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What do online viewership numbers really mean?

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BP) -- Brentwood Baptist Church digital strategy director Darrel Girardier admits that he has a love-hate relationship with analytics, especially in relation to online worship and other events that are streamed on social media platforms.

ERLC’s Thacker: AI ‘must be wielded with wisdom’

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Followers of Jesus need not fear artificial intelligence but should realize its continuing development calls for biblical thinking regarding its potential benefits and threats to humanity, a Southern Baptist ethicist writes in a new book. Jason Thacker, associate research fellow and creative director with the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, offers an explanation of artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact, as well as scriptural guidance on how to consider this technology in "The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity." The book, published by Zondervan, was released March 3.

Fathers urged to engage in ‘digital discipleship’

WOODSTOCK, Ga. (BP) -- Fathers must train their children to use technology wisely, Brian Jennings told men in a breakout session at the Johnny Hunt Men's Conference. Jennings, middle school pastor at First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., led a session on "Digital Discipleship," addressing the explosion of technology use; its consequences in the lives of kids and teenagers; and strategies that fathers can use to keep their families safe.

First gene-edited babies ‘a bridge too far’

HONG KONG (BP) -- Evangelical bioethicists have joined many of their secular peers in condemning research that reportedly led to the birth this month of the world's first genetically edited babies. In addition to echoing secular scientists' concern about so-called "designer babies," the evangelicals objected to destruction of embryos which occurred in the gene-editing process. The reported birth of genetically edited twins in China has not been confirmed, according to media reports, and the research has not been published in an academic journal. Chinese scientist He Jiankui, who led the project, is scheduled to discuss his work in Hong Kong at an international conference on gene editing that begins today (Nov. 27).

Faith, technology, innovation explored at conf.

NASHVILLE (BP) -- In the future, could a machine lead a human to faith in Christ? Actually, it's already been done, said data scientist Daniel Whitenack. At Faith Leads Tech, a conference hosted Nov. 9 at LifeWay Christian Resources' corporate headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., Whitenack described a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence (AI) software to tell people about Jesus. To date, more than 400 people have interacted with the bot and made professions of faith, Whitenack reported. Using AI technology for redemptive purposes was just one of many topics discussed at Faith ...

LifeWay to host Faith Leads Tech conference

NASHVILLE (BP) -- This fall the intersection of theology and technology will meet at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn. LifeWay is hosting its first-ever Faith Leads Tech conference on Nov. 9 to bring together followers of Christ who are passionate about technology and innovation. "The vision for this conference revolves around inspiring Christians by sharing what God is doing to grow His Kingdom through products and apps that exist in the world today -- or that could exist tomorrow," said Kevin Old, a front-end architect at LifeWay and one of the creators of the event.

Teens’ screen time linked to ADHD, spiritual problems

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Teens who report high-frequency digital media use are twice as likely to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports. Christian mental health practitioners say excessive screen time can damage the soul as well. "Screens today are the modern-day Baal," said Jonathan Straub, a marriage and family strategist for LifeWay Christian Resources, "the socially acceptable thing that keeps us from a deepening relationship with Jesus."

Sammy Tippit harnessing technology for global impact

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (BP) -- With Skype, Facebook, Zoom, websites and QR codes, Sammy Tippit reaches several million people worldwide each month to advance the Gospel. In addition to evangelistic preaching, discipleship resources by Tippit are translated into Hindi, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Portuguese, Farsi, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic and Spanish, with three more languages on the horizon. He and the board of directors of Sammy Tippit Ministries made a decision three years ago "to pursue technology and get the Gospel out through technology," said Tippit, the new president of the Southern Baptist Evangelists organization.

Yanny/laurel: Any spiritual relevance?

NASHVILLE (BP) -- Does the debate over whether an internet audio clip is saying "yanny" or "laurel" have any spiritual relevance for Christians? Professors at two Southern Baptist institutions think it might. Despite the audio clip's peculiar ambiguity, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary philosophy professor Mark Coppenger said it highlights the fact God made the world "reliably accessible" to our senses -- despite claims to the contrary by a millennia-long string of philosophers including the Greek thinker Pyrrho and Enlightenment scholar David Hume. Union University physicist Bill Nettles said the online debate shows "true knowledge" is accessible through scientific investigation, but it takes "a lot of hard work."

Zuckerberg stirs discussion of privacy, censorship

WASHINGTON (BP) -- Following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony on Capitol Hill this week, some evangelicals have underscored their concerns about internet data protection and online censorship of conservative views. Zuckerberg appeared before U.S. Senate and House committees April 10-11 in the wake of news that the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica collected personal data from up to 87 million Facebook users in an allegedly improper manner. During the two days of testimony, Zuckerberg faced nearly 600 questions from about 100 lawmakers, according to The New York Times.