Questions for Ordinands #2

“Prayer is a cyberspace.” Discuss.

[Hint – reflections on pastoral placements will be particularly helpful in answering this question].


  1. Kelvin says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    But what is a cyberspace?

  2. Anonymous says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    “Unlike most computer terms, “cyberspace” does not have a standard, objective definition. Instead, it is generally used to describe the virtual world of computers. For example, an object in cyberspace is a block of data floating around on some computer system or network. With the advent of the Internet, cyberspace is now also used to refer to the global network of computers. So, after sending an e-mail to your friend, you could say you sent the message to her through cyberspace. However, use this term sparingly, as it is a popular newbie term and is already well overused.”

    A term coined by William Gibson in his SF novel Neuromancer (1984) to describe the interconnected “world” of computers and the society that gathers around them.

  3. Kelvin says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    Was it not coined in his short story “Burning Chrome” in 1982?

    Anyway, the original question implies a knowledge of “cyberspace”. Or are we supposed to compare the uncertain definition of the term with the concept of prayer?

  4. Anonymous says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    I never thought this question would become so literary.

    In Burning Chrome, I think that Gibson actually says:

    “It was hot, the night we burned Chrome. Out in the malls and plazas, moths were batting themselves to death against the neon, but in Bobby’s loft the only light came from a monitor screen and the green and red LEDs on the face of the matrix simulator. I knew every chip in Bobby’s simulator by heart; it looked like your workaday Ono-Sendai VII. the “Cyberspace Seven,” but I’d rebuilt it so many time that you’d have had a hard time finding a square millimeter of factory cir- cuitry in all that silicon.”

    My own feeling is that the use of the word cyberspace in this context does not in fact imply the meaning of cyberspace that we have come to recognise subsequently.

    As a working definition, to bring us back to the prayer question, perhaps we could agree that a cyberspace is a venue for virtual reality.

  5. Kelvin says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2

    “Prayer is a venue for virtual reality”?

    There is a lot of discussion in that, agreed.

    Interestingly, before Gibson's use of “cyberspace”, the term “cybernetics” was in common usage. It originally referred inter alia to the comparisons which could be made between man made “intelligences” (computers and machines) and biological systems. I believe this derives from the Greek verb kubernan, to steer or control. Some philosophers refer to cyberspace in anthropological terms. With regard to the original question, I suspect an answer can o­nly be relativistic.

  6. Anonymous says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    I agree that it might be so that an answer can only be relativistic. However, I suspect that many people would prefer to say that an answer to this question can only be relational.

  7. Kelvin says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2
    Perhaps we can agree that those who prefer to think of it as relational have some form of “faith”.

    It is probably on a practical basis very similar to people who rely on email or textual communication and relationships for part of their social interaction, which is one area where the original question can lead us to (those communications constituting “cyberspace” relationships). The difficulty with the analopgy is that without faith these cyberspace interactions can allow us to destroy relationships if not used carefully and judiciously. With prayer, one is guided by faith to realise that any inadvertant misunderstanding will be forgiven. This is not the case in cyberspace.

  8. Kelvin says

    Re: Questions for Ordinands #2

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