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As a Christian and a user of software, every now and then I've come across a project or a piece of software that has one or a few Christian developers. On the occasions I find myself using a similar product, but one that doesn't have any Christians associated with it, I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't switch to that product, as a way of supporting those Christians.

I've been thinking about if for a long time, and I think there are a few more issues to consider than just the beliefs of the developers.

1. The Task At Hand

The first issue I think one needs to think of is the task at hand. What do you want to do? Make sure that the tool you choose isn't limiting what you do.

2. The Best Tool

Use the best tool for the job. This point might seem synonymous with the previous point, but it is slightly different. If you have a wide selection of software that looks like it'll do the job, select the best one. Don't be swayed for a particular tool because the lead developer is a Christian.

3. Software Is Not Spiritual

Software has no spiritual significance. It is neither good nor evil. It can be used for either, but that doesn't make it one or the other.

4. Promotion Of Beliefs Through Software

Are the developers promoting their beliefs through the software? I'm not only talking about Christian developers, I'm also talking about those who promote ungodly causes. You don't want your church using a piece of software that is being used to promote something that is wrong. I think there's also a case for not using software written by a Christian who is brash about his/her faith, causing more folks to reject the Gospel than accept it [1] The reputation of that developer and his/her software may damage your reputation.

5. God Requires Excellence

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Of course the point underlying most of my previous points is that God requires excellence from us. After all, everything we do is for the Lord in the end, so we should be doing things properly, even if they are for ourselves or our employers. Just because a piece of software has a Christian developer doesn't mean it's the best software for you.

Should I Use This Software?

The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Luke 16:8-9 NIV

Where possible, I certainly recommend using software developed by Christians. Let them know that you support their work and encourage them to continue. However, if there is better software for the task at hand, use that software rather. Pleasing and obeying God is far more important than pleasing man.

Footnotes:

[1]I take the train to work, and I see train preachers who do exactly this. They stand in the carriage and shout and scream, and I find it very hard to respect them because they're shoving the Gospel down people's throats. This only serves to drive the people further from the Gospel, making sure that those who might have stepped into a church some time decided now to never go near a church again. This is very sad, and unfortunately these preachers don't listen to reason either (I've tried!).

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