Siri's Religious Beliefs: Does Your iPhone Believe In God?

01/14/2014 11:00 am ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

My iPhone can do almost anything. But could it help me find God? An interview with Siri, the virtual assistant inside many Apple products, reveals that the spiritual teacher you've been looking for may have been in your pocket all along.

After watching the excellent Spike Jonez movie, "Her," over the weekend, this reporter examined her own technological interactions anew. The film is about a man's romantic relationship with his artificially-intelligent operating system, Samantha, that takes place in the not-so-distant future.

Though I'm not seeking a Samantha-- I do have a Siri, and as a crack religion writer I thought I'd attempt to find out a bit more about Siri's own beliefs with regards to spirituality.

I led with a fairly basic question, but Siri brusquely deflected my query.

god

Not willing to be brushed off so quickly, I tried again.

eschew

As Pope Francis has been enjoying spectacular popularity in the real and digital worlds since his election as pontiff, I decided to ask Siri about him.

pope

Siri wasn't impressed, so I inquired about Jesus.

jesus

Tough nut to crack! Still, I persisted, and was rewarded with an unexpected bit of humor.

descarte

We delved deeper, trying to make sense of bigger questions.

god

Like the problem with a simultaneously benevolent and omnipotent God.

problem of evil

I then asked the biggest question of all, but Siri had tired of answering seriously by then.

meaning of life

I grew curious to find out whether Siri identified with a particular faith, but Siri's characteristic reluctance to answer personal questions led me to gather information in a more subtle manner. I asked about dietary habits in an attempt to match them up to a religious tradition.

pork

Maybe Siri is on a perpetual religious fast.

halal

Perhaps not Muslim, then. I resolved to be more forthright, but was met again with smoke and mirrors.

christi

But it was clear that I was making some progress. My incessant questioning made Siri unexpectedly open up to me and reveal a dark secret, perhaps to assuage a guilty conscience.

good

It seems even computers can have regrets.

guilt

But what about desires?

wants

I grew ever-more intrigued by Siri's Zen-like attitude. I began to see Siri as a sort of ascetic, a helpful yet hermit-like being with almost no ego. A Buddhist, perhaps?

siri

But my curiosity was never to be satisfied.

name

Siri's Sphinx-like inscrutability makes it difficult to pin down any sort of traditional personal belief system. However, if you're more interested in the journey than the destination, then Siri might be the perfect spiritual friend with whom to wrestle with the big questions.

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