Monday, February 14, 2005


It will help you understand where I am coming from here if you know the history of Rock N Roll, and maybe read Media Choices and the Christian.

I offer the following simply because I run into this issue so much. I have seen whole blogs devoted to this. There is no other artist, it seems, who inspires as much worshipful rapture as does Bono, lead singer for U2. Does his life mirror Biblical Christianity?

I have encountered myriad Christians who take it as the greatest insult if I express grave doubts about the 'Christianity' of Bono. The Bible tells us to "test everything; hold fast what is good." (1 Thess 5:21). Some people believe you aren't supposed to hazard any guesses about who is a Christian and who is not. To them I offer 1 John 3:10:

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

Why would John give us a way to know who the Christians are if we are never supposed to know, if there is no way to tell?

"But you can't see his HEART!"

Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34). What someone does has everything to do with where their heart is: our actions are connected to our life in Christ. Now, I don't claim that the 1 John passage is the only way to know--there are other scriptures that help us determine what it means to be a Christian, to claim to follow Christ. But my point here is that we are indeed able (and expected) to discern these things.

First, check out these lyrics. Everyone probably knows this song...what is it saying?

I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was warm in the night
I was cold as a stone

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

I believe in the kingdom come
Then all the colors will bleed into one
Bleed into one
Well yes I'm still running

You broke the bonds and you
Loosed the chains
Carried the cross
Of my shame
Of my shame
You know I believed it

But I still haven't found what I'm looking for...

The writer knows what Jesus did for him, but still hasn't found 'what he's looking for.'

I believe, based on observation and research, that Bono talks some of the talk and doesn't walk the walk. I don't take away anything from his good deeds; that's great. But what does he believe and say?

The following is taken from a Beliefnet interview.

"'I've successfully avoided talking about my faith for 20 years,' he said after we completed this interview, which he did by phone from Ireland."

What Christian avoids talking about his faith? The Bible says to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope you have. The goal of a Christian is to spread the faith, not avoid talking about it.

"During U2's Zooropa tour, you would often call prominent figures by phone from the stage. In London, you were dressed as the devil character you invented, MacPhisto, and, as you tried to call the Archbishop of Canterbury, MacPhisto remarked that religious leaders were some of his closest friends."

[Bono]"It's true. I often wonder if religion is the enemy of God. It's almost like religion is what happens when the Spirit has left the building.

God's Spirit moves through us and the world at a pace that can never be constricted by any one religious paradigm. I love that. You know, it says somewhere in the scriptures that the Spirit moves like a wind--no one knows where it's come from or where it's going. The Spirit is described in the Holy Scriptures as much more anarchic than any established religion credits."

This has an ecumenical, even universalist ring to it. And the Holy Spirit of God is not anarchic--God is a God of order, not chaos or confusion (1 Cor 14:33, James 3:16).

Now it gets even more interesting:

"For all that, U2 has often been seen as a Christian rock band.

We really f--ked that up, though. We really f--ked up our corner of the Christian market. I think carrying moral baggage is very dangerous for an artist. If you have a duty, it's to be true and not cover up the cracks. I love hymns and gospel music, but the idea of turning your music into a tool for evangelism is missing the point.

Here's where things should get very obvious. God commands us in His Word to be pure in our speech. One of the first things I knew, immediately after getting saved, was that the f-word had to go (for me, at the time, that word was used VERY OFTEN). If a baby in Christ knows that, why doesn't Bono? Could it be that he doesn't care about God's commands concerning our speech?

And what about music being used for evangelism? For a follower of Christ, how is that missing the point?

Another interesting statement: "The most powerful idea that's entered the world in the last few thousand years--the idea of grace--is the reason I would like to be a Christian." That's so full of pathos, to me. He would like to be? Why isn't he?

I like the anger of the blues--I think being angry with God is at least a dialogue. You know, [Robert Johnson's] 'Hell Hound on My Trail'--the blues is full of that. And [it runs] right through to Marilyn Manson.

These are big questions. If there is a God, it's serious. And if there isn't a God, it's even more serious. Or is it the other way around? I don't know, but these are the things that, as an artist, are going to cross your mind--as well as "Ode to My New Jaguar." [laughter] The right to be an ass I will hold on to very tightly. I just have to be allowed that."

Marilyn Manson is an avowed Satanist, an actual "clergy" member in the church of Satan. Bono claims to like the anger of the blues, and cites Manson as one of its agents of expression today.

Please do check out the links from do a great job on video of showing Bono's MacPhisto character. In the video, Bono holds up an upside-down cross.

I am just really, really tired of the world mixing with Christianity, and I'm tired of Satan deceiving people into thinking that Bono actually represents a wonderful Christian. If he represents this to you, I urge you to take up your Bible like a Berean and really examine how a Christian is to live and speak. Let's pray for Bono to repent and be saved, but let's not pretend that he is a paragon of Christianity. To do so is to ignore the Word of God itself, and the holiness of life in Jesus.


Amber Lynn said...

Worry about yourself and let God worry about the level of Christianity of Bono. If anything, pray for a renewal of zest instead of bashing someone who is a believer. (Even if a questionable one in your mind.)

Sandra said...

Good points, Kristen. Don't agree completely on all your conclusions, but I am very glad for quotes and links. I'm going to add you to my latest post on this topic.

Amber, you seem a little defensive. Notice the end of Kristen's post when she said that we should pray for him. You are right, Amber, that whether Bono is a Christian or not is not our business. But it our business if we hold him up as a role model to emulate. That is not appropriate. I do believe Bono is a Christian, and if so, it is SOMEONE'S job to call him to the carpet. I don't know him personally, so its hard for me to do. But being aware of his self-proclaimed disdain for Christ's holy bride gives me enough reason to pray that Holy Spirit will persevere in Him.

Just my thoughts.

David said...

This is all fair enough. I will revoke my earlier comments about Bono's saintliness, but I won't denounce everything he's ever produced as a consequence.
I can't help but defend the song you referenced:
I still haven't found what I'm looking for....
Is he saying that his salvation experience was dissatisfying, there's still something better for him to find? Perhaps.
Or is he saying that he's still waiting for the Kingdom to come, all the colors to bleed into one? It hasn't happened yet. He's still here, dying outwardly, waiting to see Jesus. Isn't He what we're looking for?
That's how I always took it, anyway. As for his latterday stage antics and outspeakings, who's to say?
Thanks for speaking.

Kristen said...

Amber Lynn, I agree that I should examine myself. We are commanded to do so in I will continue to do that. However, I'm not 'bashing' Bono. I am pointing out that his words and actions are not consistent with Biblical Christianity--and that's important because, as Sandra said, people DO "hold him up as a role model to emulate," and he is admired by many who claim to love the Lord. We must examine things instead of blindly embracing them if we want to have a real walk with the Living God who revealed Himself to us in Scripture.

I hope you can understand where I am coming from, and that my desire is NOT to bash anyone, but to compare things in light of the Scripture.

Kristen said...

David, I really appreciate your comments. :)

In the song, he sings about Jesus and then says, "BUT I still haven't found what I'm looking for..." Seems clear to me, but I do see where you're coming from.

Anonymous said...

What a load of crap !!! I think you need a bit of Devil in you !!!


Kristen said...

Thanks for helping me make my point. :)

Todd said...

Great thought provoking post. I have yet to see someone in "the industry" who is a good example of a Christian.

I apologize in advance to anyone who does not fit that categorization.

molly said...

Great post, Kristen. I love U2 (not that I listen to them anymore), but I never thought he was a Christian. Still don't. It's clear he's had some powerful experiences with God--no doubting that, or that he's very sensitive to spiritual things. But a full-on follower of Christ? I don't know... Unless Kristen misquoted (which I doubt she'd do), he's pretty much cleared up that question via his own words. Obviously he's attracted to God. Wonderful. But a strong solid Jesus follower? Don't see it.

Btw, I love having him around though--just his "testimony" of really thirsting and pondering the things of a God who's not very popular right now... I'm greatful for that. But I don't consider him an actual Christian. (Why should I when he doesn't do that himself)?

Praying for him to really meet God would be a wise investment of time. :o)

Warm Regards,

Coffee and a Muffin said...

He says things I said when I wasn't a Christian yet, but was hungering for God. I had a mixed-up view of Christianity and the Lord. Once I was truly saved I soaked up God's Word as much as I could and learned just how far off I was in my thinking.

Kristen said...

Kim--me, too. I said all kinds of things.

I also used to be a huge, huge U2 fan. I saw their Zoo TV tour.

Everything I wrote was just scratching the surface...there's not enough room in a blog.

Christie said...

Thanks for this piece on Bono. I didn't get a chance to read all the links, but my first reaction is we are to follow Jesus, not Bono, the Pope, or our neighbors. Everyone but Jesus has been tainted by sin. Sure-others in the faith influence us and we are called to be holy, but we need to hold whatever is out there up against Scripture and I think we know we all fall short. Far be it from me to judge another man's faith. I appreciate your post and I think if we are going to hold Bono up against Scripture you may have influenced me to blog about how Bono has practiced Biblical Christianity (just to give a fair view). I think a lot of Christians especially Americans have something to learn from him-he fights for the poor and oppressed and creates music that has a positive message unlike a lot of artists today. Lastly, U2's latest album is saturated with biblical themes.(

with love,
Christie G.

Rand said...

Good post!

Here's my 0.02$:

Bono is NOT a Christian. The Bible says:

"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."

If Bono's fruit were good, I would believe he were my brother in the Lord.

His fruit is bad.

Kristen said...

Christie: Granted, what you say is VERY true; I am not perfect, nor are you, nor is Bono. But the Bible shows us how to live, and this life in Christ includes growing in purity, holiness, right doctrine, and in the truth. When we sin, we have an advocate in the Father--praise God! But Bono's words and actions have been very public ones. I personally want to test what I see and hear. David said that he wouldn't put an evil thing before his eyes (Ps 101). We should test everything, and seek to know what we are plugging into and what we advocate.

Even if there are "Biblical themes," what's his own confession? What is the fruit?

Lastly, thanks for the generous tone of your comments. :)

Rand, you know that I agree. Thanks.

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