I have a policy when I get angry - get some sleep, re-address the issue in the morning before I write anything. Most of the time it works and I wake up with some perspective.
Not this time.
Probably because I'm right.
I was reading The Friendly Atheist blog yesterday (click here for link) and came across an anonymous letter from someone seeking advice. The writer is a musician who has written/performed quite a bit of Christian pop music.
After attending a well-known Christian university in the Midwest, I headed for Nashville, where I wrote songs for (and recorded or performed with) many of Christian music’s biggest stars: Sandi Patti, Amy Grant, and many others. I’ve won Dove Awards (Christian music’s highest award) and even a Grammy Award, all for Christian music. Church congregations around the world sing my music.The problem is that the writer is an Atheist. He/she doesn't write God songs anymore but does sell material to major pop and country artists. Why doesn't this person come out and say, "Hey, you know about that religion thing? I was dead wrong. Sorry about that."
Although I’ve done well financially, I’m not independently wealthy. So, it’s important I maintain my fan base and keep them informed about new projects.Oh, it's because you want more money. Though I get the distinct impression that this person won't be living in a cardboard box under a bridge anytime soon. They may have to make some kind of sacrifice for their belief that requires them to move into a smaller house. The horror.
So what's the writer's main existential issue? Is it that his/her music has helped spread superstition? Is it that their music may have (probably?) been played at anti-gay marriage love-ins? Is it that his/her music gives it's followers a warm feeling inside when they vote for pro-Intelligent Design candidates? Or possibly when religious fanatics block Planned Parenthood they are rock'n out to his/her songs?
So, I’m trapped: If I “come out” as an atheist, I’ll lose fans in droves. But by not doing so, I’m “condemning” myself to the “torture” of fans who assume I’m still a Christian. It’s not that I can’t hold conversations with Christians. Of course I can. What’s driving me nuts is the fact that so much of their conversation is God-centric. They can’t simply say, “Hello.” Instead, they greet you with, “Praise the Lord” and such. (Ugh.)It's the fact that he/she has to deal with Pro-God comments on their Facebook fan page. It's the fact that his/her life is inconvenienced by fans who insist on talking the same crazy God talk that this person had been spewing for years. Pity.
Wait a minute.. I have to take my brain tonic so my head doesn't explode.
I like the Friendly Atheist, I'm a regular reader. The writer (there are several for this blog), Richard Wade, is smart and presents Atheism in an open and user friendly way. His response in this case is something I don't agree with.
My good friend, ethics expert Jim Lichtman agrees with me: If there was any ethical concern about being disingenuous, it was resolved when you stopped writing the songs, and you do not owe it to anyone to reveal your private, personal views and beliefs. Not then, and not now.There is more and I suggest that you read the rest of it. I do not want to misrepresent Richard's response.
My response is obviously a bit more... visceral
Maybe the previous God singer-writer shouldn't be thinking about themselves as much. It seems a wee bit... Narcissistic. A wee bit, "I'm not taking responsibility for my past actions." A wee bit, "I have enough money to live on but gosh I'd love to make gobs and gobs more." I wee bit, dare I say it?
Many Americans have a problem with taking ownership for the mess we are currently in - minor things like: our petroleum addiction, obesity epidemic, and of course the Great Recession. Maybe, just maybe if we get our collective heads out of our collective asses we wouldn't be in shitville - population us. Maybe we need to sacrifice for the future while fixing our past mistakes.
I have another policy, I try my best not to be part of the problem, I try my best to be part of the solution.
It helps me from not being a dick.