20. June 2024

Religion & ethics: AI with responsibility

Menschen auf dem Podium diskutieren.
Foto: Akademie der Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the associated changes to our living environment are currently one of the most pressing issues in our society. What role do religion and ethics play in the further development of AI? Rebecca Beiter, Prof Dr Ahmad Milad Karimi and Prof Dr Peter G. Kirchschläger discussed the potential of cooperation and ethical responsibility at the Westspitze in Tübingen. The event attracted around 85 participants on site and online.


Religious perspectives on AI

Be it the pursuit of immortality, the creation of a new form of existence or an intrinsic longing for God: religious motifs can be found in many visions of artificial intelligence. The promises contain the promise of a new era in which the boundaries of humanity will be transcended. In the age of AI, humans have become questionable, says Prof Karimi, Head of the Theology of Artificial Intelligence Research Centre at the University of Münster.

But what is it that makes us human? Prof Karimi emphasised that religions such as Christianity and Islam highlight the dignity of the “imperfect human being” and remind us that our weaknesses and fallibilities make us human.

"We should realise that we have weaknesses as human beings, that we age, that we get grey hair. These are all processes of non-perfection - that is one aspect of religions. The task of religions is to bear the dignity of the weak human being."

Machines may be superior to us in terms of computing skills, but they cannot achieve emotional and social intelligence or even the ability to act morally. That is what characterises us as human beings. Prof Kirchschläger, Head of the Institute for Social Ethics at the University of Lucerne, therefore questions the term “artificial intelligence” – and instead speaks of “data-based systems”.

Prof. Kirchschläger spricht auf dem Podium zu Ethos und KI.
Foto: Akademie der Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart
Prof. Karimi spricht auf dem Podium zu Religionen und KI.
Foto: Akademie der Diözese Rottenburg-Stuttgart



Which use of AI feels good? Should AI be able to drive school buses autonomously, simulate the weather or write texts, even if they are customised election messages? In order to answer such questions and ensure the ethical use of AI, Rebecca Breiter emphasised the need for an ongoing dialogue between society and researchers.

Prof Kirchschläger emphasised the role of theology and religious communities in this debate: “Religions should help us to do justice to the design of data-based systems. Because we humans decide how and why we use something. Their essential task is to accompany people in the process of dealing with uncertainty.”

At the end of the discussion, Prof Karimi warned against leaving our freedom to technology. Instead, we should focus on what really matters: Being human and humanity.


  • Rebecca Beiter, Director Communication & Society (CCO) Cyber Valley GmbH
  • Prof. Dr Ahmad Milad Karimi, Research Centre for Theology of Artificial Intelligence, Centre for Islamic Theology, University of Münster
  • Prof. Dr Peter G. Kirchschläger, Professor of Theological Ethics, Head of the Institute for Social Ethics, Lucerne


  • Dr Theresa Beilschmidt, Interfaith and Society, Global Ethic Foundation
  • Dr. Christian Ströbele, Department of Interreligious Dialogue, Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart

Event organiser:

The hybrid event was organised jointly by the Global Ethic Foundation in cooperation with the Academy of the Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and the Cowork Group GmbH Tübingen.

Contact person


Dr. Theresa Beilschmidt

Interfaith and society
Tel.: +49 (0)7071 400 53 - 13
e-mail: beilschmidt@weltethos.org