Charles Moore's Mailbag

The Steve Jobs on Living and Dying Letters

Charles Moore - 2005.06.29 - Tip Jar

Note: I was pleasantly surprised that most of the email response to my commentary on Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement address was so positive. My intent was to spark some constructive thinking about an important topic that will ultimately affect all of us, and I am delighted that most seem to have received it in that context. - Tip Jar

Words of Faith

From Jim:

Dear Charles,

For many years I've enjoyed LEM. Your Ramblings regarding Steve's commencement speech was particularly touching. I agree with you entirely: Death is the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. Thank you for your courage in in sharing your faith with your readers - that, too, is a cultural taboo which you fecklessly and happily violate. And I applaud you for that.

Me? I'm a Buddhist in the tradition of the Dalai Lama. Being raised an agnostic, it's somewhat ironic that my Buddhist practice is finally what taught me to love Lord Jesus with all my heart. On one level, there is no conflict among faiths - there are only those who truly practice their faiths and those who give it lip-service. You seem to me to be of the former - your faith comes through your words like the scent of roses in the next room. Thanks for all you do.

Peace be with you, Sir.


Hi Jim,

Thank you for your kind comments. I'm happy that you were touched by my essay. I expect that if we sat down each other over a cup of tea, we could have a stimulating and mutually beneficial discussion. I'm reminded of something that Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: "I love all religions, but I am in love with my own." Words to live by.

Scent of roses? I'm truly humbled. I'm just a poor sinner who tries to live as Christ and his Church teach, with mixed success.

Peace be with you as well,

Not All Will Die

From James Johnson:

"Steve Jobs was (forgive me) dead right about one thing: Everyone still has to die."

Not so. Not all will die. Some will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Even Enoch may not have tasted death.

Speculate all you want, but there is no scriptural basis for saying that he must die.

I enjoyed your writing.

James Johnson

Hi James,

The Bible doesn't say that Enoch didn't die, but that "Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him" (Gen. 5:24)

It also states: "all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty-five years" (Gen. 5:23) which more than implies that Enoch's days came to an end, which in turn implies death. Presumably the same would apply to persons taken up in the Rapture.

There's an interesting discussion of this topic here: <>

Jesus also said: "No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man" (John 3:13)

And in Hebrews 9:27: "It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment."

Thanks for your comment, which sent me digging, and thanks for reading.


Well Said

From Kent Barnes:

Well written piece on "Steve Jobs on Living and Dying".

You have obviously used your Divinely given talents well. May our God bless you in all things.

Kent Barnes

Thanks for the thumbs-up Kent, and back at you.


Steve Jobs' Lutheran Roots

From Kristian Bjornstad:


Thank you for your comments on death and dying.

I have heard that Steve Jobs was baptized and/or confirmed in the Lutheran Church. Being a Lutheran pastor, I don't know whether to be glad or sad about that fact! It would seem from his comments that there isn't much vestige of the Gospel in his thinking, but one could hope that something good from Sunday School, any worship experience, and his Confirmation classes might be starting to well up from the depths of his memories - more so with some encouragement from a current Christian witness.

We can pray!

Kristian Bjornstad

Hi Pastor Bjornstad,

Yes, prayer is always the most we can do.

At least Steve is thinking seriously about mortality.

Plato held that life properly lived is a preparation for eternity:

"Confined in the body as in a prison . . . the soul seeks its pristine sphere of pure rationality by pursuing the philosophic life, by thinking the universal, by loving and living according to reason. The bodily life is but an episode in the eternal career of the soul, which precedes birth and proceeds after death. Life in the flesh is a trial and a probation; death, the release and the return to the soul's destiny; to another term of probation, or to the realm of pure reason."

St. Athanasius, who made such great contributions to Christian doctrine, was a student of Plato. Plato's ideas, like those of Aristotle (viz. St. Thomas Aquinas), have had considerable Influence on the development of Christian philosophy. There is also strong Platonic influence in C.S. Lewis's novel about hell and the afterlife, The Great Divorce.

Perhaps if Steve can somehow synergize his philosophical ruminations about death with the seeds sown in his Christian experiences as a youth, who knows?


Really Enjoyed It

From Michelle Mentzer:

Great article - really enjoyed it. I am a Mac addict living in Italy, and a friend emailed me the link. I will return to the site often. Good to see the openness about Christianity and the frankness with which it was presented. I am a Christian as well, and am finding the walk to be ever challenging and wonderful.

Have a great week,

Michelle Mentzer Ed.D.

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for your kind comments, both about my article and about Low End Mac.

Blessings on your journey,

Instant Access

From Thomas J. Zimmer:

Hello Charles,

Thank you for this commentary. As a Christian, it warms my heart when fellow Christians stand up for what they believe.

I attend a very small church in Round Rock Texas, and we have been learning for a couple of years now how to live as a branch in the vine of Christ. I have previously emailed Dan Knight about our Instant Access radio programs on this subject, and I would like to also share them with you. We are learning how to experience God's joy in our lives even in the midst of difficult circumstances. We are learning how to be a bright light into the world as Christ lives out his life through us.

There have been 14 episodes of the radio program so far, and they are all downloadable from our website:

Each program is 24 minutes and around 3.5 MB. Please feel free to distribute either the Web link or the individual files as far and wide as you like. By the way, I am not the speaker on the programs, although his name is Tom - Tom Schoeneck actually.

Thanks again for standing up and being counted,
Tom Zimmer

Hi Tom,

Thank you for your comments, and for the radio transcript link.

Jesus said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:33-34)

Something every Christian would do well to ponder.


Of course, as Abe Lincoln observed, you can't please all of the people all of the time.

Farewell to LEM

From Christy:

It is also unsurprising that our culture's repressed fear and dread of death often resurfaces in destructive and dysfunctional modalities, ironically a "culture of death" (as Pope John Paul II called it). Many contemporary sociocultural phenomena - abortion, euthanasia, teen suicide, and violent entertainment - are essentially death-cults, attempts to facilitate an illusion of control over human destiny. But the more we deny our sinful and morally compromised human condition, the tighter a grip sin, evil, and delusion exert on us.

I wonder if even you know what this is supposed to mean. This is classic. You've put all of the elements of US-brand Christian dogma into these few sentences: pomp and ambiguity with a dash of the insulting. Nice mixture. You had managed to make the article fairly neutral up until the above paragraph. But then, when you get the bit in your teeth, there's no stopping you from chomping, I suppose.

I've had issue in the past with your grasp of technical problems as well as your understanding of the industry in general. I guess it comes as no great surprise that your grasp in other areas is also lacking. Before today, I only read your articles to glean new information while having to disregard the misinterpretations and technical inadequacies. Now I can mark LEM off of my reading list entirely. Thanks!


Hi Christy,

Thank you for your eloquent, enlightened, and tolerant commentary. Truly an inspiration.

I happen to be Canadian, but dogma is either Christian or it is not - nationality has nothing to do with it. And if it really is Christian, it's nothing to be ashamed of or apologize for. I thank God for American Christians, who put most of the rest of the developed world to shame in terms of fearlessly witnessing Christ, but you can't blame me on them.

I don't believe it is possible to be "neutral" on these particular issues, but even if it were for argument's sake, wishy-washy neutrality is nothing I would aspire to. Rather, fairness, honesty, and good will without compromising or fudging principles. "I don't care" is hardly a noble or commendable stance on serious moral issues, and "live and let live" falls by default on the side of permissiveness rather than restraint, and therefore is really capitulation to liberal license - not "neutrality."

But for liberal humanists, of which I'm taking a wild guess that you are one, the phenomenon of well-educated and intelligent people deliberately opposing policies, theories, and hobby-horses that the left regards as promoting the unequivocal common good amounts to an intellectual puzzle at best, and more likely a moral outrage.

And it's so much easier just to shoot the messenger than to confront the challenge of the message.

Ergo, your broad brush ad hominem critique of my general intelligence and insight, well beyond the topic at hand. So typical. Surely no one gullible and unsophisticated enough to actually believe the Christian Gospel could possibly have a lucid and analytical grasp of much of anything.

Bon voyage,

Letters sent may be published at our discretion. Email addresses will not be published unless requested. If you prefer that your message not be published, mark it "not for publication." Letters may be edited for length, context, and to match house style.

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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