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Sunday, November 14, 2004

The gospel according to Bono.

Jon Pareles reviews U2's new album and interviews Bono, who has always let religion course through his lyrics. (It goes without saying that Philocrites is a U2 fan.) Some religion highlights:

U2 is almost alone now among rock bands in its determination to merge lofty ambition and pop impact. With songs that determinedly blur divine and earthly love, seeking grace as often as romance, the band doesn't pander to vulgar impulses. Yet U2 has no interest in being a hipsters' cult band; it has always aimed for audiences that can fill arenas, where its music is most at home. "At our very best, at anyone's very best, the great rock bands could always make a pop 45," Bono insisted. . . .

"There's cathedrals and the alleyway in our music," Bono said. "I think the alleyway is usually on the way to the cathedral, where you can hear your own footsteps and you're slightly nervous and looking over your shoulder and wondering if there's somebody following you. And then you get there and you realize there was somebody following you: It's God." . . .

Speaking just days after the American presidential election, which might have hinged on the votes of evangelical Christians, Bono said: "I don't talk about my faith very much, because the people you might want to talk with, you don't want to hang out with.

"To have faith in a time of religious fervor is a worry. And, you know, I do have faith, and I'm worried about even the subject because of the sort of fanaticism that is the next-door neighbor of faith. The trick in the next few years will be not to decry the religious instinct, but to accept that this is a hugely important part of people's lives. And at the same time to be very wary of people who believe that theirs is the only way. Unilateralism before God is dangerous."

"Religion is ceremony and symbolism," he added. "Writers live off symbolism, and performers live off ceremony. We're made for religion! And yet you see this country, Ireland, ripped over religion, and you see the Middle East. Right now, unless tolerance comes with fervor, you'll see it in the United States."

("U2: The Catharsis in the Cathedral," Jon Pareles, New York Times 11.14.04, reg req'd)

Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 14 November 2004 at 6:54 AM

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November 15, 2004 11:17 AM | Permalink for this comment

As a Unitarian I abhor fanaticism of any stripe - religious or political e.g.. No one has a strangle hold on the truth!


December 29, 2004 04:16 PM | Permalink for this comment

You're wrong Paul - the Catholic Church holds the fullness of truth. Other religions have a portion of it, but none in the fullness except for Holy Mother Church.


April 21, 2005 08:12 PM | Permalink for this comment

I immensely respect Bono for his beliefs. He can embrace his beliefs in his music and in the causes that are most important to him and use his personality and star power to bring attention to the cause that is so dear to his heart. This last part is entirely my own thought: I feel that once people begin to make spirituality their own and make it something that isn't them versus us the world would be a better place.


February 3, 2006 05:44 PM | Permalink for this comment

Paul, you're wrong. Jesus said, "I am way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6. Jesus is the only objective truth, both in His Divine personhood and earthly manifestation, and in His Word- The Holy Bible. The Catholic Church is not the way, only Christ. "Whosoever believes in me shall not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16. The paganized Goddess worshipping "church" of Rome is the not the door.


February 3, 2006 09:08 PM | Permalink for this comment

How sad: This thread has been revived by one absolutist shouting down another absolutist -- each of whom appears to dislike the idea that no one has a "strangle hold on the truth." Sorry guys: Infallibility isn't a characteristic that human beings, institutions, or books can possess. A little humility can go a long ways.

Speaking of Bono, though, I'm eager to read his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast yesterday. Mrs Philocrites and several readers have already called my attention to it, raving about how good it is. I don't have a public link yet, but if you don't mind signing up for the Sojourners email, you can read Bono's speech there.

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