Apple and Idolatry . . . and Apple is Not Alone

Culture, Idolatry

The BBC ran a program the other day (unfortunately not available in the U.S.) called Secrets of the Superbrands.  In this program, Apple fans were shown images of Apple products while an MRI was being done.  And what was the interesting result?  “They found brain activity that mirrors how a religious person’s brain reacts when presented with a picture of their chosen deity.” (source)

Should this suprise us?  Is this unique to Apple?  I don’t think so.  I think this is actually how things have always been.  

Do you recall Isaiah’s striking picture of idolatry in Isaiah 44?

Isaiah 44:14–17 (ESV) 14He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. 15Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. 16Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” 17And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” 

Do you see the striking picture?  “The rest of it he makes in to a god, his idol, and falls down to worship it.”  How foolish we are!  Maybe we don’t carve many physical idols these days, but let us not be deceived into think that we aren’t still creating idols.  It is not just Apple.  As one commentator says:

Implying that Apple fandom equals zealotry may be attention-grabbing (and does indeed make me want to watch the program . . .), but the neurological similarity isn’t surprising or particularly novel. You could almost certainly make the same observations about Red Sox fans, Twilight groupies, Van Halen lovers, Ducati collectors … the list goes on, and whatever object of desire makes your heart pitter-patter will resonate in the neural patterns of your gray matter. (source)

If you are interested in seeing a little clip from the BBC documentary, check out BBC Three Looks into ‘evangelical frenzy’ over Apple.

And yes . . . by the way . . . I do have an iPhone, wouldn’t mind having an iPad (or a MacBook Pro for that matter), and I am not sure how well I would do on the same MRI.

A World Without Jobs


article from Andy Crouch: A World Without Jobs: The gospel of a secular age

Steve Jobs’s gospel is, in the end, a set of beautifully polished empty promises. But I look on my secular neighbors, millions of them, like sheep without a shepherd, who no longer believe in anything they cannot see, and I cannot help feeling compassion for them, and something like fear. When, not if, Steve Jobs departs the stage, will there be anyone left who can convince them to hope?

Worship at the Church of Apple

Life, Theology & The Bible

A couple of days ago ABC News published a story called “Looking for a New Religion? Apple Gives Dose of the Divine.”  While our immediate reaction might be that it is absurd, I think there is a lot of truth in it.  There are many that worship at the Church of Apple.  How many people anxiously awaited their new iPhone 4?  

But this does not just apply to Apple (though they may have more devoted followers than most). I think that our technology can easily and very quickly becomes idols that we worship. Technology is a good thing . . . something created by the image-bearers of the the great Creator as they imitate Him.  What we do with it is the problem.  These items quickly grab the affections of our hearts.  

What grabs the affections of your heart?



Photo by Alexander Schaelss (License:  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)