In another age, the printing press led to a revolution in spreading the Christian faith. The Church of England has created a media hit by launching an Alexa skill that responds to voice commands and queries.

Alexa’s religion and spirituality database includes more than 400 skills. There are, for example, sounds to help with Zen meditation. Now the Church of England has created similar Alexa skills. Alexa can read a daily prayer, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, or grace before a meal. It can direct users to their nearest parish church.

As yet Alexa will not seek to prove the existence of God. Nor does it engage in some of the tougher and frequent questions by skeptics such as the meaning of life and why there is so much suffering in the world. But it does try to answer more straightforward questions like What does it mean to believe in God? and How can I become a Christian?

The church plans to expand the skill for Google Home and Apple HomePod. It claims to be reaching 1.2 million people through its social media accounts, a number that rivals church attendance, which has fallen by 14 percent since 2006.

John Martin

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