Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More on Bono and "Coexist"

There has been a great discussion over at a posting I made from way back on October 12 and I notice that the topic gets a fair amount of hits from search engines so I thought I’d bring it up front and see if we can generate more discussion.

My October 12 entry was about a change in the lyrics to “Yahweh” that Bono made when I saw U2 in Chicago this past fall but the discussion soon changed to include other things, most natably the use of Jewish, Musilm and Christian symbols both on Bono's headband and on the images on the screen behind the band. I have reproduced some of the comments and my responses almost exactly as they appear in the earlier posting (with a few typo corrections):

Anonymous said...
I saw U2 at Auburn Hills last week and was unprepared for the Coexist portion of the show. I have been a little intrigued and maybe a little more troubled with the Coexist theme, as it seems to equate Mohammed, Jesus, David, as all equals. From what I take from pluralism, is it disrespects all religions. Christians don’t believe Mohammed is equal to Christ. That is offensive. Muslims do not believe Christ is God. That is offensive. Jews don’t believe Christ is God either. So to say they are all theologically equal is folly. But maybe I am reading into that too much. I certainly agree that the religions should "coexist" without killing each other; bloodshed or ignorance in the name of religion is folly as well. How do you see beyond the apparent pluralism and misdirection of the character of God, "in the name of love" - have you read any other helpful links or articles?
Thanks!
johnny5

Bob Keeley said...
to johnny5 - Here is what Nathan Hart wrote: "Bono actually says "Jesus, Jew, Muhammad, it's true: all sons of Abraham." it's an attempt to find the unity in the people of the religions of the world, in order to find peace instead of war among them." Similarly, in "Yahweh" the pictures of the symbols of the other religions seem to be saying "we don't hate Muslims and Jews" rather than "they're all the same." So, I think Bono really wants war in the name of religion to stop - or as he says "people are more important than ideas."

Anonymous said...
To paraphrase an earlier entry "I saw U2 in Cleveland last week and was unprepared for the Coexist portion of the show..." and I share the sentiments of that blogger. Interesting is the later entry......Similarly, in "Yahweh" the pictures of the symbols of the other religions seem to be saying "we don't hate Muslims and Jews" rather than "they're all the same." Where does that understanding come from? I would not ever get that idea from what I saw in concert. The mixing of the symbols seemed to say "equality," not in the human rights sense, but in the "all religions are the same" sense. I hope Bono's not into this mushy universalism. It pretty much ruined the concert for me. Maybe I just expected too much from only listening to lyrics.

Bob Keeley said...
I hope the previous anonymous poster looks back here again. First of all, thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate the dialogue.A read of The recent book by Michka Assayas (Bono in Conversation) makes it pretty clear that Bono is no universalist and his "Jesus, Jew Muhammad - it's true” is pretty clearly referring to "all sons of Abraham." That became even clearer to me when I watched the Vertigo Tour DVD. Just like you use the Bible to interpret the Bible, I think you need to use Bono to interpret Bono so the COEXIST theme, which is so strong, is the one that I think is what is meant here.Of course, someone could ask him outright but his Christian subtext is SO obvious in other places that I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here.

17 comments:

Merlin said...

Hey--I wanted to say hi. I saw your link on Kristin's site (now my co-worker!) and thought I'd send a Merry Christmas your way. Hope all is well! Emily Bosscher

Evan M. Thomas said...

The problem I had was not the message but who it was directed at. Jews and Christians do a pretty good job at coexisting. It is some small segment of Moslems that most need to hear Bono's message - consider recent Iranian comments that Israel should be removed.

But oddly enough Bono hasn't been over there to preach his message of coexist. The Vertigo tour hasn't made any stops in the Arab or Persian world. I guess it's easier to preach to people that aren't going to try to kill you for heresy.

Bob K said...

Thanks for your comment, Matthew. You make a good point. Given Bono's Irish heritage, however, I can see that his tolerance for war in the name of religion is pretty low. And I would also agree that the U.S. has not made this about religion - it's primarily about terrorism. (I'm sure some will say it's about oil but I really think it's mostly about terrorism.)

wydok said...

This has become an even bigger issue after Relevant Magazine posted a article by someone assuming Bono was being a Universalist. I think it might take an actual statement from Bono for people to understand the message the bad has been trying to get across, although it's been one of their main messages for their entire career.

Anonymous said...

wydok, I have to say, if poor Bono were to be expected to issue a statement every time some over-invested concertgoer misheard his lyrics and panicked about it, he would have no time to eat lunch -- much less lobby world leaders and keep releasing good albums.

Theresa1 said...

The biggest thing MANY people are forgetting is that neither Bono nor any other human has license to violate or pardon others for violating Yahweh/ Jehovah and Jesus Christ's principles and commands.
Yahweh is big, is bigger than us - but is Yahweh who you're thinking of?

Bono's huge-scale demotion of the Creator's Son and our High Priest, Highest King, and Ransomer Jesus Christ; and his total and extreme mass blasphemy of God himself is due to soon bring death-by-God not only to him, but also to all of those putting faith in the service-to-Satan lies he has boldly taught (unless they quickly repent and turn to worshiping God "with spirit and TRUTH" instead.[John 4:24])

Yes, it was a Judas thing to do.(Re: "Until the End of the World" lyrics.)

Just think of those "Vertigo" lyrics, too, at the beginning of the shows: Part of that song is a "poetic" paraphrase of Satan's temptation to Jesus, asking him to do just ONE act of worship to him - just one willful act of disobedience to Yahweh/Jehovah. Then Satan would give him "the glory" of all of the world's nations under his control. Jesus Christ told Satan to "GO AWAY." Bono chose, instead, to BLASPHEME God before 3.5 million people and more!!!

NO ONE, even a charismatic leader, has any right to associate God's own HOLY personal name with IDOLS, or ANYTHING having to do with SPIRITISM/ false worship. That is a violation of Yahweh/ Jehovah's Commandment #1, Exodus 20:1-7, which is repeated by principle throughout the Scriptures. Bono/ U2 violated Yahweh by showing huge, lit-up pagan-spiritistic symbols - many of them - while singing "Yahweh." They had quite a crowd going along with them too - applauding this blasphemy-idolatry, each time they did this.

U2 gave Satan what he wanted - just like the Vertigo lyrics set up.

Has Satan done anything for Bono in exchange for this large service of ripping down the unique position of Jesus Christ, blaspheming God's name, and recommending false religion and philosophy to millions of people??? How has Bono's "political" success been going ?????????????

Many forget: 1.) Satan is a Liar; 2.) Satan is a manslayer who does not care about the welfare of humankind; 3.) Obeying Satan, not God brings death - any seeming "good" Satan delivers is only temporary at best; 4.) Satan's interest is to turn humans away from loyalty and obedience towards their Maker, so that he, Satan, can TAUNT God Almighty and Jesus over the loss of them.

See through it all. Do NOT rationalize, emulate, or support Bono/ U2's spiritually deathful, Yahweh-hated, Jesus Christ-hated blasphemy and death-futured false teachings. Implore anyone you know of in that mode to CHANGE, fast. Armageddon IS coming, soon, and everyone found "liking and carrying on a lie", despite all the warnings, will die. (Revelation 22:15)

Some say celebrity worship is the new religion. Some speak of Bono as their desired easy-going preacher; their tickler-of-ears, their spiritual hero. Do NOT be misled...The entertainment, the groove, and the "coolness" are NOT worth your life, your relationship with God, or your future.

P.S. EACH of the religious symbols in the COEXIST icon are also of pagan-spiritistic origin. The religions they represent are popular; but all of them, including Christendom ("Christianity" that has left off of God and Christ's teachings) have been FALSE to God's words. That is evident in their participation in and support of the blood-spilling wars of the nations; as well as in their voiced spiritual support of political arrangements of man rather than the scriptural, incoming heaven-based, global Kingdom of God as mankind's only true hope for the future.

The global empire of false religions, AKA, "Babylon the Great" has already been judged and condemned by God himself as spiritistic and bloodguilty for "all those who have been slaughtered on the earth." Soon God will intervene to have that entire Satanic empire destroyed. God's will is for people to act with urgency NOW, to get out of all false religious entities, so as to not be found within them when he brings them down. (Revelation 17:5; 18:4,5,8,21,23,24)

With so much at stake, be entirely careful WHO you will FOLLOW. (Follow the wisdom of the greatest man who ever lived, our God-given Exemplar Jesus Christ as part of his one true global congregation, with the name of his father Jehovah/ Yahweh/ Ieova, etc., the Universal Sovereign upon it.)

Corniel said...

bono is not a theologian .... he is an artist whose lyrics reflect no more than the search of a honest man and the beauty is that time and time again his only hope is found in Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. An artist doesn't use the same words as a theologian and bono should be seen, read and interpreted as an artist, one that humbles himself and kneels time and time again before Yahweh

'Yahweh, Yahweh, always pain before a child is born - still i'm waiting for the dawn'

he's waiting for the dawn, the day that the Light of Jesus will light up fully....

Theresa1 said...

Far beyond "entertainment", Bono is acting as a false prophet, gathering people together in opposition to Yahweh before Armageddon. (There are many false prophets.) (Revelation 16:13,14; and consider 19:20.) He has also, as one of the "top-ranking men of the earth" been doing the work of a "traveling merchant" for "Babylon the Great" (Revelation 18:23). He has been "selling" that conglomerate of false religions - pushing for its "ONEness" and "COEXISTANCE" instead of obeying God and encouraging people to also OBEY GOD AND "GET OUT OF" ALL FALSE RELIGION NOW - cutting membership ties with it, and ceasing to give it spiritual support. (Revelation 18:4,5)

If I were him, I would stop in my tracks, pay attention to what GOD says, repent (beg God to forgive me), reform, and use some of the same media-power to make HUGE recantations of what have been spiritually destructive false teachings. And I would do that NOW.

God is getting ready to destroy the world empire of false religion in its entirety. Those "inside" share in "her sins" through community bloodguilt; and if they do not take the warning to "get out" of there and leave false religion behind before God soon suddenly devastates it all, they will "receive part of her plagues." (See also Revelation 18:8)

(Furthermore, then people need to turn to God in repentance for their community bloodguilt; become obedient to him; and make use of his provision for covering sin and giving a state of refuge from the avenging of blood that will soon occur on this earth - which comes through exercising faith in Jesus Christ by OBEYING his commandments. John 3:16, 36.)

Bono has indeed preached anti-scriptural ideas "about God" not only to millions at his concerts, but also to countless people through the various media.

Even if he is sincere, "he is sincerely WRONG." He has seriously failed the responsibility he has taken up as one teaching throngs about God by failing to use God's words - the whole of them - as his Authority.

People's poetic or artistic licenses END where they infringe on the law of THE Creator/ Greatest Artist/ Master Poet/ Maker of Music/ and SOVEREIGN. Any human insolence, defiance, or rebellion to this One through their "creativity" is not only foolish, but also ingrateful.

Obey God as ruler rather than man, always.

Help fellow humans - "neighbors" - with what they need more than anything, which is God's truth from his words. Soon, they will mean life or death to everyone. Only those obeying Yahweh/ Jehovah's words will live past Armageddon to become God's foundation of his new world system here - paradise earth with peace at last. Its soon. Be "one" with God and Jesus Christ, not with those of the U2 throng, if they are going to be disobedient and profane Yahweh's will and name the way they are.

(I have my own blog...Thank you for your "space" here though.)

corniel said...

i was just wondering where all this anger and frustration comes from - how has he done all this

that would make more sense than these paragraphs full of CAPITALS and use of religious words and terms

thanks

Arthur Morgan said...

While I share the concerns of many regarding Bono's 'Coexist' message, I have read that 'Yahweh' was written to urge the three Abrahamic faiths - Judaism, Christianity and Islam to coexist in the Holy Land and in Jerusalem. With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan potentially causing religious tension in the West, the Coexist message is aimed at maintaining the peace, preventing possible bloodshed.
While I believe that Christianity is the one true faith, the Coexist message is a lot better Christian witness than the slaughter of Jews and Muslims during the Crusades of the Holy Land, right?
I think any U2 fan will recall that U2 have grown up with sectarian bloodshed in nearby Northern Ireland.
Coexist, but let us continue to shine Jesus that they may know.

Bob K said...

I have continued my part of this discussion in a new post found here.

Anonymous said...

As an ex U2 fan, I can only add to the concerns expressed by others as to Bono's religious teachings. For me, he is a vile balsphemer.

Consider "Crumbs From Your Table". The song is obviously a dig at Jesus for not being as kindhearted and compassionate as Bono pretends he himself is.

"From the brightest star comes the darkest hole;
You've so much to offer but did you offer your soul?" - here Bono questions Christ's atonement and suggests the Savoiur is evil.

"You speak of signs and wonders, but I need something other" - Jesus Himself said those for whom signs were entirely necessary for faith were a spiritually adulterous generation. Bono goes on to say,

"I would beleive if I was able, but I'm waiting on the crumbs from your table" - again, confirming his disgust with Christ for failing to be the kind of Saviour he wants.

In reality, Bono sees himself as a Jesus. But really, he is just another "Christ".

Bob K said...

to the last anonymous poster - Thanks for your comments.

I disagree with your premise that "Crumbs at your Table" is a dig at Jesus. If it's a dig at anyone it is aimed at the western world in general and the US in particular. Bono writes from the perspective of a poor person who has very little and tells us in the US (the brightest star) that we offer relatively little.

Paul (probably - maybe Liz) said...

"Crumbs from your table" is indeed directed at the affluent Western church, according to Bono.

Is Bono a "Christian" Christian? Here's a quote: "... at the centre 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 [sic] an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "As you reap, so will you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. 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." (From Bono on Bono)

Pretty non-universalist.

So why coexist? Well, because religions have to learn to tolerate one another rather than killing one another. I recognise somebody's right to exist even if I believe they are wrong. No? Or are we still in the era of the crusades?

Bob K said...

Thanks, Paul - you've quoted one of my favorite passages from Bono on Bono. For me that really speaks to Bono's faith. This discussion contintued on this blog much later - check out the Jan 8, 2006 entry.

The Burkholders said...

Thanks for the discussion. Yours is one of the few salient/relevant blogs I have seen. :) Keep it up.

Mark and Keren said...

Wow. I am amazed at the venom reserved for Bono in some of these posts. I am guessing most posts are from the US????

I can testify to many (100's) of people who I know who have had their faith enhanced and strengthened by the music of U2. I know some who are walking with Christ today because of the witness of U2's music.

I have witnessed the damage that such a harsh and unforgiving attitude towards other religions has on a community.

Bono's message of coexisting is the right one. Not all will accept Christ as the son of God but you have to coexist with other faiths and those of no faith in order to be Jesus to them.... if not then we are back to the days of the crusades and look where that got us? We still suffer the divides because of that dark time.

I was also lucky enough to engage with U2 on a film I was making in East Africa where I was allowed to use one of their songs. Bono is quite a character but I must be honest I don't know of anyone who spends as much time in prayer and in reading the scriptures as him... and I include my minister father and every Ugandan Pastor I know!


Someone in an earlier post mentioned "Jews and Christians do a pretty good job at coexisting" - well history dictates otherwise, unfortunately.

Mark