This is Part 2 of a 7 part series called “Hacking Catholicism”.
Prior articles in the Hacking Catholicism series:
Hacking Catholicism: Part 1 – Introduction
Hacking Catholicism Part 2 – God Is A Programmer And A Lover
by Marcus Guevara
God is a Programmer
I believe God is a programmer and nature is His code. Nature, or creation, has rules and laws. Modern science attempts to observe and understand those laws. Nature’s laws are like the code of a computer program. They are a part of the design of creation and we interact with them as though they were computer code. Nature’s laws aren’t just firing off all the time and producing the same results. At times they work like methods that need to be invoked. Sometimes they require input, or variables, and they then produce results, or output, based on the input. Each person will experience the laws differently depending on the type of invocation and the variables provided. For example, we are all experiencing gravity at all times. However, someone who is sky diving is experiencing gravity in a very different way than someone who is sitting in a chair.
If we were to look at nature as computer code than we can predict what might happen when we introduce certain variables to certain methods. For example, what do you think would happen if someone were to jump off a fifty foot cliff? Do you think they would fall down at a very high speed and probably die when they hit the ground? If that’s what you believe – why are you so sure that will happen? We assume and expect that the laws of nature will be consistent and always act according to how they act right now. We believe that because we have spent a great deal of time studying how the “code” of nature works. Isn’t that what science is?
Are we not all hackers trying to study the code that is already in place? Our current generation has a great deal of confidence in modern material science and believes it can answer some of life’s most important questions. There’s a belief that if we simply studied nature’s code enough to understand it than we will find the answers to those burning questions:
“Where do we come from?”
“Why are we here?”
“What is our purpose?”
I believe our confidence in material science comes from it’s predictability. It allows us to maintain a feeling of control over our lives. This is why, I believe, some people will refuse to believe in anything unless it is “proven” by science.
God built us in a way that is very similar to how a computer works. Computers came way after humans so, really, computers are designed after humans and nature.
A computer is very complex but if we were to break down the important components of a computer we would have memory, a central processing unit, and input and output devices. A computer receives input through some peripheral device, like a keyboard, and sends an electrical signal to the processor in order to process the data received. The data is put into memory, either short-term or long-term memory, and then it usually is translated back into a form which can be sent to an external device, or output, like speakers.
The human body works in a very similar manner. Humans consist of memory, a brain which processes all information, and input and output “devices”. We receive input through devices like our eyes and ears and an electrical signal is sent to our brains in order to process the “data” we have received. That data is put into memory, either short-term memory or long-term memory, and then it can be translated back into a form which is sent to an external device like our mouth.
When we speak we are resonating sound at a particular frequency and mimicking a common, or standard, set of sounds that everyone else subscribes to. Language is nothing more than a group of people agreeing to certain sounds being ascribed to certain concepts. Computer speakers can vibrate at the same (or extremely close) frequency as a persons voice. If we reflect on that we realize something fascinating. Our voice can be reproduced by a computer. Even more than that our image can be reproduced by a computer. In fact, video of us can be reproduced by a computer. That means that your physical features – your face, hair, and body – and your sound – voice, laugh, and cry – can be reduced to a string of 1’s and 0’s (or at least the representation of those things). Isn’t that amazing?
However, a human person can’t be reduced to a logical concept.
Faith and Reason
Faith without reason can lead to an unreasonable person. Anyone can have faith in anything but without the use of reason, or logic, they might end up putting faith into some very illogical concepts. However, reason without faith can lead to insanity.
Think about that for a second.
How confident can you be in your ability to reason unless you first have faith that your method of reasoning is correct? Human reason is flawed and must be formed. People don’t just “know” the truth. We do have the ability to reason but logic and reasoning can only get us so far. Faith takes us where reason cannot go.
Here’s a practical example of what I am talking about. Each morning when I leave for work I use the key to turn the engine over and I start driving. I assume that the vehicle is going to work according to it’s design and the laws, or code, of nature. I never wonder if the car is going to just start accelerating out of control or falling up into the sky. I don’t know that those things couldn’t ever happen but I have good reason to have faith that they won’t. I don’t need to pop the hood of the car and check that the engine and electrical components are working properly before I drive to work each day. I don’t know the first thing about building or fixing the mechanics of a car so I have to make an act of faith each time I drive because I don’t know how it is going to behave.
A relationship, or marriage, would probably make a more clear example of what I’m trying to say.
There is no amount of logical data that any person can obtain about another that would ensure they would never have to face divorce. We have to put faith in the other person that they will hold true to the promises they make at the altar.
This helps bring me to my next point.
God is a Lover
We cannot simply study Catholicism from a logical perspective and expect to understand and relate to other believers. If we only view God and the Catholic faith from a logical perspective we are going to miss out on a huge part of Catholicism: romance. God is not just a programmer. He is a lover. He is romantic. Understanding the romance of the Catholic faith is important to making sense of the logic. It’s like looking at marriage and saying “Why would two people commit themselves to each other forever?” or “Why would he give up the job he’s always dreamed of for her?”
Why would two people commit themselves to each other forever?
From a purely logical perspective (ignoring romance) one might say there is no good reason to make a forever commitment to someone because you don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. It would be more logical to make a short term commitment and review that commitment every year. This seems logical but a relationship, more importantly a marriage, requires romance. If a couple refuses to make a long lasting commitment their romance will be stunted. A marriage is not a contract – it’s the framework for society. Marriages beget children and the commitment to children cannot be reviewed each year.
Why would he give up the job he’s always dreamed of for her?
If a man lands his dream job in a different city and his wife gets an offer in their current city logical analysis might look at things like higher pay as a deciding factor for where they should live. However, romance might cause the man to willingly sacrifice his dream for the sake of his bride’s happiness.
These examples don’t ignore logic. They just also don’t ignore romance.
Reason and logic are like the 1’s and 0’s of a computer’s binary code. Binary code is not good for anything unless it is interpreted and then re-presents something that we can interact with like movies, music or information. Reason and logic are meaningless unless they are viewed with the light of romance. Romance gives meaning to reason and makes sense of it. I think of romance like a computer monitor. A computer can be processing all sorts of intelligent information but without a computer monitor how will anyone make sense of what is going on?
Catholicism is really about having an intimate relationship with God – the designer and lover of your soul.
That relationship has a certain design – an order. It has to be under the terms which God has set forth. If God is the designer and creator than our pursuit to understand nature, or his code, is a pursuit to understand God and how we can get closer to him.
Do we have to figure it out on our own or is there somewhere we can turn for answers? Read the next article to find out.
Hacking Catholicism: Part 1 – Introduction
Hacking Catholicism Part 2 – God Is A Programmer And A Lover [You are Here]
Hacking Catholicism Part 3: The Catholic Church As A Code Library
Hacking Catholicism Part 4: Demon Crackers And Their Exploits
Hacking Catholicism Part 5: Saints and Priests – Certified Ethical Hackers
Hacking Catholicism Part 6: Gaining Root Access To The Faith
Hacking Catholicism Part 7: Where To Go From Root
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