Several months ago, a friend was telling me about his search for the perfect used car for his family. He was seeking a specific model, in a specific state, within a specific price range, and he was not finding it. Finally, in a moment of desperation, he entered something like, “Please, God, help me find a used minivan that’s less than $10,000!” in the Google search bar and, bingo, the perfect one—first on the list.
When I first heard this story, I was happy for my friend. But as I thought about it, I began to wonder more about the significance of this event. I’m sure he isn’t alone: typing prayers into search engines is not uncommon. (Just see what comes up on autofill when you type “dear God,” “help God,” or “please God” in the Google search bar.) And it isn’t that I don’t believe God can work through Google—I believe he can and is present everywhere. I also believe, though, you can pray to Jesus in a Buddhist temple and Jesus will hear you, but I am not convinced this is wise or, as Paul so deftly wrote, “beneficial” ().
Going to Google or God?
In this age of information (think about the literal meaning of google) I wonder: Are we becoming people who more readily turn to Google instead of to God? Have we deified the search engine so that we believe in its omniscience? Maybe we don’t say or think we believe in its all-knowing attribute, but maybe our practice indicates we do, indeed, believe this giant web of information has the answers to all of life’s persistent problems. I wonder if this practice of immediately turning to Google is teaching us that Google has the answers we need—not God or the Christian community.1
The Problem with Google
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