The following is part of a interview between writer Mishka Assayas and Bono on the subject of God and faith. I like this article, one, because it's about Bono, and two, because he articulutes the the matters of faith in such artistic terms that reveal deeper truths.
The Singer Speaks: Bono in Conversation with Mishka Assayas
Note the classic CS Lewis lines as Bono shares his faith with the interviewer..
Assayas: Some of your fans had a hard time with records you made in the nineties.
Bono: That’s right. They didn’t see it. On Pop, I thought it was a tough relationship with God that was described there: Looking for to save my, save my soul/ Looking in the places where no flowers grow /Looking for to fill that God shaped hole. That’s quite a interesting lyric, because that’s the real blues- that comes from Robert Johnson, it happens through the machine age, through the techno din, but there it is: the same yearning. But he (Bob Hewson, Bono’s father) didn’t see it. A lot of people didn’t see it, because they wanted to feel it, not think it. (25)
Bono: (Paul McGuinness) would sit me down and say, “You have what it takes. You must have more confidence in yourself and continue to dig deeper. And I don’t be upset or surprised when you pull something out of the depth that’s uncomfortable.”
Assayas: So you discovered things that, on first glance, you’d rather have kept hidden? What were those?
Bono: The gauche nature of awe, of worship, the wonderment at the world around you. Coolness might help in your negotiation with your world, maybe, but it is impossible to meet God with sunglasses on. It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw. That’s the connection with great music and art, and that’s the other reason you wanted to join a band: you wanted to do the cool thing. Trying to capture religious experiences on tape wasn’t what you had in mind when you signed up for the job.
Assayas: What about your own sunglasses, then? Do you wear them the same way a taxi driver would turn off his front light, so as to signal to God that this rock star is too full of himself and not to hire at the moment?
Bono: Yeah, my insincerity… I have learnt the importance of not being earnest at all times. You don’t know what’s going on behind those glasses, but God, I can assure you, does. (53-54)
Bono: I know what God is. God is love, and as much as I respond in allowing myself to be transforrmed by that love and acting in that love, that’s it... Where things get complicated for me, is when I try and live this love. Now, that’s not so easy.
Assayas: What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn’t so “peace and love.”
Bono: There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that’s why they’re so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access to a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combonation is what makes the Cross. (200)
Assayas: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.
Bono: I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certian results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s morality as part of your very sinful nature, and, let’s face it, you’re not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to your actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled… It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.
Assayas: That’s a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it’s close to lunacy, in my view. Christ has his rank among the world’s great thinkers. But Son of God, isn’t that farfetched?
Bono: No, it’s not farfetched to me. Look the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But acctually Christ doesn’t allow you that. He doesn’t let you off that hook. Christ says: No. I’m not saying I’m a teacher, don’t call me teacher. I’m not saying I’m a prophet. I’m saying: “I’m the Messiah.” I’m saying: “I’m God incarnate.” And people say: No, no please, just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You’re a bit eccentric. We’ve had John the baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But don’t mention the “M” word! Because, you know, we’re gonna have to crucify you. An He goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but acctually I’m the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh, my God, he’s gonna keep saying this. So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He is- the Messiah- or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. This man was like some of the people we’ve been talking about earlier (Islamic fundamentalists). This man was straping himself to a bomb, and had “King of the Jews” on his head, and, as they were putting him up on the Cross, was going: Ok, martyrdom, here we go. Bring on the pain! I can take it. I’m not joking here. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over a half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched …
Bono: … If only we could be a bit more like Him, the world would be transformed. …When I look at the Cross of Christ, what I see up there is all my s--- and everybody else's. So I ask myself a question a lot of people have asked: Who is this man? And was He who He said He was, or was He just a religious nut? And there it is, and that's the question. And no one can talk you into it or out of it.