I find myself a little bit perturbed at the moment. Ever since I finished writing my last entry, I’ve had a sour taste in my mouth that has persisted so mercilessly that I truly can’t help but write about what’s caused it.
I made mention in the latter section of my entry on No Line that it was highly Christian (or at the very least, God-oriented). Whether or not it’s really warranted, I felt that my initial reaction while writing that was to launch clear into defensive mode and defend the boys for having made such a decidedly Christian album. Now, this is not a new thing for them — there’s an entire section of @U2 that’s dedicated to Christian allusions and imagery and such in their lyrics, and it’s not lost on their fans, I know. My issue is not with the lyrics, or the music, or the faith that seems to be their genesis. My issue is, rather, with the fact that — even though I’m not what you’d call a practicing Christian — in my mind, I automatically felt that one of the biggest and most influential, award-laden bands in the world might need the help of little ol’ me because they’d gone and done something Christian!
I don’t know what about you, but I think that is a little silly of me. I’m troubled by the fact that I naturally made the assumption that people would inherently be bothered by the boys being fairly blatantly open about whatever their faith might be. Everything else aside, I really think that it just bothers me that I feel like Christianity has become a dirty word, or a dirty faith.
It’s not a new thing by any stretch, for people to view Christians in an unfavorable light. Some Christians have done some pretty spectacularly bad things, and have done for centuries, under the banner of their faith. I think it’s fairly safe to say that humans in general have done some pretty spectacularly bad things, and have done for centuries, under some banner or another. Christians have also done some outstandingly excellent things, too; the same applies to the human populous. I don’t mean to get into a giant debate of who did what to whom and when and why, and who was right and who was wrong — that’s a debate no one can ever win, nor should they. I do mean to point out that it bothers me that loud-mouth, money-grabbing, slimy, politically-minded Christians have given the really good ones a superbly bad name, and have thus caused me to jump into defensive mode over a brilliant piece of music and art created by four lads with a Christian leaning.
“We’ve found different ways of expressing it, and recognized the power of the media to manipulate such signs. Maybe we just have to sort of draw our fish in the sand. It’s there for people who are interested. It shouldn’t be there for people who aren’t.” — Bono on faith, quoted in “U2 at the End of the World”
It bothers me to think that, whatever it might be that’s made it that way, I feel like “Oh, he’s Christian” may be used to denote that a person is either cruel, idiotic, or both. It bothers me to think that there’s still such desperation to prove that there is an absolute right and, therefore, a plethora of absolute wrongs when it comes to faith and spirituality. I have some strong, deeply rooted beliefs of my own, but I doubt that many people know what they are, since I only divulge them to those who ask it of me. It bothers me, quite intensely, that I should even feel the slightest urge to need to defend a group of men who are brilliant in every sense of the word, simply because they happen to share a label with some deplorable, heinous human beings — and that these deplorable, heinous human beings even consider themselves worthy of such a label in the first place.
I first got into U2 because I thought Streets was the best song ever when I was four years old. I stayed into U2 because they had an attitude about their music, and the world, that I could understand and appreciate — it’s as simple as that. The rather amusing thing about writing all of this is that the members of U2 are not, by any stretch, by-the-book Christians. As far as I can tell, they’re just four great men who make, and have made, some pretty amazing music and have done some pretty amazing things. I’m going to love them, anyway, no matter what they do, or how Christian they are. I’m just mad at the people and events that have caused even me to shudder a little bit when I hear that word.