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Will the Cray Computer Become a Believer?

January 25, 2016

“Titan,” the supercomputer at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oakville, Tennessee, and built by computer manufacturer Cray, is tasked with solving such mysteries as the meaning of life. I’m wondering if the programmers permitted Titan to consider whether God is a “necessary being,” as Anselm and Aquinas (and many philosophers and theologians since their time) have asserted. After all, if God exists, absolutely everything (!) is different than if He did not exist. If God, understood as the ultimate personality  and Creator with such attributes as omniscience and omnipresence, exists, then any ideas about meaning or purpose in life would necessarily be formed in His shadow and would need to take Him into account. So much so, any “meaning” or “purpose” this side of living for His glory would not really make sense.  Or as the Westminster Shorter Catechism puts it, our primary purpose in life is to “love God and enjoy Him forever.” An interesting twist on this notion might even emerge from H. Vonzell Castilla’s recent book, Make God Look Good. It will be interesting to see how close the Titan gets to this reality. Frankly, I’m not expecting much from the machine.

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