Saturday, August 06, 2005

Not Your Everyday, Ordinary Rock Star

U2's Bono (October in Houston, baby!) on grace vs. karma:

The thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. At the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ... Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff ... I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace.

I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.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. It's not our own good works that get us through the gates of Heaven.

...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 actually 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 am God incarnate.' So what you're left with is either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. The idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me that's farfetched.

Now, I don't proselytize on this blog; I have my own ideas on faith, and as I've stated before, I'm a believer, though my own doctrine would be rejected by most of the world's churches, no doubt. I certainly respect your beliefs, including atheism.

Regardless of your particular stance, though, isn't this just a breath of fresh air from a guy who makes untold millions playing rock'n'roll? John Lennon, great musician that he was, and God rest his soul, was a hero to the multitudes, but his message was squishy - all you need is love, give peace a chance, 'Imagine there's no heaven'. Not sure I can go on that journey with you, John.

Contrast with Bono - Sunday, Bloody Sunday; New Year's Day; Pride (In The Name Of Love); Where the Streets Have No Name. Bono's world is not a world of empty slogans and altruistic sentiments; it's a world with strife, war, disappointment, hunger, AIDS, betrayal, and broken hearts; it's a world that has no chance of redemption on its own terms; it's a world that requires mercy, not justice.

Needless to say, I find Bono one of the most interesting of celebrities in a world of quite uninteresting celebrities...

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