1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

A Catholic Looks at Steve Jobs

By August 26, 2011

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On occasion over the years, I have mentioned that I use various Apple products. Or rather, it might be more correct to say that I use only Apple products. Other than a TI-99/4A that my parents bought for the family for Christmas 1982, I've never owned a non-Apple PC. The first computer I bought (in 1986) was an Apple IIc, and since then I've owned at least a dozen Macintoshes. At two different jobs, I've had to use a Windows PC, but the last time I did so was 15 years ago. I was an early adopter of the original iPod, the first iPhone, and the iPad. And over the years, I've managed to pick up a few shares of Apple, including some at the (split-adjusted) price of $6. (Apple's stock closed yesterday at $373.72.)

And so it probably comes as no surprise that the resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO was something of a bittersweet moment for me.Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Glenn Halbrooks, the About.com Guide to Media, has the story here.) Jobs' return to Apple in 1996 has been called the "greatest second act in history," and it's hard to argue with that assessment. The original Macintosh changed the face of personal computing; but Mac OS X, which evolved from the NeXTSTEP operating system that Jobs created during his decade in exile from Apple, has revolutionized not only personal computing but the cellphone industry, the music industry, the publishing industry, and (quite possibly in the next few years) the television and movie industries.

Still, it may seem odd for a traditional Catholic to admire a man who is a professed Buddhist and vegan, who has consistently backed presidential candidates who support abortion, and who has extended spousal benefits to the homosexual partners of Apple employees. But just as the Church has always recognized that all truth God's truth, no matter where it arises, so, too, all worthwhile human endeavors have something noble about them that we can and should admire.

And so, in honor of Steve Jobs' years as Apple's CEO, and with best wishes for his physical recovery and more fruitful (no pun intended) years to come, here are a few of the Apple-related stories we've run on the About.com GuideSite to Catholicism over the years:

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils the iPad 2 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on March 2, 2011, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Comments
August 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm
(1) jazz says:

BECAUSE WE DO NOT BELIEVE OR AGREE WITH ALL THE MANS OPINIONS DOES NOT MEN HE IS NOT TO BE ADMIRED FOR THE GOOD HE DOES IN LIFE. I WOULD NEVER BE IN A HOMOSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP. BUT I LOVE MY RELATIVES AND FRIENDS WHO ARE. JUDGEMENT IS FOR THE LORD OUR GOD TO PASS. I TRY TO LOVE ALL PEOPLE I MEET,UNLESS THEY START TO BE PRICKLY AND IRRITATING-THEN I AVOID THEM.

August 26, 2011 at 5:29 pm
(2) karyn says:

I think would think Christians would more admire Linux and the other open source programmers. Freely sharing your knowledge and skills with others – that’s more Christ-like than requiring people to buy an app for every little thing.

August 26, 2011 at 7:35 pm
(3) Scott P. Richert says:

Karyn, to each his own. I have to say that very few of the vocal FOSS advocates of my acquaintances are Christians (or indeed people of any faith); instead, they tend to be rather antagonistic toward Christianity. I’m obviously painting with a broad brush there, and I do know some devout Catholics who are strong open-source advocates, but they’re in a decided minority.

As for “requiring people to buy an app for every little thing,” that certainly has not been my experience using Apple products since the early 80′s. Most of the software I’ve used, and still use today, is freeware or shareware. Freeware dominates the iOS app store, and has a pretty solid foothold in the new Mac app store as well.

But I do buy software, and I have no qualms about doing so, because there’s an element to that transaction that you seem to ignore—namely, that software developers have to feed themselves and their families as well. Most of the software I buy is written by independent developers, often one-man shops, and I’m perfectly happy to help a man feed his family and maintain his independence.

In my experience—and again, I’m painting with a broad brush—too many of the most vocal FOSS advocates look down on such independent developers with disdain. There’s nothing “Christ-like” about that.

August 26, 2011 at 5:35 pm
(4) Lance says:

It strikes me as odd that being a “traditional Catholic” should require one to not be a gentleman. I respect others’ beliefs, and hold utmost the standards of hospitality and civility when dealing with anyone of other faiths. The hard-knuckle rudeness of throw-back Catholics who yearn to go back to the Church of the 1920s alarms me. Being faithful doesn’t mean being a brash barbarian! When I think of “the Church of good manners”, I believe that Episcopalians hold that distinction. We could take lessons from them ~

August 26, 2011 at 7:26 pm
(5) Scott P. Richert says:

Lance, I’ve been called a lot of things in my life, but a “brash barbarian” is a new one, and a rather odd one coming from someone complaining about the “hard-knuckle rudeness” of others.

You might have noticed that I wrote, “it may seem odd for a traditional Catholic to admire a man who” etc., etc. I can’t imagine anyone reading what I wrote and not realizing that I do admire Steve Jobs, whatever differences we may have on religious and political matters. Indeed, the point of that paragraph was to explain why I admire him, and how that admiration fits perfectly well with the Catholic understanding of truth and human action.

August 26, 2011 at 9:48 pm
(6) irishsmile says:

Your comment, “Your hard-knuckle rudeness of throw-back Catholics who yearn to go back to the Church of the 1920s ” is appalling. I find unacceptable,ad hominem rudeness in opinions stated by many liberals, progressives and conservatives. Please, let’s stick with the facts of an issue and not throw slanderous, generalized endictments toward fellow Catholics.

August 27, 2011 at 12:52 pm
(7) Mike McLaren says:

Lance, please correct me if I’m wrong but you’re implying that all Catholics from the ’20′s and before were “brash barbarians”. St. Agustine, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas More, Joan of Arch, Teresa of Avila, all the popes and saints…the list goes on and on…”brash barbarians….really? Well then if I am an admirer of these great men and women may I humbly refer to myself as a “brash barbarian”? You must be one of those tolerant, open minded liberals.

August 28, 2011 at 5:02 pm
(8) Dan Anderson says:

“Brash barbarian?” Sounds like code for a “bitter clinger.”

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