If he isn’t, he certainly sounds like he’s on the road to becoming one in this lifetime
Wow, I knew he was Christian, but not that Christian.
Now that I recall, Victor Reppert back in 2005 (and maybe recently in a repost somewhere?) mentioned that Bono liked to make use of the Lewis Trilemma–a respondent replied that U2 likes to make use of the Screwtape Letters, too.
Jason, believe me, Bono is in many ways a far “better” Christian than most of us, certainly myself. I’ve read a lot of stuff about him and U2, and have gone through stages of rejecting everything they were about as unChristian and then the opposite extreme. The video clip for Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me Kill Me has Bono walking along a road reading The Screwtape Letters. That intrigued me. Then I read him explain how in his shows he used to get some woman up on the stage to dance with him during one of their songs. Anyway, one time, during the Zooropa tours, this woman started peeling off all his makeup (The MacPhisto stuff). She’s ripping it off and saying (all this is on stage in front of thousands of people by the way!) to him “What are you doing?!?! You’re supposed to be Christian but all your songs have stopped being “Christian songs”. And now you’re even dressing up as a devil.” Bono realises he has some explaining to do, so he asks her whether she’s read Screwtape Letters (I’m pretty sure it was that; it might have been Ecclesiastes), she says yes. He says “You know how everything’s topsy turvy, black is white, up is down?” She says yes. He tells her that that’s what they’ve been doing.
Having read that, I took another look at the songs on Achtung Baby (which was their biggest apparent departure from “the real U2”, and saw that he was spot on. If anything, the songs were far better and more thought-provoking than before. Before it was quite overt in some of them (eg. Sunday Bloody Sunday “to claim the victory Jesus won”), but U2 realised they were being ignored because no-one likes to be preached at. So they completely changed their modus operandi so that they could couch the same message in different ways.
Personally, I think Bono has done phenomenally well to have the witness of being married to the same woman the whole time, despite all the temptations that must come his way. And I think he’s decided that he’s fabulously rich (which he is!) and believes firmly that God’s call on us is to work with God in bringing about the kingdom Jesus talked about. He sees his role as being able to have influence with politicians to deal with the horrendous stuff in Africa. So that’s what he’s devoted his last few years to. Before that, it was Ireland and their peace process.
Somehow, through it all, U2 have managed to consistently retain and grow their fanbase, despite being required to couch their songs in terms that Christians would understand (eg. Grace, Stand Up Comedy) while still appealing to non-Christians.
I highly recommend reading the book Alex quoted from. It finally puts rest to any thoughts that Bono is “backsliding” or has “lost the faith”.
That’s extremely encouraging. Yeah, I didn’t know much about his faith, either. I thought perhaps he was somewhat nominally Christian, but I really didn’t know. That’s pretty freakin’ awesome! I love that we have a true brother in him!
Yeah, most definitely. Not that I want to be an apologist for Bono(!) but I find it helpful to ask myself how exactly I would behave if I a) had the wealth he has, b) had the fame he has, c) was prone to believing I was someone special because people screamed at me when I walked onto a stage.
Some songs/lyrics worth looking into for any who want some confirmation, or at least food for thought are
Mysterious Ways (near the end they sing “Spirit moves in mysterious ways” and it becomes clear the whole song has been about coming to the end of yourself “if you wanna kiss the sky, you better learn how to kneel”])
Until the end of the world (pretty overt song culminating in Judas receiving the grace and forgiveness that Jesus offers him)
Acrobat (Bono sings about his hypocritical nature “I must be an acrobat to talk like this and act like that”)
The first time (3 verses each of which talks about one member of the Trinity)
The wanderer (sung by Johnny Cash)
Wake up dead man (not for the faint-hearted! I don’t actually have this song on my list because I don’t particularly like it. The premise seems to be him pleading with God to wake up, and calling God a “dead man”. This song apparently caused some death threats to be made to Bono, when people presumed he was saying “God is dead”. What he’s doing, though, is being like David the Psalmist sometimes was in crying out to God to act, and “do something”.)
When I look at the world (close to their best song ever, in my opinion)
All Because of You (again, pretty overt)
One step closer
Stand up comedy (love this song!)
Dude, I’ll have to check those out. I don’t have enough U2 in my life, heheh. That’s just what I thought about Wake Up Dead Man before I read your own explanation.
I have this friend who loves that band. She says that their concerts feel like worship services in a sense.
When I read the interview text to my Mom, she was pretty impressed, too!
Like me, she knew he claimed to be some kind of Christian, but thought he was some New Age pantheist whose religion is ultimately about himself.
I guess I should sympathize with the difficulties involved in being indirect so as to get the themes of the message across to an audience that might otherwise reject it, considering I’m a Christian fantasy author whose apparent Christology (especially in the first book) might look wildly liberal.
(And not by accident, since part of the thematic design of the series is to follow out Lewis’ observation that even though people say that they want a watered-down Christ, not a King and Lord Most High, even the most milk-and-water figure of Christ is hot enough to boil our ideas about ourselves to rags–the result being that we would, and do, sacrifice a watered-down Christ for our selfishness, too. There is no escape from God and the claims of God’s justice upon our lives; softness will only be abused, not accepted, by our selfishness–we stand condemned of abuse or of rebellion either way.)
To further give an idea to Bono’s mindset, my understanding is that he sees himself as the court jester, or fool. He’s said that the job of the fool is to make people aware of things potentially wrong without getting his own head chopped off. And as the fool, he can pretty much say what he likes, because, well, he’s the fool. He also resonates extremely highly with Jesus’ method of teaching, in that Jesus often (nearly always?) tells parables; deliberately obscures the issue so that those with ears would hear.
In “I’ll go crazy if I don’t go crazy tonight”, Bono sings
Every beauty needs to go out with an idiot
How can you stand next to the truth and not see it?
Is it true the perfect love drives out all fear?
The right to appear ridiculous is something I hold dear
Oh, but a change of heart comes slow…
To me, that’s pure Bono: poses a question first, then as if to defuse the situation, says “I’m allowed to be ridiculous…” and then gets back to the real point which is that change and heart-change is so slow.
Genius, I reckon, considering that this guy only has, oh, say, millions and millions of fans waiting to hear his lyrics…
Bono has always intrigued me as an artist and a believer. I have heard him say a few things over the years that have made me doubt his Christianity (at least the depth of it) at certain points in time, but let’s face it; I’ve heard myself say things that I could come to the same conclusion about. We are, none of us, perfect (at least not yet).
There is no doubt in my mind that he is a true believer, a brother in Christ…and probably truer than most.