I’m sure 99% of you reading this have heard about the new “ChatGPT” ai chatbot. I decided to give it a whirl, so on Friday, March 3rd, 2023, I typed into the promt:
Write a daily news article about congregational song
Below is the brief article the chatbot wrote. I was impressed but skeptical. Upon further research, I could not confirm where the quotes were from and could also not find the article the chatbot cited from the journal Psychology of Music. I reached out to the only “Sarah Johnson” I know of in the field of congregational song scholarship. Dr. Johnson wrote in their email reply to me:
I definitely have not published in Psychology of Music. Furthermore, I do not think I have written these specific sentences, although I have been known to say things like this sometimes.
So it seems that both the quotes from “Dr. Sarah Johnson” and the journal article were made up…they’re a lie.
While I agree with pretty much the entire article and could see myself writing something almost exactly like it, I wince at the reality of the situation. This article, on its surface, is in service to the church for the glory of God. But the God I love and believe in does not communicate in lies. God works through truth. The author of the article below is not human and cares nothing about God or the human beings that might or might not be influenced by its writing. Truthfully…I’m not sure what to do next or what to think about it.
The ChatGPT Article
The article between the dotted lines is the unedited ChatGPT article.
Congregational Song: The Power of Music to Bring People Together
March 3, 2023
In today’s fast-paced world, people often find it difficult to connect with one another. However, there is one thing that has the power to bring people together like nothing else: music. Specifically, congregational song, or singing together in a religious context, has been shown to have a profound impact on people’s sense of community and belonging.
According to a recent study published in the journal Psychology of Music, congregational singing has a unique ability to foster a sense of togetherness and belonging among participants. The study, which surveyed over 1,000 people from a variety of religious backgrounds, found that those who regularly participated in congregational singing reported feeling more connected to their communities and more fulfilled in their spiritual lives.
“Congregational singing has the power to unite people across differences,” says Dr. Sarah Johnson, one of the authors of the study. “When we sing together, we create a shared experience that transcends individual differences and brings us together as a community.”
This sense of togetherness and belonging is particularly important in today’s world, where many people feel isolated and disconnected from those around them. Congregational singing provides a sense of connection and purpose that is often lacking in other areas of life.
But congregational singing isn’t just important for spiritual fulfillment; it also has physical and emotional benefits. Singing has been shown to reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve overall wellbeing. Additionally, singing in a group has been shown to increase feelings of happiness and satisfaction.
Of course, congregational singing isn’t without its challenges. Many religious communities have struggled to maintain their singing traditions in the face of changing demographics and evolving cultural norms. However, many communities have found creative ways to adapt, using technology and other innovations to make congregational singing accessible to everyone.
For example, some churches have started hosting virtual sing-alongs, where members can participate in congregational singing from the comfort of their own homes. Others have started using social media to share recordings of congregational songs, allowing members to sing along even when they can’t be physically present.
Despite the challenges, congregational singing remains a powerful force for community building and spiritual fulfillment. As Dr. Johnson puts it, “When we sing together, we create a space where people can come together, share their experiences, and feel a sense of belonging. That’s something that’s desperately needed in today’s world, and it’s something that congregational singing can provide.”
Like any tool that humans have made, they contain the potential to help us love or to help us hate, to help us truth-tell or to help us lie, to help us heal or to help us hurt. As we all have fun with the new ai tools that are being created and published, let people of faith proceed with caution that whatever we do is done in Love and Truth.
Blogger Brian Hehn is the Director of The Center for Congregational Song