Faith Hacker aims to answer an intriguing question: Can Christian biblical tenets be scrutinized from the outlook of a technical engineer who is interested in “debugging” Scripture?
Author James Wilcox is a professional software systems developer and a self-described faith geek. “Debugging,” at its strictest sense, means to remove anything unwanted. Here, Wilcox uses a more nuanced, esoteric meaning of the word: Find what troubles you in the Scriptures, he advises, and examine whether it fits into your world view. His book is part allegory, part apologetics, and part personal testimony.
Unfortunately, the book’s overall composition presents a challenge. The book moves from the author’s commentary on typical life conundrums, such as love/hate, sin, social justice, and free will, based on Scriptural quotes about the treatment of thy neighbor and how money is the root of all evil, to a sci-fi/fantasy/spiritual novella that he endeavors to use as a parallel to the creation story. Although switching between genres can sometimes be an effective literary device, here readers may wonder whether the placement of snippets of the novella is meant to relate to the chapters in which they are included—or not.
Adding to the frustration is the author’s assumption that the average reader is sufficiently technically savvy to understand programming lingo such as “process spoofing” and “hive guidance.” Also, he assumes that the same average reader’s Bible of choice is the King James version, which may or may not be the case. Finally, Wilcox relies heavily on references that would require readers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Star Wars, Star Trek, and Marvel Comics universes as well as other techie-forward pop culture.
Wilcox has clearly sincerely pondered his journey, and some of his nuggets of wisdom can be meaningful. Yet because his presentation skews heavily toward the technophile, his advice isn’t user-friendly for a layman, and connecting the dots may prove difficult for the general audience he is targeting.
Also available as an ebook