Original Blog Post: Googlism
The Church of Google and “Googlism” is a post modern religion or parody of religion founded by , which has recently emerged in this new age of technology in the modern world. The “deity” that is being worshiped in this new found religion is the Google search engine as a whole. The Church of Google bases their belief off of the notion that “Google is the closest thing to a God that humans can know and understand”. The followers of this religion rationalize their belief by suggesting that they worship google because they can prove the existence of its divinity more so than for any other traditional gods and “it exists as we know it” (Church of Google, 2016). Googlists follow a set of commandments such as “Thou shalt have no other Search Engine before me, neither Yahoo nor Lycos, AltaVista nor Metacrawler. Thou shalt worship only me, and come to Google only for answers” and “Thou shalt remember each passing day and use thy time as an opportunity to gain knowledge of the unknown.” (Church of Google, 2016). They also celebrate holidays, and say prayers in worship. Here is a brief documentary to further introduce the concept of Googlism:
Googlism can be seen as popular culture that is religion not in so much as it worships a divine or supernatural being (which it claims it does), but in the sense that Julia Corbett suggests which is that it is “an integrated system of belief, lifestyle, ritual activities, and institutions by which individuals give meaning to (or finding meaning in) their lives by orienting themselves to what they take to be holy, sacred, or of the highest value” (Lecture 1). In this sense, the belief is that Google is an omnipresent entity and the ritual activities are the various prayers, followed commandments, and actual use of google (asking her questions) as she is holds all knowledge and is of highest value.
As Forbes notes, religion and popular culture interact in multiple ways, one of those ways being popular culture as religion. This tenet posits that Google itself is a religion because of its substantive, functional and formal. It focuses on the core essence of the thing its self and it is functional because it is used in daily life, to answer questions, seek guidance, obtain knowledge etc (Forbes, 2000). According to Forbes, religion and popular culture can also be expressed in dialogue. This tenet suggests that through listening to the voices of dialogues of religion can be challenged and/or inspired by (Forbes, 2000). It also compares and contrasts between religion and the general society represented by popular culture (Forbes, 2000). Based off of this notion, and the core principles of Googlism, it is evident that the Church of Google is challenging the general ideas that society has about religion. On the official website, they answer the question “Why do you choose to worship your god over other gods?” (Church of Google, 2016) by appealing to the idea that other religious figures such as Christ, Allah etc are all social constructs that cannot be directly experienced and are used to comfort people in the face of harsh realities. This collective response was obviously in direct opposition to other religion as they so often refer to it as circular reasoning. Googlism exists to ridicule other religions and prove that anything could be considered religion and any God that is served has no empirical proof of omnipresence because they are man made. This is a direct quote from their website in response to people making fun of their church: “Worshiping an invisible, nonexistent being is an equal, if not greater, waste of time.”(Church of Google, 2016). Thus, the Church of Google serves to create a dialogue that questions the validity of other religions while also suggesting or rather, marketing that people turn to Google as She is all knowing.
The Church of Google represents an intersection between religion and popular culture as it takes a popular culture platform and rituals and ideas from other religion to found its own ideas. It also serves to communicate the frailty of other religions through parody while advancing the notion that Google is the closest thing to a deity that exists for mankind. It is evident that easily proven that Google has deeply influenced society today and is embedded into society. While there is no physical church ground, it is an activity that millions of people engage in collectively worldwide and which gives meaning and understanding to people’s lives.
Forbes, B. D., & Mahan, J. H. (2000). Introduction: Finding Religion in Unexpected Places. Religion and Popular Culture in America, Berkeley: University of California Press
Klassen, Chris. (2014). Religion and Popular Culture. In Religion and Popular Culture: A Cultural Studies Approach, Don Mills: Oxford University Press
“The Reformed Church of Google.” Accessed October 17, 2016. http://churchofgoogle.org/