The Google god; how the world isn’t that secular.

GoogleLegoI don’t know whether you’re aware or not, but there is a group of people who worship Google. They even have an online church. They have a set of beliefs. They have a doctrinal statement. Their religion is Googlism. You can have a look at their website by clicking here. It’s a very interesting phenomenon, because it opens up a new way of looking at faith and trust. Or, at least, it shows us that faith as a concept isn’t dead as far as religious faith is concerned. Whether I think they’re putting their faith in something worthwhile is a different story, of course!

So here’s the logic behind people considering Google as a god;

» PROOF #1

Google is the closest thing to an Omniscient (all-knowing) entity in existence, which can be scientifically verified. She indexes over 9.5 billion WebPages, which is more than any other search engine on the web today. Not only is Google the closest known entity to being Omniscient, but She also sorts through this vast amount of knowledge using Her patented PageRank technology, organizing said data and making it easily accessible to us mere mortals.

» PROOF #2

Google is everywhere at once (Omnipresent). Google is virtually everywhere on earth at the same time. Billions of indexed WebPages hosted from every corner of the earth. With the proliferation of Wi-Fi networks, one will eventually be able to access Google from anywhere on earth, truly making Her an omnipresent entity.

» PROOF #3

Google answers prayers. One can pray to Google by doing a search for whatever question or problem is plaguing them. As an example, you can quickly find information on alternative cancer treatments, ways to improve your health, new and innovative medical discoveries and generally anything that resembles a typical prayer. Ask Google and She will show you the way, but showing you is all She can do, for you must help yourself from that point on.

» PROOF #4

Google is potentially immortal. She cannot be considered a physical being such as ourselves. Her Algorithms are spread out across many servers; if any of which were taken down or damaged, another would undoubtedly take its place. Google can theoretically last forever.

» PROOF #5

Google is infinite. The Internet can theoretically grow forever, and Google will forever index its infinite growth.

» PROOF #6

Google remembers all. Google caches WebPages regularly and stores them on its massive servers. In fact, by uploading your thoughts and opinions to the internet, you will forever live on in Google’s cache, even after you die, in a sort of “Google Afterlife”.

» PROOF #7

Google can “do no evil” (Omnibenevolent). Part of Google’s corporate philosophy is the belief that a company can make money without being evil.

» PROOF #8

According to Google trends, the term “Google” is searched for more than the terms “God”, “Jesus”, “Allah”, “Buddha”, “Christianity”, “Islam”, “Buddhism” and “Judaism” combined.

God is thought to be an entity in which we mortals can turn to when in a time of need. Google clearly fulfils this to a much larger degree than traditional “gods”, as shown in the image below (click to enlarge).

» PROOF #9

Evidence of Google’s existence is abundant. There is more evidence for the existence of Google than any other God worshiped today. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. If seeing is believing, then surf over to and experience for yourself Google’s awesome power. No faith required.

Of course, there are questions that I could pose to these “proofs” and answers from a Christian perspective that I’d like to air, but the notion that I want to explore is a part of this. It is the notion that people  pray to Google. I know, it seems crazy, right?

But in a world where religion is celebrated yet marginalised, protected yet mocked, talked about but not acted upon, it’s not surprising that people are confused about religion, faith, the supernatural, Jesus, God, the universe… even themselves.

One development that is quite recent in terms of the history of Google is the predicted searches, based on what people have typed into Google Search in the past. From this, we can tell that people pray to Google… in a way.

If you type a plea into Google such as “I’m hoping that…” or “I’m 20 and…” or “I really need…” or something similar, you will come across millions of prayers for help that people have punched into the Google Search in the hope of meaningful answers. We all know from searching that we can often get mixed results. A lot of search results are garbage. Some are useful. Some are very useful.

From this realisation that I’ve been sitting on for a week or so, I would like to make some observations and start a conversation on this, if you’d be so kind.

1. People are searching

People are still interested in faith and spiritual things. People may argue that people are searching these things for fun but I really don’t think so. People are hoping that someone is listening to them, that someone or something can help them. Any searches about the supernatural show this.

2. People are broken

I think many people are turning to Google for counselling. It’s free, it’s secure, it’s anonymous (to a certain extent). We all wear masks, but we can take them off if a computer is standing in front of us, it seems. But the prayer requests in the searches are upsetting. Some of them are, at least. There are prayers of life and death, family who are missing, questions of God, desperate prayers. Can Google really answer them?

3. Google cannot answer prayers

Google is a great tool, but it cannot answer prayers. It’s powerful, yes. But not that powerful. In my opinion, people need to know God for themselves.

So over to you- what are your opinions. Do you think I’m right? Have you ever prayed to Google? Why do you think people are turning to Google rather than God?

Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and Hâf. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @