How Nigeria Influenced Steve Jobs Belief In God

Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs turned Eve’s apple, the symbol of fallen humankind, into a religious icon for true believers in technology.

The just-released biography on Steve Jobs by author Walter Isaacson details all the ins-and-outs of the late entrepreneur’s computer empire. But — as is the goal in all biographies — it’s the personal revelations that make it a compelling read.

Following his death earlier this month, the outpouring of grief for Jobs was huge and unprecedented. All over the world, people felt a keen sense of loss. Not since Michael Jackson has there been such an outpouring of public grief. And it’s never before been lavished on the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation.

Steve Jobs — although raised by Lutheran parents — shunned religion. “In July 1968 Life Magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra (Eastern Nigeria). Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. “If I raise my finger will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?”

The Pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”

Jobs then pulled out the Life Cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”

He never went back to church.

Like Bill Gates he did not believe in a supernatural deity nor any organised belief structure.

Steve studied Zen Buddhism in his youth. One of his long time spiritual advisors has been a buddhist guru and Zen Master Kobun Chino. He even married Steve and Lauren. Therefore we can safely say buddhism has influenced Steve’s life and choices.

But, apparently, he still thought there was a 50% chance that God exists.

Isaacson conducted over 40 interviews with Jobs, some of them taped right before his death. He reveals several of the best stories from the biography, including the discussion he had with Jobs about death and the afterlife, explaining that for Jobs, the odds of there being a God were 50-50, but that he thought about the existence of God much more once he was diagnosed with cancer.

However, whatever his religious belief may be, he definitely believed there is a heaven and in making an impact on people around him. In his words, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

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Wale Falade is Nigerian. A Business Systems Analyst, Technology Enthusiast and a Linux Server Administrator. He engages actively in improving online visibility of Nigerian brands. Follow him on twitter @diaryofageek
Posted in: Lifestyle, Religion
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