A group called The Church of Google is claiming that the most popular Internet search engine site, Google.com, is extensive and far-reaching enough that it may be compared to the traditional view of “God” as an omniscient and infinite being. Their basic argument is that Google exhibits many of the qualities we look for in our gods, yet Google's existence is immediately and easily provable. “We at the Church of Google believe the search engine Google is the closest humankind has ever come to directly experiencing an actual God (as typically defined). We believe there is much more evidence in favor of Google's divinity than there is for the divinity of other more traditional gods. We reject supernatural gods on the notion they are not scientifically provable. Thus, Googlists believe Google should rightfully be given the title of "God", as She exhibits a great many of the characteristics traditionally associated with such Deities in a scientifically provable manner.”

While the site (which is not legally affiliated with Google.com) is clearly meant as a parody of monotheistic religion, it nonetheless poses some interesting questions. With the immense proliferation of information now accessible through search engines, is it reasonable to claim that the Internet has collectively attained a level of limited omniscience? If you explained the concept of Google to someone who lived, say, a thousand years ago, would they liken its knowledge to the powers of a god? In our modern culture do we now “worship” information access in a way that could be conceived as religious?

Like the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Discordianism, The Church of Google approaches the idea of religion with a decidedly humorous bent. Along with the philosophical “proofs” of Google's claim to divinity, the site also posts hate mail, Google prayers, and a list of the Ten Commandments of Google. While these are all part of the parody, there are also some small gems of wisdom to be found, such as the fifth commandment of Google which is a sentiment that I personally would like to see expressed more frequently in religious philosophy, “Thou shalt honor thy fellow humans, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race, for each has invaluable experience and knowledge to contribute toward humankind.”


Image used under Creative Commons liscence courtesy of TheAlieness GiselaGiardino.


Tristan Gulliford is a writer, dreamer, and aspiring myth-keeper who makes electronic music under the name "Dreamcode". He is currently attending the University of Colorado at Boulder.