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Steve Jobs' views on God, afterlife were challenged at the end

October 24, 2011

Steve Jobs on God and afterlife were challenged at the end
By Guest Opinion

Steve Jobs’ biographer was with Jobs near the final weeks of his cancer battle and reveals an enlightened and complicated view that Jobs had of God and the afterlife. Steve Jobs may have begun life as a Bhuddist (he was married by a Buddhist monk Kobun Chino & Forbes magazine is publishing a graphic novel on the Tao of Steve Jobs), but his end of life cancer crisis challenged his thinking about everything from God to the afterlife.

The internal debate over God and life after death is captured by 60 Minutes which interviewed the biographer Walter Issacson. The author was granted rare access into Steve’s life and interviewed Steve Jobs 40 times before his death. Below is a transcript excerpt where the questions on God and death are addressed (video at bottom).

Narrator: In their final meetings, Jobs would occasionally bring up the subject of death.

Steve Jobs: I saw my life as an arc. And that it would end and compared to that nothing mattered. You’re born alone, you’re gonna die alone. And does anything else really matter? I mean what is it exactly is it that you have to lose Steve? You know? There’s nothing.

Narrator: He survived nearly eight years with his cancer. And in the final meeting with Isaacson in mid-August, still held out hope that there might be one new drug that could save him.

Walter Isaacson: He asked me at one point, he said, “There are going to be things in this book I don’t like, right?” And I kind of smiled and said, “Yep. You know, there’ll be probably things you don’t like.” He said, “That’s fine, that’s fine. I won’t read it when it comes out. I’ll read it six months or a year from now.”

Steve Kroft: Did you have any discussions within that day or at any other time about an afterlife?

Walter Isaacson: I remember sitting in his backyard in his garden one day and he started talking about God. He said, “Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe. But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of– maybe it’s ’cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.” Then he paused for a second and he said, “Yeah, but sometimes I think it’s just like an on-off switch. Click and you’re gone.” He said and paused again, and he said, “And that’s why I don’t like putting on-off switches on Apple devices.”


Final thoughts.

Those words by Steve Jobs on God and the afterlife represent best a history of how great minds collide with great questions of eternal destiny.    Steve Jobs was challenged by this momentous struggle.   Many people can relate to Stev Jobs’ afterlife question.

Hidden blessing

One hidden blessing from this 60 Minutes segment is how Steve Jobs overcame a difficult adoption journey including reuniting with his lost sister. I firmly believe that one of the great unrecognized benefits of Steve Jobs will be his compelling life story on being adopted.   I predict the adoption movement will find its greatest life-example in Steve Jobs and it will produce rewards continually.

Note: The view of Steve Jobs and his thoughts of religion can be seen at the very end of the second video.

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Steve Jobs biography arrives early on iBooks, Amazon’s Kindle [u] – Apple Insider | Droid Universe October 24, 2011

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James October 24, 2011

I feel for what Steve went through. I hope others do as well.

Sokuzan Bob Brown October 24, 2011

What I read here, in the above, kind of shows that though he was an extremely gifted person, even a genius in what he specialized in, Steve had not realized the fullness of the Buddhist teaching, that was available to him in the form of his Buddhist teacher, Kobun Chino Roshi. (Kobun was also one of my teachers) Steve is quoted above saying “..The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.” This may show that if he really sees it this way, that he perhaps did not understand what wisdom really is, it is not an accumulation of knowledge or information, nor even experience, no matter how profound. It is rather to live from a view, moment to moment of no-self or non-separation. Then the I.D., whatever there is left of it, is transparent. We understand that the truth that the Buddha saw, was that nothing comes from its own side, and that everything is dependent on everything else for its so-called identity. Fear of death (which is an idea, or concept) only arises to an “I” that is believed in, as a separated being that dies.

Debi October 24, 2011

I’m sorry, but not surprised that Steve, like many others, struggled with their beliefs in the afterlife as well as in their belief in the Creator, God. I have never struggled with my belief because of the simple deduction that no matter how far I trace my ancestors-even all the way to the beginning (if I could)-I won’t find one person who had the wisdom or knowledge to even so much as create an eyelash, let alone the entire human body that’s fueled by our God-given soul.

The body without a soul is an inanimate object. The soul animates us; it’s not the other way around.

joni badalian October 24, 2011

I reversed Ovarian cancer in 18 days in 1999 and I prayed to God and Jesus. I believed that produce would heal cancer as it did not the 100 mice who were all 100% healed by Johns Hopkins Food Research in Florida where they put onion juice in their water. I juiced for 18 days and my cancer was gone. Prayer was vital to me and having knowledge of the Bible and God and Jesus made all the difference. I am so sad Steve Jobs found his passion with Buddha who is dead.

Wisdom only lives on in us if we accept Jesus Christ who was always with God before the earth was formed. My heart is saddened he turned to a dead idol who in life was an Atheist and I pray somehow he found God and Jesus before he died. Produce has anti-cancer chemicals according to all Food Science Research but I fasted off food of all kinds and juiced a really large quantity of produce. I heard a voice which I believe was an Angel and my husband heard an Angel singing the healer is here and they opened me up and my Ovarian cancer was gone. Take it or leave it God is alive Buddha is dead and he can’t hear anyone.

Cornelia Seigneur October 24, 2011

Great interview on 60 Minutes…I too was interested in his thoughts on God on his death bed…I appreciated his candid response.


Henry Olson October 25, 2011

It is weird to see Steve Job’s life and private pain becoem so public. I hoped he passed in peace, and I hope he is in peace now.

Ryan Hedsfield October 25, 2011

joni, instead of thanking Jesus and God, why didn’t you consider the fruits of modern medicine that actually saved your ass from cancer? Oh, and the argument that your god is better than others shows how much bigotry you possess.

Krista Rowe October 26, 2011

@Joni…. Yay God! :o) Keep sharing your testimony of your healing it will encourage others, as it has me, also a survivor thru the Grace of God.

@Ryan, accusing Joni of Bigotry:(stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own), simply reveals your own issues of bigotry. if you can’t say something nice? zip it.

‘a person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument’

Kindness outweights cruelty and a rebellious nature towards oneself or others, is not ok, no matter how good you are at creating. God Bless Steves’ family and the friends he left behind.

To: Steve Jobs – How is your faith now????

Ellen H. November 1, 2011

I too have experienced healing from God. Having come to my belief Christ as savior at age 37, I understand the conflict that I think we all go through. Accepting something as greater than ourselves, one of the greatest mysteries ever that we cannot yet comprehend. An additional note; Jesus was the only person who was seen by hundreds of people after his walking around for 40 days. Jesus was crucified because he claimed to BE God and was a threat to that religious/political system. Joni is stating fact; Buddha, Mohummed, etc ARE all dead and no other religion claims that it’s savior still lives. THAT’s what makes the difference. Do Christians still love others from other faith traditions? Of course, and God loves them too. He just doesn’t want to see any person not meet Him, as we don’t want to see that happen either. People have free will to worship what/who they will. That doesn’t mean they are any less worthy of love and respect.

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