Tag Archives: bono

Bono on Jesus

Somewhere in my archives you’ll find my (negative) opinion on any music U2 has released in the last, say, 20 years. But while there is some theological nitpicking I might do when it comes to this interview in this new biography as conversation of the U2 frontman, Bono, there’s a lot to love about his understanding of Jesus and the Christian faith. So kudos to him.

Michka: I think I am beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?

Bono: Yes, I think that’s normal. It’s a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.

Michka: I haven’t heard you talk about that.

Bono: I really believe we’ve moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.

Michka: Well, that doesn’t make it clearer for me.

Bono: You see, 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. 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 you will 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.

Michka: I’d be interested to hear that.

Bono: That’s between me and God. But I’d be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I’d be in deep s—. 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.

Michka: The Son of God who takes away the sins of the world. I wish I could believe in that.

Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea that God says: Look, you cretins, there are certain results to the way we are, to selfishness, and there’s a mortality 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 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.

Michka: 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 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.”

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. And he goes: No, no. I know you’re expecting me to come back with an army, and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am 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 was 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. This man was strapping 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 half of the globe could have its fate changed and turned upside-down by a nutcase, for me, that’s farfetched…

A taxing issue

Feel free to dismiss this post as an anti-U2 rant simply designed to sling mud at the choir boy reputation that the band enjoys in Christian culture.

But I think this is pretty funny

Bono, like many other wealthy celebrities, tries to avoid paying tax by using an off shore tax haven. But what about all those tax dollars that are directed towards foreign aid you say?

“Tax avoidance and tax evasion costs the impoverished world at least 160 million US dollars every year. This is money urgently required to bring people out of poverty.

“U2 is just one part of the problem. This is a much wider and systemic problem in our global financial system. Every company and individual has the responsibility to pay the right amount of tax.”

Now this probably pales in comparison to the contribution Bono has made, and I don’t want to rob him of the credit he is due.

But Bono, with shades of Metallica’s anti-napster campaign is crusading for the poor musicians suggesting that governments should monitor the internet in order to prevent file sharing. While pointing the finger firmly at the evil Internet Service Providers.

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.

Sound of Music

I’ve been on a bit of a sound wave this morning – with my earlier posts – and the slightly more heated than anticipated comments on my anti-U2 post. I’m not surprised. Bono’s public Christianity makes him a bit of a sacred cow.

But I don’t like to criticise things without offering solutions here are 5 bands that are better than U2. In my opinion*…

  1. Radiohead – both Coldplay and U2 wish they were as politically aware and musically diverse as Radiohead – incidentally – Radiohead are apparently recording a new album.
  2. Muse – another British band with less people and more musical talent (and a greater talent per capita ratio) than U2.
  3. Gomez – They are to alt.Country what the muppets are to puppetry. Defining. Actually they’re incredibly difficult to pigeon hole.
  4. Athlete – For those of you who like U2 because they’re easy listening try Athlete, or Death Cab for Cutie – both equally compelling in sound but less self-righteously musically annoying.
  5. Augie March  – not only are they Australian, intelligent, poetic, they’re “easy listening” without being middle of the road inoffensive babble.

There’s six bands in a list of five bands that I find more sonically pleasurable than U2. Here are 10 more that fit that category off the top of my head (or out of my iPod – which does contain a bit of U2 – early U2, back when the Edge didn’t look like the kind of guy you’d keep your children away from at public parks).

If you like saccharine music and just can’t help yourself – why not listen to Dave Matthews, or Simon and Garfunkel…

  1. Smashing Pumpkins
  2. Weezer
  3. Architecture in Helsinki
  4. Blur
  5. Oasis
  6. Cake
  7. Custard
  8. The Dandy Warhols
  9. Placebo
  10. The Panics

Those are just the bands – there are plenty of solo artists or balladeers who write nice, sweet music who are infinitely more compelling than a 50 year old who petulantly refuses to remove his sunglasses. I won’t list them. I think I’ve made my point. Why listen to one band that tries to appeal to every aspect of musicality and becomes middle of the road when you can embrace diversity which lets you appreciate the whole road, bit by bit.

That is all.

*I’m not sure this needs to be said on a blog. That’s kind of the point.