The Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau, Germany, has developed a robot preacher that can give automated blessings while beaming lights from its hands (video below).
The robot, "BlessU-2," was recently launched in Wittenberg, the same German town where Martin Luther was said to have launched the Protestant Reformation by nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a Catholic church, notes the Mirror Online.
The mechanical pastor includes a touch screen on which commands can be issued by the user.
Speaking in German, the robot offers the user a choice between a male or a female voice, then switches to the chosen voice and asks: "What blessing do you require?"
After the user chooses a need on the robot's touch screen, the robot raises its arms to the sky, turns on the lights in its hands, and blesses the human before saying: "Go in peace and may God bless you! Would you like to receive another blessing?"
If the user is finished, the robot says: "Thank you for your visit. Goodbye!"
The person who has been blessed has the option of printing out the exchange.
Church spokesman Sebastian von Gehren stated that the robot "is an experiment that is supposed to inspire discussion."
According to von Gehren, the church consciously decided against a human-looking robot.
"One half thinks it's great," von Gehren added. "[T]he other cannot imagine a blessing from a machine."
Von Gehren said that non-churchgoing folks are especially drawn to the robot, and people are "now coming every morning and evening."
Brunhilde Hoeltz-Mettang, a church visitor, described the robot as "interesting and courageous," even it does not have a human touch.
"We have to think of new ways, beyond our core communities," Hoeltz-Mettang added.
Von Gehren insisted that the robot would not replace its human counterparts: "The machine should not replace the blessing of a pastor. In the future there will not be a blessing robot in every church."
In other religious news, televangelist Pat Robertson asked his viewers to pray for President Donald Trump on "The 700 Club" on May 30, reports Right Wing Watch:
There is a spiritual battle against our president. He's God’s man for this job, and he's taking bold steps that please most evangelicals. And I think we need to support him. I've been an ardent critic of a number of our leaders because they have not done well.
But in this case, I feel in my heart the thing that I should do, all of us should do, is pray earnestly for God's support of the man that I believe He has put in this office.