In what may read like an article from the Onion, an atheist has found a way to earn a comfortable living selling the Bible. Trevor McKendrick, a self-described atheist, got the idea to create and sell a Spanish Bible app at a family dinner two years ago. McKendrick was inspired when he learned that a relative raked in $10,000 a month from selling apps online and decided to create one himself so he could pay rent.
McKendrick found a lack of quality Spanish Bible apps and, after investing $500, he launched his own high quality version.”It turns out that most of the Spanish Bible apps out there are really bad. (I should point out there are a few exceptions to this from competitors that I admire)”
He quickly discovered that there was a huge market for his product and brought in $1,400. After revising the app, he earned $6,000 a month. One year later, his Bible app was earning him a net sum of $100,000 annually. While McKendrick has far surpassed his goal, he has no plans of stopping anytime soon.
“My hypothesis was three fold: (1) Whoever was making Spanish Bibles right now was making decent money, (2) I could make a better Spanish Bible app relatively cheaply, and (3) the competition wasn’t too heavy so I’d still be able to be found.”
McKendrick himself was born and raised in a Mormon household and even got married in the temple — a high honor — but left the church after he discovered that he no longer believed in the teachings. He told Alex Blumberg of the StartUp Podcast that as an atheist, he does feel some guilt about selling the Bible.
“What if you sold ‘Harry Potter‘ books or ‘Lord of the Rings‘ books, but you told people it was real? And you told people if they would just learn how to write spells themselves, they could heal their children? And if you sold that as a real thing? I would feel terrible about that.”
Despite his own moral objections, the income from the Bible app is too great for him to stop selling the app. In fact, he plans on using the money to fund his business ventures, which includes creative consulting.
Sometimes, the app users send him prayer requests and ask him to interpret the Bible for them. “They think I’m a preacher,” he told Alex Blumberg, host of the StartUp podcast, adding “If you’re emailing the maker of an app to get help for your son, you’re probably not a in a great spot. Trading that for profit weighs on me a little bit.”
“I am selling this thing I truly believe is fiction, but other people are trying to use [it] and mold their lives to fix large and small problems.”
McKendrick is not alone in making huge profits from the Bible with questionable practices. Recently, Alex Malarkey revealed that his best selling book, The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven, was a fabrication.
Do you think it’s ethical for an atheist to earn a living from the Bible or is it simply the free market at work?