World’s Congress of Religions in AI Responsibility: Faith and Reason in the AI age

Nov 11, 2023Publications

Boston Global Forum
World’s Congress of Religions in AI Responsibility: Faith and Reason in the AI age

Nature: place and context for the experience of God through African traditional religion
Prof. Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia
(Pontifical Lateran University, Vatican City)

The full article can be read and downloaded here.


In order to individuate some responsibilities of Religious Leaders in AI age, coming from Africa, I would like to present African Traditional Religion as a contribution for the building of the platform for religious leaders, scholars, AI experts and policymakers to share insights and collaborate on ethical development and deployment.

In Africa, it is the entire community which is involve in cultural and religious life of the society, thus, each and everyone is, in a certain way, the leader of all that concerns, tradition, system of the transmission of the cultural, human, religious and therefore spiritual values to the future generations.

At this point, one can already affirm that: any educational system comprises both human and spiritual dimension. Science or scientific knowledge is just an extension of the original human knowledge without attributing any conscious meaning to the achievement reached fore, the Soul, which is the vital force of every living being is absent and shall always be absent in any AI performance. Thanks to Energy any AI performance obeys strictly the duty assigned to the
machine which now enables human beings to dedicate more time to noble and divine achievements which is guaranteed by the Raison which distinguish every human/conscious being from all other creatures in the World. This is in fact, what brings every human being to cultivate relationship with the Creator, loving the Divine and becoming similar to the Creature who is the Author of Life, the Immortal and Everlasting.

In Africa, religious believes and practices are integral part of culture and as such there is no separation between what is purely cultural and what can be expressed as religion, there is no dichotomy between sacred and profane. In this also consist the unity of the human person in Africa. There are non-sacred minds and profane ones but one brain, one I, one Man/Woman, humanity created by God.

Religion has always been the way through which entire communities relate themselves to the ultimate reality which is God the Creator. The African God is the God of the people and not of the individual. In a context as that of Africa, religiously rooted and a holistic sense of the Sacred and the worship of God, an intimate part of the daily life, there is an impossibility of atheism or indifferences in matter of faith and Religion.

At the difference of many other religions in the world, African Traditional Religion (ATR) has no founder nor written sacred texts and neither shall there be reformers. In Africa religion is lived and not proclaimed, it is not transmitted through treaties but through experiences of life. Through religion the community speaks with God, dialogues with God through the Ancestors. This favours interreligious dialogue and universalises the religious experience of different peoples in the world. Science is the procedure through which humans beings contribute to make of the world the best place to live in.

Martin Nkafu Nkemnkia was born in Cameroon. He holds Doctorate Degrees in Philosophy (PhD) and in Theology (D.Th). – respectively, from the Pontifical Lateran University (PUL), Rome. Currently, he has thought “History of African Philosophy; Culture and Religions in Africa” (Faculty of Philosophy) and has been for two mandates (for a total of 10 years 2011-2020) the Director of The International Research Area – Interdisciplinary Studies for the Development of African Culture of the Pontifical Lateran University – Vatican City. Has also been a lecturer at the Pontifical Gregorian University (PUG). A formal member of the Italian Committee on the Reduction of Foreign Debts of Poor Nations (instituted by the Italian Episcopal conference); He has been a formal Member of the National (Italian) Commission for Intercultural Education in the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research. Actually is a Member of Interreligious Centre of the Focolare Movement in charge of Dialogue between Christianism and African Traditional Religion (RTA), Asian Popular Religion (RPA) and Indigenous Religions of Oceania and Central America (RIA). Actually is the President of the Scientific Committee of the CRA-SGI Centre for Relations with Africa of the Italian Geographical Society and is the President of the Nkemnkia Community Development Empowerment International Foundation – Africa/Europa.