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Mac Haters, Meet Anti-Catholics

January 21, 2011

A few days ago, Andrew Sullivan described Apple Stores as having the “innovation and beauty” that a “renewed Christianity would muster in its churches, if it hadn’t collapsed in a welter of dogma and politics.” As a fellow Mac enthusiast and liberal Roman Catholic, I couldn’t agree more.

I was amused this morning by this Dish reader’s reply, which sought to deny Apple’s status as a “secular Church.” To my mind, at least, the reader’s criticisms only strengthened Sullivan’s point. I mean, the analogy is a bit ridiculous to begin with — but let’s run with it. Suppose I substitute words like “the Catholic Church” and “Roman Catholics” each time the Dish reader uses “Apple” and “Apple users,” and vice versa. What results is (with a few edits) as follows:

You disappoint me with your praise for the Catholic Church. If anything, the Church seeks to brainwash . . . Apple products are designed to bring a sense of warmth and spirituality and mysticism; the Catholic Church is sterile and smug. Catholic Churches look like a room out of the Death Star more than an Apple Store or a place I would want to worship.

What galls me the most about the Catholic Church is their slogan — “A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience.” This is as Orwellian as it gets, considering that customization is the enemy of all things Roman Catholic.

They want complete control over all religious believers at all times. If you need God, you can only get him from The Catholic Church . . . I come back to the evil empire again because it truly is what The Catholic Church most resembles.

What’s worse about the slogan is that I’ve never encountered such groupthink as I do with Roman Catholics. Everything The Church teaches about faith and morals is infallible. No questions asked. When you suggest there might be some issues such as pedophilia, you are completely shot down. Criticism is not allowed in the house of Benedict XVI (as proven by its recent attempts to censor any and all critics).

Finally, we get to the worst of it: Roman Catholics tend to think that the Church cares about them. They think of the Church as their friend, far more than just an organization that wants their money.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Warren permalink
    January 22, 2011 8:23 pm

    I read that yesterday and couldn’t help but agree that Apple’s stores feel more like the inside of a Star Destroyer than a church of any denomination. I understand there are Apple worshipers and the entire cult-like attitude of these Mac-pod-pad folks but seriously, every Apple store I’ve ever entered is more like a vacuous white room (like the sun rooms Scandinavian’s use) than what I picture being a spiritual place of worship for Catholics. By the way, the Daily Dish is awesome… thanks for the heads up.

  2. innocentsmithjournal permalink*
    January 23, 2011 5:14 pm

    Personally, I’m a big fan of the Apple Store aesthetic. But to each his own, I guess.

    Glad to hear you like the Dish!

  3. Warren permalink
    January 23, 2011 7:01 pm

    I don’t dislike the aesthetic, I mean it’s very clean and nice, with minimal clutter I just feel that the comparison to Catholic sanctuaries might be more philosophical (it’s devotees) than physical. I think of sanctuaries as darkly lit with the primary light coming in naturally through stained glass. Apple stores conversely colors it’s stores only through the windows of their screens, not via the surroundings. A clever marketing/design scheme but less beautiful than the spiritual settings of most churches I’ve been to.

    • innocentsmithjournal permalink*
      January 23, 2011 8:46 pm

      Right, well that’s classic Sullivan hyperbole. As I mentioned in the post, the comparison is ludicrous to begin with. No serious person would put the Apple Store aesthetic on par with, say, the Chartes Cathedral. (Though I think the case could be made that many Apple devotees surpass Roman Catholics in fervor.)

      The more striking comparison, to my mind, is the type of reaction Apple and the Catholic Church gets from their respective enemies — a reaction I find amusing in the case of the former and obnoxious (though at times warranted) in the case of the latter.

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