On Being an Apple ‘Catholic’

It is no new thing to compare Apple, Inc. to a religion. The fanatical devotion it has inspired over the decades has made many outsiders eye it suspiciously, as it hawks a kind of techno-faith in which the textbook charismatic leader, Steve Jobs, emits a Reality Distortion Field that turns the skeptical into zealots, hungry for the latest sleek combinations of glass and aluminum like the damned crave absolution. The term “Cult of Mac,” begun by Leander Kahney in his book and website of that title, both pokes fun at and celebrates this comparison.

Those who live inside the Reality Distortion Field, in my experience, rarely resent this. Just as true religious zealots do not mind being known for their blind faith, but wear it as a badge of honor. This is a bit of an exaggeration, of course, as even the most doughy-eyed Apple user will still vent criticisms and complaints, but very often this is done in the spirit of keeping true to a central credo; as in, if device X does or does not have Y feature, is that really keeping with The Apple Way? Is it What Steve Would Have Done? Et cetera.

I, too, have embraced this. Being an atheist, in particular, it’s actually kind of fun to have a pretend religion to subscribe to. I follow the teachings of The Steve, Apple keynotes are like a twice-yearly mass, and I look for signs from the prophets Tim Cook and Jony Ive, just as much as I shook my head in despair at the heretics Scott Forestall and John Browett as they fell from grace.

At New York Review of Books, Edward Mendelson explores the idea of Apple-as-religion anew:

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New Christian Children’s Book Takes Them on a Tour of Heaven

Lying about Heaven is bad.

Lying to children about Heaven is worse.

But why let a little thing like ethics stop you from making money off of fiction masquerading as truth? That’s what Anthony DeStefano is doing with his new book A Travel Guide to Heaven for Kids:

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Attendees of Milwaukee’s Festa Italiana Get Free Admission… if They Attend Mass

Last summer, there was a kerfuffle in Milwaukee over their Mexican and Irish festivals.

Mexican Fiesta, an event sponsored by the city, cost $13/person for entrance… unless you attended Mass, in which case it was only $5:

The Freedom From Religion Foundation called them out on it and organizers eventually issued a compromise: they said anyone who came for the 10:30a Mass on Sunday would get a discounted ticket… but atheists wouldn’t have to participate in the Mass. They’d just have to sit around and wait for 90 minutes.

I never said it was a good compromise.

Now, the city’s Festa Italiana is doing the same damn thing.

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Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) Is Trying to Pass a Bill That Would Use Taxpayer Money to Fund Religious Programs

You may recall that the Bossier Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana recently lost $15,000 in federal funding because of the religious nature of its Young Marine Program.

Now, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is trying to pass a bill that would change that.

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Next Week in Queens, New York: A Rally for Atheists of Color

***Update***: I screwed up the timing of this post. The event is *next* weekend. My apologies.

Next weekend, in Queens, New York, there’s a huge outdoor rally to celebrate “secularists of color.” It’s called Blackout:

Sponsored by Black Nonbelievers and Black Atheists of America, Blackout was inspired by last year’s Reason Rally:

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