious status of Native Americans, and twentieth- (and twenty-first-) century debates in Protestant churches about the religious status of LGBT+ people. In both these examples, the church designated peoples in these categories as being outside the religious sphere of salvation and then came to accept and in some cases celebrate these groups as part of God’s plan. We will then suggest the way that these two examples may eventually act as precursors to a future debate over the religious status of artificial intelligence.

You do not currently have access to this content.