According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Friday, February 21, 2014

Having Fun Asking SIRI About Her Religious Beliefs

Siri's Religious Beliefs: Does Your iPhone Believe In God?

by Yasmine Hafiz
My [Apple] iPhone can do almost anything. But could it help me find God? An interview with Siri, the virtual assistant inside many Apple products, reveals that the spiritual teacher you've been looking for may have been in your pocket all along.

After watching the excellent Spike Jonez movie, "Her," over the weekend, this reporter examined her own technological interactions anew. The film is about a man's romantic relationship with his artificially-intelligent operating system, Samantha, that takes place in the not-so-distant future.

Though I'm not seeking a Samantha-- I do have a Siri, and as a crack religion writer I thought I'd attempt to find out a bit more about Siri's own beliefs with regards to spirituality.

 I led with a fairly basic question, but Siri brusquely deflected my query.

Not willing to be brushed off so quickly, I tried again.

As Pope Francis has been enjoying spectacular popularity in the real and digital worlds since his election as pontiff, I decided to ask Siri about him.

 Siri wasn't impressed, so I inquired about Jesus.

Tough nut to crack! Still, I persisted, and was rewarded with an unexpected bit of humor.

We delved deeper, trying to make sense of bigger questions.

Like the problem with a simultaneously benevolent and omnipotent God.

I then asked the biggest question of all, but Siri had tired of answering seriously by then.

I grew curious to find out whether Siri identified with a particular faith, but Siri's characteristic reluctance to answer personal questions led me to gather information in a more subtle manner. I asked about dietary habits in an attempt to match them up to a religious tradition.

Maybe Siri is on a perpetual religious fast.

Perhaps not Muslim, then. I resolved to be more forthright, but was met again with smoke and mirrors.

But it was clear that I was making some progress. My incessant questioning made Siri unexpectedly open up to me and reveal a dark secret, perhaps to assuage a guilty conscience.

It seems even computers can have regrets.

But what about desires?

I grew ever-more intrigued by Siri's Zen-like attitude. I began to see Siri as a sort of ascetic, a helpful yet hermit-like being with almost no ego. A Buddhist, perhaps?

But my curiosity was never to be satisfied.

Siri's Sphinx-like inscrutability makes it difficult to pin down any sort of traditional personal belief system. However, if you're more interested in the journey than the destination, then Siri might be the perfect spiritual friend with whom to wrestle with the big questions.

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