Recently a lifelike digital image of Jesus Christ looking fellow surfaced on social media. The image has been created by a famous artist from the Netherlands who uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create realistic images of historical figures. A middle-eastern user shared that image on twitter to debate why Jesus waspushed as white among communities when he clearly originated in the Middle-East
Of course none of the humanity alive today saw Jesus in real time neither the ancient literature contains imagery. Which is why, there can be only perceptions and representations. One such representation by this computer generated imagery shows that even AI thinks Jesus was not white.
Humans Argue About Origins Of Jesus Christ
The argument about the ethnic origin of Jesus has been illuminating people centuries. Majority of Christians from Europe bluntly endorse white Jesus, which is historically inaccurate and offensive. On the other hand, it is often argued that painting Jesus as white is a white superiority complex which can have impact on a diverse and inclusive world. Christians who have probably been under the wrong impression of their skin color being superior than others, kept on pushing the idea of white Jesus.
Human societies rely on the power of representation and selection of role models to validate their beliefs. Since, there is no physical description of Jesus in the Bible, most of what people knew was from the first four books in the New Testament series. According to the books, Jesus was a Jewish born in Bethleham before moving to Nazareth in Galilee (formerly known as Palestine, now known as Northern Israel).
Some of the very first artistic representations were made nearly 200 centuries after he was nailed to the cross. These paintings could be found inside the ancient Roman catacombs of St. Domitilla in Italy. It represented the most common image of Jesus which was used at that time; a mud colored, short haired, and beardless young man which was greatly different than what is portrayed in most Christian materials.
Every generation or sect of Christian has manually transformed the portrayal of Jesus to suit their culture’s needs. Cultural enthusiasts tend to show religious figures as the dominant racial identity among other races. Many different cultures around the world have depicted him in their own way. They have even created white statues of Jesus which were under pressure of being teared down. People have used logical arguments to highlight obvious common sense in the argument of Jesus’s origin.
About AI’s Depiction of Jesus Christ
The AI system does not rely on personal preferences, it delves deeper into the core of the subject and then generates its image. Bas Uterwijk is a freelance photographer from Amsterdam who uses Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) to generate hyper-realistic images of historical figures.
It is a machine learning system which is trained to generate new data based on the same statistics in the training data set. Bas Uterwijk fed thousands of photographs containing Jesus Christ in to the system. These photographs are created with another AI software called artbreeder that spots common qualities between the images.
As the program continues to run it throws out various editing options for the artist to complete the image. The more the number of images, the more accurate the final portrait will become and might give an idea of how Jesus looked like in real life.