John Warwick Montgomery
Readers will recall my article that appeared just after the demise of the Apple guru (Global Journal, Vol. 9, No. 3). Now the Mark Hulme/Joshua Michael Stern/Ashton Kutcher film, “Jobs,” has reached movie theatres in Europe (after what, apparently, was a lack of success in the U.S.). I viewed it several weeks ago in Strasbourg, France, in a special showing in the presence of Apple officials and computer geeks.
Jobs grew up in a Lutheran setting, but rejected the Christian faith after posing questions to his pastor about God’s justice and the continuing existence of evil in God’s world. (One wonders whether, had the Lutheran pastor offered an apologetic, and not simply a reiteration of classical Lutheran teaching, the result would have been different. But we shall never know this side of eternity.)
The film makes it crystal clear that Jobs embraced a Buddhist worldview, both before and during his pilgrimage to India. The Buddhist leader to whom Jobs listens tells him that one’s death is determined and that one must achieve whist one lives.
The result is painful to watch. Jobs has a single, overriding goal: to achieve something no one else has accomplished–at whatever cost. He wants to create an aesthetically superb technology of communication that will be usable by the average person and be suitable to every household.
This he certainly achieves. But in the process he reveals that he has absolutely no regard for the people around him. He cheats his childhood friend and fellow inventor of the Apple personal computer Steve Woziak out of a large part of their first royalty; he initially refuses to recognize his paternity of the child born out of wedlock with the woman with whom he (eventually) established a relationship (at that stage the child would have interfered with his work); after his return to Apple, he revengefully eliminates the “angel” (Mark Markkula) who at the beginning of his career gave him the venture capital he desperately needed to move forward; etc. etc.
Not so incidentally, one should certainly view the YouTube interview with “Woz”–who points out some significant historical inaccuracies in the film. Woziak is very attractively portrayed in the film–and he rightly identifies Steve Jobs’ fundamental failing: he cannot distinguish his goals from his success as a person.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that “it doesn’t make any difference what you believe as long as you are sincere” or that “all religions are really saying the same thing.” Jobs illustrates perfectly (and sadly) the Buddhist view: persons are maya (illusion) and must not interfere with higher things. Arthur Koestler, author of Darkness at Noon, finally rejected Buddhism because it had no ethic at all–Buddhists readily became kamikaze pilots during the Second World War.
Had Jobs been a Christian, he would have lost nothing of his drive for technological innovation. Indeed, the Lutheran doctrine of Vocation (see Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto’s article in this issue) would have given him an even greater motivation to provide a communication revolution for every household. But the Christian faith would, at the same time, have kept Jobs from using all those around him as objects and not as persons, and introduced him to the concept of love for the other–as manifested by and grounded in God’s love for us in giving us his Son to atone for our radical selfishness.
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The present issue offers readers two articles from a Lutheran perspective—but if you are (unfortunately!) not Lutheran, worry not: their content will be entirely relevant to you as a committed Bible believer! Dr. Uwe Siemon-Netto, an internationally renowned journalist with a doctorate in sociology under Peter Berger (A Rumor of Angels), contrasts the Reformation doctrine of vocation with today’s “Me” culture. And the Rev. Dr. John W. Kleinig provides a wonderful description of “Luther on the Spiritual Life.”
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Regular readers of the Global Journal will note a change on our masthead. Dr. Edward Martin has stepped down as Associate Editor. His replacement is Dr. Kevin Voss, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin (CUW) and Director of the Concordia Center for Bioethics. Kevin is a veterinarian, having been in practice for 14 years in northeast Wisconsin. Allergies and a desire to serve the Lord in the ministry led him to sell his practice and move to St. Louis, where he attended Concordia Seminary. Subsequently, he earned a Ph.D. in Health Care Ethics. He has been on faculty at CUW for 11 years, serves on the LCMS Sanctity of Human Life Committee, and is a Fellow of the International Academy of Apologetics, Evangelism, and Human Rights. We thank Dr. Martin for past services rendered and look forward to Dr. Voss’s contributions to classical theology by way of the Global Journal. For this issue, he has written a book review on the recent apologetics publication by Concordia Publishing House, Making the Case for Christianity: Responding to Modern Objections, edited by Korey D. Maas and Adam S. Francisco.
John Warwick Montgomery