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576: Christian A.I., Church Dropouts, & Fixing Men with Christine Emba

A new chatbot based on OpenAI claims to have a “biblical worldview” and invites users to ask questions directly to the Apostle Paul. Is this a helpful tool, or another step closer to replacing Christian community with artificial intelligence? Then, a new article in The Atlantic says 40 million Americans have stopped attending church because our culture is addicted to work and no longer values community. But is it all the culture’s fault, or does the church also carry some blame? Washington Post columnist, Christine Emba, is back to discuss her new report about the masculinity crisis. She explains why voices on the far right are engaging men with a message of misogyny and anger, while voices on the left aren’t trying to engage men at all. Is there a better way out of the crisis? Also this week—toxic zombie worms

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Interview with Amy Peeler on her Barbie movie article

0:00 - Intro

1:43 - Show Starts

2:55 - Theme Song

3:19 - Sponsor - Sundays Dog Food

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4:30 - Animal News

11:32 - Christian AI Chatbot

30:01 - Why Americans stopped going to church

58:14 - Sponsor - Sponsor - Faithful Counseling

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59:18 - Sponsor - Caldera Lab

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1:00:57 - Interview Intro

1:06:28 - Responses on the right to the masculinity crisis

1:17:14 - Responses on the left to the masculinity crisis

1:25:25 - Solutions

1:36:51 - End Credits

Links mentioned in news segment:

Toxin-secreting hammerhead worms are invading the D.C. area. How to stop them.

A worm has been revived after 46,000 years in the Siberian permafrost

Meet the Christian creators designing chatbots ‘with a biblical worldview’

The Misunderstood Reason Millions of Americans Stopped Going to Church

Other resources:

Men are lost. Here’s a map out of the wilderness

Chistine Emba’s previous appearance on The Holy Post

Rethinking Sex: A Provocation by Christine Emba

And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle by Jon Meacham

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My husband and I were listening to the podcast on the way to see the new Haunted Mansion movie and, while the movie isn’t great, I was struck by how well it demonstrated some of what Was discussed on the podcast. Crump/Hatbox Ghost was a great example of the caricature of masculinity that is cruel, womanizing, and hyper-aggressive. Conversely, the character named Ben was ultimately demonstrated positive masculine traits - he was faithful to his wife and loved her well, if imperfectly. He was comforting to a struggling boy and he would’ve sacrificed himself for the good of the others. He was imperfect but honorable. I‘m really glad the podcast conversation was so fresh and that I got something comple…


Cath Giesbrecht
Cath Giesbrecht
Aug 07, 2023

Just finished listening, and I wanted to just make a brief observation about the need for male role models. We need them desperately, but we can no longer look to the male teachers in the classroom. My husband just retired after 32 years of teaching middle and high school mathematics. In those 32 years, his ability to interact meaningfully with students, both male and female, was continually chipped away, decade after decade, by the changing landscape of what will keep the school district safe from frivolous lawsuits and false allegations. Frankly, teenagers have learned all the buzz words and they have weaponized them against the teachers. The atmosphere for mentoring students is now chilled by the legal ramifications of teenage…


Aug 05, 2023

At the end of the interview (1:34:10+), Christine Emba started naming positive character-based ways of being a man, such as "protecting" and "providing", which are both 1950s masculinity words. And I love that she's hoping we can start talking about what it means to be a man in a positive way, but I would hope we can do it without being locked into 1950s masculine values.

First, having lived in a Christian fraternity with 50 men, I know there are a strong variety of ways of "being a man" that can all be good, and not all of them involve "protecting" or "providing" (my closest friend married a woman who is beyond intelligent, and she is far and away the…


Aug 05, 2023

Oops, Skye did it again.

(though I'll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe the interview was recorded before I made my comments on last week's post).

So let me say again: Stop comparing things to slavery, because the comparisons always fail.

1:13:50) Abolition in the North resulted in the South doubling-down on slavery as God-ordained. North got more critical, and South became more positive.

1:15:22) Progressives are attacking masculinity, so Conservatives are defending the most heinous examples of masculinity and call them virtuous and good.

1:15:40) "So is one side just feeding off the disfunction of the other?"

The question is phrased to make it sound like you consider Progressives and the North "disfunctional", because the "feeding…


Joel Barker
Joel Barker
Aug 04, 2023

I think there was more to be said about the challenges of church attendance. The discusision mentioned workaholism, or something like that, which is undoubtedly an issue, but also kind of reflects a white-collar, professional outlook. There are lots of people in service jobs, the medical field, or blue-collar work who don't have control of their schedules. They can easily find themselves in a situation of either come to work on Sunday or else.

I've also been really struck by something Ryan Burge posted on his substack a few weeks back on how church attendance is increasingly becoming something for those who "have it all together." That is, married, college-educated, and with stable employment. For all that we say that…

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