I read in the paper an article which stated: “The robots are coming.
In fact, they are already here, taking roles that once only humans could perform…In Japan, they are already being used to provide care for the elderly. If a robot could be built to be as sensitive and caring as humans can be, would you want one?
They could enter our lives so totally that we might even fall in love with them.”
Could you one day fall in love with a robot? Of course the notion should not sound so utterly far-fetched and futuristic given, for example, that many of us know people for whom their pets are absolutely everything and have become the primary target of somewhat more than just a common-or-garden affection. Now love for God is at the centre of Christian faith and Jesus expressed this with the description:
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.”
It does make me wonder whether too many of us unwittingly remake this as effectively: “robot love”. Now what do I mean? Well, there was an old film called the Stepford Wives and in it the men do away with their women and replace them with robot wives who love nothing more than to simply say “Yes dear!” to all their lovers demands.
Is this, perhaps, what we do? We take to ourselves a Stepford God and operate on the basis of a “robot love”. A love that which will not answer back. A love that will only concur and not contradict our demands and desires. Of course this functionally turns on its head Jesus’ description of love for God where obedience given is the real badge of true and authentic love. I wonder, could you ever have “robot love”?
Rev. Hedley Clemo
The Community Church, Thatcham