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Steve Jobs on God: Did Cancer Make Him a Believer?

Steve Jobs, the genius behind the multi-billion dollar Apple consumer electronics company, was thinking more about the existence of God and the afterlife before his untimely death at 56, according to a biography of his life that was released Monday.

Jobs was never known to be particularly spiritual or devout, especially when it came to the more popular religions, although he did claim to lean towards Buddhism.

During one Stanford commencement address, he said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”

Cancer would ultimately force Jobs to reexamine his stance with mortality, faith, and healing, however.

In 2003, the creative mastermind was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Instead of having the recommended surgery, Jobs tried a variety of alternative treatments, including a special macrobiotic diet, acupuncture, and sequencing the DNA of his tumor to design Jobs-specific medication. The treatments were purported to cost around $100,000, according to the biography Steve Jobs.

Eventually, because he was “wasting away,” Jobs had the liver transplant necessary to save his life, according to Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson. Coincidentally, like the development of Apple’s products, the procedure was kept secret.

Because the cancer had already metastasized to the surrounding tissue, Jobs regretted his choice to avoid the transplant for so long.

In the face of an uncertain future, Jobs opened up to Isaacson about his thoughts on God.

“Sometimes I believe in God, sometimes I don’t. I think it’s 50-50 maybe,” Jobs is quoted in Steve Jobs as saying. “But ever since I’ve had cancer, I’ve been thinking about it more. And I find myself believing a bit more. I kind of-maybe it’s cause I want to believe in an afterlife. That when you die, it doesn’t just all disappear. The wisdom you’ve accumulated. Somehow it lives on.”

Jobs battled pancreatic cancer for almost eight years before finally succumbing. This is even more significant considering the one year survival rates for most victims is 25 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the face of Jobs’ sickness and subsequent death, feelings about Apple’s future were unclear.

However, Apple stock and sales - especially since the release of the iPhone 4S on October 14 - have been strong as the company recovers.

Jobs told CNN in 2008, “I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble,’… but there are really capable people at Apple… My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.”

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