Save Your iPod, Save Your Soul

Listening to the American Atheists' podcast

Listening to the Freethought Radio podcast

The hard drive in my four-year-old iPod died. I’ve been quite happy with this model, and I had no desire to spend a buttload of money on a fancy new iPod with more features than I need.

I looked around on the web and found several sites selling parts for anybody daring enough to risk breaking their iPod in an attempt to fix it. One of these sites is called iFixit. They have some do-it-yourself repair guides that make it look easy to attempt the fix. Elsewhere on their site, they had the 30 GB Toshiba hard drive I needed. Sweet! It looks like I’m set.

I looked at a few of the other pages on their site to try to find out a little more about this company. They had several links, such as “About Us”, “Link to Us”, “Press Releases”, and “Why?”. I assumed the “Why?” page would tell me why this company was so much better than the competition, and why I should buy from them. Uh, no. When I clicked it, here’s what I saw:

We can fix you, too!

Well, yes, my car needs new brakes. Somehow I don’t think they can help me with that. Sure enough, they weren’t interested in my brakes:

Bottom line? We believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and that He wants to know you personally.

Well, if he wants to drop by my house and fix my iPod, I’ll be happy to listen to what he has to say. I’m available Thursday evening. If he wants to fix my brakes, too, I won’t get in his way.

Jesus saves. And repairs, too!

In this image from the iFixit web site, we see what we
can only assume is the hand of Jesus fixing our laptop.

Clearly, you don’t have to agree with us. We wouldn’t imagine imposing our viewpoint on you.

So then what’s this page all about?

However, we think it would be equally wrong not to at least share the truth we know.

No. The Earth going around the sun is truth. “Jesus is Lord” is just an opinion.

Don’t take our word for it. If there is a source of Truth in this universe, it’s not us.

Believe me, there’s no risk that I’d take your word for it.

However, we’ve found significant evidence that the Bible is completely true.

Wow! Every last bit of it? Including the bit about the Earth being flat?

More importantly, where is this “significant evidence”? You’re strangely silent about the proof after claiming it exists.

Yes, we’re aware that’s a bold claim. Prove us wrong.

That’s not the way it works! You made the claim. You have to prove it’s true! Why is that such a hard concept to grasp?

My Dilemma

Until I found this page, I was ready to plunk down my money and buy their hard drive. After all, they provide great instructions on how to do the repair, and the drive is reasonably priced. However, I have an aversion to people mixing business and religion. Don’t lure me into your site with visions of hard drives and then pull a switcheroo and try to sell me visions of godhood.

To be fair, this page was tucked away in a corner of their site. There were no other indications anywhere else on the site that it was approved by Jesus. The whole thing was low key. Still, I found it annoying.

I decided to look around a bit more, just to make sure that iFixit really was the best place to get the drive.

Ultimately, I ended up buying a drive on eBay. There’s an eBay shop that was selling a new 30 GB drive for less than iFixit was selling a used one. I guess they shouldn’t have tried to sell me Jesus. They ended up not selling me anything.

Steve Jobs and his iPod

32 Responses to “Save Your iPod, Save Your Soul”

  1. Ed Says:

    This was a very nicely written post, thanks for taking the time to put down into words something I’ve been thinking / feeling for a long time. I’m amazed when I see superstition injected into matters like this. Whether passive or active, evangelizing has the purpose of hopefully leading to more converts and swelling the ranks which justifies their own irrational belief systems. If all the christians would keep their nonsense to themselves I’m confident the world would be a better place. They are certainly benefiting as a whole from the obvious fact that most christians have never read the bible, whether old or new testament. I myself avoid businesses that feel it necessary to inject religion into their customer transactions in any way. Thanks again!

  2. Dana Hunter Says:

    That’s a Christian site, all right: use a product you need to proselytize, and then charge you up the arse for inferior goods.

    It’s my firm stand that Christian businesses should advertise as such. It works better than the Better Business Bureau at telling me a company’s a bunch of arrogant shysters who’ll do nothing but lie through their teeth as they attempt to fleece me. I appreciate them letting me know.

  3. Gourmet Jesus Says:

    Jesus has girly hands.

  4. Parrotlover77 Says:

    There are many businesses around these parts down south who all share the same logo: that damn fish. I’m glad they make it SO obvious, so I know to avoid that mechanic, that plumber, that realtor, that karate center (remember: the christ kicks!), and that laundromat.

    I was joking around with my wife tonight after seeing like a million necklace pendants with crosses on them in a local department store that she should wear a pendant of an iron maiden, and when somebody asks her about it say, “oh this? it’s where my lord and savior, jesus christ, died for my sins… i wear this symbol to remind me of his sacrifice.” Then when they reply, “but he died on a cross” should could say, “DOH! You mean I’ve had it wrong all my life?!”

    (it’s even funnier when you remember that all Christians apparently think that non-christians simply have never heard about Jesus, as if that’s possible.)

  5. Meeee Says:

    Frankly, I’m just pleased to find out that Heaven has some wholesome extracurricular classes so I can learn some new skills, such as computer, laptop and iPod repair.

  6. wwyoud Says:

    Maybe since I live in the Bible Belt, I thought the way the store handled their faith was tasteful. It sounds like there was no evangelizing in the store itself; you’re the one who poked around and found it. Would you have ever known otherwise? I don’t like to support groups who’ll most likely use those profits for things I don’t support, but frankly, non-theists are a minority. We do need things from businesses, and I haven’t seen an atheist’s yellow pages yet. The site wasn’t screaming “Believer” with a symbol or worse from the homepage, yet if you wanted to know their religious views, you could find out. It’s not that different from an atheist business owner making comments in descriptions that clearly marked them as non-theist, or selling FSM t-shirts.

  7. Ron Britton Says:

    If you would have actually read my article, you would have seen this:

    To be fair, this page was tucked away in a corner of their site. There were no other indications anywhere else on the site that it was approved by Jesus. The whole thing was low key.

    It sounds like you’re the one with the attitude.

  8. Thomas Says:

    There’s a Xian themed gutter cleaning and roofing business in my neighborhood. Their logo features a man climbing up an italicized cross in the same manner as one climbs a ladder.

    I’m not really sure that’s an effective use of iconography.

    Moreover, since faith has precisely zero effect on one’s ability to install gutters, I’m going to go with they guy who stands on his work ethic and the quality of the materials he uses rather than on a prideful and exploitive show of religion.

  9. Troy Says:

    This is a very thought provoking blog entry. I suppose if I thought I knew the way to eternal life and thought I had a personal relationship with the creator of the universe I’d want to share it. I value the fact I live in a place where I can follow my own instincts about such matters. To that end, while I don’t follow their beliefs and I’m not in any way persuaded, it doesn’t affect their ability to make a good product.
    My mother is always exclaiming about how you can trust someone if they are a good Christian man or business, like it is some sort of real seal like they have for dairy products. I have no doubt these are good businesses but it has nothing to do with their religion.
    At any rate it is best to avoid politics or religion if you’re a merchant. Don’t give anyone fodder to pay more somewhere else.

  10. Gordon Stefanik Says:

    Wonderful post and Bay of Fundie is one of my daily watering holes.

    My dream come true was when I permanently moved to Thailand many years ago, where proselytizing is actually against the law, or at least the door knocking kind. The occasional small groups of jesus freaks are still to be seen on various street corners here in Chiang Mai, attempting to peddle their religious wares. Unfortunately for them most Thai people are just not interested.

  11. Brian Says:

    About a year ago a new Chick-Fil-A frachise opened near where I work. They were handing out free sandwiches at first to gain attention, and I did think they were at least fairly tasty. However, thanks to their relentless pimping for Jesus, they will never see me in their restaurant. The same goes for Domino’s, but at least there I can say with absolute certainty that they also have the shittiest pizza in human history.

    A while back we received our Dayton, OH Christian blue pages. I found it to be a handy guide in avoiding giving money to their corrupt enterprise. I didn’t think of it so much as a “do business with us because we’re god-fearing Christians and would therefore never do you wrong” kind of attempt to reach out to the community at large as it was a “hey fellow Christians, you don’t have to frequent those secular businesses anymore that send all of their profits to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU!”. Christians in America have a knack for being quite insulated and xenophobic (or perhaps “theophobic”?). As we all know, any mingling with non-Christians is an open invitation for Satan to get his dirty claws on your soul.

    If nothing else, having Christians shopping at Christian businesses helps keep the proselytizers out of my face, which is always a good thing.

  12. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Chik-Fil-A I get because of that annoying holier-than-thou guilt-ridden “closed on Sundays because we’re good Christians and you’re not – why are you NOT in church you heathen trying to get a chicken sandwich on a Sunday” sign, but Dominos? I don’t order from their often (however their cheese bread is greasy heart-clogging awesomeness), but I can’t say I’ve ever seen any proselytizing from them. Or was it just some local franchise that was being annoying?

  13. Ron Britton Says:

    From Wikipedia:

    Tom Monaghan is one of the founders of Domino’s, and while he is no longer involved with the running of the corporation, the company has come under fire because of Monaghan’s financial support of fundamentalist Christian pro-life religious and political organizations, such as Operation Rescue and the Thomas More Law Center. This prevalence to fundamentalist Christian political causes was referenced in the movie Reality Bites where a character references Domino’s connection to Operation Rescue, a fundamentalist Christian political activist group.

  14. George Says:

    Wow. I just ordered some parts to rebuild my old iPod Mini, and I came “this close” to ordering some from them. I didn’t even know about the Jesus connection, I just found the parts I needed cheaper elsewhere. Now, I’m even gladder that I shopped around!

  15. Parrotlover77 Says:

    That’s a pretty loose connection for Dominos… I mean I don’t fancy Monaghan’s views and all, but if he’s not even involved with the company anymore, I don’t really see how it compares with Chick-Fil-A’s annoying in-your-face “don’t work on the sabbath, you heaven scum” attitude. Well either way, I rarely order from Dominos… It’s just not that great. lol. Now Z-Pizza on the other hand. If I found out they were fundie, I’d cry!

  16. Ron Britton Says:

    That’s a pretty loose connection for Dominos

    I agree. It was true at one time, but I don’t see how patronizing them now has any negative consequence.

    Z-Pizza must be local to your area.

  17. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Z is a chain, but a very new small chain. They have stores mostly in Cali and then in a few other isolated places, like in my town. It is so good… and low fat to boot!

  18. ericsan Says:

    The Monaghan’s connection is a lot less remote than Domino’s would have you believe. He’s still a major shareholder, so anything you do to support the business ends up benefitting him.
    Besides, they sell artery clogging garbage that’s best avoided.
    Do you want delicious, healthy pizza? Make it yourself. http://www.bbcamerica.com/content/257/mckeith7.jsp

  19. wwyoud Says:

    Re: Britton’s comment, “It sounds like you’re the one with the attitude.”
    What did I say to cause such a reaction? It wasn’t “attitude”, just a comment on the article, which I clearly did read. I thought the point of allowing comments was to foster discussion, not to become a target.

  20. Ron Britton Says:

    I’m sorry if it appeared to be an overreaction. The way your comment was written, it seemed like you were criticizing me for refusing to patronize a Christian business. That is not what I said or implied.

  21. ericsan Says:

    @Brian: Thanks for the Chick-Fil-A info. I had no idea they were such retards. http://chick-fil-a.com/?#closedonsundays

    Tough shit if you’re a Jew, I guess. I can never understand why these people feel compelled to make such a big deal about their beliefs. I suppose by wwyoud’s standards it’s a “tastefully done” statement… To me, it really reeks.

  22. Parrotlover77 Says:

    ericsan – but artery clogging garbage tastes oh so good and making homemade pizza crust takes so long. i have a great recipe, but it takes a minimum of 5 hours to make.

    (either way I rarely patronize Dominos if for no other reason than they have no coupons online when EVERY one of their competitors DOES. I’ll be damned if I’m payin full price for a pizza! greedy christians! 😉 )

  23. Parrotlover77 Says:

    No offense, ericsan, but that pizza recipe you linked to doesn’t really sing to me. lol. Maybe i’m just too “american” and need my grease quotient (or an approximation thereof — I do like low-fat cheese and morningstar/boca/quorn meat substitutes, for example). Zuchinni and sweet potato pizza? Screw that! Give me them thar freedom fries son! 😉

  24. wwyoud Says:

    It did sound like you decided not to buy from FixIt; you were “ready to plunk down my money and buy their hard drive” but ended up going elsewhere after finding their statement of beliefs. I don’t much care for those who blaze their symbols, either, although most I’ve done business with also had very good reputations for their work. They are rarely my first choice, because they often spend a lot of their profits on religious institutions that I don’t support, and I don’t want to find one who simply MUST determine if I’m saved or not. I used to live in a small town with only one vacuum repair shop; when I need that service, I ended up being harassed because I made the mistake of answering his questions truthfully about my soul. 🙂 I ended up buying a new vacuum elsewhere.

    That said, many of these religious people that I know also use their money on services I do support – giving to food banks, helping elderly folks with their yard work and home repairs, checking on the needy in their area after bad storms, supporting public school programs – all without a requirement that those helped hold the same beliefs. My 50 cents of that total is hardly worth an extra hour or two trying to find a non-religious business in most cases. I think that just because they are doing what their faith says-advertise!-is not a good reason to automatically refuse to do business with them. Besides, how can we know that the unmarked places we shop at aren’t virulently fundie? The woman answering the phone, the man working in the warehouse…

  25. Ron Britton Says:

    wwyoud:

    My objection is just to the people who find it necessary to push their religion onto others. I don’t see why they feel compelled to have that page on their site. But like I said in the article, it was low key. It’s not like some places I’ve been to, which blaze their fish and Bible quotes on every page.

    All things being equal, I will patronize the place that isn’t trying to convert me, even politely. I’m not going to boycott the Christian business. It’s just one of many factors I consider when making a choice. In fact, if iFixit had been significantly cheaper, I would have bought from them anyway. When I saw that page on their site, I decided to spend another ten minutes just to see if there was another option.

    how can we know that the unmarked places we shop at aren’t virulently fundie?

    That’s why I don’t weigh the Jesus marking too heavily.

  26. Jeremy White Says:

    Chik-fil-a has never seemed overly religious to me. I’ve never seen or heard anyone talk about god or religion. They some tasty chicken, especially the All-You-Can-Eat Tuesdays in my area. I haven’t been to their website though. I won’t patronize a business that flaunts their religion like a badge of honor but if the owners personally find it a sin for them to work on Sunday and it’s their business, so that’s fine. I wouldn’t ask them to do something against their religious beliefs. I won’t be offended by others peoples beliefs if they don’t force it on me.

    On a related note, my work team was looking to hire a new web developer. A candidate’s portfolios consisted of a lot of church websites. Fine by me. Then I found his own small business website. He made it abrasively clear that he was Christian and his main life goal was to convert people. I followed a big link on that site to his Christ blog which talked about his adventures in converting people. Someone so willing to put their personal agenda in their work is not someone I needed to deal with.

    He probably wants to work with someone christian, so I was happy to let him find a more suitable employer.

  27. Brian Says:

    In a somewhat related story, I just read that the American Family Association, led by the verminous Donald Wildmon, is now boycotting McDonald’s because they recently donated $20K to some lesbian and gay organization. They’ve gone a while without a good gay-bashing boycott, so I suppose they’re overdue.

    This creates something of a dilemma for me. I love their breakfast bagels, but I refrain from eating them because they will one day kill me. On the other hand, if I hit the drive-through tomorrow morning, I’m contributing in my own small way to something that pisses people like the AFA off, and maybe that in itself is worth the risk to my arteries.

    What am I worried about? McDonald’s will more than likely cave in to these pious fucks and that’ll remove any incentive to ingest their “food”.

  28. Parrotlover77 Says:

    First Disney, now McDonalds. Pretty soon those fundies won’t have any places to drop off their kids while they lament the fact that they aren’t allowed to use condoms.

  29. TomDem55 Says:

    Yes, I stumbled over their jesus is a computer web page, I liked their do it yourself stuff, and their prices, but they lost me when they went religion on me, what has that to do with computers, I mean does the bible have a section on computer repair??

  30. LadyRavana Says:

    In this business’ defense: at least that link was tucked away in a quiet corner of their website, rather than displaying it all over the place loudly and obnoxiously…so, while the site may have a Christian bent, I wouldn’t necessarily call them fundie. They didn’t seem to be actively proselytizing, although I will admit that it is kinda sneaky. Underhanded proselytizing?

    Just my thoughts.

    But then again…on the flip side, they might be trying to hoodwink sheeple into buying their product, and charging a higher price for it. “Hey, this is a good Christian company! I’ll buy from them! They share my beliefs, yay!”

    When one can easily go to a secular site and buy the same thing, for like 10 bucks cheaper, as you did Ron.

  31. Chuck Says:

    I probably would’ve purchased it from them, if it was cheapest. Good thing it wasn’t the cheapest available. Ultimately, though, the profit from the sale goes to Toshiba, a Japanese company, and, if the threat of donations to religious enterprises by big businesses keeps you up at night, rest assured that Japan is the most atheistic country in the known world.

    Besides, I highly doubt a company of geeks is rife with religious affiliation…so, although you chose to go with eBay (which, a priori, might seem to be a good choice – but did you consider the likelihood of eBay being founded by fundies?), I probably would’ve just bought theirs, knowing that their pitiful little religion wasn’t getting the majority of my money, despite their little “Buy Jesus” ad.

  32. Nate Says:

    VaxTex repairs iPods and other small electronics – though i think they mostly advertise iPod repair. They do offer free two-way shipping within NY state and free return shipping in all other states. They respond quickly to emails and are always polite.