Jesus wept, robots can’t

religion into the future


  • Sam Gill University of Colorado, Boulder



technology, religion theory, artificial intelligence, body, weeping/crying


Exploring the implications of the shortest of biblical verses ‘Jesus wept’ in contrast with the incapability of robots to weep or feel empathy and emotion as exemplified in the classic post-apocalyptic film Terminator 2, this essay argues that movement, gesture, body, experience and improvization are essential elements to any emerging valued world. Certainly religion, despite our strong association of it with the spiritual and the immaterial, does not and cannot exist, or even be imagined, apart from these distinctively human biological features. The study of religion must be, among other concerns, grounded in biology.

Author Biography

  • Sam Gill, University of Colorado, Boulder

    Sam Gill, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the author of many books and articles, most recently: Dancing Culture Religion: Religion (2012), Religion and Technology into the Future (2018), Creative Encounters, Appreciating Difference (2019), and The Proper Study of Religion: Building on Jonathan Z. Smith (2020).


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Gill, S. (2019) Creative Encounters, Appreciating Difference: Perspectives and Strategies. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc.

Gill, S. (2020) The Proper Study of Religion: Building on Jonathan Z. Smith. New York: Oxford University Press.

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How to Cite

Gill, S. . (2021). Jesus wept, robots can’t: religion into the future. Body and Religion, 4(1), 32-44.