A TikTok account is going viral for its Christian-themed videos, many showing AI-generated photos of Jesus Christ speaking in AI-generated voices, telling viewers to stop scrolling and watch a minute’s worth of content.
A scholar of American religion explains how a new phenomenon of Jesus images on TikTok is tapping into the prosperity gospel, a Christian belief that God will reward faith with this-worldly comforts. https://t.co/leiHasbBhu
— Rappler (@rapplerdotcom) November 26, 2023
With over 810,000 followers on TikTok, Daily Believer (believerdaily) has 70 videos of different versions of AI-generated Jesus Christ talking to viewers. Every video has a different theme, but most of them revolve around faith in God and Jesus Christ.
All of the Jesuses featured in Daily Believer’s TikTok account are long-haired and bearded, recalling the 1940 painting “Head of Christ” by Warner Sallman. Some wear a crown of thorns, and some look like actor Jared Leto.
However, nearly all of them have European features and promise a surprise or “good news soon” in exchange for the viewer liking, commenting “Amen” on the post, and sharing them with friends and family. These videos helped the Daily Believer garner hundreds of thousands of followers and over 9.2 million likes.
“Welcome Jesus into Your Home” is the Daily Believer’s most popular video on the platform, with over 22.2 million views and 3.5 million likes as of this article’s publication. The computer-generated image of Jesus Christ tells viewers to share the video with their friends and family if they believe in God.
The video also mentioned Matthew 10:33 for those who reject and do not believe in Jesus Christ, saying, “Whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” In addition, the video also promises that those who follow the computer-generated Jesus Christ will receive great news of blessings within the next few hours.
Nevertheless, this wouldn’t be the first time posts showing Jesus Christ and asking them to like, comment, and share them with friends and family have become wildly popular. Long before TikTok, it used to be common to see posts on Facebook portraying Jesus in different situations, telling followers to like and share them.
I’m so thankful to be on the Jesus side of Tik Tok right now
— presley (@presleymeow) November 15, 2023
These posts often act as a chain letter, where creators encourage their followers to share their content with their friends and family members, often with the promise of blessings and success. But regardless of whether the Daily Believer has religious motivations or not to engage with viewers and share Christian-themed content, there is undoubtedly monetary compensation involved.
If a TikTok account is part of the platform’s Creator Fund, the Daily Believer could earn up to $0.20–$0.40 for every 1,000 views. Given that the Daily Believer often gets hundreds of thousands of views in its TikToks, it could be getting as much as $900 from TikTok views alone, and that does not include additional income earned from other platforms like Facebook Reels.
So like a fairy god mother
— AyahHopes (@AyahsHope) November 18, 2023
According to Brandon Dean, visiting assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Iowa, this phenomenon of TikTok creators asking viewers to like, comment, and share posts with their friends and families in exchange for blessings and success reflects a growing trend and development in an American and global Christianity, a subsection known as the “prosperity gospel.”
A subsection of Charismatic Christianity, the prosperity gospel teaches that God rewards those who believe in Him with material blessings such as health and wealth. This theologically conservative movement is growing in the United States and elsewhere, with preachers T.D. Jakes and Joel Osteen as the faces of this gospel. They teach that faith in God is rewarded through material health and wealth.
— Jonathan J Frost (@Jay71405979) November 19, 2023
“At the same time, it is difficult to see the Daily Believer’s content as having a missionary or outreach function,” Dean said in his article in The Conversation. “It seems aimed at those who would already consider themselves Christian and offers little in the way of persuasion or explanation of why someone should be a Christian.”