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The faux religion of Steve Jobs
August 17th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

The faux religion of Steve Jobs

Opinion by Brett Robinson, Special to CNN

(CNN)— Forget the forbidden fruit logo and the cult of Apple jokes. The legacy of Steve Jobs is anything but religious.

Apple was conceived in the heady days of the counterculture movement. While Jobs and friend Steve Wozniak were busy hacking into AT&T’s long-distance phone lines from a Berkeley dorm room in the 1970s, the culture was awash in New Age experimentation and social unrest. Traditional institutions were under siege by idealistic youth rejecting what they viewed as mass-marketed delusions.

At the top of the hit list was organized religion. When Jobs and Wozniak got the phone hacking device to work, their first call was to the Vatican. They proceeded to hang up on the pope’s personal secretary before he could connect the call to the Holy Father. Jobs the iconoclast relished the prank.

Apple’s Garden of Eden logo is one of several religious parodies aimed at the establishment. A 2007 iPhone ad with the tagline “Touching is Believing” mocks the Biblical story of the Apostle Thomas, who needed to touch the wounds of Christ in order to believe in the Resurrection. Apparently, the iPhone apostles needed the same reassurance leading up to the launch of what came to be called the “Jesus phone.”

Jobs left the Protestant church as a young man and sought spiritual enlightenment in the East. At a pivotal moment in his career, Jobs’ moral compass led him to a Zen monastery in northern California, where he considered becoming a Buddhist monk rather than continuing with Apple. But his close friend and Zen priest Kobun Chino Otogawa told him he could do both.

Jobs embraced the challenge by combining the physics of computing with the metaphysics of Eastern spirituality. The minimalism and intuitive design of Apple products are material expressions of Jobs’ Zen ideals. When Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid, told Jobs to remain at the intersection of technology and the humanities, Jobs knew he had landed at the nexus of a powerful cultural movement.

When a statue of Steve Jobs was erected in Budapest in 2011, it was one of many tributes to the demiurge of digital culture. But to truly immortalize a media technology hero like Jobs, a movie would need to be made.

The din of digital media has eclipsed the dignity of statues, and the screen has become a sacred means for commemorating cultural heroes. Lincoln, Gandhi and Christ have all had their day in the Hollywood sun.

It is fitting that the new movie about his life, "Jobs," edited on Apple computers and eventually distributed to millions of Apple devices, will proclaim the technological gospel fashioned by its creator.

The medium is the message after all.

But baked into Apple products is a troubling paradox. Like a technological Trojan horse, Apple products assail our senses with sumptuous visuals and rich acoustics while unleashing a bevy of addictive and narcissistic habits. The ‘i’ prefix on Apple devices is a constant reminder that personal technology is ultimately all about us.

In addition to his Zen Buddhist leanings, Jobs claimed that trying LSD was one of the most formative experiences of his life. One occasion sounds like a treatment for an iPod ad. After dropping acid, Jobs found himself in a wheat field and felt as though the crops were pulsating to a Bach symphony. It was a sublime experience for the young seeker who saw drugs as a gateway to expanding consciousness and thinking differently – a theme he would return to years later in Apple’s iconic “Think Different” campaign.

Altered perception has become a hallmark of personal technology. The “Music Every Day” ad for the iPhone 5 is a series of visual snippets of Apple users enjoying their music. The study hall, the dance hall and the city are all transformed by the presence of the musical device. Freed from the humdrum of everyday life by their personal soundtrack, many of the actors appear stoned as they enjoy the heightened pleasure of being plugged in.

The Apple religion is not a religion at all, but a celebration of the self through personalized pleasure.

Reflecting on religion later in life, Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that different religions were all just doors to the same house, “sometimes I think the house exists, and sometimes I don’t.”

If Jobs had actually spoken to the pope from that Berkeley dorm room years ago, he may have heard something akin to what Pope Leo XIII said in 1885, a century before Macintosh:  “To hold…that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads…to the rejection of all religion. ... And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name.”

Steve Jobs did some amazing things, but he was not a prophet. And Apple is not a religion. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Brett T. Robinson is the author of Appletopia:Media Technology and the Religious Imagination of Steve Jobs . He is a Visiting Professor of Marketing in the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame. 

The views expressed in this column belong to Brett Robinson.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Buddhism • Media • Meditation • Movies • Opinion • Technology

soundoff (974 Responses)
  1. Kathleen

    Pointless article that tries to force religion into places where it doesn't belong and is not wanted.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
    • Joe

      That'd be pretty much everywhere.

      August 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm |
    • Dave

      Well, this is the Belief Blog, so I think some mention of religion is to be expected. I don't "believe" myself, but I go here from time to time to see what they have to say.

      August 18, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  2. Cletus Spuckler

    he done make a joke

    August 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  3. Michael Horoda

    I wasn't aware there was a need for this type of article or information. I'll have to look at this issue in more detail after I type this on my mac. Jobs was at the end of the day just a man.... albeit, a brilliant one. 😉

    August 18, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
  4. JFCanton

    The quasi-religious status of Appleness says more about its potential adherents than about Jobs. All salesmen are trying to impute the subjective notion that their wares are special compared to everyone else's. Jobs was much better at that (eventually) than anyone else in his field. But the particular products that he was best at selling are really just optimized instruments of consumption. All of the advancements that Apple has recently pioneered have been in the service of making it easier to get music or video or other things that were prepared for you by someone else. The only thing that can be *created* efficiently on that type of product is raw images. Society's focus on that type of product betrays our shallowness, or perhaps an absence in most of us of something valuable to say.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Where would you look for suckers?

      August 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
      • Peregrine

        JPT, church, every Sunday

        August 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
        • Joe

          Bingo. We have a winner.

          August 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
        • Frank

          P: Why do you think a "sucker" is found in a Church? Would you kindly give us a good rationale?
          I am not being facetious, but seriously want to know your thinking.
          Thanks.

          August 19, 2013 at 9:45 am |
  5. Drakon

    His dad was an A-rab

    LOL I bet jews will still try to make him into a jew with countless nobel prizes

    August 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The Nobel Committee denied Einstein a Nobel for relativity, due to their own fascism.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Incorrect. He did not receive it in 1921, because the committee decided that none of the entries met the criteria as spelled out in Alfred Nobel's will. He won the award in 1922.

        August 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
  6. ktisis

    Sorry...Seyedibar-religion refers to one's WORLDVIEW. It is a decision based upon an understanding/perception of ultimate reality. Some choose to ignore evidence and choose an atheistic religious view, others look at history, fulfilled prophecy, life, biology, cosmology, logic and see overwhelming evidence for a Creator, purpose, design, meaning, etc. and therefore choose a theistic worldview or religion. Not fakery...choice based on evidence.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Atheism is not a religion. Post some verifiable evidence for your god.

      August 18, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      ktisis
      "choice based on evidence"
      Incorrect. A close examination, by use of logic, should have you not leaping to unjustifyable conclusion. So it is choice based on personal preference, since there is no verifyable evidence whatsoever.

      August 18, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
      • lamelionheart

        Sired Richard C...

        Just exactly "How many Big Bangs will it take to fill up the Allness of Nothingness..?" Why is science so afraid to admit there are most likely an immeasurable amount of Big Bangs that have happened and are still happening and will continue on happening..? Our unified speck of spatial relevancy is but a dot within the very fabrics of Nothingness and all that such is held within Nothingness's captivating depths and breadths...

        August 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          1: Depends on your definition of nothing, since there never truly is nothing.
          2: Ponder this. The next Big Bangmay occur from the fluctuations of our universe, sparking a new one into being. This could occur before our current one, since time is only relative to the observer, and we can only perceive it as linear. So this universe could spark another universe into being, that lives and dies, billions of years before ours even came into existance.
          Simply because time is not linear.

          August 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • skytag

      What a load of nonsense, more proof religion makes people stupid.

      August 18, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  7. Mark

    Steve Jobs was a d|ck. "touching is believing". Please! . No one needs to listen to philosophy from someone who refused to believe he had a child.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
  8. Seyedibar

    You don't really have to add the word "faux" before religion. The word "religion" already implies fakery.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
  9. Tacitus Talks

    An atheist was seated next to a little girl on an airplane and he turned
    to her and said, "Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike
    up a conversation with your fellow passenger."

    The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total
    stranger, "What would you want to talk about?"

    "Oh, I don't know," said the atheist. "How about why there is no God,
    or no Heaven or Hell, or no life after death?" as he smiled smugly.

    "Okay," she said. "Those could be interesting topics but let me ask
    you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same
    stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns
    out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?"

    The atheist, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence,
    thinks about it and says, "Hmmm, I have no idea." To which
    the little girl replies, "Do you really feel qualified to discuss
    God, Heaven and Hell, or life after death, when you don't know S*H*I*T?"

    And then she went back to reading her book.

    August 18, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • The Jester

      THAT's the kind of joke you religious nutbars tell each other about atheists? You guys must be a million laughs.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
    • WhenCowsAttack

      You need some new material. That's just stupid.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      So the child was a muslim?

      August 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The reason that christians make jokes like this is that they have no evidence that their god is real. The must resort to baseless insults and ridicule in order because they can't present a cogent argument.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      So apparently the little girl is well versed in s.h.i.t.

      August 18, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  10. Colin

    There are no gods, you have no soul, nothing extra happens when you die, death is coming...enjoy the day!

    August 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jonah

      There is a God! He lives and hears and answers my prayers! Before the teachings of Christ enlightened the world, it was a dark, miserable, brutal place where the weak and the sick were cast aside and ground into the mortar!

      August 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
      • The Jester

        Then why did god make it that way?

        August 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
      • WhenCowsAttack

        And that's changed how?

        August 18, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
      • rswon

        " where the weak and the sick were cast aside and ground into the mortar!" Sounds like the Republican agenda regarding healthcare.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm |
      • doubt

        How about you try praying for world PEACE and end of hunger...
        and then when you pray and pray without doing something about it, you sit and wonder, where was your god when the jews were gassed, when the poor children are killed in Africa, when kids around the world sleep on empty stomach, or when religious ignorance makes people kill innocent people (crusades or jihads!) and then maybe then you realize something more divine!
        After all, god (perhaps through evolution) gave you this thing called a BRAIN, and the ability to make a difference through your actions and not PRAY/WORDS!

        August 18, 2013 at 2:58 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        How many amputated limbs has your god regrown?

        August 18, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
      • Sara

        Do either of you, Colin or Jonah, really think you have any idea what happens after death? We don't even know yet the number of dimensions we live in, the nature of time, the relationship between matter and consciousness or if this is the only universe. How on earth would anyone know whether their were gods or whether any sort of consciousness persists.

        And Jonah, there were charitable people and actions long before Christianity. Early Christianity actually promoted an individualistic lifestyle that rejected family and the very business enterprises that build the wealth needed for charity.

        August 18, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  11. Hank

    Hmmm... so, what's the point of this inane artice?

    August 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Toad

      Hard to say, but I think we're not supposed to worship Steve Jobs.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • drcid777

      Not sure, but philosophy is hardly the opposite of religion and Jobs and Apple certainly had a philosophy and more integrity than many religions.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • k

      The point (at least that I take away) is that the world Jobs helped create is ego-centric. It's all about me, me, me. Most religions, well Christianity anyway, is about breaking out of the black-hole of self-interested egoism. It's about love, which is willing the good of the other purely for their own sake (i.e., not hoping to get something back for yourself ... which is just more egoism). Most religions are "others-centric". So I think the author is making the point that Jobs and Apple have, in fact, not created a religion but its opposite, mirror-image.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I think the point of the article is that the author thinks that Apple products are fun, and he doesn't really like fun.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
      • Susan

        Bingo! I think you nailed it! LMAO!

        August 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
  12. sma89

    umm...why?

    August 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  13. Susan

    Oh, get over it. Jobs created a good product and was successful with it, and so now we need to think that it's because he had some kind of pact with the devil (which, of course, is what the "rejection of religion" implies). The product is NOT about religion, it's about navigating the modern world conveniently, successfully, and perhaps (OMG!) with a little FUN. And Jobs' personal religious beliefs were his and no one else's business. Why does anyone else care what his religious beliefs were or weren't? So let's just get over it and either enjoy the products or don't enjoy them, but don't make them about something they're not.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  14. Cpt. Obvious

    I'd let the fictional character alone and shoot the two real persons.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  15. Kevin

    It is quite telling that the biggest irony of Apple products was not addressed in this article. Apple embraced the counterculture and sold many products on the mantra "Think Different" yet one often runs into walls when trying to do things certain ways on Apple products. On some, there are only a few places where you're allowed to save, while on others, to move files off the device, you must connect to Apple servers. Not very different, if you ask me, just the ultimate distillation of problems from early PC computers writ large.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
  16. Vic

    The United States Of America is a "defacto" Christian Nation starting with the pilgrims, going through the Founders, and by its people today.

    God Bless The United States Of America

    August 18, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      It is not now nor has it ever been a defacto christiian nation. Stop Lying. Defacto means concerning fact, and your statement is not fact.

      August 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And yet the Christian infighting was responsible for the creation of a secular gov't. Thanks.

      August 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
      • Mae

        haha !! So true. I've had a journey the past few years searching for what I belong to religion-wise. I love the worship and positive social justice and social responsibility msg from all of them. But all of them lost me when they put the other religions down and try to make me understand that a man hearing voices to kill his son and commit genocide against a people to take a land the God promised them and then takes a mistress to produce a child (aka: handmaid's tale) has a connection to God. They also try to tell me that another man who led people out of the flood had cursed his youngest son so all his kids would be born dark skin and be slaves to the kids of his older kids - all because this son laughed at his drunkenness !! Yep !! They lost me with these stories... I am still a believe in Jesus' vision of mankind living in peace and doing for the least of us. Social Justice via a secular govt is the only way out of a hellish situation. Yet Steve Jobs missed this point and made the iphone elitist.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Jesus' message was often positive, but not always. Also, the message of social justice did not originate with him. Nothing he said philosphically was original to him. I would think a divine being could have had at least one original thought. That is why miracles are needed, to "validate" his divinity.

          In other words Mae, I agree with you.

          August 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • Ken

      Vic, do your country a favor and read "Letter to a Christian Nation" by Sam Harris before you do us further disservice and drag us further into backwardness.

      And yes, I've read your bible; it's obviously mostly fiction.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Jonah

      The progressive, technological countries of the world tend to be Christian. This no accident. The Christians are enlightened and inspired and this enlightenment carries over even to non-christians. Steve Jobs could never have accomplished what he did in a third world, backward, non-chistian country.

      August 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Advances in civilization have happened despite religion, not because of it, including christianity. Name one thing christianity has advanced using only christian dogma, and remember, it has to be SPECIFIC to christianity and only christianity.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
      • Ken

        Yeah, Sweden is so Christian...the real trend overall is that the most socially progressive countries are the most secular ones.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
      • Ken

        How does Christianity claim that diseases propagate again?

        Spent too much time being digested by whale bile, have you?

        August 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Jonah
        He could have accomplished this in J@pan. They are not christian, of course they aren't third world nor backward. There are many other countires he could have accomplished this from, and many have christianity as a low minority so your whole statement is false.

        August 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
    • lamelionheart

      "May God bless this world and all its inhabitants being of all cellular cosmologies ever to have been so made..."

      August 18, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The pilgrims were looking for religious freedom (for what is ironically one of the most repressive religions). They had no intention of founding their own country. They just wanted away from the direct authority of the Church of England.

      The founders were more influenced by the principles of the Enlightenment - reason and science - than by any religion. They understood that freedom is impossible in nations where religion has power in government.

      This is why religion is protected but separate in our Constitution, and why the "god" briefly alluded to in the founding documents is referred to as "Nature's God", which is more in standing with the deism popular at the time than with any specific religion.

      Claiming that this is a christian country is an insult to those who risked all to create this nation. It is patently untrue, and appallingly ignorant and selfish. Christians may claim the majority of the population of the United States, but this is a nation where all beliefs, even no belief, are equally protected. Shame to any who claim otherwise. Learn the honest, factual history.

      August 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
  17. Reality

    In memory of Steve Jobs:

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than ten seconds: Priceless !!!

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e. the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • gehazi

      that list only proves that you are under the illusion religion has anything to do with the problems of man, and jobs was a vile man who used 3rd world slave labor to make himself rich, and unlike the good rich people he refused to give any money to charity, because he was a disgusting turd who deserved to die of cancer ! any praise for jobs is praise sung by a fool

      August 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
      • tallulah13

        http://www.news.com.au/money/money-matters/steve-jobs-secretly-gave-millions-to-charity-publically-criticised-for-not-doing-enough/story-e6frfmd9-1226650636880

        Steve Jobs gave millions to charity. He just didn't brag about it. He left that to the religious types who need to be rewarded for doing the right thing.

        August 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm |
    • gehazi

      also your list is poorly thought out as well as your reasons and evidence, you behave like a half wit.

      August 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
      • DJC

        Thank you

        August 18, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
      • Rap with a capital C

        which makes him twice as smart as you

        August 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • Reality

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

      The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      August 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
      • Reality

        AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

        Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

        "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

        Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

        Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

        Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As do BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

        The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

        Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

        Some added references to "tink-erbells".

        newadvent.org/cathen/07049c.htm

        "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
        Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

        "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

        And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

        "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

        "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

        "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

        For added information see the review at:

        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angel
        "The prophet Ezekiel described an incredible vision of cherubim angels in Ezekiel chapter 10 of the Torah and the Bible, mentioning that the angels’ wings were “completely full of eyes” (verse 12) and “under their wings was what looked like human hands” (verse 21). The angels each used their wings and something “like a wheel intersecting a wheel” (verse 10) that “sparkled like topaz” (verse 9) to move around."

        For a rather extensive review of angel wings, see http://angels.about.com/od/AngelBasics/a/Angels-Wings-And-Things.htm

        August 18, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
        • Reality

          Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

          From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

          Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

          To wit;

          From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

          "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
          Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

          Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

          Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

          The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

          Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

          The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

          "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
          http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

          The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

          With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

          An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

          p.4

          "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

          p.168. by Ted Peters:

          Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

          So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

          August 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
  18. TKO

    "Altered consciousness" is at the heart of all religious experience–read William James for an early proponent of this view. Moreover, there is no challenge to religious orthodoxy in this claim–our minds are constantly moving from one modality to another, "altering" its frames and contexts and experiences continuously. The experience of the changeability and fluidity of mind and its thought processes is at the heart of Buddhist philosophy and meditation. I am tired of those who want to claim that "altering consciousness" is somehow "countercultural," the province of "hippies" and psychonauts and not an integral part of the long history of mystical consciousness–a consciousness that we all possess and the is key to helping us past the limitations of ego-driven emotions and demands, i.e., suffering.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  19. John P. Tarver

    When Jesus comes the vacuum fluctuation that is our reality will collapse back into nothing. Word.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      What happens to Jesus, then? In your explanation, he's inside our reality when it collapses, right?

      August 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        Would you like some reading references?

        August 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm |
  20. John P. Tarver

    The GUI interface is something else Jobs stole, besides telephone calls.

    August 18, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Ken

      Not really. The GUI interface was not of a single origin and is still changing today. And it was pretty much free for the taking.

      But don't let mere facts get in the way of your dogma pushing efforts...

      August 18, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
      • John P. Tarver

        The GUI interface came from Xerox and Jobs stole it, straight up. I used it long before there was a MAC.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm |
      • Richard Cranium

        Ken
        As much as I rarely agree with JPT, in this case he is right. It came from Xerox's STAR system and pretty much was a flat out steal.

        August 18, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.