I want to talk about Christian rock.
I used to have a real big problem with it, and I still do to an extent. Especially with crap like Creed and Delirious? around. I mean, why do they have to be so preachy? Whenever I hear them or bands like them, I cringe. They’re like the musical equivalent of televangelists. Come on, wave your hands in the air and sing that you love Jesus! On every fucking song! Like he’s actually listening to you if he’s up there? Hah!
The thing is, thinking like this convinced me that anything tagged with the ‘Christian rock’ label belonged in the same boat.
“MxPx? They’re not pop-punk, they’re Christians.”
I mean, it’s hard enough searching your own self to decide what you believe in without being dictated to by a fucking rock band.
Maybe that was my problem; I was brought up a Catholic in a predominantly Catholic country, but a few years ago I realised that no, I shouldn’t believe this just because I was brought up this way. What makes me so special or different from a Protestant, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or an agnostic? After all, if I was born somewhere else, in a different time, I could be raised along the lines of any religious faith, or none at all.
In history class at school – back in the day – we learned about the Reformation, the splitting of the Church into the old-school Catholics and the protestant Luterans and so on and so forth. We read about came such groups as the Calvinists, with their whole predetermination thing – that those who get into Heaven are picked at birth, and get in regardless of how they’ve lived their lives, while everyone else is fucked, whatever they do. I mean who decided that this was the way? Was it God? Fuck no. Was it Jesus? No again. It was just some guy. How did the Reformation itself come to be? Because of some guy. There was nothing divine or miraculous about any of this; some guys just said stuff, and people believed them.
I thought about this a lot. If it could happen a few hundered years ago, who’s to say that it didn’t happen two thousand years ago or before? Maybe Jesus wasn’t the Son of God, maybe he was just some guy who wanted a better world and got turned into a legend by some nifty spin-doctoring? I mean, the Jews don’t believe he was the Son of God, and that just goes back to what I’ve already said here.
But you know, I felt bad about thinking this way. I felt like a lightning bolt was gonna strike me down and a deep voice would bellow: “How could you lose your faith in me?!” The old cliche of Catholic guilt, I guess.
Studying philosophy changed this for me. It helped me get a better handle on the myriad of contradictions that make up the world we live in. It also affected my attitude to religion. Philosophy is all about asking questions, challenging dogma and what has previously been held to be true, and in a way this is very anti-religion. But most of the world’s greatest philosophers were (are) deeply spiritual. Theology and philosophy go well together. It made me realise that I didn’t have to junk the whole idea of anyone having faith in a higher power just because I didn’t feel the same way. What’s my position? I’m not sure what I’d label myself as, agnostic maybe? (Better still, humanist.) But I’d rather not be pigeonholed. All I know is that organised religion is not my thing, and I can’t say in my heart-of-hearts that I know there’s a God up there somewhere, but I can’t honestly rule it out either.
In the meantime – since that’s something I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure while we’re still on this mortal coil – I want to live a good life. I say please and thank you. I leave the toilet seat down (and wash my hands after). If I find your change in a vending machine, I usually leave it, in case you come back. If you lend me your stuff I take good care of it. If I saw you get hit by a car, I’d call an ambulance (or at least make sure someone else did).
So what does this have to do with Christian rock? Well not much really, I kinda trailed off that track a while ago. I guess I came to a point where I was comfortable in what I believe in, and comfortable that others believe differently, and as a result I was able to open my eyes just that bit more and see things for what they really are.
Like Christian rock. Fuck Creed and Delirious? and all that shit. Most so-called Christian rock bands are just Christians who play rock music. Their brand of faith has about as much to do with their music as Ariel Sharon has to do with Yasser Arafat.
I no longer have a mental block about listening to a band or reading a book by someone with different beliefs to mine, whatever they may be. I guess this makes me a better person now.