back to article Church of England will commune with God for you via Amazon's Echo

Technology worship has ascended to a higher spiritual plane with the Church of England now offering the faithful daily voice-activated prayers from Amazon's smart home kit, Echo. Using the new Alexa "skill", believers can ask the CoE for prayers, explanations of the Christian faith and location-based information about local …

  1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Oh great

    You give them access to your media library and religion -

    Alexa, are you the Messiah

    "Of course she is, I should know I've followed enough"

    Though

    "yes, now fuck off" would be preferable.

  2. Swarthy Silver badge

    Re: Oh great

    No! Just a very naughty computer.

  3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Buddhists had it first

    Prayer wheels/flags...and they used only environmentally sensitive human and wind power.

  4. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Re: Buddhists had it first

    Exactly. If you RTFA you'll see that there is no praying to Alexa involved. Alexa can be asked to recite prayers FOR you. Which is just the high-tech version of the prayer-wheel. Particularly if you can get Alexa to loop.

    Rather takes the fun out of 20 Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers, though. Bit like an automatic line-writing machine. Was it Molesworth who invented one?

  5. LDS Silver badge

    I'm sure it will end like in...

    ... Asimov's "The Last Question".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I'm sure it will end like in...

    That is a nice story to read here. Thought I had read all Asimov's stories many years ago - but don't remember that one.

  7. onefang

    Re: I'm sure it will end like in...

    That's the story I mean, thanks for naming it.

    Edit, OK having read through the link AC posted, not the same story I was thinking of. I've read that one before as well. The one I'm thinking of as waaay shorter.

  8. harmjschoonhoven

    whois God

    No whois server is known for this kind of object.

  9. hatti

    'Alexa, ask God to deliver me a Pizza'

  10. A K Stiles Silver badge
    Joke

    Pizza

    Ask the Buddhists - they'll make you one with everything!

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Pizza

    "[...] they'll make you one with everything!"

    But no "animal" higher than an oyster or clam. That's the point at which they drawn the line of "sentient". Fried oysters and clams seemed to be a speciality of the monastery restaurant in Macau.

  12. Steve K Silver badge

    Electric Monk?

    Is this the emergence of the Electric Monk?

    Look out for hoof prints on the stairs...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Electric Monk?

    "Look out for hoof prints on the stairs..."

    I thought it was a sofa?

  14. Steve K Silver badge

    Re: Electric Monk?

    The Sofa was indeed stuck on Dirk's stairs.

    The horse was in Professor Chronotis' bathroom at Oxford university and I believe it was coaxed/pushed down the stairs by the Electric Monk.

  15. tentimes

    There has to be a joke here somewhere....

    Surely?

  16. Teiwaz Silver badge

    THX 1138 Confession Booths?

    'You are a true believer, blessings of the state, blessings of the masses. thou art a subject of the divine, created in the image of man by the masses for the masses.'

    'Be thankful you have an occupation to fulfil. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy.'

    'Buy more, buy more now, and be happy'

    Well, it'll probably not fit my consumer.

  17. scrubber Silver badge

    God already has a twitter account

    @TheTweetOfGod

  18. 27escape
    Mushroom

    How long before...

    "The Nine Billion Names of God" are read out?

  19. onefang

    Re: How long before...

    Two nanoseconds, three tops.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a Dilbert motif T-shirt that appears to be a condensation of this strip.

    "What if GOD is the consciousness that is created when enough of us are connected to the INTERNET"

    Dilbert "That would certainly limit the types of files I download"

    Dogbert "My web browser would fly!"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes sense....

    no need to go to church....

    As per Bottom.

    Richie : I don't think that, as a Christian, I could look myself in the face whilst watching a dirty video. I mean, it's Sunday for Christ's sake, I mean for Heaven's, I mean for goodness sake. And are the masses all in church praising the Lord's name? No, they're all down the vid shop, trying to get their hands on "Pervy Nights in Bangkok"! I mean, it's ironic, isn't it? There's plenty of wailing and gnashing of teeth going on, but it's not happening in church!

    Eddie : Well, when did you last go to church?

    Richie : Well, I don't have to go, I'm Church of England.

  22. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Re: Makes sense....

    Eddie: Hang on!

    Rich: What?

    Eddie: Although we and the BBC respect people's rights to believe in whatever they wish - because we don't want to get into the shit on this one - we don't actually believe in God, do we?

    Rich: No.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Makes sense....

    "[...] the BBC respect people's rights to believe in whatever they wish [...]"

    BBC Radio 4 has too much religion in its schedules: "Prayer for the Day"; "Thought for the Day"; "Something Understood"; "Bells on Sunday"; "Sunday"; "Sunday Worship"; "Beyond Belief".

    At least BBC TV no longer closes down for an hour at 6pm so that people will go to Evensong. Nor do they end the evening's broadcast with a cleric delivering "The Epilogue".

  24. David Nash Silver badge

    Re: Makes sense....

    Even R2 brings godish people on weekend mornings. I don't see why they can't leave people to believe their own thing without getting all preachy from time to time.

  25. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Makes sense....

    At least BBC TV no longer closes down for an hour at 6pm so that people will go to Evensong. Nor do they end the evening's broadcast with a cleric delivering "The Epilogue".

    The Angelus on RTE used to creep me out as a kid. They're still doing it, I'm surprised to learn.

    ...mind you, I think for a while I thought the Anglia TV logo was the English version.

    I'd have 'voted' for the 'Venice is Sinking' (by Rondo Veneziano, I found out, decades later) that used to be broadcast occasionally (due to a gap in the schedule, but you don't know about these things as a wee nipper).

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Makes sense....

    "Even R2 brings godish people on weekend mornings."

    Yes but in balance, they have pagan crap by the likes of Astrologists on in the afternoon

  27. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Re: Makes sense....

    BBC Radio 4 has too much religion in its schedules: …

    "Something Understood"

    Not so much religion, more aimless "spiritual" wittering that makes Thought for the Day seem like incisive theological philosophy.

    "Bells on Sunday"

    They may do it in church, but in my experience your average bell ringer is rarely described as "godly".

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Makes sense....

    "They may do it in church, but in my experience your average bell ringer is rarely described as "godly"."

    IIRC there have been several occasions where the long-standing bell ringers were "locked out" by a cleric.

    York Minister a couple of years ago sacked all their bell ringers - then attempted to replace them with presumably more spiritually*** motivated people.

    "It says the Minster is looking for bell ringers who can demonstrate ‘support and respect for chapter, particularly in inviting chapter to fulfil its mission of helping everyone to discover God’s love."

    ***beer wasn't mentioned

  29. onefang

    Re: Makes sense....

    'They may do it in church, but in my experience your average bell ringer is rarely described as "godly".'

    I used to play handbells, got a lot of gigs playing in churches. Being an atheist, I'd probably not be described as "godly" either.

    Though technically I am a god, of the OpenSim world I run, coz that's the technical term for the admins. A term invented by Second Life, and inherited by OpenSim, coz they use the same viewers, and that's the term the viewer software uses. I guess it fits, I can wander around the virtual world, and if something needs fixing, some one "prays" to me, I "put on my halo", wave my arms, and it magically gets fixed. Or in other words, I request admin access from the server, which gives it to me, the viewer says "Entering god mode", and adds an Admin menu, with an option to bring up the "God Tools" window. shrugs

  30. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: Makes sense....

    Yes but in balance, they have pagan crap by the likes of Astrologists on in the afternoon

    Hmm, Daily paper 'Sun sign' garbage is like being able to do macros on word and calling yourself a programmer.

    Also not exclusively or particularly 'pagan' by neither the old roman or the modern interpretation.

  31. Martin Gregorie Silver badge

    A question for true believers

    If Alexa is doing the praying while you sit listening or watching TV, which of you is most likely to be saved?

    Hint: It ain't you. You aren't even number two.

    - tip of the hat to FZ

  32. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Re: A question for true believers

    If Alexa is doing the praying while you sit listening or watching TV, which of you is most likely to be saved?

    To be 'saved' - Press Ctrl-S - I thought everyone knew that. *

    Like Fish on Friday, it used to be F10 for the lost DOS generations.

  33. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Facepalm

    locked into the CoE ecosystem

    So, they're not really trying to attract new converts or lapsed members then?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: locked into the CoE ecosystem

    "So, they're not really trying to attract new converts or lapsed members then?"

    The Economist believes that is their target audience.

    "Most of the 28 questions programmed into it are aimed at non-believers, who nowadays make up more than half of British adults. Curious agnostics can quiz Alexa on how to pray, what Christians believe and who the Archbishop of Canterbury is. The aim is to use new technology to “bring people into a relationship with God”, says Adrian Harris, head of digital matters at the church. "

  35. onefang
    Coat

    So if you can get computers to do your praying for you now, can they do it really really fast? A new unit of measurement for El Reg, Mega Prayers per second.

    And at those sorts of speeds, will the effectiveness of these prayers increase? I'm no theist, so no idea really. Any one care to donate some time on a super computer for a little experiment? We may be able to prove the existence of God if after running this little experiment, a loud voice is heard coming from The Cloud - "AAARRRGGH, shut up already!".

    I'll get my coat, it's the one with the micro dog collars.

  36. jms222 Bronze badge

    Animal sacrifices

    Don't certain dickless religious types get animals slaughtered by phone especially around Hajj time so they can feel better about themselves ?

  37. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Animal sacrifices

    They ring up abattoirs?

  38. onefang

    OK, wasn't Asimov after all - http://www.roma1.infn.it/~anzel/answer.html is the story I meant.

    Been way too long since I read any Asimov.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shades of that film of a supercomputer housed in a supposedly impenetrable bunker.

    I preferred the Asimov story. Its denouement was at the same time unexpected - and yet blindingly obvious.

  40. Jonathon Green
    Go

    The Oh God of IT issues...

    ...delivering salvation as a service from the cloud :-)

  41. Jay Lenovo
    Pint

    Re: The Oh God of IT issues...

    Now if I could just get 'mah' TV Preacher on Netflix.

    I could tithe $7.99-13.99 for some Ultra HD salvation.

    God wants me to watch him on all my devices.

    Better yet, with that GDPR thing, there's certain things he's gonna have to forget I done.

  42. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
    Trollface

    Re: The Oh God of IT issues...

    Preacher is an Amazon Prime exclusive.

  43. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Feeding the need

    Somewhere on U.S. Highway 90, in panhandle Florida or Alabama, I saw a roadside sign with an arrow pointing up a driveway, offering "Drive Thru Prayer." As long as there are god-bothering believers, there will be charlatans ready to feed their fear and addiction.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Feeding the need

    "there will be charlatans ready to feed their fear and addiction.

    Don't forget the material wealth that many of the preachers promise to their followers. Basically a First World version of cargo cults.

  45. Florida1920 Silver badge

    Re: Feeding the need

    Don't forget the material wealth that many of the preachers promise to their followers. Basically a First World version of cargo cults.

    In the SW U.S., where I am at the moment, there are TV commercials for "Peter Popoff" (you can't make this stuff up). He offers to send you a container of spiritual water that guarantees you great financial gain. Doing some research (what, me, cynical?), you'll discover you're supposed to sprinkle the water on a check and mail it to PP. In return, great financial wealth will come your way. The TV commercial features totally believable testimonials from people who allegedly followed instructions.

    These charlatans aren't proof that religion is always a scam. But if I were $deity, I wouldn't wait until Judgement Day to wipe out the competition. So my message to them is, "The fact that you still exist is proof that what you claim to represent does not exist."

  46. Serg

    I don't believe it...

    We're on the second page already, and no one has mentioned that you wouldn't be able to have the CoE and the Church of Job... Er, Church of Cook on the same device, it's theoret..sorry, theologically impossible.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: I don't believe it...

    " it's theoret..sorry, theologically impossible."

    Before Constantine saw the social control possibilities of Mithrasmono-theistic Christianity - the Roman Empire did a mix&match of gods from anywhere in their reach. Whatever you believed was ok - as long as it didn't appear to challenge the Emperor and the State.

    Even major Christian sects have effectively often broken the commandment against idolatory. In Africa the Abrahamic god of the various colonialists was added to their extensive list of local gods. The more you acknowledged, the better your chances of a lucky break in life.

  48. Darkness93

    I read "God of War" first and got excited :/

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Presumably Alexa will also act as a confessional to shrive your sins - if you have that compulsion. That will be an interesting addition to their store of your personal data.

  50. Chris G Silver badge

    "Presumably Alexa will also act as a confessional"

    Hello ****** based on your recent confessions Amazon would like to offer you the following suggestions for puchase...............

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