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When computers address the Almighty

Text by Nicolas DE SCITIVAUX

Latest update : 2009-03-24

No time to pray? The site, "Information Age Prayer" caters to busy bigots in the digital age. For a few dollars, a computer can transmit prayers to the Almighty.

Can machines address God? It’s a question that would undoubtedly interest Isaac Asimov, the father of science fiction.

 

The website "Information Age Prayer" does not shy away from such lofty theological debates and offers, for a few dollars, to recite prayers for the faithful who are too busy in this Information Age.

 

The concept is simple. Users have to click on their religion of choice on the home page, which leads them to a list of prayers such as the “Our Father” for Christians and the "Fajr" for Muslims.

 

Prices are based on the length of the texts and therefore vary. For Catholics, for example, the monthly fee for a daily prayer ranges from 70 cents for the “Hail Mary” to $49.97 for the rosary. And for the hesitant ones ($50 dollars, it’s a lump sum), the button offers a reminder: "Show God you’re serious - Get the complete Rosary Package." It’s an offer that’s hard to resist.

 

Once the payment is done, a computer belonging to the site's host will recite the requested prayer, every day, using the software, "The Last Cry." For Muslims, the site specifies that the computer speakers are turned towards Mecca.

 

Prayers for all seasons and situations

 

The site also offers targeted prayers. Is a close relative sick? Just enter his/her name at the time of purchase and the machine will piously recite a prayer of a speedy cure. There’s an alternative for the ones who are too late as well. And for pacifists, a prayer for peace in this world, at $3.95 per month, is almost an obligation.

 

There’s also a special prayer to address the financial crisis. But it comes with a warning: the site is not an alternative for fiscal responsibility.

 

As for revenues, the site explains that it transfers 10% of revenues to charity. But it fails to specify which ones.

 

If users want to create their own prayers however, they will have to wait – for now. "Information Age Prayer" does not offer this service, since the site managers fear the likely outrageous texts may not be detected by a machine.


For those hesitating on moral grounds, "Information Age Prayer" invites users to ask their religious representatives for counsel. Amen!

 

Date created : 2009-03-21