Note: no one in any of the pictures is either me or my wife.
In 2005 my wife, Sarah, needed a new computer. Sitting here in 2010 I cannot remember what it was that influenced our decision to allow a paradigm shift to take place in our lives wherein she set sail from our happy home in the world of PC and embarked on the Mac Journey. Still a PC user, I could liken this to the story of what happened to Eve and her “apple” (I know, i know the scripture doesn’t specify), but the difference is that this Adam (me) doesn’t eat forbidden fruit (at least not when it comes to computers). What happened in her life was indeed something like a microcosm of a conversion experience. Suddenly, we both had ipods instead of traditional mp3 players (OK, so I nibbled). She also started buying software for her Apple that wouldn’t work on my PC. It changed the way she worked, shopped, communicated and browsed online. Even though I had been raised in the faith (from 6th through 12th grade my school used Apples) the new addition to her life seemed strange to me. The cursor didn’t even look the same. It’s amazing how changing a computer is so similar to changing a world-view. Nevertheless, as the years went on she began to slip further into the cult of apple (relax. I’m just making a point). She began to make fun of my computer. She started wanting to go to church. . . I mean the Apple Store, and every time I had a computer problem she would say, “If you only had a Mac.” Honestly, the same computer she got in 2005 is amazingly still running fine. It has never had a virus or major technical problem despite having been repeatedly dropped, stepped on and drenched in water. What’s the point?
In thirty years’ time (it was started in 1976), the congregation of Apple disciples has grown from 0 to millions causing them to be despised by many outside of their ranks. Surely, there are many who would love to see great harm come to the company itself. Similarly, from the time of the events surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion, the church had grown to the point that the Roman tyrant Nero felt the need to persecute them. In 64 A.D. a massive fire destroyed much of Rome. Most historians feel that Nero himself caused the fire and blamed it on the Christians. From this, persecutions began, involving the violent and bloody deaths of many believers. Paul was likely one of the martyrs. The rapid growth of the church, which prompted unease on the part of Nero, took place in no more than 30-35 years. Why am I drawing this parallel?
It is partly to give you a living, modern example of what it would have been like in the first century to see a group rising to dominance quite swiftly because of something that they collectively believed in with great passion. Obviously, Apple Computers is no actual parallel to the glory of God and the eternal value of the body of Christ. Steve Jobs cannot offer you personal salvation(John 3:16), spiritual and cognitive renewal (Romans 12:2) or a fellowship that is rooted in the reality of God. Moreover, any persecution that Apple fanatics face has more to do with not being able to access a certain app for their exclusivist iphone than it does with being thrown to lions. Nevertheless, you get the idea. Yet, there is a more potent point I wish to make which is somewhat apologetic in nature.
If there had never been an apple computer built, logo designed, software written or advertisement bought do you think there would even be one Apple Computers fanatic in the world today? Of course not. The reason there are Apple Computer fanatics is because there really was a first Apple built. Moreover, followers of Apple have really had their lives changed, not by something subjective, but real. They really have witnessed the positive aspects of a paradigm-shift in the history of computers, music and phones. For this reason there are millions of Apple-ites in the world today. If the early church grew in a similar fashion during the same amount of time (30-35 years) why did it happen? I submit to you that it is because there really was a Jesus, who really did all the things that the gospels claim about Him. He really did claim to be divine. He died on a cross and rose again in demonstration of those claims. That is why these first-century believers were willing to go to their deaths in unimaginable ways. They really had seen it with their own eyes. If there is any question about this, 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8 explains, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared to me also.” Even atheist New Testament scholars recognize that 1 Corinthians was written by Paul in the 50s A.D. and that this passage contains a creedal statement which goes back even further than that. In another post perhaps I will take more time and show how it is that we can know people were claiming he was dead, buried and risen almost immediately after the events. The fact is, just as the rapid growth of Apple Computers demonstrates that there really is something real going on here, so the rapid growth of the early church strongly counts in favor of the truth of the gospels.
It should be mentioned that I would never use this argument in a debate, or as a primary means of defending the faith. Nevertheless, I have always felt that the spread of the body of Christ in the first century, including the willingness of believers to die grueling deaths is a powerful indication that they really believed in their claims. I realize other faiths (such as Islam) also spread quickly at their inception, but there exist striking differences. Just know that you have a legacy in the Christian faith that is rich and powerful. In fact, we should spread our faith with great passion out of appreciation for those who died to deliver it to us. They are our spiritual ancestors.
Our old Apple from 2005 (which Sarah lovingly refers to as Grandpa) is still kicking. it’s cord has been held together by duct-tape and until we replaced the battery it would die if you looked at it funny, but it’s hanging on. Yet, in the future Apple will surely disappear in the dust of some new Company and operating system (how do I know? Call me an Apple doomsday prophet). I myself no longer use Windows or Mac, but Ubuntu. All human empires ultimately fall. This was a clear implication of Augustine’s City of God. However, the church of Jesus Christ will remain forever.
This website was created on a Mac:)