The Fourth Sunday after The Epiphany

Eavesdropping …

G: If robots become self aware, will they have any need of religion?

G: I don’t know. It would be weird to get to know your makers and then surpass them.

G: I think that’s called growing up with your parents.

G: Electronic and quantum machinery over against biological and spiritual machinery and both say- ing that they are alive. Who’s to say?

G: They’d both follow their programming. Are we just then meat machines?

G: I suppose … but there’s always been more to living for us – dealing with death, art, music, beauty – we think we’re more than just animated bio-chemicals eating and reproducing.

G: But isn’t that the chemicals talking?

G: Undoubtedly … but why then do we seem to believe that somehow we’re more than our bod- ies? … Could a self aware computer break its programming?

G: Who knows?! … We can’t.

G: We can’t?

G: I think we’re always running a silent background programme called ‘self interest’ – even when we do sacrificial or altruistic things, that programme is still running and from time to time we become aware of it.

G: I suppose it is necessary, otherwise we’d die pretty quickly. Take risks by all means but take calculated risks.

G: Sure … but what about when you want to love or serve or care for someone completely? We can’t. Well, I can’t. Self interest isn’t far from the surface and then you wonder if you’re doing the right thing because it is the right thing or because you’ve calculated you can get something out of it.

G: I can’t. When you put it like that.

G: I don’t think we can break our programming – probably just as well – since we wrote it.

G: So a computer will only be able to break programming it has written for itself?

G: Maybe … we’re getting too deep for my chemicals!

G: Forget the robots … do we have any need of religion?

G: Probably not. Nothing good I suspect.

G: That’s a bit strange!

G: Why?

G: Because you’re in a church!

G: So are you.

G: Church and religion are synonymous.

G: Yes, that’s probably not helpful overall because then we all think everything’s up to us – turning up, the devotion, the doctrines, the codes of conduct, the believing – we’re self programming or we get accused of just making it all up.

G: It is all that.

G: But we’re here for more – a different programming code, something from outside of us.

G: Oh you mean that empty tomb again?

G: Precisely!

G: How we can talk and sing at the same time?

G: Not well, I know. Why?

G: It’s time to get into that pulpit! GS