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I'm trying to find the title of a story about a space traveler in a deep space vehicle (probe? shuttle? pod?) who is dying. The on-board AI has been loaded with information about all the religions of Earth, and in trying to soothe the dying traveler, causes the figure of Christ to appear in the vehicle (hologram? induced hallucination?) and converse with the traveler. However, at the climax of the story, the Christ figure leans over and begins eating the face of the space traveler due to a glitch (error? damage to vehicle?) which causes it to misinterpret the concept of transubstantiation—resulting in this cannibalistic version of Christ..!

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This is "Rautavaara's Case" by Philip K. Dick. Some of the details aren't quite right, but a story featuring a 'cannibal Jesus' is a dead giveaway.

The figure, in its white robe, walked slowly toward the seated Travis. The figure halted close by Travis, stood for a time, and then, bending, bit Travis’s face.
Agneta screamed. Elms stared, and Travis, locked into his seat, thrashed. The figure calmly ate him.
“Now you see,” the spokesperson for the Board of Inquiry said, “this brain must be shut down. The deterioration is severe; the experience is terrible for her; it must end.”
I said, “No. We from the Proxima system find this turn of events highly interesting.”
“But the Savior is eating Travis!” another of the Earthpersons exclaimed.
“In your religion,” I said, “is it not the case that you eat the flesh of your God and drink his blood? All that has happened here is a mirror image of that Eucharist.”
“I order her brain shut down!” the spokesperson for the board said; his face was pale, sweat stood out on his forehead.
“We should see more first,” I said. I found it highly exciting, this enactment of our own sacrament, our highest sacrament, in which our Savior consumes us.
“Agneta,” Elms whispered, “did you see that? Christ ate Travis. There’s nothing left but his gloves and boots.”

  • Ah, that's it! Should have known it was PKD, I've read just about all of his stuff over the course of my lifetime. A fascinating thinker. Thanks so much! – centum press Jun 18 '16 at 16:24
  • Glad I could be of help – Valorum Jun 18 '16 at 16:27

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