St. Silicon: High-Tech Comic Spreads G.O.D.'s DOSpel, All in the Quest of Nerdvana
He calls himself St. Silicon, the patron saint of appropriate technology and founder of the first computer religion, C.H.I.P., the Church of Heuristic Information Processing.
With a microchip glued to his forehead, he explains that his new religion is “user friendly” and that he is committed in his search for the “Divine Profits.”
It’s all in a day’s work for Jeffrey Armstrong, a former international sales manager for Apple Computers in the Middle East and now a high-tech evangelist and stand-up comic.
Here recently to deliver the keynote address at a convention of Micro-Age Computer Store dealers, St. Silicon spread the word as “it was downloaded unto me from the Giver of Data (G.O.D.).”
It Was Destiny
Asked how it was that he was chosen to found C.H.I.P., St. Silicon explains it was destiny. “My first computer came with a loser’s manual,” he says. “I was a good blank template for G.O.D. to use.”
Now, calling himself the “Fourth-Quarter Profit,” and touring the country to preach the DOSpel from the Binary Bible, St. Silicon proudly says his is the world’s first “for-profit” religion. He maintains he was divinely inspired to pursue his calling four years ago.
“I was sitting in front of my Macintosh one night when lightning struck the satellite dish, knocking me unconscious,” he recalls. “When I awoke, the ‘Keyboard Prayer’ was on the screen, and I was aware that I had been called into the service of the Giver Of Data to spread his Disc-pensation among the carbon-based entities.”
While St. Silicon’s act is all in fun, Armstrong insists there is a more serious message behind his Garbage-In, Gospel-Out religion.
In addition to his work with Apple, the 39-year-old mock preacher also worked for Corvus systems and Nestar in the computer industry. He also has earned degrees in psychology, creative writing and history. Between quips he says his “preaching” helps humanize an increasingly technological world.
“I would like to think that I help heal the wound created by excessive technology,” Armstrong says. “The computer is a cultural artifact but it has arisen so quickly, the human aspect has been overwhelmed. Most people don’t understand computers and are uncomfortable with them. I try to help people be less afraid of the technological unknown.”
St. Silicon, usually dressed in a cream-colored suit, does his stand-up routine at computer dealer conventions and other shows throughout the country. He gives the “Sermon on the Monitor,” reads such proverbs from the Binary Bible as “the Macrighteous shall inherit the earth,” and “the tree of knowledge had square roots,” and leads DOSciples in such prayers as “Hail Memory” and “The Keyboard Prayer.”
St. Silicon also teaches fear of the evil one, Glitch, to his DOSciples. Then there are the tales of the splendid “Winchester Cathodral” in Silicon Valley. The Valley is the heartland of Armstrong’s computer religion movement, and according to the Binary Bible, “the yuppie center of the universe.”
Although some have taken offense at the religious angle of Armstrong’s satire of the computer world, he says most people understand the parody and enjoy it.
Armstrong says his act is not intended as a slap at religion but as a joke at the expense of those who put all their faith in technology.
As he puts it: “My followers and I shall reach Nerdvana.”